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22 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I find it odd that neither Eddie Muller nor any of you here, all of whom seem to really enjoy noticing character actors etc.,   has mentioned something I noticed right away:  the actress who plays Johnson's (William Talman) wife is Virginia Huston, who played the "nice" girl, Ann,  in Out of the Past (the girl Mitch's character wants to return to,  as opposed to Jane Greer's Cathy).

Since Eddie always likes talking about the cast and actors who appeared together in more than one noir, I'm surprised he didn't say anything about Miss Huston. The one scene in The Racket she has with Mitchum is very brief, it's right near the end when Mitch's character has to tell her that her husband's just been killed.

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Virginia Huston with Mitch  in "Out of the Past"

 

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and here she is with William Talman in "The Racket"  (admittedly she looks quite different)

 

Great catch Misswonderly3. I didn't recognize her. Like you, I'm surprised Eddie didn't mention that fact. 

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Love Mitchum, as I've always thought he brings something special, different and interesting in every movie he's in...except this one.

(...nope, this was the third time I've watched this film, and I gotta say when some people accuse Mitchum of "sleepwalking" through a movie, this role of his would be their best argument for that thought)

 

 

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I like The Racket. For sure, it's not my favourite noir by a long shot, and it's got some flaws, but I enjoy it none the less. 

I love both the Roberts in this,  Mitchum and Ryan.  Interesting, they're both exceptionally tall men, and those scenes where they're together, confronting each other, you can really see that. Also, that Ryan is just a tad taller than Mitch  (not that this matters at all one way or the other, it's just unusual to see anyone taller than Mitch.) Both these actors have true screen presence, both tend to dominate whatever scene they're in, so it's a treat to see them both in one film  -- of course, we get that in Crossfire as well.

Eddie's background info on Howard Hughes' meddling explained a lot as to the seemingly endless dialogues with the "Acme Insurance Company" and other drawn -out discussions like that.  It's too bad Hughes had so much power in the movies he produced  (I know, in a way they were "his" movies), because it seems that almost always these films would have been better if he'd left them alone. He has a way of cutting and pasting and changing and adding, it's as though a film is a soup for which he can't find the right flavourings and keeps adjusting it.  The cliche "too many cooks spoil the broth" really fits here.

I like Robert Mitchum in anything, so I didn't mind his portrayal of Captain McQuigg, even though, yes, this character seems a bit watered down compared to most of Mitchum's roles.  I did take note that for all his virtuous speeches, he was not above a bit of dishonest behind-the-scenes tweaking to get what he wanted, as Tom's pointed out.  But for some reason it didn't really bother me.

Lizabeth Scott is an actress I can never fully make up my mind about.  I think she smiles too much,  it's almost like a bit of business she does that she thinks her characters would do to get their way.  But she's fine in this, I don't mind her.  I do enjoy the way Robert Ryan calls her "dime-a-dozen";  I'd thought, from previous viewings, that he called her that several times, but it's actually once, in the police station.  I also appreciated that Eddie explained what a "Tommy" was.  Hmm.

My favourite scene in The Racket has to be the one where Mitch bursts into Ryan's apartment to confront him about his corrupt ways and to warn him to not try them in his precinct.  Ryan walks in, wearing a robe and eating an apple.  And he really bites into and eats that apple !  I don't know if Ryan thought of that himself, or if he just "owns" the scene, but I find the apple thing hugely entertaining. Especially when he drops the calm facade, gets angry at McQuigg, and throws the apple across the room.

Anyway, looks like we all agree that Robert Ryan dominates this film.  He is one of my favourite actors, for noir or anything else.  

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To the best of my knowledge the Roberts, Mitchum and Ryan, appeared in two films together, Crossfire and The Racket. As MissW said, they are a pair of dominant actors, though it was Ryan who had the better roles in the two films they shared and it was Ryan who stole both shows.

Despite Ryan's brilliance at playing psychologically wounded individuals, and even racists, it's well known that he was one of Hollywood's liberals and, from what I understand, a  genuinely nice guy. However you couldn't push Ryan around either. Somewhere I heard an anecdote that during the making of Flying Leathernecks Ryan and John Wayne got into such a heated argument (presumably political; Ryan was opposed to McCarthyism, unlike the Duke) that Ryan wanted to take their discussion "outside." Ryan had been a drill sergeant during the war and had a reputation as being good with his fists, having boxed in the ring. Wayne turned down the offer.

