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8 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Aaah! So's ya sayin' he's always overdoin' it a bit too much, is ya?! 

(...sorry, but that's the best NYC "street" accent this ol' L.A. boy here can muster)  ;)

Reminds me of all the rest of the overdone NY accents along with his in Guys and Dolls

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6 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I'm thinking my posts about these noirs  are too long. Even I don't always like reading looong posts of many paragraphs. It's off-putting. Henceforth I'll stick to a couple of sentences.

Yea we need a book mark for 'em, just kidding. They are fine, I read them.

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3 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I'm thinking my posts about these noirs  are too long. Even I don't always like reading looong posts of many paragraphs. It's off-putting. Henceforth I'll stick to a couple of sentences.

Well, I usually read your entire postings anyway, MissW! Yep, even the longer ones.

And so don't feel you're boring ME here, anyway.

(...and 'cause you always seem to find some bit of interesting minutia about these babies that nobody else seems to notice)

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5 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Reminds me of all the rest of the overdone NY accents along with his in Guys and Dolls

Ah, but I suppose you think that Nebraska boy Brando does an acceptable job of mumbling his away through that sort'a accent in that thing, eh?! ;)

(...saaay, maybe THAT'S the problem here...Sheldon never went to the Actors Studio to learn that there Method acting thing!!!)

LOL

 

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13 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

I think Leonard was actually born on the Lower East Side. 

New York Accents

Yep, that's what his Wiki bio page says, anyway.

(...btw...loved the NYC accent "tutorial" here, CJ...and although I get the distinct impression that this primary would apply to middle-aged Jewish women) ;)

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3 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

I'm thinking my posts about these noirs  are too long. Even I don't always like reading looong posts of many paragraphs. It's off-putting. Henceforth I'll stick to a couple of sentences.

I always read your whole posts! You'll never get a TL;DR from me! Even if they're verbose, they're well written and interesting--I just fly through 'em. 

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Re: Sheldon Leonard.  I'll admit that I haven't seen him in much, except like I said, an episode of I Love Lucy where he sells Lucy a "Handy Dandy Vacuum" cleaner, thus proving Ricky's claim that Lucy has no sales resistance (Off screen, Leonard manages to sell Ricky a "Handy Dandy Refrigerator" when he tries to return the vacuum and he also sells Fred a "Handy Dandy Washing Machine," he is a great salesman!).  Leonard's accent lends well to him being a quick-talking salesman.  

He plays Errol Flynn's friend in Uncertain Glory.  Errol ends up not only stealing Leonard's suit, he also borrows his girlfriend, Faye Emerson! Even though the film takes place in France, I guess we'll assume that Leonard and Emerson are ex-pats?  Leonard is also the bartender in It's a Wonderful Life.  If I remember right, he's a little cranky.  

Reading his filmography, he's in quite a few films that I've seen.  According to Wikipedia, he was a big radio star--which makes sense, his voice is perfect for radio.  He ended up moving behind the camera and produced shows like The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.  

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20 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Random notes on The Gangster:

Well, first, I think the title is very generic, and not even particularly accurate. I think of a "gangster" as actually having a "gang", a group of criminals who all work together, under one leader. Barry Sullivan's character, Shubunka, seemed to pretty much work alone. Ok, he had Jammey and maybe a few others working for him, but at no point did it feel like what one usually associates with the word "gangster". I think a much better title for this film would have been the original one, the title of the novel on which it was based: "Low Company". It's much more representative of the world of this film, where much is made of how "low" most of the characters in it are, and it's just a better, more imaginative and appropriate title. Kind of evocative in a way the generic title "The Gangster" just isn't.

I still haven't made up my mind whether I liked this movie or not. I 'm glad I saw it, but like speedracer, I don't think I'll care if I never see it again. It had a very odd feel to it. Often I like sets as opposed to location shootings, and in a way I did like the look of The Gangster. But at the same time, it made it feel more like a play than a film. It seemed very stagey, not just the obviously constructed ( and apparently constructed on the cheap) sets, but in the dialogue and even the acting. And I like all these actors (well, except maybe for Belita...) But a lot of the time the dialogue sounded incredibly self-conscious and as I said, "stagey".  Sometimes this works, but for some reason not so much in this film. In fact, once or twice I thought the screenplay sounded as though it had been written by a Clifford Odets wannabe, and that ain't necessarily a good thing.

