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Barton_Keyes

Noir Alley

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9 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

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He looks particularly sleazy in a fez, no?

YES, lol.

The only antidote is to close my eyes and dream of him in ONE MILLION BC.

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

 

Someone like William Powell needs a mustache.  He does not look good without it.

 

I agree.  (great actor btw, one of my favorites)

Now...let's talk about Warren William.  Frankly I have never understood his appeal as an actor.  I've almost concluded it must have something to do with his mustache which, along with Warren's rather theatrical line deliveries always made him seem like the kind of overripe performer that Harvey Korman would make fun of.

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Laughton may not have been an attractive man but, at his peak, he was an acting genius.

His portrayal of Quasimodo, even beneath layers of facial makeup and only one real eye visible, can make me cry.

HunchbackOfNotreDameCharlesLaughton.jpg

 

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Noir actors:  I've always had a soft spot for Frank Lovejoy, rugged looks, nice thin lips, AND, born in the Bronx! (raised in NJ but that's ok too)

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8 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

Noir actors:  I've always had a soft spot for Frank Lovejoy, rugged looks, nice thin lips, AND, born in the Bronx! (raised in NJ but that's ok too)

My brother and I, as kids, liked him in McGraw. a 50s TV program, a 30m crime drama. He was always just McGraw, don't ask him his first name, you won't get it. It was a running gag, "Just McGraw," he would say after an inquiry. You waited for it. Episodes started with another character (not a regular) who, in voiceover, would say things like, "No one knew anything about him, he was a loner, and went by just McGraw, but he was recommended ..." etc etc. His theme music had a sultry noir feel to it that I still like. "One for my Baby" was a theme song, but there is another that runs through my head still today that I'm sure was also his but I can't find it. I need to find some genius who knows everything and hum it ...

ETA  Hey Barb, he had a rather high pitched voice. How does that sit?

How do the ladies feel about voice? High and squeaky? Or Deep and Resonant? Wally Cox and Don Knotts? Or Herbert Marshall and Wallace Beery? 

:D

//

 

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11 hours ago, laffite said:

How do the ladies feel about voice? High and squeaky? Or Deep and Resonant? Wally Cox and Don Knotts? Or Herbert Marshall and Wallace Beery? 

:D

Gimme a good resonant baritone. Ideally coming out of a handsome, well-marbled piece of beefcake.

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1 hour ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

Gimme a good resonant baritone. Ideally coming out of a handsome, well-marbled piece of beefcake.

You don't ask for much, do you ;)

And if you don't mind a question, what specimen such as you describe above can you come up with from the precode era that might touch your fancy? :D

//

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2 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Force of Evil;  Tonight at Midnight:

image.jpeg.9e4185d2e1e9493a0fe80a0fc1940d37.jpegimage.jpeg.26875d0ee437eeb051bd159f5763f1ad.jpegimage.jpeg.ede99e912a3ad27269fc7863c81acc38.jpeg

 

 

image.jpeg

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I'll watch it for Marie Windsor more than John Garfield.  I have a copy of Swamp Women on a multi-movie DVD set.  Very funny, although it is not supposed to be.  She stars along with Touch (Mike) Connors, Beverly Garland and some other women.

Apparently one disadvantage she had in Hollywood of the time was that she was too tall at 5'9".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Windsor

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Lafitte, I'm gonna check out Frank in McGraw on YouTube!  Never heard of that show.  As for his voice, it always seems "normal" to me -- neither high nor low, but I'll get back to you on that.

Deep and resonant works best for this girl -- Gregory Peck would head that list.  No to Wally Beery under any circumstances, lol.

Although I do get all warm and glowy when I hear Ronald Colman, Robert Donat, or Richard Greene.  (I must admit I'm a sucker for British accents)  Now one could say that the actor with the most beautiful voice in all of filmdom is Edmund Gwenn.  Unfortunately there isn't anything else to go with it....

For some reason George Brent is sexy to me with a Southern accent (JEZEBEL)  

We've got frogs here in South Florida who sound just like Eugene Pallette.

 

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21 hours ago, laffite said:

My brother and I, as kids, liked him in McGraw. a 50s TV program, a 30m crime drama. He was always just McGraw, don't ask him his first name, you won't get it. It was a running gag, "Just McGraw," he would say after an inquiry.

I find this interesting because in a noir book I was reading they called Lovejoy a poor-man's version of Charles McGraw:    Lovejoy played some tough guy rolls but just didn't have those square jaw features of Chuck!

 

 

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2 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

Lafitte, I'm gonna check out Frank in McGraw on YouTube!  Never heard of that show.  As for his voice, it always seems "normal" to me -- neither high nor low, but I'll get back to you on that.

Deep and resonant works best for this girl -- Gregory Peck would head that list.  No to Wally Beery under any circumstances, lol.