One of my favourite Ryan performances is in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch. He brings a face weathered middle aged melancholy to the role of a former bandit forced to lead a hunt against former outlaw compatriots, trapped in this role to keep himself out of prison. But he is accompanied on the hunt by low lives and vultures who care nothing about justice, just the money they can scrounge.

I  remember, in particular, the impassioned invective that Ryan brought to one scene in which he contemptuously blasts the human carrion eaters who accompany him.

"We're looking for MEN!," he explodes, "And I wish TO GOD I was with them!"

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19 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

I find it odd that neither Eddie Muller nor any of you here, all of whom seem to really enjoy noticing character actors etc.,   has mentioned something I noticed right away:  the actress who plays Johnson's (William Talman) wife is Virginia Huston, who played the "nice" girl, Ann,  in Out of the Past (the girl Mitch's character wants to return to,  as opposed to Jane Greer's Cathy).

Since Eddie always likes talking about the cast and actors who appeared together in more than one noir, I'm surprised he didn't say anything about Miss Huston. The one scene in The Racket she has with Mitchum is very brief, it's right near the end when Mitch's character has to tell her that her husband's just been killed.

image.jpeg.5fd48b1d5bc5347f09964d52bedb3754.jpeg

Virginia Huston with Mitch  in "Out of the Past"

 

image.jpeg.dcfe11c3a3ebb0ddca3ca1c3ae8eaba5.jpeg

and here she is with William Talman in "The Racket"  (admittedly she looks quite different)

 

I noticed her in the credits, but I didn't recognize her as the wife due to the hairdo. I thought when the film ended it must've been her in that role.

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I've seen the film before and it's pretty good. Mostly for the performances. Never liked the fact you never find out who the big boss is at the end. No big reveal. Like the writers forgot about it. The big climax is a bit murky. I, too, found Scott's hooking up with the nerdy reporter hard to swallow also. Was her singing dubbed?

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Destination Murder.  Watched this one this morning and another of those that I had seen in the past.  A good movie in that it is entertaining and fairly short (72 mins.).  Again, Eddie does a good job of explaining why the movie is significant and why we should enjoy it.  I did.

Macao is on next week with Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell and William Bendix.

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I also enjoyed Destination: Murder, which I had never heard of. Great intro by Eddie Muller. I loved every wild twist of the plot. Hurd Hatfield is well cast as a guy with the line, "I don't like dames." So naturally a dame like Myrna Dell takes that as a challenge, and then . . . (but no spoilers). Nicely acted and directed. So much fun.

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51 minutes ago, kingrat said:

I also enjoyed Destination: Murder, which I had never heard of. Great intro by Eddie Muller. I loved every wild twist of the plot. Hurd Hatfield is well cast as a guy with the line, "I don't like dames." So naturally a dame like Myrna Dell takes that as a challenge, and then . . . (but no spoilers). Nicely acted and directed. So much fun.

I enjoyed it as well. Through the whole movie I kept wondering where I'd seen Hurd Hatfield before and finally realized he played Dorian Grey.  I also liked Eddie's intro and epilogue. His comments make some of these "run of the mill" noirs much more interesting. 

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Only one comment on Destination Murder? I thought I hadnt seen it, but as I started watching it, it seemed familiar and I realized I had seen it, but I'd forgotten a lot of the plot, so it was like watching it for the first time (allmost). A lot of twists and turns in the plotting. Very entertaining little B! I was surprised Eddie didnt bring up the scene where Hurd Hatfield told the blonde (forgot her name) He HATED dames and she responds, You're not a real man! (or something similar) LOL.

 

I actually posted this after Cid's but I forgot to post it and it was still sitting there.

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On 6/3/2020 at 11:08 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

 

 

 

 

the 1991 A KISS BEFORE DYING is pretty bad- it makes the odd choice of being INTENSELY GRAPHIC in the death of the first sister, who is also played by SEAN YOUNG- the camera follows her down and her head hits the pavement and we SEE SOME REAL SICK SPLATTER**. I don't think you can find the scene on youtube. SEAN YOUNG has a delivery VERY MUCH LIKE THAT OF VIRGINIA LEITH- their unusual voices- are a lot alike. MATT DILLON is really out of his depth...ie one of those modernistic bird baths that hold, like, half an inch of water.

