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Noir Alley

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9 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

PS:  I wondered if the ending was such because the studio wanted to show Widmark in a better light;  I.e. Not have him be such a 'bad' type of character,  BUT,  his next film was No Way Out,  so forget about that!!!

It could be a dictate from the MPPC that it look like he and Candy were going straight. But a real Noir ending would be Skip gives up pickpocketing and now becomes Candy's pimp. 😎

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9 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

To me a more realist (more noir) ending is having Skip pick-pocket the wallet of someone while leaving the police station and then taking Candy out on the town.   

and then become Candy's pimp. :D

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11 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

No ,not really. That is, I never got the idea that he stole the money for Moe's burial. I offered a perfectly plausible explanation as to how Skip was able to afford Moe's funeral- did you read it?

And I don't even really see him as "conflicted"; just because he's a professional pickpocket, and a tough snarky suspicious ( as in distrustful) guy, doesn't make him "bad" enough to be conflicted when he does something decent.

Your explanation was that he used Moe's money, if I recall correctly.  Assuming he got to it before someone else did, such as the police who knew she had a "roll" on her all the time.  Regardless, Moe said she did not have enough; close, but not enough.  

Or maybe he did use the $500 he stole from Candy.  And he did steal it as in he did not give her the microfilm it was supposed to pay for.  Not to mention the manner in which he took it from her.

I did not see him as conflicted.  He was pretty convincing as a criminal who might be sympathetic to Moe, but not anyone else, including Candy up until close to the end.  That's why I don't really accept the 180 turn around in the final scene.  He was a three time loser who was back to picking pockets within days, if not hours, after his release.  Remember he already had a stash hidden in his "icebox" when he added Candy's stuff.

11 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

We have covered this ground before and I guess we will just have to agree-to-disagree.

To me someone that makes their living from stealing from others is "bad" enough to be a conflicted noir protagonist.    In fact to me that is the heart of many noir protagonist. 

 In addition I felt I was supporting your point and not Cid's (as in the 180 degree turn);   there was NO 180 degree turn but instead just a guy that,  while a criminal,  did care about others and would do good deeds for them.

    

 

See above.  The only person he cared about a little was Moe, maybe.  He did not care for Candy at all until late in the movie.  The 180 to me is that he was a three time loser who returned to a life of crime within hours of getting out of prison, whose only compassion was for Moe, a little, and very late for Candy.  In fact I could see him abandoning Candy later on or as you suggested becoming her pimp.

Maybe I was just so convinced by how evil or criminal he was in the first half of the movie, that the change at the end just came too quick to be convincing.

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5 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

It could be a dictate from the MPPC that it look like he and Candy were going straight. But a real Noir ending would be Skip gives up pickpocketing and now becomes Candy's pimp. 😎

Solid point about the 'code';  Like I said I prefer more dark \ realistic endings in noir films versus the happy-ones and the too quick they-have-reformed ones just don't add-up.    Also as I implied I could see a studio doing this with major stars (e.g. Nightmare Alley with Power);  they don't wish to taint the image of these stars.

But Widmark's next film was No Way Out; which has to be one of the worst of his bad characters (can we say Tommy Udo!);   so the ending in Pick-up can't be related to not tainting his screen persona.

So 'code made me do it', works for me.

 

 

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On 6/17/2019 at 11:34 AM, TheCid said:

After being out of prison for one week.  He would have had to have picked some very profitable pockets.  Just thought it was incongruous with the position Skip was in per the film.  Also, while he accepted Moe's requirement that she sell the information she had, still don't see him as being all that generous in taking responsibility for her burial.

Of course, I also question the ending anyway.  Skip and Candy go off hand in hand to "sin" no more by criminal activities.  Whereas both had fallen into criminal activities because they could not make money any other way.  Especially Skip as he had already been to prison three times.  If he could have made an honest living, seems like he would already have done it instead of returning to being a pickpocket only one week out of prison.

Still a very good movie.

 

On 6/17/2019 at 7:02 PM, TheCid said:

Sorry, I just don't see it.  Seems to me that the screenplay and direction built Skip us as a not so good person and then did a 180.  He didn't really seem to care for people all that much, although he could justify Moe giving him up.  I perceived that as a bad guy excusing the bad act of someone he knew well.  Same as his supposedly giving up crime in the very end of the movie.  Maybe a longer movie could have seen him evolving as a person.

