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5 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Like Joe,  I'm really enjoy Cry of the City,  and as you note,  while nothing very original,  it was well done (on all levels;  direction,  acting,  photography,  score).

I really don't see much of the Manhattan Melodrama aspect since the detective wasn't a big-wig,  and they were never in love with the same gal. 

There is the Dead-End (Bogie, McCrea),   connection but mom,  doesn't reject her bad-boy until the end so. 

For me the films takes various themes from prior films and weaves them into a story that,   while seen before,   keep me interested into what was clearly a forgone conclusion. 

 

 

The MM connection was just the basic plot of two kids from the same neighborhood, one grows up to be

bad and the other to be good. Not much of a connection as we don't see them as youngsters and only see

that as adults they had known each other for a long time.   Yeah, you know the production code meant

that Conte would come to a bad end. The gritty big city at night vibe has been done before too, but still

this movie does it very effectively. 

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Watched Odds Against Tomorrow again last night on TCM and their 1948 Noir films spotlight.      First time for my wife.   She really enjoyed the film.   

She made some comments that I found interesting;   That the film reminded her of French films.   This was during the scene where they are waiting for darkness to fall (6:00 PM),  and each of them is alone.     No dialog,  just that great jazz music by the Modern Jazz Quarter \ John Lewis,   and the actors  "thinking" about life,  the darkness of their situation,  the robbery, etc.. all with the desolate setting (trees with no leaves,,,,  lake with a lot of junk near the shore,, etc..) and fine photography. 

After it was over she said she was surprised to see such a scene,  given it's length,   in an American film since "don't Americans expect action and dialog ,,, or they find it boring?".  

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On 4/8/2020 at 1:42 PM, misswonderly3 said:

I think the story of The Lady from Shanghai would have worked just as well if the Welles character had just been some American guy.   Michael O'Hara's Irishness had no bearing on or connection to the plot whatsoever.  I suspect Orson Welles just wanted to do an Irish accent, for some reason.  Michael never even mentions Ireland or speaks about his home country, in fact, the film makes much of his being a world traveller.   There's just no reason for the Irish thing, and I agree, his clearly not authentic Irish accent is just a distraction.

 

It could have been worse. I'm just glad that Welles didn't try to do Barry Fitzgerald.

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

lake with a lot of junk near the shore,, etc..) and fine photography. 

That was the Hudson River with a lot of junk floating in it. 

The bank robbery part of the film (Melton in the film )was shot in Hudson New York, hasn't changed too much in  60 years. Here are some Comparison shots

Promenade Hill Park

bhlFq0n.jpg

Hudson River with the Catskill Mountains on the horizon. That is also an island in the Hudson  on the near right. You can see the difference in the depth of field between film cameras of Joseph C. Brun and my Cannon camera.  In the film frame the high voltage tower and the lighthouse  are a lot closer looking. Gone are the telegraph poles along the railway below the bluff, and where the debris was floating in the  river there is now a boat launch  with a parking lot and a small marina. The cast iron fence is the same one in the film the only difference is that they added an extra bar between the posts to cover the points of the upright sections. 

Here below is the reverse angle  looking up at Promenade Hill park from the parking lot at the boat launch.

8Qw5rYH.jpg

 Where Ed Begley is standing  by the cast iron fence is where I took the photo of the river.  Some of the trees are gone.

X1oMtiC.jpg

Here is Warren Street then and now from entrance to Promenade Hill Park.

hMHXUeK.jpg

Statue is still there also

Below is 6th Street and the bank. Two frames of the film on the left and current bank building at right. 

OfZyMXB.jpg

Below the robbery sequence.

osZvPBh.jpg

That concrete step is still there next to the rear bank entrance. The same grating just above Begley's feet is between the second flower pot (where Begley pulled himself up)  from the left and light pole.

Below Warren and 7th Street intersection  with RR spur. then and now. I was just lucky enough to catch a switcher going through the same intersection like in the film. Gone is the RR crossing gate but the building on the corner with its fire escape is the same. In the film it was was a greyhound bus station now it's woman's clothing store.

