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Fredwords

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  1. That's a great collection of heist films for Friday evening. But there's one I really like that doesn't seem to get much play or much comment. It was released in 1956 and is called Time Table. You would think that by 1956 nobody could breathe new life into a train robbery tale. But in this film there are two major surprising twists, one near the beginning and then one smack in the middle. When I first saw this film I was relatively new to film noir and I didn't see either of the twists coming. Yet even though I know the whole caper now, I still enjoy seeing it again. Has anyone else seen Time Table and, if so, what are your comments on it? -- Fred
  2. It has been said that the classic black and white film noir of the 1950s didn't die, it just moved out of the movie theaters and onto television. When that happened we got all that great black & white photography, night shooting with wet streets, and police procedural "realism" in such popular shows as Peter Gunn, Naked City, Dragnet, Highway Patrol, The Fugitive, and others. These shows even used a lot of the old noir movie actors. And they evolved over time into the more sophisticated shows we have today, like those in the long-running Law & Order series and its spinoffs. Yet this aspect of "neo-noir" didn't get mentioned in the course. -- Fred
  3. From the standpoint of its overall storyline, I don't consider Mildred Pierce to be a noir, even though its theme does cast a shadow on the validity of the American Dream. Yet if you separately view its opening scenes--from the sudden murder that violates the quiet of the night all the way to Mildred beginning her flashback in the police station--the film has all the look, feel, and drama of a textbook noir. Any enthusiast seeing this movie for the first time, and having no idea where it's going, would be drawn into this murder by an unseen killer, the flight from the house, the attempted suicide off a dark pier, the apparent luring of a patsy into the murder scene, the initially unseen dead body, the police shooting at the man fleeing the house, and the cold and agonizing silence required at the police station. Is Mildred an innocent woman or a femme fatale? The viewer wonders. Of course the spell is broken once the flashback gets underway, with its sunshine and a homey suburban backdrop. The viewer is awakened to the fact that this is a different kind of movie. But the initial noir situations, scene structuring, and lighting show that by 1945 filmmakers seemed to know how to do that stuff, and exploit it for other purposes.
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