Cid, you're a respected poster here, and a regular Noir Alley contributor; I don't want to fight with you. Honestly.

Still, with your somewhat severe assessment of characters like Skip McCoy, I kind of wonder why you like noir at all. Almost all film noir features "criminal" or "bad" characters - "bad", as in the black and white concept that people who steal or otherwise break the law must be bad. But, as I said in an earlier post - a page or so back, I know you read it - part of the appeal of noir, of what makes it different and interesting, is the way it often depicts people who get involved in crime, or as in the case of Skip, are hard-boiled long-time crooks, as sympathetic. At the very least, as I said in that earlier post, these kinds of films are very different from the earlier "crime" or gangster movies in that the criminal characters are shown as having both "good" and "bad" aspects to their characters. The "grey" I was talking about.This complexity of character is a large part of what makes noir unusual and interesting.

Just because Skip was a pickpocket, it does not follow that he was a nasty person. Tough and snarky and distrustful of just about everyone, yes - that is why he did not commit to Candy til well into the film, because he did not trust her. He trusted no one (maybe Moe), because he has no reason to trust anyone. We get an idea of what kind of life Skip had , what kind of things might have led him to becoming a thief, in a very brief interaction between him and Candy. When they're in that boat, Candy asks him how he came to be a pickpocket -"why do you do what you do?", something like that. Skip immediately gets angry and shuts her down (and yes, unfortunately, slaps her.) Just that 10 second conversation is enough to suggest that Skip had a rough childhood and probably very little education.

And was it you who said you couldn't imagine Skip and Candy living a "legal" lifestyle because they couldn't earn a living living except through crime (or prostitution) ? But - and this is one reason I like Pickup on South Street- the film makes it pretty clear that Skip is, in his own way, quite smart. Even Candy is no dummy. For reasons cited earlier, I don't really like the notion of these two living a respectable life, but I also don't think they're too dumb or too tough to do so if they chose.

I'm really blathering on too long here about that one character (Skip.) My larger point is, many noir protagonists are criminals, or at the very least, dishonest in some way (like Stan in Nightmare Alley.) But they're still interesting - it's because they live outside the law that they are (interesting.) And most of the time, they're morally ambiguous- a bit "bad", a bit "good" - just like most of us.

Don't forget, "crime is just a left-handed form of human endeavour".

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11 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

 

Cid, you're a respected poster here, and a regular Noir Alley contributor; I don't want to fight with you. Honestly.

Still, with your somewhat severe assessment of characters like Skip McCoy, I kind of wonder why you like noir at all. Almost all film noir features "criminal" or "bad" characters - "bad", as in the black and white concept that people who steal or otherwise break the law must be bad. But, as I said in an earlier post - a page or so back, I know you read it - part of the appeal of noir, of what makes it different and interesting, is the way it often depicts people who get involved in crime, or as in the case of Skip, are hard-boiled long-time crooks, as sympathetic. At the very least, as I said in that earlier post, these kinds of films are very different from the earlier "crime" or gangster movies in that the criminal characters are shown as having both "good" and "bad" aspects to their characters. The "grey" I was talking about.This complexity of character is a large part of what makes noir unusual and interesting.

Just because Skip was a pickpocket, it does not follow that he was a nasty person. Tough and snarky and distrustful of just about everyone, yes - that is why he did not commit to Candy til well into the film, because he did not trust her. He trusted no one (maybe Moe), because he has no reason to trust anyone. We get an idea of what kind of life Skip had , what kind of things might have led him to becoming a thief, in a very brief interaction between him and Candy. When they're in that boat, Candy asks him how he came to be a pickpocket -"why do you do what you do?", something like that. Skip immediately gets angry and shuts her down (and yes, unfortunately, slaps her.) Just that 10 second conversation is enough to suggest that Skip had a rough childhood and probably very little education.

