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Karl H.

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About Karl H.

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    Writing, Movies, History, Travel
  1. Discuss how the opening of this film exemplifies the noir style and substance. - Style: It’s like a capstone of noir; initially it is the night time, city version of Border Incident; parking lot scene a la The Big Sleep; exotic night club, its owner in a white tux jacket is evocative of Casablanca. Streets and cars in the parking lot are at angles; high contrast lighting reveals Yvonne De Carlo (ooh-la-la) and Burt Lancaster. As they discuss their future, shadows surround their faces. We see De Carlo from a low angle when she enters the club—the angle changes as she descends the stairs. S
  2. What role does music (especially the record playing Wagner) play in the intensity of this scene? - The selection of this piece of classical music reflects and enhances the up and down mood and dialogue of the scene. The volume, especially when Capt Munsey turns it up informs of the increasing severity of the beating and the discomfort of the prison guards outside of the Munsey’s office. Based on what you've learned in this class, how does this scene fit in with your understanding of early postwar film noir (films released in 1946 and 1947) and the development of the noir style and substan
  3. Describe how this scene uses cinematography to accentuate the brutal beating of Steve Randall (Steve Brodie). - The first few hits are in the shadows, followed by a disorienting close up. The beating continues as the overhead light circles with some slight randomness to the cycle and speed. How do Mann and Diskant utilize different points of view to heighten the tension in this scene? - With Brodie out of focus, we, the audience, are positioned as Brodie’s partner and very close to the initial fist to the face. When Brodie tries to leave, we see the next 4 to 5hits. The rest of the bea
  4. Discuss how this film depicts and utilizes this "unnamed city." Additionally, why do you think the film is entitled "The Asphalt Jungle?" - Is that some slight morning fog in the initial shot? The day is overcast, helping define the tone of the picture. The director has found lots of bold straight lines in the existing landscape; horizontal porch beams on the apartment buildings, the railroad tracks at an angle to the columns on the train station; the maze of electrical lines; the buildings flanking the alley create several lines almost converging on each other toward the turn; the café and
  5. KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL Does anyone else see a resemblance between John Payne in K.C. Confidential and Kevin Spacey in L.A. Confidential? (especially in Payne’s right quartering profile)
  6. BEWARE, MY LOVELY Without the course “Investigating Film Noir” and the Daily Dose of Darkness about this film, I’d have likely passed it up (noir in 1918?). BUT, this is one creepy flick! Robert Ryan is fantastic and compelling to watch in this role. The noir elements eventually show up and without certain clues, like the furnishings, it could have been in the late 40s or early 50s. As always, Ida Lupino pulls it off perfectly.
  7. Ida Lupino Here is a link to a noir focused article about her. http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2011/07/ida-lupino-noirs-indispensable-dame
  8. In what ways does Miles Davis' score (improvised while watching scenes from the movie) work with and contribute additional layers of meaning to Louis Malle's visual design? - The noir visual motifs are actually minimal: The haunting opening shot, the office bldg. windows (bars?) that are not shot at an angle. The major noir motif is audio: The whispering at the beginning is full of tension. The woman’s tone of voice changes from stressed to happy as the music begins, indicating a flashback. When the credits roll and we see the woman on the phone, the long sliding notes of the horn tell me s
  9. A few people have questioned Ryan Not Seeing The Body When He Retrieved His Coat. I watched the clip again, and I believe he gets his coat from a closet in the kitchen [a mirror is behind him], then enters the Laundry/mud room, opens another closet [screen door is behind him] where the body is. Thoughts?
  10. Describe the noir elements, in terms of style and substance, in this opening sequence. - Style: The trombone is held at a downward angle. Robert Ryan is revealed in deep focus between the moving cymbals*. Ryan’s face is obscured the window screen*. The first closet door is in your face but we see Ryan in the small mirror*. The closet door shot is repeated (adding tension) on another closet just before Ryan’s world changes for the worse. As Ryan goes inside, he throws shadows. When he approaches and enters the next room (and bad luck), the shadows are larger and more pronounced. After
  11. I saw Double Indemnity last night on the big screen and it was great. No technical issues whatsoever. I think they might have screwed up my ticket price; waaaay cheaper than buying online (I purchased it in advance in person. However, there couldn't have been 10 people in attendance. When I saw Casablanca at a Fathom Event (in a different city) it was sold out.
  12. Do you see evidence, even in the film's opening scenes, for Foster Hirsch's assessment that the dialogue in this film sounds like a "parody of the hard-boiled school" or that "noir conventions are being burlesqued"? - Yes: When asked “What Kind of a dish?” McGraw gives a “sampler plate” of hard-boiled monologue. “Sixty-cent special” (very clever) says it all, but we are also treated to “cheap, flashy” (this too would suffice) and “strictly poison under the gravy” (a bit over dramatic). The other detective (Don Beddoe) seems to be asking soft-ball questions to offer a chance to say some p
  13. Discuss the role of time and timing in this scene. - The second shot after the inter-titles pans, showing a clock on the bldg. A later shot depicts said clock much closer. We will be introduced to the wrist watch in an extreme close-up. Just about every other shot features a clock, watch, or the time-table. Time is one of the characters of this movie. What are the film noir elements (style or substance) that you notice in the opening of this film? - Style: The inter-titles are against a rough backdrop with subtle diagonal shadows. The music over the inter-titles says ‘police’, but ch
  14. I’ll be seeing Double Indemnity on the big screen tonight in Overland Park, Kansas. Even if you’ve seen this movie before at home, watching it on the big screen is an entirely different experience. (I saw Casablanca on the big screen after watching it multiple times on a television screen and it was like seeing it for the first time.)
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