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About xtallen

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 09/01/1967

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    Spokane, WA
  1. Yay! Just finished reading all the posts, and kudos to you all who have put so much effort into so fun a project!!! There are many movies on the lists that I have yet to see, so I'll be catching up on those directly, and will (hopefully) have something to add to the discussion shortly.
  2. So I'm watching Desperate and the fact that Raymond Burr's character's name is Walt has my mind wandering to Breaking Bad. I'm thinking about the absolute noirness of the show (my waaaaaaaaaaaay all time favorite), and wondering if I've been a serious noir fan for a long time and just didn't know it until I took this class...
  3. I'm asking myself "If they wanted to show a color noir movie, why not Bad Day at Black Rock???" Not that Party Girl is all that bad, just that Bad Day at Black Rock is all that great, and twice as noir, if you ask me...
  4. Ugh, I already miss this class! I'm watching The Harder They Fall and wishing somebody would ask me a question about it. But without prompts, what I have to say is that it's too bad Rod Steiger didn't come along sooner, because he doubtless would have been a noir staple had that been the case. Few actors play (or have played) a snarling, **** bad guy better than him.
  5. I, too, am gonna miss this class tremendously. We should try to meet up on the boards when we see noir (or other favorite) movies on the TCM schedule...
  6. That dose of Criss Cross had just about every little noir thing possible going on in it. Dramatic danger music plays to Universal's spinning globe and then to a moving overhead shot of the city at night, over which stylized titles superimpose names of noir icons like Miklos Rozsa and Robert Siodmak. Cut to a dark nightclub parking lot where headlights illuminate a young, beautiful (although not far enough from Lily Munster for comfort) Yvonne DeCarlo in a furtive embrace with a nervous but ever sexy Burt Lancaster. Their shadowy conversation reveals a passionate thing going on between them, and that some excrement is about to go down which will cause them to have to split up and lay low for an indeterminate length of time, a few weeks at the least. Yvonne DeCarlo's Anna assures Burt Lancaster's Steve that once this excrement goes down, everything will be alright between them, and they will be together, just the two of them, forevermore...while this consummately shot and acted closeup of Anna's declaration really reveals to the viewer the most treacherous femme fatale ever. Cut to inside the jazzy nightclub to what appears to be the owner of the club jealously grilling his maitre'd as to the whereabouts of his wife - enter a sassy, dismissive Anna. Noir, noir, noir! I think I have learned as much from the Daily Doses as from all the other course material combined. Seeing and the clips and then responding to the prompts is what got me to apply what I learned in the other course materials, etching the info into my mind. And I loved getting the chance to talk movies with other movie lovers - something I'm gonna make a point of doing forward!
  7. In the movie, the purpose of the music in this scene is to (not so much) cover up the noises being made by Munsey beating the tar out of the reporter. But in the grand scheme of things, the music serves to intensify the drama of the beating, kinda like yesterday's Daily Dose and the swinging light. Brute Force is an excellent example of those early post-war noir movies for a variety of reasons. Stylistically, it makes great use of light and dark (note how much more ominous things got when Munsey drew the blinds), dramatic music (to ratchet up the tension), and several other tricks of the trade that would become noir staples. Thematically, we see caged men desperate to be free, willing to die to get out from under society's institutional boot, (Hume Cronyn personifying that boot to perfection). Violence is portrayed more graphically and brutally than it had been before and during the war. However, I do notice that in many of the early post-war noir movies I've seen, there seems to be a glimmer of hope somewhere within them, whereas Brute Force is just straight bleak, beginning to end. In that respect, I think it shares more in common with noir flicks made a bit later...
  8. Well, that was an intense scene! I've never seen Desperate, so when Raymond Burr broke that bottle I didn't know where the scene was going and my eyes squeezed themselves shut, and I had to rewind it a bit. The camera work in this clip accentuated Raymond Burr's air of menace by filming him from low angles in varying degrees of shadow, even before the beating started. The particular violence of the beating is made all the more sinister by that swinging lamp casting everything in light, then dark and back again and again, as pointed out in today's Daily Dose intro. And then there's that bottle...the closeup of it scared the crap out of me. But even though Burr's flunkies do most of the actual beating, and the majority of it is off camera, (with Raymond Burr on camera), the cinematography seems designed to demonstrate to us that Walt is the danger (sigh). Using Steve's POV for that initial punch in the face, with the closeup of Raymond Burr's clenched fist right after, made me jump a little. And seeing that jagged, broken bottle from Steve's point of view made me want to go tell the cops I did it!