And was it you who said you couldn't imagine Skip and Candy living a "legal" lifestyle because they couldn't earn a living living except through crime (or prostitution) ? But - and this is one reason I like Pickup on South Street- the film makes it pretty clear that Skip is, in his own way, quite smart. Even Candy is no dummy. For reasons cited earlier, I don't really like the notion of these two living a respectable life, but I also don't think they're too dumb or too tough to do so if they chose.

I'm really blathering on too long here about that one character (Skip.) My larger point is, many noir protagonists are criminals, or at the very least, dishonest in some way (like Stan in Nightmare Alley.) But they're still interesting - it's because they live outside the law that they are (interesting.) And most of the time, they're morally ambiguous- a bit "bad", a bit "good" - just like most of us.

Don't forget, "crime is just a left-handed form of human endeavour".

OK, final response (I hope).  I'm just trying to offer an alternative view to that expressed by you and maybe others on the Skip character.  I just don't interpret him as being that nice and he is definitely a criminal-three convictions and sentences to prison.  As I said earlier, perhaps if it had been a longer movie and they had developed his character more, I could have seen what you see.  But, I don't.  I might add I paid attention to the movie and watched it on a big screen TV.

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On 6/16/2019 at 10:56 AM, AndyM108 said:

Does anyone know what's behind the Noir Alley pick of Dead Reckoning for the last selection in July?  I'd assumed it was a mistake when I first saw it, but as of this morning it's still listed for July 28th.

Great movie, and maybe even my favorite Bogart, but it just played on Noir Alley on May 26th.  I can't recall any Noir Alley movie being replayed with that little interval, but maybe Eddie Muller just loves the movie as much as I do.

Thanks for pointing this out.  What I hadn't realized is that as of today Thieves' Highway is still listed on the schedule for the Saturday evening Noir Alley programming on July 27, with Dead Reckoning listed for Sunday morning July 28 as you mention.  So perhaps there's a chance that there's an error in the listing and Thieves' Highway will still be shown.  One can hope, anyway.

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I hope so too. It's a good movie. I just saw it on TCM about a year ago.

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After a slow beginning Thieves' Highway turns out to be a really good film. A scene between Richard Conte and Valentina Cortese is sexier than usual for the time. Lee J. Cobb is the villain, and there are some fine supporting actors, including Jack Oakie and Hope Emerson.

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Per TCM schedule as of 8:55 AM, Fri., Shadow on the Wall is Noir Alley movie on Sat and Sunday.  Not to confuse anyone with the above posts re: a July Noir Alley feature.

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I've seen Shadow on the Wall before. It's ok. But I don't think I'll be watching it again. Will depend what else is on.

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Terrific discussion on Pickup on South Street.  One of the things I liked were the love scenes between Skip and Candy, the way he stroked her face, almost massaging it.  The scene was beautifully lit, with the bay in the background, and the twinkling lights of New York (vividly created on the Fox sound stages).  Candy gave Skip a shot at redemption, and he took it.  Was the ending a little too pat? Perhaps.  Moe’s death jolted Skip out of his cynical and dangerous moral equivalency. He finally had to pick a side.  I think the women, Candy and Moe, were the heroes, even with their flaws. 

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On 6/17/2019 at 8:17 PM, misswonderly3 said:

I scrolled back and found Looney's post about Dix in Asphalt Jungle because I think Looney's opinion of Dix is somewhat similar to Cid's about Skip's. Both of you gentlemen seem to assume that just because a character in a noir film leads a life of crime, that must mean they are unethical, or to put it in simple terms, "bad".

Just as with Skip's character in Pickup on South Street, I find Sterling Hayden's Dix in Asphalt Jungle quite sympathetic, in some ways almost likable.

We actually learn a lot more about Dix than the fact that he "bullies and robs people". I'm not denying he does that, according to the dialogue of the cops in several scenes, talking about him. But we also learn that Dix comes from an unhappy past, that there was a time when he was just a country boy growing up on a farm in Kentucky, a farm with horses.  The film makes a point of showing us this numerous times, how Dix was happy as a child on this farm, but things went wrong when he grew a bit older, that the farm went under (maybe as a result of the Depression? we don't know), his father died, and Dix lost everything he loved.

It may be a bit facile and cliched, true, but still, we are supposed to believe that Dix's history and how everything went wrong for him at a vulnerable age contributed to his subsequent toughness and life of crime. I'm not excusing it, and it's the oldest rationale for crime in the book (something went wrong in their childhood), but I do find it believable, and I do sympathize with Dix.