About Belita:  usually you can spot a femme fatale character, by the way she will look kind of sneaky even as she's embracing the hero, an expression crosses her face that's hard to interpret, she gives signals, at least to the audience if not to the poor guy she's deceiving, that she will betray him. But Belita gave no such indications. I'm not sure if this was the way she was directed, or her dialogue, or her acting. But  SPOILER I was completely surprised at the end when it turned out she'd crossed Shubunka.

Also - hey, am I the only one who saw a physical resemblance between Belita (Nancy, Shubunka's love object), and Joan Lorring ( Dorothy, the young cashier at the soda shop) ?? Although at no time did I get them mixed up, I thought they really looked alike, definitely the same physical type and kind of face. I wonder if this was on purpose?  I did not like the Dorothy character. You're supposed to think she's "good", but I dunno, she seems to have compassion for everyone except Shubunka, who actually could have used a little compassion. I do like the way, though, that they signal her "goodness" and the fact that she's better than all the confused desperate rabble who frequent the soda shop, by the way we always see her reading. Hey, if I'd done that in any of those kinds of jobs I had when I was young, I'd have been told "we don't pay you to read here" and been fired if I'd kept it up !

One thing I did like about The Gangster (which should have been called "Low Company") is the stories it tells about all the characters in it; despite the suggestion that it will focus on that one character (Barry Sullivan's) it in fact tells a number of stories, about all the people in Shubunka's life. And damn, they're all sad as can be. Jammey, a sympathetic guy, gets killed, but not by the new bad guys who want to muscle in on his business or Shubunka, but by Karty (well played by John Ireland), a desperate gambler who can't pay his debts and wants Jammey to help him out. But Karty doesn't even mean or want to kill Jammey, he's just desperate. Actually, one of the saddest lines in this whole sad movie is what Karty says to his distraught wife; don't remember the exact wording, but it's something like "Get out of here. You and I never had one good moment together, from the day we married."  Ouch !

Then there's poor old Shorty (Henry Morgan), the soda jerk. You have to kind of like a guy who's obviously too old to still have a job as a soda jerk, but who feels he has his dignity none the less. And when that Russian (?) lady kicks him out into her back yard and locks the door on him, after his really awkward attempt to get physical with her, you can't help but feel at least a little sorry for him, if only because he's all dressed up in his suit and had such high hopes, and there he is, ignominiously booted out and left to climb the fence if he wants to get out of there. He's sad, just as all the characters in The Gangster are.

As for Shubunka himself, although everyone talks about what a nasty bad guy he is, we actually hardly ever see him being all that nasty. The one act I can recall where he's actually a bit tough is when he socks Elisha Cook Jr., on the beach. But other than that, all this guy does is grab people by their collars and tell them to settle down. He does not carry a gun or even a knife, and although we see that Belita is afraid of him, there's no scene where he roughs her up or slaps her or anything like that. He just seems like this disturbed depressed desperate guy. A guy who had a rotten childhood, that's why he turned out the way he did (maybe this is the Clifford Odets part I was talking about.)

I think it was Vautrin here who pointed out that it's kind of funny, all this fuss about an ice cream shop, and who's going to take it over. Usually rival mobsters are fighting over a nightclub, or the booze business, or "the numbers racket", or a gambling house. Of course, cigarjoe did enlighten us a bit with his information that in fact it was a bunch of brothels Shubunka was running and that this was the actual business the other guys wanted to take over. But that's not at all clear in the movie.

The unrelenting morose-ness of The Gangster is a bit much to take. Usually in a noir, there's at least a few kind of fun scenes where the characters hang out in a nightclub, or there's a bit of funny, witty dialogue, or at the very least, a few laughs. But none of the "low company" in this film ever even smile, certainly not Barry Sullivan. You want to tell the guy to lighten up !

edit: ps...I never realized before that Akim Tamiroff had such long eyelashes !

