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The more I see "The Lady In The Lake", the more I enjoy watching it.  I don't know how I would have reacted to the first-person perspective of the camera shots had I seen this film when it first came out, but I sure dig it now.  It's a technique that still works.   However, if a majority of films were shot this way, it probably wouldn't be as unique and therefore, not as interesting to watch.

I really like the supporting performance of Jayne Meadows here.  She could spew out a fast-talking line with the best of her contemporaries, although delivery of such lines doesn't seem as prevalent in the 1940's as it was a decade earlier.

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Lady in the Lake is a movie that I saw for the first time a few years ago and I didn't like it.  I didn't like the decision to use first-person perspective.  I didn't think it worked as well as it does in Dark Passage.  However, there was *something* about Lady in the Lake that kept me from writing it off completely.  I have since seen it (I think) three more times since.  Each time it's grown on me a little more which each subsequent viewing.

I do wish that if Robert Montgomery was committed to the first person perspective, that he didn't pop back into the film, speaking to the camera.  I like that we get glimpses of him in mirrors and such, but when we see him speaking to us, it kind of takes me out of the film a bit.  I then feel like we're watching an interview with Phillip Marlowe and how he solved the "Lady in the Lake" crime.

I do think Montgomery's decision to use first person perspective was distracting at times, but i appreciate that he was trying something different.  I can respect his artistic decision.  Lady in the Lake is one of those films that has a somewhat convoluted plot, but with each successive viewing, more and more pieces of the puzzle fit together. 

I really like Audrey Totter and Jayne Meadows in this film.  I thought Totter's portrayal of the ambiguous Adrienne Fromsett was fantastic.  Meadows' character was all over the place (I mean that in a positive way, not negative), but one thing was clear, she is up to something nefarious. I think Lady in the Lake was my first time seeing Totter's work.  I really liked her.  Since then I've seen her in Tension, The Unsuspected, The Set-Up, and The Sellout.  Apparently she's also in The Postman Always Rings Twice, which I've seen, but I don't remember Totter.  

Lady in the Lake is a very unique film.  I think it is for that reason alone why I enjoy watching it. 

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Well speedy, I think some of the decisions to put Marlowe on-screen and in front of the camera may not have been Robert Montgomery's preference.  This was the first film to be shot entirely this way, and the head honchos at MGM were probably not willing to take such a risk of having its male lead to be 'heard, but never seen'.  Audrey Totter was on one of the brief TCM 'fill-in' segments between films and said the final scene had to be re-shot showing her and Montgomery kissing, because test audiences didn't like the film's original ending.  According to Totter, she and Montgomery hated that scene the most of all the ones they had together in "The Lady In The Lake".

Totter is briefly in "The Postman Always Rings Twice".  She's the gal with the nice, but disabled convertible at the train station as John Garfield sees Lana Turner off as she goes home to Iowa to be with her sick mother.

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I find it funny that Canada got Dark Passage last week and Lady in the Lake this week. Similar to each other in a few ways, most especially the first-person viewpoint for most of the movie. Between the two, I preferred Dark Passage but I still enjoyed Lady in the Lake and even caught the back half of it again in the morning. But for this one in particular, whenever it panned to an object on a table, like the telegram near the beginning it would feel like I'm playing an old adventure game, felt nostalgic.

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I like LADY IN THE LAKE too. Obviously, the first person technique is interesting and effective. It's also interesting that we never actually see the "the lady" or "the lake". I've seen it several times now, and it was my first introduction to Audrey Totter too. She has become one of my favorites from this era.

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And now my thoughts on Lady in the Lake:

Sorry, but for me, each new viewing of this film has never made me warm to it.

First, the whole subjective camera gimmick, well, I suppose there's a reason it never caught on, isn't there.

Secondly, Robert Montgomery sounded to me as if he's trying, but failing, to sound like a tough guy who's been around the block more than a few times, but just ends up sounding instead as if putting on an act.

Thirdly, with the exception of Lloyd Nolan and Tom Tully as the bad and good cops, every other actor seems somewhat nervous and uncomfortable talking directly to the camera.

Fourthly, the whole Christmas setting is just strange and unnecessary to the plot.

Fifthly, the score primarily consisting of a chorus wordlessly emoting in the background, never works for me, and sounds as if it would have been better used in a horror movie.

Sixthly, Audrey Totter, who was a very good actress, is among the rest of the cast, except for the aforementioned Nolan and Tully, who come across as forcing their performances.

