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davecook

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About davecook

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  1. I have little background in film analysis but I have really enjoyed all of the comedy clips so far and I have added Turner Classic Movies to our channel choices to watch more of these great movies. My comment is very general There are few movies today that cause me to laugh out load at any of the humour but I have laughed out loud at some of these choices! When I was growing up, I saw a bit of Abbot and Costello on television and heard their most famous clips on radio. I missed Chaplin, Keaton, LLoyd and WC Fields; they were less frequently aired on the channels available then. I agree that much of the comedy today is in poor taste but I believe this reflects Western society in general where there are few rules about what is appropriate. Throwing off constraints should not make entertainment less amusing but the focus has shifted to shock or titillate viewers rather than to work hard the way these comedy greats, did in finding fun in the ordinary. There is fun in the silly situations in life and the enduring popularity of these films proves the point.
  2. Wagner wrote music which represented to many people the Nazi glorification of fascist doctrine. Here we see the brutal beating of a suspect by a police officer who uses this music to drown out the sounds of the beating and on another level to convey a notion that this is justifiable because the man is a suspect and the police officer represents the state. There is a thread throughout many (not all) of these films that the police are corrupt and this is obvious here. Despite the obvious illegality of the treatment of the prisoner and the minor discomfort of a few members, most of the officers do not react to this abuse.
  3. It is interesting, isn't it? I suppose if there were a large budget and the presence of big name stars in a film, then it could be heavily promoted and thus would be an "A" film. It reminds me of when LPs and singles were released on vinyl and there was an "A" side and a "B" side and the "A" side was the one the disc jockeys pushed but sometimes the "B" sides did equally well and went on to be big hits.
  4. I enjoy the plot twists in the best of the films in this group; these films do grip and hold my attention. I am a romanticist at heart; though, a "Gone With the Wind" kind of girl who falls in love with the leading man and that is not something one can easily do with this film genre; many of the characters are anything but likeable.The post-war brutal realism displayed in these films has a modern feel, even though the films are from a previous generation. These films draw me into their world but I want to escape from them; not into them! I very much appreciate the opportunity to learn about this part of our cultural history. Thank you TCM for offering this course.
  5. Characteristics of film noir parodied in this clip would include the clipped style of speech that the detectives adopt, especially the younger man. They don't talk reflectively or pause to consider. They just spit the words out in incomplete sentences and do not feel the need for politeness (as if saying "would you please" takes too much time or would make them seem soft). They dress in trench coats as if it is the standard issue uniform for detectives; one light, one dark; just so we don't get confused. These men are not handsome in the leading man sort of way; they look like anyone you would meet on the street. We don't get to see too many conventionally handsome men in most of these films; having said that, Robert Mitchum would certainly be an exception. In most film noirs, the men may have masculine appeal but the women have all the looks. None of the actors benefit from the soft lighting treatment they would receive in a romantic film. This clip takes place at night, no surprise, and in the city known for its gangster image, Chicago. Just so we know, the viewer sees the sign identifying the locale and we have seen technique before.
  6. I watched this clip several times and was impressed by the manner of the observer; so detail orientated with the map of the bank location on the street, the recording of several days of precise timing of both the armored car and the floral delivery truck. Mature and dressed in a business suit, he did not strike me as a criminal and Mark in his post helps to clarify the mystery for me when he identifies the planner as an ex-cop. I have not yet watched the movie but it appears that the coincidence of the floral truck arriving at the same time as the armored car with the buildings adjacent to each other will prove useful in pulling off the robbery. I have been relying on watching some of the complete films on you tube. Perhaps someone can explain to me how and why some movies become part of the public domain while others are only available through purchase or by a commercial arrangement with a licensed provider. Do all copyrights expire if the studio that made the films is no longer in business?
  7. This scene at first appears to be a pleasant social call between Sam and Walter but Walter is overly pushy about Sam's past in the intervening years. Walter's confidence wanes and he needs a drink early in the morning, revealing an alcohol dependency. Sam pushes his own agenda to have Walter use his influence to release his new girlfriend from a parole violation charge. When Martha arrives, Walter does not want Sam to see her but capitulates ungraciously. She appears to be friendly and genuine, unlike her husband, who is now brittle, fearful and jealous. She is thrilled when she realizes the whistle is Sammy from her childhood and these two clearly adore each other. Walter looks as if he could shoot them both at this moment and his character seems noirish enough but that would be too simple to be a noir plot and Martha is not the genuine person she seems; later she reveals herself to be a femme fatale of the highest order. These three "old friends" are not really friends and the looks between husband and wife at the end reveal a relationship gone dangerously sour. The twists and turns are getting familiar.
