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sherbear

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  1. What's not to like about this film? Louis Malle directing, the incredible Jeanne Moreau and best of all, score by Davis! Jazz, especially a full score of pure jazz like this one, is haunting, seductive, unpredictable and cerebral. Could become one of my favorite films just for that! The music especially Works well with this scene because of it's seductive sound. Since we don't know much about Florence and Julien at this point, it lends an air of mystery.
  2. Did anyone note the hint of danger ahead when the motorcycle cop comes into the scene? Even before we meet the extremely sexy Cora all signs put to a threat to easy going Frank. "Man Wanted" and sirens and the DA never bode well for a character. I have a feeling Frank should have kept hitching!
  3. Hawks comes right to the point when Marlowe introduces himself to the butler and says Col. Sternwood wants to see him. He is direct and up front about his being fired for being too independent. Even if he had not stated it, he is clearly educated and polished, especially compared to Spade, a rough-cut detective in the hard-boiled mold. Marlowe isn't fooled by Carmen's flirting. He shows maturity and humor. Not sure Spade rates highly on the humor scale. Now we have a detective somewhat removed from the criminal edge we've seen in them before. Film Noir is growing up, developing more human character, particularly when using established characters from literature. The film progresses smoothly. Perhaps the audience is maturing also.
  4. The music during the opening credits is noticeably fuller and more "excited" then we've heard before, a sort of newsreel quality, promising an exciting story. It then mellows during the calm voiceover description of the area. The diagonal aerial view point lengthens the perspective, making the picture larger and more important. The shift to the chain-link fence, topped with barb wire brings us back to reality with its prison like appearance. This adds credibility so the viewer feels this is going to be more than just a "story." There is the hint of danger for and from the illegal braceros in both directions, so we fence them in/out. (So nothing has changed!) Using the documentary style opens the way for more story options, exploring more current plots, digging deeper into the darkness and presenting it "realistically."
  5. I felt the diner had a very low, oppressive ceiling which reflects the threat implied by the two thugs. It opens up somewhat when the men are being untied. The route Nick takes to the Swede's is very dark, tunnel-like. At the Swede's we shift to a central focus with little light in the room so we don't see much of the Swede. The music effectively increases the pace and we feel Nick's sense of urgency in his effort to warn the Swede. We drop back to a much slower pace as the Swede seems almost remote and unemotional. Lang's influence is most evident, at least to me. I'm not that well versed in other directors' styles of the period....yet. Once again we have the central character caught in conflict while trying to have an ordinary life.
  6. Clearly Gilda is in control during the song. Her stride on stage is bold and self confident. As she sings she pushes the sexual innuendoes right down to the modified strip tease ( she puts the "tease " in strip tease). As she is "guided" off stage she acts drunk, perhaps part of her "act." Because the confrontation with Johnny is full of anger, not drunkenness. There is more going on than Gilda's performance. She is revealing her sexual side to a wide audience and Johnny is not well please. She is teasing, taunting him publically. The thing that has always most attracted me to film noir is the music, Especially the use of jazz. From the slow sultry horns to the more raunchy lyrics it reflects the temper of the film and of the times. Society isn't quite certain what to do or how to behave in the changing world.
  7. The noir influence is evident in the simmering emotion and conflict between the characters. When they reach boiling there has to be revelations of deep psyche problems. In this scene Veda has clearly been harboring resentment toward Mildred for a long time. She doesn't seem to feel any remorse in having blackmailed a man. Did she observe this behavior in her mother? Mildred has fallen into the classic trap of providing everything for her daughter and not realizing the consequences until too late. I like the way Curtiz cuts camera angles so that we focus on the emotional response in each woman's face. Veda seems nervous for a while, twisting her ring, almost seems to be wringing her hands. Her anger is defensive; she is justifying her actions. Some people have compared the action to dance but I see more of a boxing match in the way they move around each other before the slap. The shifting control between characters, the revelation of deep-seated flaws in each character and the raw emotion contribute to the Noir style.
  8. The clocks in both films tick in anticipation of an expected end: the school day and return of Elsie in M and the release from the institution in Ministry. They each build tension but in M it is much more intense. We know it involves children. In Ministry we're not certain what is going on until the doctor warns him about the police and we see the name of the asylum as Milland walks away. Obviously he has been "counting the minutes" for a while till his release. Why did the doctor say he'd meant to speed up the clock? Lang is a master of dark shadows, much deeper than in most films. They offer cover and threat at the same time. He again sets the tone of a seemingly ordinary individual caught in extra-ordinary circumstance and the mental state. We have yet to learn why he was committed, if he's really "cured" and how "innocent" will his actions be. Doesn't look good at this point!
  9. Marlowe is the kind of detective, emphasis on "private," who is just a step away from a criminal himself. He is immediately suspicious of her and shows no qualms locking her in his office and dumping her purse. He fires questions at her and breaks her cover quickly. Marlowe is directly involved in the plot, not just an observer. There's a good chance he's going to become very involved with the young lady, in fact.
  10. My impression was a soft, languid opening, restlessness, broken by the gun shots. Natives in cage like quarters, whites in the "big house." The dark side of the moon (clouds passing), followed by brightness that even Bette Davis' character is aware of, but still deep shadows. All this lends an air of ominous mystery to the opening, drawing the viewer into watching more closely.
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