Although I do get all warm and glowy when I hear Ronald Colman, Robert Donat, or Richard Greene.  (I must admit I'm a sucker for British accents)  Now one could say that the actor with the most beautiful voice in all of filmdom is Edmund Gwenn.  Unfortunately there isn't anything else to go with it....

For some reason George Brent is sexy to me with a Southern accent (JEZEBEL)  

We've got frogs here in South Florida who sound just like Eugene Pallette.

 

Oh shucks, I wish I had thought of Eugene Pallette. I was trying to come up with humorous and exaggerated examples. Wallace Beery was supposed to fill that bill.

British accents are wonderful, sexy or not.

//

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1 hour ago, laffite said:

British accents are wonderful, sexy or not.

//

I like men with Australian accents. Though a little bit more refined than say Crocodile Hunter's. I even changed the Siri voice on my phone from the American female voice to the male Australian voice. It's a much more delightful voice to listen to when he reads my Google map directions out loud. 

I like men with raspy voices or at least deep ish (but it doesn't necessarily have to be baritone).  Sometimes if it's too deep, it is a bit unsettling--like talking to Darth Vader, minus the heavy breathing. 

As long as the voice isn't whiny or high pitched, it's good.

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12 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Force of Evil;  Tonight at Midnight:

image.jpeg.9e4185d2e1e9493a0fe80a0fc1940d37.jpegimage.jpeg.26875d0ee437eeb051bd159f5763f1ad.jpegimage.jpeg.ede99e912a3ad27269fc7863c81acc38.jpeg

 

 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

I thought last week Eddie Muller said it was Dust Be My Destiny (1939) tonight and was wondering why there was no intro. Only feel a bit bamboozled as this still looks like a nice noir/drama with a bit of romance and a man who gets a bad rap by the system. And the title, that is just great. No Force of Evil but at least it's in tune and not a surprise full-on romance.

Edit: After watching it, it's more crime-drama with a greater emphasis on romance but wow, this is a great watch. And the ending, it's kinda like a brick joke with an earlier scene but it works so well.

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10 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

As long as the voice isn't whiny or high pitched, it's good.

Henry Fonda is kind of whiny sounding, to me anyway. I'm guessing you wouldn't want him as the Siri voice :D

 

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Speaking of film noir, is Force of Evil the talkiest film noir in all of the film noir canon? Talk, talk, talk. Then more talk. Finally a little gunfire. Abraham Polonsky is a WRITER-director. Lack of pacing is a problem. I remembered not being a big fan of the film, and that opinion was confirmed. Say two and a half stars out of four. It was the first John Garfield film I saw, and I didn't immediately take to Garfield. That changed when I saw more Garfield films, most of them better than Force of Evil.

It's funny: if you said "John Garfield vehicle by a blacklisted director," most people would think of Polonsky and Force of Evil. But that description also fits He Ran All the Way, directed by John Berry, a much better film. Garfield has a meatier role, Shelley Winters is much better than Beatrice Pearson, and Berry is a much more interesting director. Reputations often don't match up with actuality.

 

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7 hours ago, Ampersand said:

I thought last week Eddie Muller said it was Dust Be My Destiny (1939) tonight and was wondering why there was no intro. Only feel a bit bamboozled as this still looks like a nice noir/drama with a bit of romance and a man who gets a bad rap by the system. And the title, that is just great. No Force of Evil but at least it's in tune and not a surprise full-on romance.

Edit: After watching it, it's more crime-drama with a greater emphasis on romance but wow, this is a great watch. And the ending, it's kinda like a brick joke with an earlier scene but it works so well.

I stayed up and didn't check the the Sling TV schedule unfortunately it wasn't available on Sling. I have seen Force of Evil though before. 

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6 hours ago, kingrat said:

Speaking of film noir, is Force of Evil the talkiest film noir in all of the film noir canon? Talk, talk, talk. Then more talk. Finally a little gunfire. Abraham Polonsky is a WRITER-director. Lack of pacing is a problem. I remembered not being a big fan of the film, and that opinion was confirmed. Say two and a half stars out of four. It was the first John Garfield film I saw, and I didn't immediately take to Garfield. That changed when I saw more Garfield films, most of them better than Force of Evil.

It's funny: if you said "John Garfield vehicle by a blacklisted director," most people would think of Polonsky and Force of Evil. But that description also fits He Ran All the Way, directed by John Berry, a much better film. Garfield has a meatier role, Shelley Winters is much better than Beatrice Pearson, and Berry is a much more interesting director. Reputations often don't match up with actuality.

 

Exactly what I thought the first time I watched it. I'm just going by memory from the copy I on a DVD from Netflix , but from what I remember Thomas Gomez never comes up for air he never shuts up. lol.

I'll pull up my review...