  8. The darkness of night obscures the war damage but touches of Europe: the fountain, the inviting doorways, the lovely old light standards and cobblestone streets make the setting exotic. Since everything looks out of kilter, the effect on Joseph Cotten and on the viewer is disorientating. Orson Welles' face appears out of nowhere suddenly bathed in light but otherwise disembodied since he is dressed in dark clothes and standing in shadow. He smiles like the Cheshire Cat before he disappears just as suddenly. It is a mysterious and memorable entrance.
  9. The plain little café, a hitchhiker a bit down on his luck and a femme fatale of the highest order would be the noir elements that I can identify. John Garfield's entrance is that of a young, virile, and handsome man in contrast to the husband who is friendly but older, overweight and not physically appealing. Lana makes a deliberately provocative entrance. She is obviously not dressed for work in her short shorts and halter top. Like John Garfield, who can't yet see her because he has bent down to pick up the lipstick she has deliberately dropped; the audience watches with anticipation as the camera follows the roll of the lipstick before panning up her figure from her toes to her lovely face. He can only stare with amazement. She stares boldly back at him and feels no need to be friendly but finally gives a slight, suggestive smile.
  10. Peter Lorré makes a very casual entrance as he moves out of the elevator in his very nice apartment building, not like many "noir" urban settings. He is relaxed and talking to himself until he enters his room and immediately surveys the disarray. He is at first surprised then begins to become upset and argumentative in terms of getting information rather than giving it! Sydney Greenstreet uses his size to great advantage as he did in "The Maltese Falcon" to look threatening but as the conversation progresses, he chooses to make himself more comfortable and try a more conciliatory approach. He seems to have an interest in a person this time (Dimitrios) and not an object of value (at this point, anyway).
  11. The film clip begins with two noir elements; the narration by the protagonist played by Robert Mitchum and the aerial view of Mexico before we see Mitchum walking along the street and into the cantina. His character appears street-wise and he is drinking and not clearly visible in the dim lighting; the anti-hero aspect being another characteristic of noir. Jane Greer appears sweet and lovely all in white and the contrast of her in bright light; then the dark shadow of the archway and into the café creates the excitement for the viewer of being able to see her face in the close up as she sits down. It creates excitement for Robert Mitchum as well, who wants very much to get together with her as he has been following her and there is the mystery of money involved. She discourages all of his attempts until she rises to leave, suggesting a back-handed kind of invitation to him if he is interested to visit a place she goes sometimes. This is an interesting meeting for these two and draws the viewer in as well.
  12. Humphrey Bogart plays Philip Marlowe as a smartly dressed and quick thinking man with a great sense of humour who adapts to a very strange introduction to the Sternwood household, first meeting the seductive Carmen and then being interviewed in a sweltering hothouse by General Sternwood. Marlow is very attractive and very likeable from the onset.
  13. Others are far ahead of me on this but I did find the shift jarring - from the prosaic views of canals and fields and crops all nicely lined up and organized (and the diagonal view is interesting, for sure) to the crowded workers behind the high wire fence. The narrator blandly intones that these workers are very necessary to grow the crops then darkly warns that some of them enter illegally and then meet with violence. The shot of the sign prohibiting crossing the border reinforces this warning.
  14. Even today, the scene is sexually intoxicating with Rita's black strapless dress closely fitted over her long slender body and accentuating every swivel of her hips. Her dance is an introduction to an elaborate strip tease to play to the image of the classic film noir "bad girl" and force Johnny Farrell to want her and to love her. Their relationship is antagonistic and violent, in keeping with the "noir" theme. Johnny may not understand his feelings for her but there is no doubt that the camera loves her as it captures every graceful movement and moves in for close ups of her beautiful face and long, thick hair.
  15. Perhaps I will be able to reply with this latest effort! I enjoyed this clip. Detective Marlow is different indeed as he is a free agent and there is no protocol that he is required to follow. He can and does skate around the edge of the law. Hence, his evasive manner with the woman in his office, his locking of the door behind her and grabbing her wrists would never happen in a police interview. It forces her to admit her deception and he learns (perhaps) her true identity.
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