 

jVAhvZ7.jpg

 

 

 

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On 4/8/2020 at 2:12 PM, Vautrin said:

 Cry of the City was pretty good, nothing very original, but

well done. In Maltin's book, he or whoever wrote the entry said it was a rehash of Manhattan Melodrama.

Yeah, sort of, but it didn't have those dull flashbacks about how the bad kid shoplifts from the corner

drugstore and the good kid refuses to join in and so on. Yeah, we get it. Cry of the City just shows that

Mature has known Conte and his family for a long time. I was impressed by that one shot at the end

where we see the dead or near dead Conte holding the knife in his hand and not moving. 

That was an excellent shot. So was the one where Richard Conte rings the doorbell for Madame Rose and in the distance we see a woman slowly coming closer to the door. I liked Cry of the City a lot, and like Vautrin I'm glad we were spared the flashbacks to the youth of the two boys. Manhattan Melodrama is a lot of fun in its own way, especially with Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy, but Cry of the City is hard-edged and keeps to the present tense. Conte grows up poor in a tough neighborhood, but so do his parents and so does Victor Mature. The film doesn't offer excuses or explanations for his behavior. Conte has made his choices--and keeps making more choices--and pays the consequences.

The acting was really outstanding. Victor Mature is, shall we say, variable in quality throughout his career, but in films like My Darling Clementine and Kiss of Death he looks like a genuinely good actor, and that's how he is here. I like Richard Conte equally well as hero (Thieves' Highway), flawed main character (House of Strangers), or attractive villain, as here. His charismatic good looks help us understand why so many people are willing to help him even though they know he's a criminal. What strong supporting performances, too: Walter Baldwin as Orvy the trusty who helps Conte escape; Berry Kroeger as Niles the mob lawyer; Betty Garde as the nurse who both seems to be attracted to Conte and to have lesbeterian tendencies; and Shelley Winters, who brings an attractive jolt of energy to the screen when she suddenly appears in her leopard-skin coat. And if I was liking the film a lot, I began loving it when who should appear but Hope Emerson. Those scenes between Emerson and Conte show us what great screen acting (and writing and direction) are all about.

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5 hours ago, kingrat said:

The acting was really outstanding. Victor Mature is, shall we say, variable in quality throughout his career, but in films like My Darling Clementine and Kiss of Death he looks like a genuinely good actor, and that's how he is here. I like Richard Conte equally well as hero (Thieves' Highway), flawed main character (House of Strangers), or attractive villain, as here. His charismatic good looks help us understand why so many people are willing to help him even though they know he's a criminal.

A lot of people don't realize it but Richard Conte clocks in at with a total of 14 Noir just behind Bogart with 15. 

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Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956)

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT" DANA ANDREWS, JOAN FON... - Blogs & Forums

Tonight's Noir Alley offering. Directed by Fritz Lang. It was Fritz Lang's last American movie. It stars Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackner, Arthur Franz and Philip Bourneuf, You think you know where this is going but it has an interesting twist though a bit too abruptly/clumsy executed. Barbara Nichols is good as a stripper & has a larger part than she usually has 6.5/10

 

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On 3/31/2020 at 8:15 AM, cigarjoe said:

Touchez Pas Au Grisbi (1954)  from me a 9.75/10 but see below...

Touchez Pas au Grisbi Poster

To quote Moorman " Another French masterpiece.  A solid 10 out of 10. Jean Gabin is fantastic.  I really loved this film.  The moral code, the friendship, everything about this film was top notch and on point.  The character studies and just everything, again, I say this was a 10 out of 10."

When I posted the above I watched the 1hr 28min cut version. I didn't know that it was cut until I was browsing images for French Noir and saw some stills that I don't remember seeing. Apparently I watched a cut version.