March 31, 2013,

Caught this yesterday on a DVD from Netflix, nothing special, some interesting NYC locations, Marie Windsor is basically wasted, Gomez & Garfield are good, story isn't quite believable (come on, a Mom & Pop numbers racket with all lovable characters vs bad guy mobsters). I'll give it a generous 6/10 upon first viewing.

I never bought the DVD for my collection.

Here are some IMDb reviews that I also posted

Illegal good guy, 13 April 2011

Author: Alex da Silva from United Kingdom

Joe (John Garfield) plays a corrupt lawyer who is in partnership with gangster Ben Tucker (Roy Roberts) to control the "numbers" game. Joe tries to help his brother Leo (Thomas Gomez) who operates an illegal small bank for betting who is going to be made bankrupt by a fixed scam that will make banks pay out more than they have. The idea is for the gangsters to then come in and take things over. Leo refuses to listen, but is forced to draw himself into the new conglomerate that Ben Tucker is organizing. A rival gangster turns up wanting a share of the spoils from this particular scam and as a result of a killing and a kidnap, and phones being tapped by the prosecutor's department, the whole set-up is brought before a court.

This is a boy's film about gangsters and it can get pretty confusing if you don't pay attention throughout. The female roles are irrelevant to the plot which is a shame in the case of Marie Windsor who plays "Mrs Tucker". She is the best of the cast in her scenes and she completely outshines the rather feeble and bland Beatrice Pearson who plays "Doris". I also found the love interest between John Garfield and Peatrice Pearson difficult to believe. The acting is generally good with Thomas Gomez also deserving a mention. I didn't like him at the beginning but he managed to change my opinion so that I was sympathetic to him towards the end.

In fact, the end section of the film is the most memorable with several good scenes including a set-up in a cafe, a confrontation between the main bad guys, clever use of the telephone bugging operation and a discovery on some rocks under a pier. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the film whenever Beatrice Pearson was on screen, which seemed like way too much, and the story can get confusing, so the film loses points on those accounts.

It's a film that has a message similar to "On The Waterfront" in saying that the only way to topple powerful gang cartels is to stand up to them legally.

 

Wobbles between dramatic and strained...the last third finally kicking in with some intensity, 4 October 2010

Author: secondtake from United States
Force of Evil (1948)

John Garfield is the centerpiece of this high end crime film, and he's the problem. He's a great understated actor, sympathetic, gentle, and not quite the right man for this role as a sharp, ultimately cruel lawyer named Joe Morse in a sprawling criminal enterprise. So in scene after scene, what could have had a film noir or gangster edge ends up strained in a more normal dramatic way. The script might be one of the problems--some forced metaphors about death, or canned lines that are too profound for their own good.

But these are not the only problems here. The direction, I suppose, under Abraham Polonsky, is the reason it has an odd flow to it. (This is his only film of note.) Many decisions seem steadily mediocre, like having Morse do voiceovers that aren't quite styling enough to work as style and are a slow way of telling the events. Morse is connected with an overly sweet girl who isn't really his type and romance doesn't make sense. And there are some editing gaffes that don't help. Larger still, this is an impersonal plot, with no clear protagonist or antagonist, just a numbers racket that is being undermined by some unseen politicians and some gangsters who aren't quite sure what's going on (really--even Morse is lost).

Beatrice Pearson plays Morse's girl, and it's sad to say she just can't act at the same level as Garfield, and many of the other bit actors. But Morse's brother played by Thomas Gomez is a strong and sympathetic type, and he pulls off several amazing scenes. The camera-work is smart and generally intense enough, with high or low angles at key points, if sometimes a little obvious. The city (Manhattan) is a good backdrop, giving it a very nice ambiance, both night and day.

Well, the movie has an outsized reputation. The shining moments and dark moods and the better final twenty minutes don't make up for the general messiness on many levels.

Good But Not Great Crime Picture, 2 May 2006

Author: brocksilvey from United States
I saw a coming attraction for this movie one day on TCM. I'd never heard of it, but the clips they used for the preview made it look like a terrific noir, and I couldn't wait to see it. It didn't live up to the expectations. It's a good movie, but it's not even one of the more memorable noirs from the 40s. In fact, it's not really much of a noir once you get past the moody black and white photography (which is one of the film's greatest assets by the way) and its cynical tone. It's much more of a standard crime picture with a gritty documentary-like sheen, the kind the studios were churning out left and right in the late 40s and early 50s, but it didn't leave as much of an impression on me as, say, "The Naked City," "Night and the City," or "Panic in the Streets."

John Garfield, however, is extremely good in the lead role. I haven't seen him in that many things, but he's a kindred spirit of Marlon Brando's: the brooding tough guy whose sneering mug hides a warm and very human streak. He never seemed to get his full due as an actor--if I'm not mistaken, he made his last film not long after this one, sometime in the early to mid 1950s.