We also learn that Dix is reliable, strong, and trustworthy - he believes in "honour among thieves", which is more than you can say for some of the other characters in A.J., notably the lawyer Emmerich.

I dunno - I seem to work from a different perspective than some of you here. I tend to "go with" the writer's and director's intention in the way these kinds of characters are depicted: that is, if they give me anything at all to like about them, then I like them. I even want  them to succeed in their law-breaking endeavours. Guess I'm just a rule-breaker.

Okay to start my discussion of PICK UP ON SOUTH STREET (1953) I will say that I definitely distinguish between Skip and Dix.  (SORRY I am so late to the party, but I had some power and internet issues last Saturday night so I had to find time during the week to watch what I missed.)

First let me say that the one big issue I took with PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET (1953) was the use of time.  I can't stand it when movies have characters meet each and share less than a hundred words between them and they are suddenly in love; especially how this happened.  And everything just happened too fast.  There didn't seem to be enough hours or days go by to make this work.  BUT then again it does work for the end.

I am so glad people mentioned this seeming like a "Happy Ending".  HA! For whom?!  When those two walked off together all I felt was doom and gloom, especially for (Crazy) Candy.  From moment one Skip treats her horribly and that really never changes.  Then she is going off to live her life with the guy by the end.  I can't help, but feel this was Fuller's way of tricking the audience into thinking there was a "Happy Ending" when there was not.  LOL 

Okay moving past that I LOVED the performances.  I thought everything, other than the progression of time, was brilliant.  

PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET's (1953) Skip versus THE ASPHALT JUNGLE'S (1950) Dix.

I can see why people would be sympathetic to Dix, but I don't see how having a hard life is an excuse for using your physical prowess to brutalize people.  I think impressions of Dix would be greatly different if we were shown Dix brutalizing people.  I think if Dix were shown brutalizing the witness from early on in the film people wouldn't sympathize with him as much.  Instead we are shown Dix in a sympathetic light. 

Skip on the other hand uses his wits and I think he feels more like he is playing a game, but where he runs afoul is that he definitely has a nasty side that he seems to enjoy.  He might take care of Moe, but there were plenty of times in the film where it was pretty obvious he wouldn't do anything close to that for Candy.  Skip is definitely more selfish than Dix, but I feel Dix is worse because he physically brutalizes people.  And the way it is described it sounds like Dix brutalizes them for chump change.  I honestly don't sympathize with either of them, but I still think they are great characters.

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So, I guess somebody at TCM must've thought Eddie's INTRO for Shadow on the Wall this evening was SO nice that they'd play it twice, eh?!

Instead of any outtro, that is.

Wonder what that was all about?

Heck, the only reason I stayed tuned throughout the film (and one I'd seen a number of times before) was to hear what Eddie's closing remarks might be about the production of it and/or the some of the actors' histories in it.

(...especially, or should I say "hopefully" about that knockout blonde Kristine Miller who bites the dust in this thing WAY too early for my tastes...ended up having to go to her Wiki bio page in order to get the lowdown on THAT beauty)

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5 hours ago, Dargo said:

.ended up having to go to her Wiki bio page in order to get the lowdown on THAT beauty)

Definitely a beauty.

When they showed "Shadow on the Wall" a few weeks ago..

I did the same as you..

looked at her bio..

She was stunning..intriguing...a competent actress..

It always amazes me that someone like this doesn't become a household name.

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Didn't he talk about the child actress at the outro? I could have sworn he did. I usually watch on Sun since I invariably fall asleep, (I usually wake at 5-5:30 AM), that makes for a long day trying to stay up if I don't catch a nap.

However attempting to watch Marriage on the Rocks took care of nap time, lol. I was ready to stay up for last nights viewing.

I've seen the film before. So far the only Noir that I hadn't seen on Noir Alley was The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950). 

It would be nice if TCM would invest some $$$ into Noir Alley and sprinkle some little seen French & Britt Noirs into the mix. A lot of us have seen most of the TCM library Noirs, the saving grace for them is of course Eddie's commentaries. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Dargo said:

So, I guess somebody at TCM must've thought Eddie's INTRO for Shadow on the Wall this evening was SO nice that they'd play it twice, eh?!