I agree that the sets looked cheap.  Eddie Muller mentioned that in his introduction.  The King Brothers thought that big studios spent too much money using professional construction companies and/or shooting on location.  They figured that they could have the set decorator paint backgrounds on cardboard and nobody would notice.  Muller said that he respectfully disagreed with the King Brothers' opinion, but also asked whether or not obviously fake backgrounds mattered.  In some movies it doesn't, but in this movie it was so blatantly obvious that it was cardboard.  Seriously, they couldn't find an alley in LA to shoot in at night? It's not like any of the settings in The Gangster were extravagant. 

I also agree that the title somewhat overstated the movie.  Shubunka didn't really do anything but walk around and talk to people.  It would have been nice to see him roughing someone up in the beginning of the film or something.  It feels like we caught Shubunka in the middle of his efforts to go straight.

I also agree about the Belita angle.  I definitely didn't see that twist coming, but from the looks of it, neither did Belita.  She just kind of comes into the room and is like "yeah I'm with them" and goes back to what she's doing! No dramatic scene where she admits her betrayal, no delicious f-you speech, nothing.  It's as if that wasn't originally planned and Belita just decided to throw it in. 

I felt sorry for Harry Morgan.  He didn't even really do anything and that Russian lady flipped out on him.  And I agree, he seems like someone who is way too old to be a soda jerk, but doesn't have the inclination (or perhaps the education) to move into a different job--or perhaps Jammy compensates him very well--but I doubt it. 

I don't know.  I watched this entire film and waited for the plot to unfold--Exposition scenes, conflict is introduced, more action to lead to the climax of the story, the climax is resolving itself, then it's done.  It kind of feels like we had the plot structure minus the climax.  The conflict was introduced (Cornell wants to take over Shubunka's territory), then nothing really happens except for a 2-person scuffle at Coney Island, Belita betrays Shubunka, then he's dead.  This film was two hours of waiting for something to happen. Then it didn't and I went to bed. 

It's interesting that the King Bros' next film after this was Gun Crazy--a film that I like much more than The Gangster

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Re: Sheldon Leonard.  I'll admit that I haven't seen him in much, except like I said, an episode of I Love Lucy where he sells Lucy a "Handy Dandy Vacuum" cleaner, thus proving Ricky's claim that Lucy has no sales resistance (Off screen, Leonard manages to sell Ricky a "Handy Dandy Refrigerator" when he tries to return the vacuum and he also sells Fred a "Handy Dandy Washing Machine," he is a great salesman!).  Leonard's accent lends well to him being a quick-talking salesman.  

He plays Errol Flynn's friend in Uncertain Glory.  Errol ends up not only stealing Leonard's suit, he also borrows his girlfriend, Faye Emerson! Even though the film takes place in France, I guess we'll assume that Leonard and Emerson are ex-pats?  Leonard is also the bartender in It's a Wonderful Life.  If I remember right, he's a little cranky.  

Reading his filmography, he's in quite a few films that I've seen.  According to Wikipedia, he was a big radio star--which makes sense, his voice is perfect for radio.  He ended up moving behind the camera and produced shows like The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.  

Speedy, EVERYBODY'S "a little cranky" in Pottersville, remember.

And whereas everybody BUT old man Potter is a lot happier in Bedford Falls, remember.

(...however with that being said, I've always felt Leonard's Nick the bartender character has the least to be "cranky" about IN Pottersville because THERE he's the owner of his own bar which looks to be doing some very good business, and whereas in Bedford Falls he's just Mr. Martini's employee...betcha never thought o' THAT, did ya) ;)

 

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It took about 10 mins or so to realize I'd seen The Gangster before. (that has been happening a lot lately) but I'd forgotten most of the plot and still enjoyed watching it. Granted, there wasnt that much plot, but Barry Sullivan's performance kept me interested. The art direction was amazing. What you can do with a miniscule budget! And what a cast!

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12 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I agree that the sets looked cheap.  Eddie Muller mentioned that in his introduction.  The King Brothers thought that big studios spent too much money using professional construction companies and/or shooting on location.... This film was two hours of waiting for something to happen. Then it didn't and I went to bed. 