"Force of Evil" is definitely worth a look.

Grade: B

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9 hours ago, Ampersand said:

I thought last week Eddie Muller said it was Dust Be My Destiny (1939) tonight and was wondering why there was no intro. Only feel a bit bamboozled as this still looks like a nice noir/drama with a bit of romance and a man who gets a bad rap by the system. And the title, that is just great. No Force of Evil but at least it's in tune and not a surprise full-on romance.

Edit: After watching it, it's more crime-drama with a greater emphasis on romance but wow, this is a great watch. And the ending, it's kinda like a brick joke with an earlier scene but it works so well.

You must live in Canada. Force of Evil was replaced by the other Garfield film there. That's why you didn't see Eddie Muller. Dust be My Destiny is OK but pretty cliche from the "society drove me to crime" school so popular in Hollywood as that time in the FDR era.

Force of Evil is a far more interesting film, with Garfield, who was maturing as an actor (reaching his peak as a performer, I feel, in The Breaking Point two years later), demonstrating a skilfull ability to deliver stylized faux poetic dialogue in his courtship scenes with Beatrice Pearson. It's an unexpected and odd aspect of the Polonsky screenplay to have dialogue like that (especially in a crime film) but it's interestingly different. Thomas Gomez delivers a wonderfully stressed performance as Garfield's older harassed brother, while Marie Windsor, in a frustratingly small role, is sleekly beautiful, sensuous and dangerous to be around (for Garfield anyway). The film's final image is memorable and about as bleak as you will find in any film noir.

I was sorry to miss Eddie Muller's take on FOE since the film wasn't shown in Canada. Anyone care to drop any nuggets from his intro/outro of the film?

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I stayed up and didn't check the the Sling TV schedule unfortunately it wasn't available on Sling. I have seen Force of Evil though before. 

Same. Except I woke up super early (California) only to meet a blackout screen with "Content Unavailable". Moments like these make me hate Sling. I've also seen Force of Evil before.

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15 minutes ago, ThePaintedLady said:

Moments like these make me hate Sling.

But those are quite rare we only notice it when it's something we were looking forward to seeing again, in maybe a much better print. However even that wouldn't tempt me to buy it, it's watchable but not enough to want to own.

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

Force of Evil is a far more interesting film, with Garfield, who was maturing as an actor (reaching his peak as a performer, I feel, in The Breaking Point two years later), demonstrating a skilfull ability to deliver stylized faux poetic dialogue in his courtship scenes with Beatrice Pearson. It's an unexpected and odd aspect of the Polonsky screenplay to have dialogue like that (especially in a crime film) but it's interestingly different. Thomas Gomez delivers a wonderfully stressed performance as Garfield's older harassed brother, while Marie Windsor, in a frustratingly small role, is sleekly beautiful, sensuous and dangerous to be around (for Garfield anyway). The film's final image is memorable and about as bleak as you will find in any film noir.

I was sorry to miss Eddie Muller's take on FOE since the film wasn't shown in Canada. Anyone care to drop any nuggets from his intro/outro of the film?

Tom, I missed the intro but caught the outro. Here are some of Eddie's nuggets: Both Beatrice Pearson and Thomas Gomez were gay, and both insisted on having their partners present during shooting. Pearson and Gomez hated each other, and Polonsky ultimately had to shoot some of their scenes with reverse angle set-ups so that they didn't actually have to be present at the same time. Eddie mentioned that Pearson had only one other major role, in Lost Boundaries. He said that Pearson had a certain quality, but didn't have what it takes to be a screen star (I completely agree).

Marie Windsor was taller than John Garfield. Sometimes she would bend her knees when she walked into a shot so that she would seem to be shorter. Garfield wasn't self-conscious about being shorter and would joke about it, saying things like "Well, it's time to bring out the old apple box."

Sterling Hayden was the person who named Polonsky as a Communist. Polonsky wasn't one of the Hollywood Ten who were sent to jail; he was spared because of his outstanding service record during WWII when he worked for the OSS (forerunner of the CIA). According to Eddie, Polonsky had drifted away from the Communist Party because of Stalin [I am not sure if this is correct; my impression has been that Polonsky adjusted his story to fit the times]. When Eddie interviewed Polonsky when Polonsky was 86, he said that the blacklist era was a tragedy for those who were named and for those who did the naming. There is no question that Polonsky was furious when Elia Kazan was given an honorary Oscar.

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Joe, thank you for your review and the other reviews of Force of Evil you posted. It's clear that some of us have similar takes on the shortcomings of the film.

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6 minutes ago, kingrat said:

Joe, thank you for your review and the other reviews of Force of Evil you posted. It's clear that some of us have similar takes on the shortcomings of the film.

Yes, there were some flaws. However, I agree with those that praised Marie Windsor. She did a lot with what was a small part. 

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