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Noir Alley

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As I began watching Eddie's noir offering last night with beer in hand, I started playing a drinking game where anytime anyone in this flick said the name "Dimitrios" I'd take a swig.

Whew! Well I'll tell, I've JUST woke up late this morning with one of THE worst hangovers I've had in years and counted six empty beer bottles sitting on my coffee table!!!

(...naah, just kiddin'...but ooh-WEE, Lorre, Greenstreet, et al, in this quite often little talkfest sure mention his name a hell of a lot, don't they?!) ;)

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I thought THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS was great. I tend to agree that it's not that noirish (if that's a word). I think Eddie was on target by comparing it to THE THIRD MAN. Also, I'm a big fan of  both Greenstreet and Lorre. Obviously, this pairing doesn't hold a candle to THE MALTESE FALCON, but they are good together.

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Haven't read any comments yet.  Been having internet issues so I didn't catch the whole movie.  I went ahead an bought it since it is one of two Greenstreet Lorre pictures I don't have yet.  Hopefully I will see the whole thing by the end of the week.  ;)

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Watched Mask of Dimitrios and would give it a 3/5.  It held my interest, but not something I am likely to watch again.

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Now we know that Sam Spade was wrong and that the police didn't apprehend Gutman, but

he escaped to Europe. Entertaining flick for sure, but it sort of seems like it is made up out

of parts of other, better movies. And wasn't Cotten's character in the Third Man a writer of

potboiler westerns, not mysteries. I mainly watched it because I'd only seen it once or twice

before and that was a while back. 

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This is a fun movie to watch.  Not only because of Greenstreet's and Lorre's presence in it, but because the supporting players do well in their parts (especially Steve Geray).  For Zachary Scott, it was an excellent debut for his big screen career.  I could buy into him as a lowly fig packer in Turkey who schemes and connives his way up the social ladder to a somewhat sophisticated crime boss who never lost his ruthlessness.

I agreed with Eddie's post-movie comments that Scott hated being type-cast in many of his Hollywood roles.  It's one factor that drove him out of the business and into television.  Sadly, he died way too young from a brain tumor that may have been developing after a whitewater rafting accident left him with a concussion and severe head trauma.

I like the nice touches the creators of "The Mask Of Dimitrios" (put that bottle down Dargo! 😉) put into the look of the picture.  It was shot on Warner's back lots, but signs outside public buildings as well as some interior shots showed writings in the native language where a particular scene was taking place (Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, etc.).  For me, the only flaw was at the end.  I had a hard time buying Peter Lorre getting the better of Zachary Scott when they're wrestling for the loose gun that Lorre has knocked out of Scott's hand.  By comparison, Lorre was a pipsqueak and Scott was a stud.  I mean, even Mary Astor got the better of Lorre in "The Maltese Falcon"!  But hey, that's Hollywood for ya, right?

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14 minutes ago, midwestan said:

😉For me, the only flaw was at the end.  I had a hard time buying Peter Lorre getting the better of Zachary Scott when they're wrestling for the loose gun that Lorre has knocked out of Scott's hand.  By comparison, Lorre was a pipsqueak and Scott was a stud.  I mean, even Mary Astor got the better of Lorre in "The Maltese Falcon"!  But hey, that's Hollywood for ya, right?

Mary Astor was tough. I'd pick her best two out of three in a gun wrestle with Lorre and even odds with Zachory Scott. On the other hand, if Sydney Greenstreet sat on her, ball game over.

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It's  too bad that you only air one film noir movie on Saturday, and repeat it on Sunday morning.  It would be great if you could expand your film noir programming.  There's another cable station that airs film noir on Thursday and Sunday nights. TCM needs to increase film noir movies, as there are many fans out there. 

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On 12/2/2019 at 6:08 AM, midwestan said:

I had a hard time buying Peter Lorre getting the better of Zachary Scott when they're wrestling for the loose gun that Lorre has knocked out of Scott's hand.  By comparison, Lorre was a pipsqueak and Scott was a stud.  I mean, even Mary Astor got the better of Lorre in "The Maltese Falcon"!  But hey, that's Hollywood for ya, right?