I don't really like the 1956(?) KISS either though- both of them, surprisingly, pale in comparison to the source novel by IRA LEVIN- which uses a fascinating trick on the reader that is pretty much exclusive to the art of the written word (we read, but we cannot see, and thus we miss something right in front of our eyes.)

The ending the LEVIN NOVEL is (spoiler) MUCH BETTER THAN EITHER, although I don't recall the ending of the 1991 version...the "HERO" of our story (early Patrick Bateman prototype) falls into a vat of (I think) molten gold. I will always remember I read it in an illustrated edition and the artist's rendering was MARVELOUS.

**I SOMETIMES wonder if this was retaliation on Sean Young, Bless her heart, she's a handful. Allegedly. mAYBE THey were also goign for a JANET LEIGH in PSYCHO but not really and EVEN SICKER SHOCK TRICK.

I watched the remake of A Kiss Before Dying last night on HBO on Demand. The original film definitely is the better film [a 7.5 compared to a 6 for the remake], even if the original was not a masterpiece. (I have not read the book) That said there were some intriguing elements to it for me. I was more impressed with Dillon's performance than you were, and Young grew on me the longer the film went on, though her voice was off-putting at first. Some of the visual design of the remake was quite impressive. Was upset that Max Von Sydow and Diane Ladd had so little to do.

But yes, the gore was too much. I wrote an entire review of the film on another website, which I am enclosing here, and could not help but mention that first death scene, and how it was not just much more graphic, but also placed almost immediately after the newer film opens, instead of the slow burn of the original. I was stunned by how bloody it was, just like I was stunned when the remake also served up on camera strangulation and dismemberment later on.

Regarding the ending of the 1991 film, Dillon gets run over by a freight train that is owned by his father-in-law while trying to pursue and kill the other Sean Young. This was the ending that was used in theatres. It was not the first filmed. the original ending filmed did follow the end of Levin's book with Dillon getting killed after falling into a vat of molten steel. Unfortunately, test audieces did not like the ending so the other one was filmed. Only still images and brief footage in the trailer exist of the original ending; it was not included on the bare bones DVD release, largely because the film didn't go over well with critics or audiences.

Here's my review of the remake:

Quote

Another day, another mixed experience of a movie.... A Kiss Before Dying is based on an Ira Levin novel from the 50s which was originally made into a movie in 1956. Having seen that particular version before, I settled in thinking I knew what was going to happen. Well, this remake obviously felt that the original film didn't have enough murders, so the film does not just have one murder (or the two in the book), it has four. In fact, the first demise, that of Dorothy (one of two sisters that Sean Young plays here), is pushed forward from almost halfway through the story to only 7 minutes into the film. 

At this particular juncture it is important to note the differences between the films; 1956 was a subtle slow-burn; Joanne Woodward had plenty of time to create great sympathy for the doomed sister via her performance and while she was pushed to her death, we only heard the scream. Here, we hardly have a chance to know the victim and the film revels in showing her blood and guts spraying everywhere post-fall; it clearly sets up that this film isn't going to be subtle, and the high gore only prepares us so much for the strangulations and dismemberment that await us later on, in twists not originally there.

The person at the center of all of this psychotic activity is Jonathan, played by Matt Dillon, in a chilling performance. I kind of think he plays up the coldness of the character more so than Robert Wagner did in 1956, but its still a very creepy performance and kind of feels like a prologue to his even more deranged killer in the notorious 2018 film The House That Jack Built. Sean Young, meanwhile, had the misfortune of winning two Razzies for the film for both of her characterizations. It takes a while to get used to her here; she doesn't have enough time to register as the doomed sister, and as the other sister, whom Jonathan callously pursues for self-gain, her line readings seems flat and stunned, almost as though she was still smarting from the push early on. Once one gets used to her voice though, she improves, and she is generally effective in the film's final act, especially with her facial expressions. It's not a great performance, but its better than the double Razzies indicate.

Max Von Sydow and Diane Ladd are only here for name value; they get precious little screentime, and both are expendable to the story at large. The script unfortunately in its punchy drive to up the gore loses the creeping malevolence that drove the earlier film; the direction and cinematography make up for it somewhat with some very interesting visual ideas. Again, like most remakes, it does not measure up to the original film, still there are things here that are interestingly handled, although this is not for the squeamish.

