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The only way I buy Mary Anderson being a "negro," is if she was supposed to be of

mixed race and they were applying the one-drop rule. Other than that, it's pretty idiotic.

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9 hours ago, TomJH said:

It's a film whose story touches on racial prejudice anyway. The producers had to know right off the bat that box office sales in the South might be impacted by that fact moreso than the actual casting of a role in the film by an African American. Going right back to the days of The Birth of a Nation, of course, Hollywood had been notorious for casting white actors as blacks (among other races) in movies. The industry started to become more socially conscious after the war but it was a slow process and, as always, dependant upon the box office, dictated, to a large extent, by primarily white audiences.

I've got a question for anyone who might be up on this more than myself. Was Mary Anderson in Underworld Story the last time that a Caucasian played an African American in the movies? Can anyone think of any other instance after 1950 (the year of this film's release) when the role of a black character was played by an actor or actress who WASN'T black?

Of course there would still be countless times after that when Caucasians were employed playing Indians in westerns or south seas natives (Debra Paget, among others). And there was also Mickey Rooney and Alec Guinness adding to the insult as Orientals. But, as far as black characters were concerned, weren't they the ones that lead the way to being consistently cast by actors who were of that race? My point is that I suspect Underworld Story might be about the last time the movies did this kind of thing.

 

Susan Kohner in Imitation of Life. The African-American singer and actress Juanita Hall is best known for playing Bloody Mary, a Pacific Islander, in South Pacific and a Chinese-American woman in Flower Drum Song.

About Othello: The word "Moor" in Shakespeare's time had two different meanings: 1) A native of Morocco or North Africa; 2) a "blackamoor," the Elizabethan term for someone of African descent. Most Shakespearean actors, including Orson Welles, favored the first definition. Olivier chose the second alternative.

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1 hour ago, Vautrin said:

Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don't need him around, anyhow.  :)

Yeah, I thought of adding this Lynyrd Skynyrd rebuttal to my earlier reference to Neil Young's song, but then thought the better of it.

(...and basically because every time I hear Sweet Home Alabama on the radio and Ronnie Van Zant intoning that last line, I always think to myself, "The hell you DIDN'T, you southern boy you...well, maybe not Ronnie PERSONALLY, but it hadn't been all that long since lynchings would cease being a phenomenon down there)

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1 hour ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

Vautrin:  Are you quoting Lynrd Skynrd (sp?)?  As for Jennifer Jones, Lust in the Dust aka Duel in the Sun anyone?  What about Hedy Lamar saying something like call me Tandalayo (sp?)?

Yes, it's from Sweet Home Alabama. I often can't recall exactly how LS is spelled either. I like both Neil Young

and Skynyrd, so I really don't have a problem with either one. I haven't seen Duel in the Sun in ages. I seem to

recall that Jennifer Jones was made up to look like she was of mixed parentage. Parts of that movie were

certainly over the top in a LOL way.

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

Yeah, I thought of adding this Lynyrd Skynyrd rebuttal to my earlier reference to Neil Young's song, but then thought the better of it.

(...and basically because every time I hear Sweet Home Alabama on the radio and Ronnie Van Zant intoning that last line, I always think to myself, "The hell you DIDN'T, you southern boy you...well, maybe not Ronnie PERSONALLY, but it hadn't been all that long since lynchings would cease being a phenomenon down there)

I've read that Van Zant eventually came to be easier on Young and would sometimes wear a Neil Young tee

shirt in concert and say he admired Young's music. The recent version of Skynyrd seems to be more right

wing than the original. 

 

Good old Sunday mornin', bells are ringin' everywhere
Goin' to Carolina, it won't be long and I'll be there

 

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Tonight's feature is Murder by Contract (1958).     I have seen parts of this on MOVIES but it ran so late I never saw the entire film.

Have seen a young Vince Edwards in a few films and I still don't know what to think of him.    Sometimes he goes into this Mitchum type act and I just want to yell at him and say "hey,, wake up!!!",   but that might be unfair since I don't feel that way towards sleepy eye Bob.

 

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Robert Wagner's monotone voice has always annoyed me.  

Can you imagine Wagner being interviewed by another monotone, Wolf Blitzer?  Oy!

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1 hour ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

Robert Wagner's monotone voice has always annoyed me.  

Can you imagine Wagner being interviewed by another monotone, Wolf Blitzer?  Oy!

Yeah, or maybe even worse Bronxie, R.J. sittin' down with Ben Stein for a little chat.  ;)

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I watched this on YT a few years ago. Pretty decent low budget flick. If I recall it correctly, Vince

Edwards was kind of the cold-blooded professional type who was also a bit of a smart aleck.

