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About Cinemapeg

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  1. Freedom is often assumed to be associated with freedom "to" but equally or possibly even more necessary that noir details is freedom "from" and I am enjoying how cinema and the varied studios and artists are dealing with these points. Also, you ask a good question about "bad versus flawed." This time period of filmmaking certainly spotlights and acknowledges the struggle of the individual adjusting within the context of an increasingly mechanized/industrial/corporate world and begins to address the interior of man; the duality of the human brain---logic versus imagination.
  2. The Window struck hard at the idea of crushing imagination, using the character of a child to exemplify the expectation of the adage "going along to get along" in the post war years. I found this a fascinating well-done noir, with the sets acting as character to build great tension. Plus, the early example of the latch key kid, many years before the term was coined. The Bribe was a fun exploration of another tumultuous relationship, with the stars of their day in their roles a treat, in shadows and heat and the pain of sore feet. The Clock seemed a stab at class, again, the story of a successful corporate man, who, by virtue of his wealth and prominence is not only literally, but also figuratively, above the law, as he resides in his "ivory tower" designing to manipulate others, to do his bidding. I thought in this movie the clock, itself, acted as the femme fatale; time, the thing we cannot get enough of, or have too much of...the battle of 9-5, and the measuring of our worth based on it, a mistress/mister we can never manage or make happy.
  3. I couldn't help but think of your prototypical Western standoff when viewing this clip. Staging helps a play a part in that feeling. I got that feeling too, and I keep returning to the scene when he enters the room, Greenstreet not only has the gun in his right hand, but the object in his left hand and the way he holds it resembles another gun--like he needs more power. When Lorre decides the intruder is not much of a threat, he sits, and Greenstreet immediately drops his weapon; the secret to camaraderie is the shortcuts friends take, in speech, action and body language; Greenstreet and Lorre play it well.
  4. The documentary-travelogue style opening, voice over and sharp dialogue about the "90 pounds of luggage" all set up the noir elements presented. Then the perfect lighting for Greer as she enters the cafe and following Mitchum's almost desperate description of his days spent waiting. Viewers know he is in trouble. After she seats herself, she casts the shadows, and the coin innocently dropped seems to symbolize the gamble he takes. The fact that she never smiles, never responds except by keeping her eyes locked on his in a challenge of sorts, plus she indirectly warms him, doesn't deter him. He is already "a fish caught" The last clue about their relationship is her leaving him...she has this all on her terms. I think the use of foreign (at the time) locations, are part of the unease, and the reference to New York and a familiar location, offers a shared memory. Also, the shadows, in a hot locale offer a respite, but always lurking within them are barely contained elements of danger.
  5. Odd, I know, but don't own a dvr, but watching one movie after the other this Friday just has me laughing: 1- I want to call out to to "Johnny" or "Nick". 2- I expect to see the world represented in plays of light and magnificent shadows. 3- I keep waiting for the tension creating music in the background of my day. 4- I should find a beautiful 40's coupe or a '49 Ford Vicki to be parked in the driveway. 5- I thrill at the view of earlier times in different locales and cities, from Boston, San Francisco, to LA, and the Imperial Valley of California. 6- I can feel as if money has real value...10 cents for a slice of pie in the diner. 7-I will plan on dreaming dark dreams of femme fatales and missed boats, murder by plow, and all in black and white. Seriously, this has been a romp. The examination of noir whether a genre, style or movement has so much to teach each of us: about class systems, politics, innocence against arrogance, goodness, outright evil and hidden agendas, pain, and romance--life. Thanks to everyone for the insight, links and fun!
  6. Bogart's portrayal of Sam Spade seems more casual, both in terms of his attitude and his relationships, while the Marlowe portrayal appears to be more grounded, more serious about doing the right thing. Further, he understands the level of danger and in mature fashion willingly expresses his fear "Angel, I'm scared." I am not sure Spade could admit that as freely and easily. That statement by Marlowe to his lady, also proves his trust in her, something Spade lacks with his lady, whatever name she uses...she is definitely not to be trusted. In light of comments alluding to the re-shot scenes, Marlowe's romantic side seems directed toward playing up the off-screen marriage between he and Bacall, but Spade is not constricted, nor concerned with the "one woman" notion. Noir benefits from a pair of characters who play so well off of each other as Bacall and Bogart do for the audience; and in a way, we, as viewers are in on "one of the secrets" as the story and the other mysteries are unraveled. Thus, we are invested in the story, and that along with the convoluted plot, excellent dialogue, interesting character development, shadows and lighting, this movies stands among the top examples of this form.
  7. Documentary style narrative opening on water, on the American Canal, intersecting and the lack of vegetation or life ( except for the 2 vehicles) reveals the conundrum of real versus artificial. There is the man-made canal to create an oasis of vegetation in El Centro and Imperial Valley, and hear the facts as we are being flown above. By the end of the clip we seem closer to earth, able to see the workers in the fields,and the lovely vectors in angles of those fields, and finally, we are separated from the people by fencing, also angled, and most of them are focused on something we do not see--I hate to keep coming back to this, but the entirety of the clip is about hope and in the end the magnificent sky, interrupted by the signs--the warnings...this side, that side, and with the narrators words we know there is danger ahead.