And finally, while I always liked watching Jayne Meadows whenever she was shown interacting with her husband Steve Allen on television back in the day, sorry but she just was never much of a movie actress.

(...case in point being her WAY over the top performance in this movie that just rings untrue...to me anyway)

 

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17 hours ago, Solafide said:

I enjoyed High Sierra quite a bit.  First time seeing it.  Impressed with Bogart of course and Ida was really good.  I was fairly disappointed with Joan Leslie though...maybe she was just young in this or something but I thought her character was horrible.  Pa was cool though, really cool.   Good movie for sure but like others have said, more of a gangster flick than a true noir (and I think Eddie would agree).

Eddie had some fantastic commentary on the movie.   And ya, I agree; lose the dog!!  Movie probably has a different ending if it weren't for the dog!

Really looking forward to Lady in the Lake tonight.  Another first time movie for me.

I'm not sure if your problem with Joan Leslie was her acting or her character. You say "but I thought her character was horrible"; but her character is supposed to be horrible ! So if you don't like her as "Velma"  (not to be confused, of course, with the Velma in "Murder My Sweet"), then Leslie's doing her job.

edit: Actually, I see that james already addressed your complaint about Joan Leslie. I must get out of that habit I have of posting in response to someone's comments before I've finished catching up on the thread.

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3 hours ago, Looney said:

LADY IN THE LAKE (1946).  Hmmmmm . . . I am very on the fence about this one.  I feel the 1st person camera work might have tarnished the acting at times.  Then again other times it worked pretty well.  I don't know it was pretty decent, not great.  I think my one major complaint would revolve around the staircase scene.  The fact that there is zero immediate indication that Marlowe suspects the woman dressed in black, wearing a pair of gloves, holding the gun at the scene where he finds a dead body just seems too ridiculous.  Other than that it was okay.

But he does suspect her. Definitely.  You can tell by the way he talks to her and questions her. If you think "he couldn't have suspected her or he would have immediately called the police", you don't know the Marlowe character.

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On 3/18/2019 at 2:12 PM, Michael Rennie said:

Cool! Interesting how Eddie's comments are so well regarded. That says a lot for his talents. I watched the DOA comments from Eddie on my tablet. The screen was dark and I had to raise the volume rather high. I think the lighting around Eddie, or the lack of it, is intentional and interesting.

More and more people on this forum seem to call Canada home. TCM may want to step up their game with movie rights. Or they can continue to ruffle feathers. 

There have always been a lot of Canadians posting on this site, at least as far back as when I first joined it.

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Ok, a few hours late, but here are my thoughts on The Lady in the Lake:

Might as well address the most noticeable thing about it that everyone comments on right off the bat. I agree with what seems to be the general consensus on the subjective camera thing; Robert Montgomery deserves credit and recognition for having the b@lls to try something different, kudos to him for that; but it just doesn't work. As Dargo pointed out, try watching a 105 minute movie that's almost completely subjective camera, and the novelty starts to pall fairly soon. It actually has the opposite of the intended effect: instead of drawing the viewer in and making them feel more involved, it creates an off-putting, even kind of distancing, feel. It's distracting.

Also as a direct result of the subjective camera approach, we get odd performances from the two leads. Robert Montgomery, maybe because all we can go by most of the time is his voice, snarls through the whole film. Now, yes, Philip Marlowe is supposed to be tough. But he's not supposed to be rude, aggressive, insulting, and hostile - not all the time, anyway. I think Montgomery was compensating for the fact that we almost never see him by over-acting his lines. Also, Montgomery had an image,  most of the time, of being an amiable guy, and maybe he was working to offset that.

Whatever the reason, his Marlowe doesn't sound tough so much as he sounds like he's in a permanently bad mood. Why Totter's character would be romantically interested in him at all is hard to understand; it just feels like the script threw the two of them together because that's the way they wanted the story to go.

Now, about Audrey Totter: I love this actress. I enjoy every thing I've seen  her in. Something that I don't recall ever hearing about her is her ability to be funny, even when playing characters who on the surface, are not meant to be funny. But I think Audrey is having a blast playing these types of hard-boiled women, and she's secretly mining their characters a bit for comedy.