And at 80 minutes it moves along at a good pace.

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I liked the film very much, but could someone explain to me the whole Kathie Browne bit? She's a legal secy by day and an escort by night? LOL. How would Edwards (new in town) know where to call to get her to his place? The whole sequence was confusing and made no sense.

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7 hours ago, Hibi said:

How would Edwards (new in town) know where to call to get her to his place?

Where have you been? Cab Drivers, bar tenders, bell hops, shoeshine guys, phone booth walls  (as in "for a good time call.....") ect., etc., 😎

And about the soundtrack I noticed one  piece that was reused for the Beverly Hillbillies, while they are driving away from Glendale Station through the 3rd St. Tunnel and along Pacific Ocean lol.

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I thought MURDER BY CONTRACT was pretty weak.  Vince Edwards was convincing as a cold blooded sociopath, but that is all I found interesting. At times it was almost like a black comedy. I don't know if that was intentional or not.  I made it all the way through simply to hear Eddie at the end.  While others here may disagree, I just didn't think it fit into my definition of noir.

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35 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I thought MURDER BY CONTRACT was pretty weak.  Vince Edwards was convincing as a cold blooded sociopath, but that is all I found interesting. At times it was almost like a black comedy. I don't know if that was intentional or not.  I made it all the way through simply to hear Eddie at the end.  While others here may disagree, I just didn't think it fit into my definition of noir.

Noir is subjective.  Its a dark story plus  a  visual style, not a Genre, what tips a film noir for some may not tip noir for others, don't sweat it. Some folks go  as far as saying a film isn't a Noir if it doesn't have a Detective and a femme fatale.  

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On 6/9/2020 at 6:07 PM, Vautrin said:

I've read that Van Zant eventually came to be easier on Young and would sometimes wear a Neil Young tee

shirt in concert and say he admired Young's music. The recent version of Skynyrd seems to be more right

wing than the original. 

 

Good old Sunday mornin', bells are ringin' everywhere
Goin' to Carolina, it won't be long and I'll be there

 

What is "right wing" about this?  What is the title of the song?

10 hours ago, Hibi said:

I liked the film very much, but could someone explain to me the whole Kathie Browne bit? She's a legal secy by day and an escort by night? LOL. How would Edwards (new in town) know where to call to get her to his place? The whole sequence was confusing and made no sense.

I fully accepted that Kathy Browne was a legal secretary and an escort.  I can even accept that she was more than an "escort."  After all, even legal secretaries weren't paid much back then and the hours could be very, very long with no over-time pay.

Since Edwards had mentioned to the guys that he needed something to occupy his time, I took it that they knew all the right people for this type contact.  She also received the call from a woman and I took it that she was the contact.  She and the guys probably were part of the same "organization" out there.

Always like Kathy Browne when she shows up.  She was in many TV shows around that time.  Apparently this was her first role and I noticed the credits listed her as Cathy Browne.  She had an interesting role at the very end of Man's Favorite Sport.

As for making sense, I think it was a plot device for Edwards to find out that he had killed the wrong woman since the police mis-informed the media.  Which opens up the movie for the third, desperate attempt.

What I found hard to believe was how easily Edwards got into the woman's house.  Particularly crawling in through the storage "box" for the fireplace wood.  In the hot LA summer, the door to the box would probably have been locked with the handle that was obvious.

It was entertaining, but I have always thought Vince Edwards was kind of one-dimensional or wooden.

To me, it is a stretch to call it Noir.

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57 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I thought MURDER BY CONTRACT was pretty weak.  Vince Edwards was convincing as a cold blooded sociopath, but that is all I found interesting. At times it was almost like a black comedy. I don't know if that was intentional or not.  I made it all the way through simply to hear Eddie at the end.  While others here may disagree, I just didn't think it fit into my definition of noir.

In my case, I found the most interesting aspect to the film WAS that black comedy element which entailed the interactions between Vince Edwards' Claude character and his two handlers on the west coast played by Phillip Pine and Herschel Bernardi.

(...and one more note about Edwards' character...a few times while watching him in this, the thought came to me if perhaps Javier Bardem might have seen this film at one time and if he might have taken a few cues from Edwards' performance for his role in No Country for Old Men, as in both cases their hitmen are unemotional to the point of being deadpan while going about their deadly business and with both having and even expressing their own moral justifications for the work they do)

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They could have at least had a brief link scene that explained what was going on. It's not clear what's going on when she first shows up there. Because she worked for a law firm, I thought she had a different agenda. Possibly they didnt want to have that link scene due to the censors. I agree, the whole point of it was for that fact (he'd find out the truth) I still find it hard to believe a prim looking legal secretary would hire herself out as prostitute. I noticed her name in the credits and wondered if it was her due to the different spelling. I've always liked her as well. And remember her from 60s television.

