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About FilmFan53

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  1. It's a ridiculous understatement to say that film noir is dark. The opening of The Hitch-Hiker is just that--dark. The scene begins at night. It seems that no other film style showed car headlights approaching as does film noir. They are the 2 bright beacons in the dark scene that allow us to see the the fist of the hitch-hiker, notice, no thumb. That should be some foreshadowing that he's the villain; he's there shaking his fist at the existing world at that moment. As the car pulls out and hits the road again, the faces of the two front passengers are lit while the hitch-hiker is almost totally in darkness. When at last we begin to see him as he is, only his eyes are lit up. And speaking of eyes, that eye of his. . . does it remind anyone of the eye in Poe's "The Tell-tale Heart"? This is good film noir, and you are on the edge of your seat for the majority of the film wondering how will they get out of this one, and this because we know that in film noir they sometimes don't. Ida Lupino has done an amazing first job directing here.
  2. Vienna is a dark city in this film. War torn and war weary, Vienna is well depicted by the cinematographer such that it is an ideal location for the film noir style. There seem to be shadows beyond the dark shadows. The man wandering the street, Holly Martin, is a somewhat inebriated probably on that German gin. One thing I notice now are the camera angles. There are many diagonal shots at the beginning throughout this scene. Even the dark doorway is is skewed. When this scene opens, you're drawn to the sight of the cat in the doorway. In the distance that is all that you see; but, having seen this film many times before, now I watch for the shoes of the man standing there in the darkness because I now know that they will be there. When you've never seen this film before you are right there with Holly Martin as he sees that momentary glimpse of Harry Lime smirking there in that dark doorway. It's dark magic. Then he is gone deeper into the shadows setting us up for the suspense to follow. Great film noir!
  3. We start with the voice over with Garfield telling us he's traveling from San Francisco down the coast and San Diego is mentioned. We see the scene of the beautiful bay in the background as he exits the car. Nothing too mysterious yet. The sign "Man Wanted" has caught his eye and may be part of his destiny. Cecil Kellaway is all that hospitality entails. The most striking element of the film noir style is the entrance of Lana Turner. The camera pans from the bottom of the frame to the top, that angle thing that film noir has going. The total bright whiteness of her shoes, her outfit (those tight little shorts), and her hair turban stands out in contrast to the muted grays etc. The look on her face is so film noir. She reeks of being a femme fatale with the eyebrows and the complete sensuality of her demeanor. This is the real thing coming from MGM this time.
  4. It has been indeed interesting to see both Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet in another movie other than The Maltese Falcon. I wonder if Sydney Greenstreet only had to be himself in most of his movies. He seems to be either very serious as he is here or somewhat jovial as he played the "fat man". He was even more so in the light comedy Christmas in Connecticut. He just seems to be an actor who is very comfortable in his own skin. Peter Lorre in this film is more relaxed even though certainly portraying concern as he views his disheveled room than he ever was in The Maltese Falcon. Both characters convincingly portray irritation, but Joel Cairo always seems to have very elevated blood pressure.
  5. An exotic location . . . a beautiful woman with more than a hint of mystery . . . a rugged, strong and, of course, handsome private detective . . . set in the 1940s. These add up to film noir on a big scale. You start watching and you get hooked. I know that I did the first time I ever saw this movie many, many years ago. I had never even heard the term "film noir". I just knew that I more than liked this movie Out of the Past. I did not even know why. I was a kid, but whenever it came on I would watch it again and again. This was long before there was a TCM cable channel in existence. As I learned more about film noir, this became for me to be the essential movie. There are I guess hundreds more, but this is the big one.
  6. Marlowe walks with the assurance that he is is own man. He is neither too impressed or intimadated by the apparent luxury of the Sternwood mansion. He does respect the four milion dollars the client is supposed to have and treats General Sternwood with courtesy. But, he doesn't whitewash what he knows about the General's family. Marlowe is honest, and honestly looks to earn his pay. He's a "no nonsense" man with things to do. Humphrey Bogart plays the part extremely well.
  7. The sheer physicality of Rita Hayworth's dancing is almost overwhelming. Gilda's arms swing wholeheartedly and her long legs do not fail to dance around the floor. Even the way she bends and throws back her head and hair are very physical in nature. It is interesting that this is all happening in the context of the light and dark of the club. The spotlight is contrasted with the shadows. Her performance is highly charged and she seems ready to take on anything. Enter Johhny and not meekly either. He, too, is charged up. He, too, swings his arm physically making contact with Gilda. He leaves angrily and she sobs. Lots of movement and emotion but none of it really happy. Another welcome to film noir this time with music.
  8. The sun may be shining. The mountains and countryside may be peaceful. But there is no sign of serenity in this opening scene what with the intense speed of the train, the grit and grime of the men and the train itself, and most importantly for me the sound. It never lets up and grows more intense and then subsides. Even in this short segment, I just wanted it to stop. At times it was like finger nails rubbing against the chalk board. It just seemed to me that the tone was set for this film. I believe (without having seen it) that this film has what it takes to be labeled Film Noir.
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