It was not only okay with me but I most heartily approve. But it had to be a Lorre character, or no go. It would not have worked with Steve Garey, for instance. A quirky, quixotic, hissy fit like that to foil the most dangerous of men is delicious irony. It's not as if Lorre screwed his courage to the sticking point and decided to be brave. That would have been out of character. But as a spontaneous reaction of suddenly being fed up with the rashness of the world, it works. It takes formidable Zachary by surprise and the world has an unlikely hero.    

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4 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Berlin Express Poster

I never saw this one, it's on now. Anyone see it? How is it?

It's good. There are some twists and turns that keep one guessing. Also, I was amazed it was filmed in Germany so soon after WWII. Both Frankfurt and Berlin were still in ruins. Eddie points out how difficult it was for the crew  and cast.  Another thing I found interesting was that apparently cigarettes were as valuable as money during that time.  Also, a cigarette provides a key clue in the plot.  

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A film on NoirAlley I'd never seen before !  I was looking forward to Berlin Express,  but I'm still trying to decide how much I liked it. One thing I'll say, it's a lot of work to follow and figure out what's going on. But I guess that's a good thing, the writer and director assume their audience is smart enough to understand it.  Anyway,  there are lots of film noir plots that are hard to follow. But I'm thinking this one takes the strudel !

The best thing about this film is, as Eddie and some here have said, the genuine location settings. It's strange and sad to see these magnificent old cities in such ruins. (Yes, I know they were bombed by the good guys, and maybe they had to do it, but it's still weird to see so many wonderful old buildings destroyed like that.) It's very atmospheric that way, and certainly the look of the film qualifies as noir. 

I kind of  liked the Soviet guy-- shades of Ninotchka?  (I kept waiting for him to become human and get drunk or something.) I also enjoyed the underground (literally) nightclub with the crystal ball act and the clown.  And I'll watch just about anything with Robert Ryan. I did have a couple of questions about his character, though. It never explains why a healthy young guy like that, such a red-blooded American, did not fight in the war. We know he doesn't because fairly early on he says so; the moment is just begging for someone (maybe Merle O?) to ask  him why not. And I don't buy it that he was kept from the front line because he was an "agricultural expert", or a nutritionist, or whatever he was. Still, I always like Mr. Ryan. The scene where he gets a dunking in the beer vat is kind of fun.

I'd watch it again, but mainly to understand the plot better.  

ps: I liked that music box that poor old Walther, Dr.Bernhardt's friend,  kept playing. I love that tune, an old German drinking song. I think Brahms uses it in his "Academic Overture" . 

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Saw it a while ago this is what I wrote then

It’s a fairly suspenseful spy story set in post WWII Europe, it begins on the Berlin Express and finishes in a bombed out Frankfurt.  Seems as if it could have used a bit more scenes on the Express, once it gets to Frankfurt the city is so bombed out that the ruins tend to blend all uninteresting-ly together, perhaps when audiences saw it in the theaters the fresh ruins of destruction in postwar Germany wowed them. Looking back at this film today its not quite as effective as it may have once been.

Anyway, during the course of the film members of various Allied nations combine efforts to find/save Dr. Bernhardt a German diplomat/professor who apparently has some sort of vision of a unified postwar Germany and is en route to a conference in Berlin to present it to the allies at a conference. There's a faction of Germans (ex-Nazi’s) who oppose him. The sort of the usual cold war dynamics going on the British & Americans do not trust the Russians.

Its interesting but not outstanding film, sort of misses more than hits its marks caught it the other day (October 03, 2011) on TCM   6.5/10

 

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Actually the film starts out in Frankfurt (after starting in Paris) and ends in Berlin. I'd seen the film before, but forgot some of the plot twists, so it was almost like watching it new.

Odd that Oberon would get top billing over Ryan.  He was a bigger star at that point than she was.

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18 hours ago, Hibi said:

Actually the film starts out in Frankfurt (after starting in Paris) and ends in Berlin. I'd seen the film before, but forgot some of the plot twists, so it was almost like watching it new.