Just look at how she mugs her way through The Lady in the Lake. There's no question that she's supposed to almost over-react to whatever Montgomery is saying to her, because of the aforementioned subjective camera thing. But Audrey takes this idea and just flies with it; I think it's absolutely hilarious, the way she smiles so broadly one minute and then switches to an outraged frown the next, depending on whatever rude insulting remark has come out of Marlowe/Montgomery's mouth. There are moments when I laughed out loud, watching her indignant responses to the invisible Marlowe. She really hams it up, but this is not a criticism. I think she does it on purpose, and it certainly makes this somewhat overly long film a little more entertaining.  Yay, Audrey !

Finally, I have to agree with Dargo on his criticism of the Christmas time setting. There's no reason for it to be set over Christmas, the "holiday" decor etc. does not contribute in any way to the plot or the atmosphere of the film. It just makes it a bit tedious sometimes ( as when the police chief takes a call from his kid, who wants to know when he's going to come home Christmas Eve. Sheesh, when he starts reciting bits from "'Twas the Night Before Christmas", you know you need an editor to step in....)

Oh wait, one more thing...Jayne Meadows as the fast-talking fake landlady is entertaining, I enjoy that scene. It's so plain that she's not the landlady and that she's clearly hiding something (well, not exactly "hiding", as it's pretty obvious what she's been doing there.)  However, at the risk of sounding like someone who supports that whole "male gaze" idea ( and I'm a hetero woman), I find it just a bit unconvincing that she'd have been the kind of femme fatale to turn Lloyd Nolan into a bad cop. She's just not sexy or appealing enough; she doesn't have to be "beautiful", but she's just not very believable even as "attractive". Why would Lloyd have cast himself into the vortex (figuratively speaking) for her?? 

Anyway, I still had fun watching Lady in the Lake. It must be my third or fourth go-round with this film, and I believe it's the first time I didn't fall asleep at some point.

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Hey Dargo...sorry you didn't like the film as much as I did, but hey, we can't all like brussels sprouts, can we?  😀

What I enjoy about Noir Alley, and I think most here would agree about, is the nuggets of information Eddie provides in his pre- and post-movie wrap-arounds.  For this week, the tragic story about Lila Leeds was unknown to me.  When he mentioned what happened to her, my first thought was, "Well, it sounds like her film career was about as productive as Andrea Leeds' was.".

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22 minutes ago, midwestan said:

Hey Dargo...sorry you didn't like the film as much as I did, but hey, we can't all like brussels sprouts, can we?  😀

What I enjoy about Noir Alley, and I think most here would agree about, is the nuggets of information Eddie provides in his pre- and post-movie wrap-arounds.  For this week, the tragic story about Lila Leeds was unknown to me.  When he mentioned what happened to her, my first thought was, "Well, it sounds like her film career was about as productive as Andrea Leeds' was.".

Yup, for sure I really enjoy and appreciate Eddie Muller's "wrap-around" comments and the tidbits of information he shares with us. Whenever there's some kind of "rights" issue with a Noir Alley pick being aired in Canada and it's switched for something else, I actually mind missing Eddie's intro and outro almost as much as I mind missing the blocked film itself.

"That said", I also have always been a dedicated fan of film noir, I love these movies for their own sake, and would eagerly set aside time to watch Noir Alley even if Mr. Muller was not the program's amusing host and even if he did not regale us with his entertaining and interesting commentaries.

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21 minutes ago, midwestan said:

Hey Dargo...sorry you didn't like the film as much as I did, but hey, we can't all like brussels sprouts, can we?  😀

What I enjoy about Noir Alley, and I think most here would agree about, is the nuggets of information Eddie provides in his pre- and post-movie wrap-arounds.  For this week, the tragic story about Lila Leeds was unknown to me.  When he mentioned what happened to her, my first thought was, "Well, it sounds like her film career was about as productive as Andrea Leeds' was.".

I knew that Lila Leeds was arrested with Mitchum in the infamous marijuana bust, but I didn't know that she ended up a heroin addict.  That is very sad and unfortunate.

I enjoyed Eddie Muller's joke about Audrey Totter having a big set of eyes on display in the film.  That was funny.  My husband and I were then waiting to see her eyes and how they compared to other actresses' eyes. Totter was indeed very well endowed in the eye department. 

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4 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I knew that Lila Leeds was arrested with Mitchum in the infamous marijuana bust, but I didn't know that she ended up a heroin addict.  That is very sad and unfortunate.

I enjoyed Eddie Muller's joke about Audrey Totter having a big set of eyes on display in the film.  That was funny.  My husband and I were then waiting to see her eyes and how they compared to other actresses' eyes. Totter was indeed very well endowed in the eye department. 