It's interesting that the King Bros' next film after this was Gun Crazy--a film that I like much more than The Gangster

1. NAILED IT!  It was as if SAMUEL BECKETT was trying his hand at writing a film noir: WAITING FOR SHABUNKA.

2. I did not know that! That's kind of amazing on many fronts, not the least of which is that GUN CRAZY is a location rich film- I'd dare say at least 2/3 of it was shot on location on actual city streets and highways and, of course, the meat packing plant!

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5 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

This week it's Odds Against Tomorrow. Now that's a great noir title !

I saw this film a few years ago and don't remember it all that well. It's got a good cast, I know that.

It's also got great locations of which many are still there.

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

It's also got great locations of which many are still there.

YEAH, CJ?!

So which NYC accents are still spoken at THOSE locations???

;)

 

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On 10/2/2018 at 12:05 PM, cigarjoe said:

It's also got great locations of which many are still there.

Also,  fantastic jazz music score.    Odds Against Tomorrow has many of the 'classic' elements of late 40s \ early 50s noir as well as more advanced neo-noir themes and elements (like niffy jazz music instead of a more traditional movie score).    

Also,  the actors are aged and other then Belafonte not elegant.   While this wasn't the first film Winters decided to 'go low',   her realistic portrayal is gritty as well as moving.   

From Wiki:

The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet. The soundtrack album was released on the United Artists label in 1959.[7]To realize his score, Lewis assembled a 22-piece orchestra, which included MJQ bandmates Milt Jackson on vibraphone, Percy Heath on bass and Connie Kay on drums, as well as Bill Evans on piano, and Jim Hall on guitar.[1][8][9] Allmusic's Bruce Eder noted, "This superb jazz score by John Lewis was later turned into a hit by The Modern Jazz Quartet. It's dark and dynamic, and a classic".

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32 minutes ago, Dargo said:

YEAH, CJ?!

So which NYC accents are still spoken at THOSE locations???

;)

 

I was speaking of the upstate town of Hudson, NY, which filled in for "Melton." 

The NYC locations in the film are The Upper West Side and Central Park, both Manhattan.

But here is something Noir-ish to ponder, or should I say "Eddie Muller-ish" especially after the last Noir Alley film The Gangster, while you are watching Odds Against Tomorrow. The town of Hudson. where the bank robbery locations were filmed, just nine years before the film was made, had an notorious past.

Hudson was a real red light city, a wide open town of ill repute, it was called the "Sin Capital of the East." At the height of its "bawdiness," in the 1920's and 1930's, Diamond Street was the down town "main street" of prostitution. The town could boast of 15 brothels, and of no less than 50 bars. Prostitute totals have been estimated at between 50 to 75, working the establishments.

The rates back in 1939 was $2 for a Straight Party, $2 for a ****, $2.50 for a Swallow, $3 for a Half & Half,  $3.50 for a Trip Around The World, kinky or unusual stuff was priced on request. All night stays for $15, and the whole house for $300. Things were getting so notorious that the town changed the name of the street from Diamond to Columbia to ward off gawkers.

In 1949 a Diamond/Columbia Street Madam made between $20-30,000 a year (that is $250,000 in 2018) a Hudson cop made $2,000. You could see where the power was. The end came when Senator Estes Kefauver in Washington, began ratcheting up The Big Heat on organized crime and vice. New York's Governor Dewey in Albany, trying to head off what could be a big embarrassing political scandal, targeted Diamond/Columbia Street for a big showcase raid on June 23, 1950. They shut it all down.

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3 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

I was speaking of the upstate town of Hudson, NY, which filled in for "Melton." 

The NYC locations in the film are The Upper West Side and Central Park, both Manhattan.

But here is something Noir-ish to ponder, or should I say "Eddie Muller-ish" especially after the last Noir Alley film The Gangster, while you are watching Odds Against Tomorrow. The town of Hudson. where the bank robbery locations were filmed, just nine years before the film was made, had an notorious past.

Hudson was a real red light city, a wide open town of ill repute, it was called the "Sin Capital of the East." At the height of its "bawdiness," in the 1920's and 1930's, Diamond Street was the down town "main street" of prostitution. The town could boast of 15 brothels, and of no less than 50 bars. Prostitute totals have been estimated at between 50 to 75, working the establishments.