Odd that Oberon would get top billing over Ryan.  He was a bigger star at that point than she was.

Up until this point Ryan wasn't a male lead in any major films.    For most of the films he was in RKO  promoted the actress, and thus she received lead billing,  over Ryan;  E.g.  the various Ida Lupino noirs,  Women on the Beach with Joan Bennett,   Tender Comrade with Ginger Rogers.    

Other films were mostly westerns or war films were Ryan wasn't the lead actor. 

The most well known film Ryan was in,  when Berlin was made,  was Crossfire and as we all know he was NOT the top male actor in that film;  In fact he was the #3 Robert!

At this stage in his career Ryan was viewed as a secondary male actor \ lead;    Typically when an actress that has been a leading lady is paired with such an actor,  that actress gets top billing (often due to their contract).

 

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17 minutes ago, spence said:

Eddie, still why no inclusion of THE THIRD MAN?

I wonder if Eddie considers The Third Man to be a noir.      It has some noir elements but not enough for me to say it is a noir film.

Either way a first rate film,  even if there is a little too much talking by the Joseph Cotton character and not enough from Harry Lime! 

 

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Of course Eddie would consider The Third Man a noir.  He's shown loads of films on Noir Alley that are less Noirish than The Third Man.  Now in his intro,  he'd probably acknowledge that some might not label it as such, as he's done for many movies he's featured - - whenever he does that, he gives a bit of a nod to hard core Noiristas and then explains why he's including it in Noir Alley.  The Third Man is certainly a lot more "noir" than Berlin Express , so if he would show the latter as a noir, he'd certainly show the former.

More likely it's something to do with "rights" ...although maybe not, since I know TCM airs The Third Man at least once or twice a year. Anyway, I don't know why I'm talking about this, because, speaking of "rights" limitations, being in Canada, I never get to see The Third Man on TCM when they show it. Hugely annoying and frustrating.

ps;  Although all is not lost for me, Third Man-wise. I have a videotape of it, and watched that a few months ago. It's a great film .And I don't even mind the zither music.

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On 12/8/2019 at 2:01 AM, Cleo noir said:

It's  too bad that you only air one film noir movie on Saturday, and repeat it on Sunday morning.  It would be great if you could expand your film noir programming.  There's another cable station that airs film noir on Thursday and Sunday nights. TCM needs to increase film noir movies, as there are many fans out there. 

I agree. I think you're referring to MOVIES network which one can get "over the air" with an HD antenna. I love these movies too. However, my guess is most noir fans are over 50 and it's clear from the films that are showing at local theaters that the younger generations prefer action flicks or stories about super heroes.  I'm not saying there aren't many great films made today. It's just that black and white stories with stars from the 40s and 50s don't seem to appeal to my children or grandchildren. I'm just thankful  TCM and MOVIES are  continuing to keep these classics alive.

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

Of course Eddie would consider The Third Man a noir.  He's shown loads of films on Noir Alley that are less Noirish than The Third Man.  Now in his intro,  he'd probably acknowledge that some might not label it as such, as he's done for many movies he's featured - - whenever he does that, he gives a bit of a nod to hard core Noiristas and then explains why he's including it in Noir Alley.  The Third Man is certainly a lot more "noir" than Berlin Express , so if he would show the latter as a noir, he'd certainly show the former.

More likely it's something to do with "rights" ...although maybe not, since I know TCM airs The Third Man at least once or twice a year. Anyway, I don't know why I'm talking about this, because, speaking of "rights" limitations, being in Canada, I never get to see The Third Man on TCM when they show it. Hugely annoying and frustrating.

ps;  Although all is not lost for me, Third Man-wise. I have a videotape of it, and watched that a few months ago. It's a great film .And I don't even mind the zither music.

The Third Man is next scheduled on TCM at 2 pm ET on Sunday, January 19, but sadly still not being shown in Canada, what a shame.

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47 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I agree. I think you're referring to MOVIES network which one can get "over the air" with an HD antenna. I love these movies too. However, my guess is most noir fans are over 50 and it's clear from the films that are showing at local theaters that the younger generations prefer action flicks or stories about super heroes.  I'm not saying there aren't many great films made today. It's just that black and white stories with stars from the 40s and 50s don't seem to appeal to my children or grandchildren. I'm just thankful  TCM and MOVIES are  continuing to keep these classics alive.