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6 minutes ago, Hibi said:

They could have at least had a brief link scene that explained what was going on. It's not clear what's going on when she first shows up there. Because she worked for a law firm, I thought she had a different agenda. Possibly they didnt want to have that link scene due to the censors. I agree, the whole point of it was for that fact (he'd find out the truth) I still find it hard to believe a prim looking legal secretary would hire herself out as prostitute. I noticed her name in the credits and wondered if it was her due to the different spelling. I've always liked her as well. And remember her from 60s television.

I think the legal secretary connection was to provide a valid source for the confidential information.  And of course she had to be fairly indiscreet in telling Edwards what her uncle, a DA office employee told her.

As for a legal secretary hiring herself out as a prostitute, I'm sure someone has written about that.  

In mid-70's my secretary had quit her job as a legal secretary to come to work for state government.  She said the pay as a legal sec. was only marginally better, but the hours were long and no over-time pay.  Her boss would do nothing all morning and dump stuff on her desk at 4:30 with expectation it would be on his desk the next AM.  Also, there were no benefits.

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20 minutes ago, TheCid said:

It was entertaining, but I have always thought Vince Edwards was kind of one-dimensional or wooden.

Vince Edwards was also in one of the first Neo Noirs a film that's had three different titles, The Mad Bomber, Geronimo, and The Police Connection (1973). 😎

Mad%2BBomber%2B1973.jpg

mad_bomber_poster%2Bsmall.jpg

The_Mad_Bomber_FilmPoster.jpeg

 

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14 minutes ago, TheCid said:

I think the legal secretary connection was to provide a valid source for the confidential information.  And of course she had to be fairly indiscreet in telling Edwards what her uncle, a DA office employee told her.

As for a legal secretary hiring herself out as a prostitute, I'm sure someone has written about that.  

In mid-70's my secretary had quit her job as a legal secretary to come to work for state government.  She said the pay as a legal sec. was only marginally better, but the hours were long and no over-time pay.  Her boss would do nothing all morning and dump stuff on her desk at 4:30 with expectation it would be on his desk the next AM.  Also, there were no benefits.

Well, HELL then! The way you and the whole system treated her, it's NO WONDER why she started turning tricks then dude!!!

LOL

;)

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This is a superficial link but I could not help thinking of the famous music score played by the sitar where a man tries to escape via an underground sewer system, and this one with the use of a guitar and a man trying to escape via an underground pipe.

 

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This movie has a pretty good look despite it's threadbare budget. Eddie's description of it in the opening had me worried, I thought, oh no. It's one the best low budget films I've seen in that respect. The movie reminds me of another contract movie from 1961 Blast of Silence, which serves in a way as a Portrait of a Hit Man. A great voice over and superb shots of New York City, and a leading man who is really good in what I believe was a debut performance. His character is really delved into and we know much more about that hit man that the Vince Edwards version, who character seems without origin, as if emerging out of thin air. He is supposed be so cold and matter of fact but in incapable of killing a woman. That's the most important thing about him. What about all those feelings he doesn't pay attention to?  His tragic flaw is woman, but in a different way.

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20 minutes ago, laffite said:

This is a superficial link but I could not help thinking of the famous music score played by the sitar where a man tries to escape via an underground sewer system, and this one with the use of a guitar and a man trying to escape via an underground pipe.

 

While I liked the overall effect of the solo guitar score sometimes I found the playing a little too pedestrian.      Even my wife said;  hey sometimes you sound better than that!

 

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4 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

While I liked the overall effect of the solo guitar score sometimes I found the playing a little too pedestrian.      Even my wife said;  hey sometimes you sound better than that!

 

When it was first heard at the beginning, I worried that they were going to kill us with it. But it was not so overdone as I thought it might be. Sometimes they just had the base part and no melody was a good idea. Not overdoing it was a good decision.

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1 minute ago, laffite said:

When it was first heard at the beginning, I worried that they were going to kill us with it. But it was not so overdone as I thought it might be. Sometimes they just had the base part and no melody was a good idea. Not overdoing it was a good decision.

I "hear" what you're saying (pun intended).     Too busy \ too much melody could have been a distraction to a scene instead of enhancing it.

Yea,  I wasn't expecting Joe Pass style solo guitar.   

 

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