Just finished watching the 1:36:46 version with the nudity, depictions of drug use, and the pretty graphic scene of dead Marco after the gold exchange for Riton, yea Moorman is right 10/10

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12 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956)

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT" DANA ANDREWS, JOAN FON... - Blogs & Forums

Tonight's Noir Alley offering. Directed by Fritz Lang. It was Fritz Lang's last American movie. It stars Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackner, Arthur Franz and Philip Bourneuf, You think you know where this is going but it has an interesting twist though a bit too abruptly/clumsy executed. Barbara Nichols is good as a stripper & has a larger part than she usually has 6.5/10

 

Yes. The ending really caught me off guard. It was easy to figure out how their scheme was going to go awry, but I doubt many anticipated what eventually happened. Dana Andrews was as good as ever. No one would ever suspect he had a drinking problem from this or any of his other performances. 

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4 hours ago, Hoganman1 said:

Yes. The ending really caught me off guard. It was easy to figure out how their scheme was going to go awry, but I doubt many anticipated what eventually happened. Dana Andrews was as good as ever. No one would ever suspect he had a drinking problem from this or any of his other performances. 

Nothing much happens in this film and there is just way too much talk and little to no suspense or tension.     

I also don't understand the overall style choices made by the costume department for Joan Fontaine and those vails.     Joan was only 39 but they dressed her up like an old lady.

 

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10 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Nothing much happens in this film and there is just way too much talk and little to no suspense or tension.     

I also don't understand the overall style choices made by the costume department for Joan Fontaine and those vails.     Joan was only 39 but they dressed her up like an old lady.

 

I agree, Joan Fontaine does not have an appealing look in this film.  She was very slim  (some might say downright skinny), but instead of making her look "svelte", she just looks kind of harsh.  They give her unflattering gowns that show how thin she was, and then make it worse by putting her hair in a bun, an "up-do".  Now, it's common in old films to signal if a woman is elegant or "classy" by giving her that kind of hair-style  (like "Madeleine's"  in Vertigo, who wears her hair in an elegant chignon to show how mysterious and upper-class she is).  Notice the burlesque women wear their hair long.

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I get the feeling that they felt like they had such a GREAT ENDING to BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that they didn't have to knock themselves out making the rest of the movie all that interesting. In fact, it seems deliberately mundane at moments.

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On 4/10/2020 at 1:11 AM, kingrat said:

 Manhattan Melodrama is a lot of fun in its own way, especially with Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy,

MANHATTAN MELODRAMA has pre-noir CACHET on two counts:

DILLINGER was shot watching it AND it contains the ORIGINAL LYRICS to the tune that became BLUE MOON, THE BAD IN EVERY MAN whose lyrics convey THE VERY ESSENCE OF NOIR to PERFECTION:

(a two for one version here:)

 

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I remember seeing this one a long time ago. I couldn't remember the exact twist ending. I thought it was that

Andrews had actually committed the murder, but I wasn't 100% sure. Frankly, it was hard to believe a smart

guy like Andrews would allow himself to get trapped into cooperating with Balckmer in that particular

murder. But then again he was dumb enough to use the real name of the victim when talking to Fontaine.

Back on the path to the chair, dummy. Yes the direction was mostly ho-hum, though the puzzle piece plot

of the movie makes that secondary to a certain extent. Barbara Nichols is okay, but I found her dancer

friend to be sexier. Finally, the Blackmer character would be pleased to know that now 22 states have no

death penalty, many of which abolished it in the last twenty years.

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Next week Eddie is showing Night and the City.      I believe this is a repeat.     Fine noir film with Richard Widmark,  Gene Tierney (somewhat wasted),  and the fine British actors, Googie Withers and Herbert Lom.

For those on the east coast the night starts off with Casablanca and then The Magnificent Ambersons.   