The rates back in 1939 was $2 for a Straight Party, $2 for a ****, $2.50 for a Swallow, $3 for a Half & Half,  $3.50 for a Trip Around The World, kinky or unusual stuff was priced on request. All night stays for $15, and the whole house for $300. Things were getting so notorious that the town changed the name of the street from Diamond to Columbia to ward off gawkers.

In 1949 a Diamond/Columbia Street Madam made between $20-30,000 a year (that is $250,000 in 2018) a Hudson cop made $2,000. You could see where the power was. The end came when Senator Estes Kefauver in Washington, began ratcheting up The Big Heat on organized crime and vice. New York's Governor Dewey in Albany, trying to head off what could be a big embarrassing political scandal, targeted Diamond/Columbia Street for a big showcase raid on June 23, 1950. They shut it all down.

Wow, now THAT was quite an interesting little East Coast history lesson there, CJ!

Btw, I would suppose that for the 2 bucks I highlighted in the above didn't mean for a "h-ottie", RIGHT???

(...you'll have to go to the "Poster" thread to get this little joke of mine here) ;)

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Okay late to the party so I'll be brief.

THE STRANGER - Like many I've seen it a few times.  Enjoyable, but not extremely memorable.  There are some excellent qualities, but ultimately THE STRANGER isn't going to make many Top Ten lists.  Love the actors, love the small town setting.  I feel like this movie is a template that others followed.  I read people talking about the suspension of disbelief  that this was taking place just a years after the war ended.  I got the impression that we were supposed to think Franz Kindler fled Germany early.  I don't know why, but when I was watching it there seemed to be a moment that suggested he disappeared well before the war ended.  I have no clue when that might have been, but it seems like it was at some point when Wilson was describing something about Kindler.

THE GANGSTER - I really enjoyed it and I LOVED the sets.  I like that Muller said it was very "theatrical".  I think part of the point is that it is supposed to feel like a small world; their little chunk of a big boardwalk.  Yeah we all know it was a money thing, but I definitely enjoyed the atmosphere Wiles created.

I loved the psychology of it and that where you expect their to be typical cliche gangster stuff they actually say lines like "Things aren't done that way anymore."  I liked the point that Shubunka had a gang, but he lost control of them because he got too distracted by extracurricular activities.  I liked that the scene in the pool hall didn't go typical gangster and have him start knocking some of the guys around when they told him they weren't his guys anymore.  The movie had so many moments toward the end where I thought this or that was going to happen and then they went a different way.  I love that Cornell just backed off when Shubunka came for the sit down.  It was like they were breaking the rules.

SO I enjoyed THE GANGSTER.  I hadn't seen it before and I am very glad I have now.  I thought the cast was great and I definitely have a new respect for Barry Sullivan.

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I'll agree to liking the "cardboard" sets of THE GANGSTER. Sometimes the "stagy" quality adds to a story most notably 1920's CABINET OF DR CALIGARI. Shooting on a sound stage is cheaper not only because you don't have to schlep staff & equipment, but hire cops to close off the streets, wait for decent weather, lighting etc. You can shoot on a stage all day & night if you need to.

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6 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I'll agree to liking the "cardboard" sets of THE GANGSTER. Sometimes the "stagy" quality adds to a story most notably 1920's CABINET OF DR CALIGARI. Shooting on a sound stage is cheaper not only because you don't have to schlep staff & equipment, but hire cops to close off the streets, wait for decent weather, lighting etc. You can shoot on a stage all day & night if you need to.

I would agree with this.  Some of the cardboard sets in The Gangster were quite good and some were a little more obvious.  I think the more obvious ones are the ones that they try to paint light onto.  A glowing light will not just be static, there will be little glimmers and glitches with the light.  When it just looks like a bright circle painted on a board, it looks more obvious.  

I do also see the benefits of sets vs location shoots.  Some films just need the location shoot and others are perfectly fine indoors.  

This whole conversation gives me an idea for a new thread, but I'll have to start it later when I have more time. 

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