I also thought it was interesting that due to scheduling, Totter was the first choice to play the role of Kitty Collins in the Warner Brothers flick "The Killers", but couldn't because she was making this picture with Montgomery, Ames, and Nolan, et.al.  It would have been interesting to see what she brought to that part compared to how Ava Gardner played it.

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Full disclosure: For some reason I've never really liked The Killers. I know it's supposed to be one of the ultimate noirs, etc. etc. But I think it's over-rated. The best scene is the first one, and then it's all downhill from there. Now, I do actually really like Edmond O'Brien. And Burt Lancaster. Plus, it's worth viewing if only because it's Lancaster's first role.( I think.)

But for some reason this film just doesn't do anything for me. It's much ado about nothing. And the supposedly big romance between Lancaster's character and Gardner's has always struck me as a tepid affair, at least on the part of Gardner's character. True, The Swede is crazy about her, but I never got the feeling that she returned his passion, nor did she even really try to fake it. I know Gardner's supposed to be sizzling hot and all that, but she just doesn't impress me, at least not in The Killers.

The most interesting aspect of The Killers is the toughness and nastiness of those first two hit men guys, scaring the bejeezus out of the poor diner staff. And of course, the intriguing resignation of The Swede to his fate. That's unusual, and very noirish.

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2 hours ago, midwestan said:

Hey Dargo...sorry you didn't like the film as much as I did, but hey, we can't all like brussels sprouts, can we?  😀

.....

you  know what? I actually like brussels sprouts. I like them way more than cabbage, their grown-up counterpart. 

And it's funny, because sprouts are always cited as the most detestable, yucky-tasting vegetable, while, from my vegetable-rejecting p.o.v., there are lots of yuckier edible botanical comestibles than the much-maligned sprout. For instance, try as I might, I just cannot happily consume broccoli. Or -yuck ! - turnip (also known as "rutabaga"- speaking of "Swedes"  ! )

And think about it: how often in a film noir has the protagonist and his date ordered anything with vegetables? I venture to suggest, never. They order steak, or even spaghetti ("The Strange Love of Martha Ivers"), and certainly drinks aplenty (which they never seem to actually drink,  they always leave in a hurry for some reason). But you'll never see a noir character chowing down on broccoli.

Should I start a thread called "Vegetables and Noir"? No, probably not.  (am in a very silly mood this afternoon, sorry.)

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5 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Apparently she's also in The Postman Always Rings Twice, which I've seen, but I don't remember Totter. 

 

5 hours ago, midwestan said:

Totter is briefly in "The Postman Always Rings Twice".  She's the gal with the nice, but disabled convertible at the train station as John Garfield sees Lana Turner off as she goes home to Iowa to be with her sick mother.

She plays a hot little number named Madge Gortland, with a memorable line to Frank (John Garfield)

Madge Gorland: It's a hot day, and that's a leather seat, and I'm wearing a thin skirt.

41 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

They order steak, or even spaghetti

And at a diner a hamburger and a cup of coffee, never a coke.

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

you  know what? I actually like brussels sprouts. I like them way more than cabbage, their grown-up counterpart. 

And it's funny, because sprouts are always cited as the most detestable, yucky-tasting vegetable, while, from my vegetable-rejecting p.o.v., there are lots of yuckier edible botanical comestibles than the much-maligned sprout. For instance, try as I might, I just cannot happily consume broccoli. Or -yuck ! - turnip (also known as "rutabaga"- speaking of "Swedes"  ! )

And think about it: how often in a film noir has the protagonist and his date ordered anything with vegetables? I venture to suggest, never. They order steak, or even spaghetti ("The Strange Love of Martha Ivers"), and certainly drinks aplenty (which they never seem to actually drink,  they always leave in a hurry for some reason). But you'll never see a noir character chowing down on broccoli.

Should I start a thread called "Vegetables and Noir"? No, probably not.  (am in a very silly mood this afternoon, sorry.)

I love Brussels sprouts. This is ridiculous but I’m actually eating some right now. They’re a delicious appetizer at the 10 Barrel brewpub in downtown Portland. My sister and I are here right now! 

I also love broccoli. I love most vegetables, except canned peas. Blech! 

Have you ever noticed in old movies and shows that when they do eat spaghetti, the noodles are enormous! And they always have enough spaghetti for like 4 people on their plate.