  9. With it's deserted streets, lack of aesthetic value, and heavy police presence, the city in The Asphalt Jungle is a crumbling poopville no one would want to get stuck in, even for a moment. It is shabby minus the chic, and is used (to great effect) by the filmmakers to establish a sense of grimy danger, and to establish it as an actual asphalt jungle where bad things are certain to happen. Some of the noir aspects I noticed were the crimey score, the police car, train tracks, diagonal power lines, a shadowy alley, folks in cahoots to hide a gun, jazz, a hardened criminal, and an intimidated witness, to name the easy ones. I have to say, though, that the look on the narcotics guy's face in his closeup was priceless and kinda stole the scene for me. I would say that the lack of drama related to the crime Dix obviously just committed isn't standard noir fare. We didn't see the crime itself, nor a police chase, or any intense acting when Dix got arrested. I feel like the opening sequence was intended more to show what a bad-****, cool customer Dix is than anything else.
  10. So, after watching The Narrow Margin, I take back what I said about it being either a parody or poorly written. While that initial dame/dish exchange seemed to support such a contention taken by itself, now that I saw the whole movie, I feel like the dialogue (well, the entire movie, really) is more of an homage to noir. I really loved it, especially the twist about the cop and the real wife. I did not see that coming. But from both stylistic and substantive angles, I wonder if The Narrow Margin was conceived executed as a (fairly successful) attempt to make the ultimate noir flick. My bad.....
  11. This Daily Dose is kinda hard, because when I watch the clip, I find myself slipping into the Miles zone and not paying attention to the movie! So what was the question, again?...OK... The inexpressibly perfect jazz score Miles Davis laid down for this movie paints everything it touches a very moody blue. I went ahead and watched the clip on mute to see just what it added to the visual design of the movie, and found that without the music, that shot of the guy in the office taken from outside and backing up, up, up ain't much. I mean, you sorta get a disaffected vibe from the camera work alone, but not that overwhelming sense of sad danger you get when the horn blows. Then I closed my eyes and listened to Miles without the image of the movie and found that the music alone was enough for me, so I'm getting my jazzy self over to Youtube and bailing on the rest of this assignment!
  12. Having seen this movie over and over, I also think he didn't remember killing her and beat feet when he found her because this had happened before, so he knew he must have done it.
  13. K, Ima have to take issue with that Silver and Ward quote before addressing anything else. I love this movie (Robert Ryan + Ida Lupino = love), and have seen it several times, so I can say with confidence that I do not believe Beware, My Lovely is a true film noir, but rather one of the Filmakers' issue pictures, the issue in this case being acute violent psychosis. It uses the conventions of noir, no doubt, but it's aim is not to create a cheap thrill, nor to engage in standard noir-themed social commentary - it is meant to shine a light on the plight of individuals affected by such mental illness, and to engender sympathy for and understanding of that plight in the hearts and minds of the audience. I disagree with their description of Ida Lupino's character as "a lonely and harrassed young woman," but instead find her to be an interesting, resourceful, and not-particularly-young woman, and I don't know how Robert Ryan's behavior could be characterized as "bordering on psychosis" by anyone, since the guy is clearly BULL GOOSE BOZO from the first scene!!!!! That being said, I don't really trust anything Silver and Ward have to say on the subject of this movie. Woo sah. I feel much better. Now, some of the noir elements in the clip we watched were a shadow filled kitchen (even in broad daylight), suspense music, the dead body in the closet and Robert Ryan's reaction to finding it, and the train. I think the prominent featuring of the Salvation Army at the very beginning of the movie is an immediate cue to the audience that they should view the Robert Ryan character with a charitable, Christian heart (as opposed to reacting with fear and condemnation). The movie does have some noir themes, such as random acts of kindness leading to danger and a sense that all is not well in the world. So I guess you can call it film noir if you want to, but I find it a stretch.
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