  8. The term that follows this opening is one of "hope" - the diner we have all come to know, familiar, comfortable serves as a realistic refuge, begins with the customer hoping to get a meal, which doesn't happen. The angle of the camera from outside the diner, as the angered gentleman leaves, the slamming of the door countered by the calm exuded by the owner and Conrad's character, creates a sense of unease. Back inside the lighting, the snappy dialogue by the men looking for the Swede creates more tension. As the young man leaves to warn the Swede, noir in spades, the repetition of the short fences, easily scaled one after the other as the music builds, all pointing to hope. Then the beautiful shot from the Swede's bedroom, as the young man arrives, breathless to an expressionistic room, only the light from the door illuminates the scene. The key for me is the Swede has absolutely no reaction to someone flinging his door open, and as the friend warns him, the play of his shadow on the wall is rather imitating what the bad men want to do--strangle the Swede. As has been mentioned, the familiar expressionistic elements are reminiscent of M by Lang using the shadows in place of characters. I think this allows imaginations to run wild with speculation and questions, which is key also in Nosforatu. Shadows are scary to us, for their ability to skew reality, escalate and intensify fear. They have the uniques ability to shift, lengthen, shorten, or twist, yet we have no facial clues, to guide us in the understanding of motive by the shadowed. Yet, in this scene the young friend has care and suggestions, while his shadow dictates menace as it floats above the Swede, against the wall, like death hovering. The fact that this young man continues to offer his friend hope and the Swede implacably responds without passion is the ultimate loss, as the friend realizes as he gives a last look over his shoulder, before closing the door on the dream of a future.
  9. A beautiful woman in the black satin strapless gown, Gilda, literally and figuratively removes the gloves, setting up the fight with Johnny, following her steamy tour de force performance in the nightclub. Her drunkeness is apparent, and as with many cases of women being at a disadvantage when under the influence of alcohol, she goes too far, offering to remove her dress when the song is complete. She sets herself up as the next "disaster" for although she maybe a femme fatale, I wonder if her drunkeness doesn't make her more of a victim, since she is not in control, and is demonstrating a form of self-destruction. The music leads, her, as it leads the audience in the nightclub, (and the movie viewer too) with the sexy horns and the band supporting her and pushing her on, from behind. The music is another character, urging both Gilda and the audience to want more. But I wonder why no one in the nightclub stands up for her, other than the henchmen. Maybe I am naive, but I rather wonder if any women in the audience would have stood up for her?
  10. Daughter, relaxed, reclining versus Mother, intense standing. The varied positions the power of facial stone faces up close, show how "far" apart these characters are in terms of morals, while they stand face to face. The most telling moment I'd when the daughter says to her mother "Oh, grow up." Once again, the noir questions begin to hum: why can't money solve problems? And, why does this girl who " has everything money can buy" need to get away from the mother? It seems the daughter is seeking "class" the issue of "gentrified" versus "new money" and once again we are asking questions about workers versus nouveau rich; the danger of money without moral character. The answers are not neat, they are at that uncomfortable point, where what happens behind closed doors in people's homes, is unknown, always the viewer as peeping Tom. Also, within their psyche/private thoughts, reveals how little we understand of individuals and this example of mother/daughter dueling shows how we do not pay attention, listen, and learn, but rather pretend we know each other well.
  11. Clocks, again, time is a constraint, we feel the pressure of an ongoing repeating sound, and the character's comment about watching a minute pass is understated since he has been incarcerated and is waiting to be freed. The high angle as he leaves the asylum, is the omnipotent position, seeing all, and the squeak of the gate gives us a glimpse of the imperfection of man's creations. We are pushed into a medium shot to hear the doctor provide a warning, to which the Ray Milland character responds " a quiet life for me" which is in juxtaposition of his earlier declaration that by going to London he can be surrounded by crowds and laughter. The noir touch, to grab the viewer in the first moments, employing devices from POV, to voice over, narration, to a noisy man made object, all of which leads the viewer immediately to question, to wonder and become involved, cannot be understated. In my opinion, anytime a movie can take the act of delivering entertainment to passive viewers, and shift the the viewer into that of an active participant, is the true beauty that film noir offers. As a result, individuals can question characters, motives, societies, and governments, and most of all secrets.
  12. "Soaking in noir" -- very catchy. The introduction taking us directly into the center of this noir, begins with the viewer immediately having several questions, following Lydecker's voice over, which is a key in the great noir examples. First the detective in introduced, leading the viewer to further questions. The "masks" as mentioned, Lydecker's clock versus McPherson's watch all demonstrate class distinction; the gumshoe and the Hearst-like collecting Lydecker. The clock, the music conspire together, creating a noir sensibility. Between Lydecker's obvious skill with writing, and the everyday work of McPherson, Lydecker relys on "reading" to the detective, and the detective, not allowing himself to be bullied, continues Lydecker's narration, showing he is not distracted by either the success, nor the word tactics of Lydecker Asking McPherson to fetch his washcloth, and his robe, are clear power plays, and the nakedness of Lydecker is a bit of a joke, as Lydecker seemed to be stating "I have nothing to hide," despite his wealth, the clothed man has an advantage over the unclothed Lydecker. The detective is nonplussed by the wealth and the wit; he will not stop (alluded to, when Lydecker shares how McPherson ran in to take on a gang, where 3 other officers had been killed)
  13. Recalling how cameras lacked mobility, the POV for me, works. I am sure with today's smaller cameras, that many folks may not appreciate the technique. Like others, the limitations of camera when using character POV always unnerved me for the lack of peripheral vision information I am used to, but now, that lack becomes part of the tension being built up, and shouts noir to me.
  14. Sounds: the locomotive wails as a needy child, and makes so much noise the engineers have created their own secret language-much the way gangsters create a shorthand. The consistent, insistent, and repeating cacophony, crass in contrast to the music. Tunnels: light to dark, and back again, the noir example of the camera staying through the entirety of the dark tunnel, allows the viewer to question, what's next? Into the tunnel straight on, coming out directly into a curve signifies veering away fro the norm. Train track: where it leads, they must follow. There are no choices in the inevitable. Class distinction: Skilled engineers are responsible for every life, yet they carry behind them passengers who would not probably see them as more than second class, nor invite them to converse, the have nots in service of the haves --- this is very much like M, where the women do laundry for the more affluent.
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