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Posts posted by BruceCantwell

  1. Night Moves (1975)


    I very much appreciated what Roger Ebert had to say in tying Harry Moseby to Philip Marlowe by way of Raymond Chandler.


    "What [Gene Hackman] brings to Night Moves is crucial; he must be absolutely sure of his identity as a free-lance gumshoe, even while all of his craft is useless and all of his hunches are based on ignorance of the big picture. Maybe the movie is saying that the old film noir faith is dead, that although in Chandler's words 'down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid,' when this man goes down those streets he is blind-sided by a plot that has no respect for him."–Roger Ebert


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  2. Laura (1944)


    Roger Ebert observed, "Film noir is known for its convoluted plots and arbitrary twists, but even in a genre that gave us The Maltese Falcon, this takes some kind of prize...That Laura continues to weave a spell -- and it does -- is a tribute to style over sanity." Do you agree? What about Clifton Webb's style?


    I enjoyed Richard Edwards observation that since Laura is a traditional Hollywood film shot by German émigré Otto Preminger, who fled the horrors of Europe, "noir then becomes the counterpoint that starts to prick at the conscience of the audience."


    I often think of noir as bumping up against the Hays Code. When you consider the implications of the underlying murder at the heart of Laura, how well does it adhere to the principle that "No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin?"


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  3. If I ever saw "The Mask of Dimitrios," it's been decades, but the scene is instantly familiar. Lorre and Greenstreet are after the valuable object with the mysterious past. That object could just as easily be The Maltese Falcon. Watching this clip also triggers memories of Lorre and Bogart's collaboration on "Beat the Devil," which wasn't exactly noir, but screwball comedy chicanery. Robert Morley served as "the fat man" in that picture. 


    Sidney Greenstreet first appears as a shadow. "Would you be so good as to shut the door behind you?" A polite way of speaking when you're holding a gun on someone.

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