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10 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I love Brussels sprouts. This is ridiculous but I’m actually eating some right now. They’re a delicious appetizer at the 10 Barrel brewpub in downtown Portland. My sister and I are here right now! 

I also love broccoli. I love most vegetables, except canned peas. Blech! 

Have you ever noticed in old movies and shows that when they do eat spaghetti, the noodles are enormous! And they always have enough spaghetti for like 4 people on their plate.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess!  I happen to like canned peas; I use them frequently when making casseroles or one-pot dishes.

Another thing about spaghetti in the movies (at least in the 1940's anyway) is that most people seem to be eating it with a spoon rather than a fork!

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Who wouldn't want to smoke a little weed with Lila Leeds? She seemed a lot warmer

than Ms. Fromsett, who was a tad on the frosty side. It's unfortunate that Ms. Leeds' 

career went south after her pot bust. She left Hollywood and wandered around for a

while with a few marriages and divorces to her name. Sort of a Veronica Lake story

without the stardom. She did make it to 71, so maybe things weren't totally bad. I'm

kind of meh on Lady in the Lake. Pretty good, but nothing very special. I find it funny

that the subjective camera is used except for two or three times when Montgomery

is sitting at his desk and narrating to fill in parts of the story. You're wondering where

the lake is. Well, the studio was too cheap to do any location shooting, so I'll just

gloss over that part. When it comes to Chandler, the books are always better than the

movie adaptations IMHO. 

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38 minutes ago, Vautrin said:

Who wouldn't want to smoke a little weed with Lila Leeds? She seemed a lot warmer

than Ms. Fromsett, who was a tad on the frosty side. It's unfortunate that Ms. Leeds' 

career went south after her pot bust. She left Hollywood and wandered around for a

while with a few marriages and divorces to her name. Sort of a Veronica Lake story

without the stardom. She did make it to 71, so maybe things weren't totally bad. I'm

kind of meh on Lady in the Lake. Pretty good, but nothing very special. I find it funny

that the subjective camera is used except for two or three times when Montgomery

is sitting at his desk and narrating to fill in parts of the story. You're wondering where

the lake is. Well, the studio was too cheap to do any location shooting, so I'll just

gloss over that part. When it comes to Chandler, the books are always better than the

movie adaptations IMHO. 

Re: Chandler. What’s interesting to me about him is Muller’s comments stating that Chandler had no idea how to write a 3-Act story. I should read one of Chandler’s books. I’ve read Cain’s “Mildred Pierce,” and Hammett’s “The Thin Man,” and loved both the book and film—even though both book and film versions were quite different from one another. 

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Chandler's Lady In The Lake (1943) cannibalized three of his pulp fiction stories, Bay City Blues (Dime Detective Magazine, November 1937), The Lady In The Lake (Dime Detective Magazine. January 1939), and No Crime In The Mountains (Detective Story Magazine,September 1941). BTW each short story would make good films, though the two different detectives Chandler used in them are named Dalmas and Carmody.

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I disclose not being a Noir fan yet. Mainly, I don't understand it. I do love watching Eddie Muller's views on the films. I am crazy over the way he does the lighting on his set. It is so not how TV works. He has no back lighting. But it works, and even if I don't know Noir, the look is classic mystery. I think the other hosts could experiment with having the lighting mostly on the face.

Eddie does so much more for me than the other hosts. He digs deep. The 2 minutes or so from the other hosts is just data. Eddie does it with feeling.

No matter what, Eddie Muller is my TCM hero. I would love to see a full 30 minute program from Eddie about Noir, especially for people trying to get a better understanding.

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5 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Re: Chandler. What’s interesting to me about him is Muller’s comments stating that Chandler had no idea how to write a 3-Act story. I should read one of Chandler’s books. I’ve read Cain’s “Mildred Pierce,” and Hammett’s “The Thin Man,” and loved both the book and film—even though both book and film versions were quite different from one another. 

Three act story sounds a bit ambiguous and simplistic. Chandler's novels have a lot of

twists and turns. Whether that disqualifies them as a three act story, I'm not sure. I've

always enjoyed reading them and except for The Long Goodbye they're fairly short. 

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5 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Three act story sounds a bit ambiguous and simplistic. Chandler's novels have a lot of

twists and turns. Whether that disqualifies them as a three act story, I'm not sure. I've

always enjoyed reading them and except for The Long Goodbye they're fairly short. 

I'm thinking the "three act story quote" was alluding to a typical screenplay.

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