 

Dell Books 374 - Gerald Kersh - Night and the City | FlickrNIGHT AND THE CITY | PARIS LA

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

I agree, Joan Fontaine does not have an appealing look in this film.  She was very slim  (some might say downright skinny), but instead of making her look "svelte", she just looks kind of harsh.  They give her unflattering gowns that show how thin she was, and then make it worse by putting her hair in a bun, an "up-do".  Now, it's common in old films to signal if a woman is elegant or "classy" by giving her that kind of hair-style  (like "Madeleine's"  in Vertigo, who wears her hair in an elegant chignon to show how mysterious and upper-class she is).  Notice the burlesque women wear their hair long.

MissW, I have wondered before if Joan Fontaine simply became matronly at a fairly early age. You're so right about the unflattering hair and clothes, but Joan's rather lah-di-dah "stage diction" (which she consistently uses in films of this period) also makes her sound matronly and older than she really is.

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10 minutes ago, kingrat said:

MissW, I have wondered before if Joan Fontaine simply became matronly at a fairly early age. You're so right about the unflattering hair and clothes, but Joan's rather lah-di-dah "stage diction" (which she consistently uses in films of this period) also makes her sound matronly and older than she really is.

I agree with you but Fontaine was an actress (and often a very good one).     I guess one could say that she was miscast for the role.   That falls on producer Bert E. Friedlob and director Lang.

Now I assume Lang wanted the Fontaine character to contrast with the nightclub dancers in the film.    Ok,  I get that but that still doesn't support the final outcome.

 

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6 hours ago, Vautrin said:

I remember seeing this one a long time ago. I couldn't remember the exact twist ending. I thought it was that

Andrews had actually committed the murder, but I wasn't 100% sure. Frankly, it was hard to believe a smart

guy like Andrews would allow himself to get trapped into cooperating with Balckmer in that particular

murder. But then again he was dumb enough to use the real name of the victim when talking to Fontaine.

Back on the path to the chair, dummy. Yes the direction was mostly ho-hum, though the puzzle piece plot

of the movie makes that secondary to a certain extent. Barbara Nichols is okay, but I found her dancer

friend to be sexier. Finally, the Blackmer character would be pleased to know that now 22 states have no

death penalty, many of which abolished it in the last twenty years.

Yep, hard to believe the pretty much pedestrian direction of this film, and which often reminded me of an old Perry Mason TV episode, was done by one of the truly great and often groundbreaking directors of early cinema, alright.

(...and also hard to believe what Eddie said in his intro about "some people think this might have been one of Lang's better American efforts"...can't image that at all either)

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

Yep, hard to believe the pretty much pedestrian direction of this film, and which often reminded me of an old Perry Mason TV episode, was done by one of the truly great and often groundbreaking directors of early cinema, alright.

(...and also hard to believe what Eddie said in his intro about "some people think this might have been one of Lang's better American efforts"...can't image that at all either)

It certainly has all the visual flare of a Perry Mason episode, not very much. The short running time helps a

little. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but I would find it hard to rank this as one of his better

American movies. Maybe by this time the old boy was running on close to empty. A person of Lang's talent

can afford a miss like this one. 

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Oh by the way anybody remember Eddie's intro?

I ask because of the past battle royals I had with Sergeant Markoff.

I'd classify noirs into various groups, New York City NoirLos Angeles Noir, Christmas Noir, Boxing Noir etc., etc, and ol Sarg would get ridiculously bent out of shape about it?

Notice that Eddie Muller said that Beyond a Reasonable Doubt was a Newspaper Noir.  

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11 hours ago, Dargo said:

Yep, hard to believe the pretty much pedestrian direction of this film, and which often reminded me of an old Perry Mason TV episode, was done by one of the truly great and often groundbreaking directors of early cinema, alright.

(...and also hard to believe what Eddie said in his intro about "some people think this might have been one of Lang's better American efforts"...can't image that at all either)

I think Fritz was already on a boat back to Europe when he made this film (mentally that is!).

 

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11 hours ago, Dargo said:

Yep, hard to believe the pretty much pedestrian direction of this film, and which often reminded me of an old Perry Mason TV episode, was done by one of the truly great and often groundbreaking directors of early cinema, alright.