Instead of any outtro, that is.

Wonder what that was all about?

I recorded Eddie's material Saturday evening and saw the same repeat at the end that you did.  For those with access to WatchTCM, the proper post-material is there, so Eddie did not cut out in the middle of the film 😊

Maybe they'll get it right for the rerun Sunday morning.

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8 minutes ago, cmovieviewer said:

I recorded Eddie's material Saturday evening and saw the same repeat at the end that you did.  For those with access to WatchTCM, the proper post-material is there, so Eddie did not cut out in the middle of the film 😊

Maybe they'll get it right for the rerun Sunday morning.

Did he talk about the child actress twice or not, I remember his outro but not the intro, lol.

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25 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Did he talk about the child actress twice or not, I remember his outro but not the intro, lol.

Spoilers for those who haven't seen Eddie's material -

Yes, he does briefly mention the child actress Gigi Perreau in the intro, and spends a significant portion of the wrap-up discussing her career (as well as the careers of her siblings).

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37 minutes ago, cmovieviewer said:

Spoilers for those who haven't seen Eddie's material -

Yes, he does briefly mention the child actress Gigi Perreau in the intro, and spends a significant portion of the wrap-up discussing her career (as well as the careers of her siblings).

OK thanks.

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7 hours ago, Dargo said:

So, I guess somebody at TCM must've thought Eddie's INTRO for Shadow on the Wall this evening was SO nice that they'd play it twice, eh?!

Wonder what that was all about?

Heck, the only reason I stayed tuned throughout the film (and one I'd seen a number of times before) was to hear what Eddie's closing remarks might be...

Same here....

I always record Eddie's intros. I have them all saved!

So when/where did the rest of you see the wrap-up for Shadow on the Wall????

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11 minutes ago, yanceycravat said:

Same here....

I always record Eddie's intros. I have them all saved!

So when/where did the rest of you see the wrap-up for Shadow on the Wall????

- WatchTCM.  (Hidden in the fine print of my previous message.)  😉

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1 minute ago, cmovieviewer said:

- WatchTCM.  (Hidden in the fine print of my previous message.)  😉

Thanks. Don't know how I missed that no so fine print! LOL!

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Didn't he talk about the child actress at the outro? I could have sworn he did. I usually watch on Sun since I invariably fall asleep, (I usually wake at 5-5:30 AM), that makes for a long day trying to stay up if I don't catch a nap.

However attempting to watch Marriage on the Rocks took care of nap time, lol. I was ready to stay up for last nights viewing.

I've seen the film before. So far the only Noir that I hadn't seen on Noir Alley was The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950). 

It would be nice if TCM would invest some $$$ into Noir Alley and sprinkle some little seen French & Britt Noirs into the mix. A lot of us have seen most of the TCM library Noirs, the saving grace for them is of course Eddie's commentaries. 

 

 

From the British Noirs I have seen, I would prefer they keep doing American.  I have watched a few and always been disappointed.  As for French, I assume they would all be in French with subtitles, so I would pass on that as well.

Watched Eddie's intro and passed on the film.

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8 hours ago, Dargo said:

Heck, the only reason I stayed tuned throughout the film (and one I'd seen a number of times before) was to hear what Eddie's closing remarks might be about the production of it and/or the some of the actors' histories in it.

Same here.  No outro last night so I just caught it ON DEMAND.

SHADOWS ON THE WALL (1950) or is it SHADOW? (I notice TCM has it as SHADOW, which makes more sense, in their ON DEMAND section.)

I am completely shocked I was able to stay up through the entire movie only to be disappointed that I didn't get the outro.  I can't say I loved this one, but it did have qualities I greatly enjoyed.  Everything with Gigi Perreau and Nancy DAVIS ;) were not those qualities.  I mean I didn't hate those parts, but the Sothern side of things was much more entertaining.  I feel I would have enjoyed the movie more had it focused on that tension.  Having said that I did like the whole "Cupid" angle and I thought Perreau's part was done very well, with the exception of one scene I won't mention now because the morning show is still running.

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