 

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On 6/1/2020 at 1:40 PM, Hibi said:

Sean Young won 2 RAZZIES for the film! Worst Actress and Worst Supporting Actress! I wonder if that's ever been done before??

She was the first to win two Razzies for the same film; Adam Sandler repeated the same trick in 2011. Eddie Murphy did them one better; he won THREE Razzies for the same film in 2007 (for playing his main character, an elderly Asian character, and an obese woman). Madonna also won two Razzies in the same year, but for different films.

Young wasn't the greatest, but better in A Kiss Before Dying than the double whammy would indicate. Especially when you had such low water marks for Sally Field (Not Without My Daughter) and Julia Roberts (Hook) present in the leading and supporting lineups respectively.

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How could Murphy win for 3? Did they create a special category for the third one??? They awarded 2 supporting actor awards that year? LOL.

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Just now, Hibi said:

How could Murphy win for 3? Did they create a special category for the third one??? They awarded 2 supporting actor awards that year? LOL.

His performance in drag got a special "Supporting Actress" designation. It's not on the up and up, but it probably relieved the other nominees in that particular category (Julia Ormond, Nicolette Sheridan, Carmen Electra, and Jessica Biel)

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27 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

His performance in drag got a special "Supporting Actress" designation. It's not on the up and up, but it probably relieved the other nominees in that particular category (Julia Ormond, Nicolette Sheridan, Carmen Electra, and Jessica Biel)

LOL. Too funny.

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On 9/14/2020 at 5:59 PM, midwestan said:

Well, Bronxgirl, I don't mind his voice at all.  To me, it's much, much less annoying than say, Ned Sparks or Andy Devine (I've got nothing against these guys, by the way)!

As Dargo mentioned earlier, Craig was in "The Strip" which starred Mickey Rooney.  Craig also played with Rooney in "The Human Comedy", which was made in 1943 and featured a good supporting cast all the way around.  Craig was in "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" with Edward G. Robinson, Agnes Moorehead, Margaret O'Brien, Frances Gifford, and Butch Jenkins.  He was also the male lead in "Lost Angel" with Margaret O'Brien, Marsha Hunt, and Keenan Wynn.  He was part of a stellar cast in "While The City Sleeps" where he was 'the other man' sleeping around with the voluptuous Rhonda Fleming who was more turned on by Craig than her co-starring husband (played by Vincent Price).  He was also in "Fort Vengeance" where he and his brother (Keith Larsen) join the Mounties after a Montana posse chases them into Canada following a rigged card game and subsequent saloon shooting (instigated by Larsen).  Craig turns over a new leaf and becomes a model Mountie, but Larsen reverts to his cheating ways and besmirches the family name.   A young Rita Moreno is also in this picture.

"Side Street" has been shown several times on TCM.  Craig plays a mobster who is as cold-hearted as they come.  Farley Granger has come across some money...a LOT of money...by accident.  It belongs to Craig and his syndicate, and he'll do anything to get it back.  He strangle-kisses poor Jean Hagen in the back seat of a cab, then later, he shoots the poor cabbie in the back when the taxi driver decides he doesn't want to be a chauffeur for the mob anymore.  Of note, the cab driver was played by Harry Bellaver, who's brother and sister-in-law lived in the house that I now occupy (closest to silver screen fame I'll ever get!).

He was also in "The Heavenly Body" with William Powell and Hedy Lamarr.  He was in "Valley of the Sun" with Lucille Ball and Dean Jagger.  He was also in "Unexpected Uncle" with Ann Shirley and Charles Coburn.  And finally, he played in "Kismet" opposite Ronald Colman, Marlene Dieterich, and Joy Page.  Those are just a few of the films in his filmography.  According to his bio, he graduated from Rice and had designs on going into the medical profession, but a trip to southern California resulted in him catching the acting bug instead.  Once he retired from the big screen and television, he did rather well in the real estate business.