(...and also hard to believe what Eddie said in his intro about "some people think this might have been one of Lang's better American efforts"...can't image that at all either)

Dargo, it looks like most of us agree with you completely about Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. I believe it's in 1001 Movies you have to see before you die. Why? I think the only reason is that the auteurist critics reasoned like this: 1) Lang is a great director. (Most of us would agree.) 2) Therefore, every film by Lang is a masterpiece. (Huh? But that's what hardline auteurists believed.)

Lang's preceding film, While the City Sleeps, also has this flat TV look, though not quite to the same extent as Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Perhaps the noir styling which most of us now enjoy seemed old-fashioned by the late 1950s.

The anti-death penalty stance of the film may also have made the film seem more important to some.

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17 hours ago, kingrat said:

MissW, I have wondered before if Joan Fontaine simply became matronly at a fairly early age. You're so right about the unflattering hair and clothes, but Joan's rather lah-di-dah "stage diction" (which she consistently uses in films of this period) also makes her sound matronly and older than she really is.

I should preface this by saying,  1)  I'm a bit uncomfortable analyzing and critiquing the appearance of women in movies in a way we don't seem to do so much with men. I'm not rabidly "activist" about it, but I am aware, every time I talk about how a woman looks in a film, that we tend to do it a lot more than we do the equivalent for male actors.  Still, we all know that women in film, no matter how talented they were, were also set up for "the male gaze".  Ok, enough undergrad cinema studies type blather.

2)  I actually really like Joan Fontaine, look how good she was in films like Rebecca  (her best work, in my opinion)  and The Constant Nymph,  and the under-rated Letter From an Unknown Woman.

What's kind of interesting about her appearance throughout her career is, she was able to play female lead characters who were much younger than her age  (in The Constant Nymph,   Joan's  26 and is playing, quite convincingly,  a girl in her teens) until, well,  she wasn't.  

I do think if, in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt ,  if they'd given Joan a softer hair style and more flattering clothes  (maybe that emphasized the slimness of her waist, but nothing "matronly" ) she would have looked better and younger.  It's not so much that she doesn't look attractive, in a snooty kind of way, it's that she looks severe. I know it's to contrast with the stripper girls, but they didn't need to go to such lengths for such a contrast.   

By the way, like all the "strippers" in classic noir, nobody actually strips; they just kind of prance around, at the most they remove some kind of "tail feather" thing at the end of their act  (remember the unfaithful "stripper" wife,  Adele Jergens, in Armoured Car Robbery.)

As for Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, it's one of those movies that impresses you until you start to think about it, after it's over.  SPOILER

SPOILER     Like, did Dana Andrews' character kill that woman before he and Spencer (the anti-capital-punishment newspaper publisher) had talked about capital punishment?  That plan they came up with, did Tom Garrett  (Andrews)  know about that plan even before he murdered his estranged wife? The more you start to think about it, the more  improbable it all becomes.  I think they just hoped the audience would be so shocked at Tom's revelation , 5 minutes before the film's ending, that they wouldn't stop to think about how unlikely it all would be.

ps:  Back to Joan Fontaine:  looking up her filmography,  I see that she was in Kiss the Blood from My Hands.  Despite the over-the-top and off-putting title, this is one I've always wanted to see.  I think it's pretty rare, never known it to be aired on TCM.

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With regards to "strippers in classic noir" a film I hope Eddie Muller will feature as part of Noir Alley is The Crimson Kimono.      This is also a noir 1959 "message" film but here the 'message' is handled well and doesn't reduce the suspense or tension (but instead adds to it).    Directed by Samuel Fuller, and starring James Shigeta,  Glenn Corbett, and Victoria Shaw,  with Gloria Pall as Sugar Torch.     Filmed in Little Tokyo in L.A.  it brings back memories since my mom and I would go to the Buddhist temple shown in the film and walk around the area in the late 60s.  

The-crimson-kimono-1959 poster.jpg

 

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