There are quite a few Transitional Noir and Neo Noir films that aren't action flicks or stories about super heroes. The Transitional Noirs explored other story lines that didn't rely wholly on traditional crime, the transitional stories were about singers, cheesecake models, radio personalities,  serial killers, and dope addicts, con artists, gamblers, strippers, mentally screwed up people amnesiacs,  or they blended with Fantasy and  SyFy, (Think Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Twilight Zone episodes that tipped noir) Other Transitional Noir films exploited  other subjects what were once prohibited.  Neo Noir continued all these trends but now blended the more transitional crime stories back into the mix.  

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I couldn't recall if I had seen Berlin Express before or not. It took a while, but I started to recognize the film.

Saw it before, but only once and that was a few years ago. Mostly good, though there are a few dry patches.

The nigh time "tour" of Frankfurt was certainly a highlight. The we'll all get along now theme seems pretty

funny now.  And listening to parts of the narration you'd almost think the Germans bombed their own cities.

Of course it was the Allies who killed hundreds of thousands of German civilians by bombing the cities.

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On 12/10/2019 at 3:56 PM, jamesjazzguitar said:

I wonder if Eddie considers The Third Man to be a noir.      It has some noir elements but not enough for me to say it is a noir film.

Either way a first rate film,  even if there is a little too much talking by the Joseph Cotton character and not enough from Harry Lime! 

 

"Some"???

Well James, first Wiki's very first line in its The Third Man webpage calls it a film noir.

Secondly, the IMDb website lists it as (ironically) the third best film noir ever made.

And thirdly, I'd say given the plot, the dark and shadow-filled cinematography AND the various characters in it who aren't exactly the wholesome and up-and-up sort, I'd definitely call it a great example of film noir TOO!

(...and frankly and even as much as I respect our "Czar of Noir" Eddie M. on these matters, I don't care if he'd call it a "noir" or not, and 'cause, well, it plainly IS!)

 

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14 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

There are quite a few Transitional Noir and Neo Noir films that aren't action flicks or stories about super heroes. The Transitional Noirs explored other story lines that didn't rely wholly on traditional crime, the transitional stories were about singers, cheesecake models, radio personalities,  serial killers, and dope addicts, con artists, gamblers, strippers, mentally screwed up people amnesiacs,  or they blended with Fantasy and  SyFy, (Think Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Twilight Zone episodes that tipped noir) Other Transitional Noir films exploited  other subjects what were once prohibited.  Neo Noir continued all these trends but now blended the more transitional crime stories back into the mix.  

You're right. One film that would qualify is BODY HEAT. It has all the characteristics of noir.  Also,  LA CONFIDENTIAL and BLACK DAHLIA are tributes to the film noir era. SEA OF LOVE and BASIC INSTINCT are considered neo-noir by many.  Everyone has their own definition of "film noir". While I generally consider the genre to be limited to B&W films from the 40s and 50s, I certainly respect the opinions of those who have a much broader view.  

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10 hours ago, Dargo said:

"Some"???

Well James, first Wiki's very first line in its The Third Man webpage calls it a film noir.

Secondly, the IMDb website lists it as (ironically) the third best film noir ever made.

And thirdly, I'd say given the plot, the dark and shadow-filled cinematography AND the various characters in it who aren't exactly the wholesome and up-and-up sort, I'd definitely call it a great example of film noir TOO!

(...and frankly and even as much as I respect our "Czar of Noir" Eddie M. on these matters, I don't care if he'd call it a "noir" or not, and 'cause, well, it plainly IS!)

 

I hear yea.    Miss W,  makes a solid point that if Eddie would show Berlin Express as part of Noir Alley,   that The Third Man,  clearly would "qualify" as well.

I guess much of my "take" on this film is due to the friend being the noir protagonist instead of Harry Lime and the fact that Harry has no redeeming qualities;  i.e. nothing that makes him a sympathetic character.            

 

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