There isn't much to tell about his private life or how he got along with his co-stars on the set.  The only negative thing I read about him was from Joan Leslie, who co-starred with Craig in "Northwest Stampede" in 1948.  She said he was stand-offish and arrogant, and she didn't like him.  The only excuse I could offer for that is that his 3-year old son died that year, so he may have been feeling the sting of the death, or if the kid had a prolonged illness before he died, that could have weighed on him as well.  He was married 4 times (divorced twice, one wife died, and one marriage was annulled).  He had four kids from his first marriage (which lasted 20 years).  He played in a couple of movies with Margaret O'Brien and as many as 4 films with Butch Jenkins.  I would guess somebody like that would have had a decent rapport with kids, otherwise, the studio where he worked would have hesitated to put him in pictures with such youngsters. 

midwestan, I'm so sorry for my late reply, but I've been going through some rough s**t lately.  (pardon my French)  Thanks for all that detail on Craig -- much appreciated.  I have to confess that I actually do prefer the voices of Ned Sparks and/or Andy Devine over James -- please forgive me, but I'm open to seeing the other films you mention.

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24 minutes ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

When Eddie said that the lead actress in DESTINATION: MURDER was only 20 years old, I could hardly believe it.  She looked at least 30.   Hurd and Albert made a perfect icky pair.

 

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14 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

 

Yeah, I thought so too. She looked much older.

One thing about the script I didnt like was you don't see the "suicide". It's just talked about. Unsure if it was cut, or that's how it was filmed.

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15 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:
15 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

When Eddie said that the lead actress in DESTINATION: MURDER was only 20 years old, I could hardly believe it.  She looked at least 30.   Hurd and Albert made a perfect icky pair.

  15 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

When Eddie said that the lead actress in DESTINATION: MURDER was only 20 years old, I could hardly believe it.  She looked at least 30.   Hurd and Albert made a perfect icky pair.

I think a lot of actresses looked older in that era because of how they dressed, make-up, hair styles, etc.  from that period.  How they played the role probably had some effect as well, as in more mature.

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1 hour ago, ElCid said:

I think a lot of actresses looked older in that era because of how they dressed, make-up, hair styles, etc.  from that period.  How they played the role probably had some effect as well, as in more mature.

People look older in BLACK AND WHITE as well.

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14 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

People look older in BLACK AND WHITE as well.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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If you would like some additional material from Eddie this week, he was the host for the primetime theme Wednesday evening, entitled “Scoundrels & Spitballers.”  The topic is based on a book that Eddie’s company published this year, with full title Scoundrels & Spitballers: Writers and Hollywood in the 1930s, written by Philippe Garnier.

Eddie did the introductions and wrap-ups for 4 films:

Hard To Handle (1933)
The Beast of the City (1932)
They Live by Night (1948) (Eddie introduced this as part of Noir Alley in 2017)
One Way Passage (1932)

Based on the theme, Eddie concentrated on the writers of these films in his introductions.  All 4 films are currently available together with Eddie’s material on WatchTCM.  It appears they will be posted there through November 20 if you have access to the service.

TCM’s article on the theme is at:

TCM - Scoundrels and Spitballers: Writers and Hollywood in the 1930s

 

As an aside, I'm not sure if Eddie shot the video at his home, but the introductions have a very elegant-looking background.  Much more formal than what we are currently seeing on Noir Alley.

Wttvppm.jpg

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47 minutes ago, cmovieviewer said:

If you would like some additional material from Eddie this week, he was the host for the primetime theme Wednesday evening, entitled “Scoundrels & Spitballers.”  The topic is based on a book that Eddie’s company published this year, with full title Scoundrels & Spitballers: Writers and Hollywood in the 1930s, written by Philippe Garnier.

Eddie did the introductions and wrap-ups for 4 films:

Hard To Handle (1933)
The Beast of the City (1932)
They Live by Night (1948) (Eddie introduced this as part of Noir Alley in 2017)
One Way Passage (1932)

Based on the theme, Eddie concentrated on the writers of these films in his introductions.  All 4 films are currently available together with Eddie’s material on WatchTCM.  It appears they will be posted there through November 20 if you have access to the service.

TCM’s article on the theme is at:

TCM - Scoundrels and Spitballers: Writers and Hollywood in the 1930s

 

As an aside, I'm not sure if Eddie shot the video at his home, but the introductions have a very elegant-looking background.  Much more formal than what we are currently seeing on Noir Alley.

This was a great series of films. I watched all of them except One Way Passage. I’ve seen ‘Passage,’ but I DVR’d it. 

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