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17 hours ago, Vautrin said:

I believe that he wasn't thinking very straight at the time, due perhaps to feelings of guilt and paranoia,

and just runs off and commits suicide by train. The ending is pretty delicious when the audience learns

that the body wouldn't have been discovered anyway. A little reminiscent of many episodes of Alfred

Hitchcock Presents that had twist endings. 

 

It's also ridiculous they would dig as deep as they did. The guy just threw some seeds on the ground. They didnt need to dig several feet to dig them up in one season! (doubt it no matter how many seasons occurred).

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12 hours ago, Vautrin said:

You are correct. I must have had a minute of brain freeze. So then he would have been in the slightly less

embarrassing position of having murdered his brother-in-law's father. I had to laugh at how quickly his

sister whipped off her glasses when introduced to the son.  Zipppp.

LOL. And she had that squinty look. Nice touch. I hate how characters in older films take off their glasses when undergoing a make over and act like they don't need them anymore.

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21 hours ago, Vautrin said:

For the most part I liked Los Tallos Amargos. Not great, but good enough. It usually makes things a 

bit more interesting if the story is set in another country where things are done a little differently.

The journalism scam was a little confusing. I'm guessing that they charged a lot for something that

cost very little, lessons made on a mimeograph machine. Could have made a lot of dough off something

like that, at least in the short run. And I give Alfredo credit for not falling for the rookie mistake of not

digging deep enough, the Shallow Grave Syndrome. Now if only he had been into botany he would

have realized that the plant only needed to be transplanted a little way in the ground. Instead he got

splatted by the train. That must have hurt like hell. Even without the Production Code the killer was

punished in the end. He did miss the rather embarrassing position of being the father-in-law to the

son whose father he had killed. Every cloud has a silver lining. 

 

This post should win the award for posts.

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8 hours ago, Hibi said:

It's also ridiculous they would dig as deep as they did. The guy just threw some seeds on the ground. They didnt need to dig several feet to dig them up in one season! (doubt it no matter how many seasons occurred).

I agree with that, but It was good to see a killer taking the time and effort to dig a true grave instead of

these one foot deep jobs that today's young slacker killers favor. 

I guess Dorothy Parker had reached Argentina by the mid 1950s. If a person is good looking, glasses don't

really make much of a difference unless the glasses themselves are truly hideous.

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I finally was able to catch Los Tallos Armargos this morning on Kailua, on my phone while battling a 6 hour jet lag laying on a couch. Holding the screen about a foot from my face gave a reasonable facsimile to a large screen TV effect. Great film, great cinematography, though I did figure out the seeds would come into play as soon as I saw them, lol.

 

 

 

 

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Late as usual with my comments on the latest Noir Alley feature.  Oh well...

So, I liked Los Tallos Amargos.  Liked it, not loved it.  I agree with Hibi that the journalism school venture seemed a bit unlikely and un-noirish.  And while it was a bit sketchy,  it wasn't exactly a big crime operation.  A couple of people -- I think one of his fellow journalists on the legitimate paper /magazine the main guy worked for,  and his wife,  both told him  (Alfredo, that's the character's name )  they thought it sounded like "swindling".  Maybe it was,   but it also seemed like they weren't really hurting anyone,  and they still had to work pretty hard, as far as I could tell.

But I think we're supposed to believe that it was when these two people put the idea into his head that it was sketchy,   what's up with this guy who's supposed to be his partner anyway  ?,  etc.,  that Alfredo started getting suspicious.  Did this Hungarian guy's family even exist?  That was when he decided to spy on the partner  ("Luidas")  to see if he was being taken for a fool.  

Maybe the moral of the story is,  don't rely on partially overheard conversations to get at the truth.  The scene where he follows Luidas and listens  in on  a conversation Luidas has with some woman makes a big point of how loud the music in the nightclub was, and how there were many moments when Alfredo could not entirely discern what Luidas was saying.

So he bases his whole plan to kill the poor guy based on a few random moments of statements he think Luidas made which he did not hear properly.  And his plan begs the question...how come he has to kill Luidas anyway?  Wouldn't it be a better idea,  and even more profitable, to simply confront him about what he heard?  Even if he didn't believe Luidas' explanation regarding his talk with the nightclub woman, he could have forced Luidas to pay him back all the money he'd given him.   Or something.  

Instead he lures the poor guy to his family's home in the country and bashes him on the head to death.  Nice.

I have no sympathy for Alfredo, but I have a little for the man he killed  (even though yes,  Luidas did yak on a lot.)  

Like everyone else here,  I knew those seeds were going to come back somehow to haunt him.  I actually had a bit of a Jack-in-the-beanstalk moment, by which all I mean is,  I was reminded of that folk tale, what with the seeds  and all.  

I also agree with those who have seen a gay subtext in the film.  Luidas seems so interested in Alfredo when they first meet.  Yes, supposedly it's because he overhears Alfredo say he's a journalist.  But I don't know, his stare is so intense.  And Alfredo seems almost jealous when he sees Luidas meet with the nightclub woman  (Elena?)  He also seems jealous of her later,  when Luidas' son dances with her.  And I feel sorry for Alfredo's wife, in whom he appears to have no interest whatsoever.

There's no question that the suicide on the tracks ending would not have been permitted in an American film from that time.  But I thought Alfredo was a horrible person who deserved to pay for the murder of his partner, whether the body was discovered in his mother's backyard or not.  (Yup, ironic that it was not but Alfredo never knew that.)   And I agree with Vautrin , who pointed out that had Alfredo lived, it would have been very weird for him to be the brother-in-law of the son of the man he'd killed.  Killed for no reason,  I emphasize   ( unless, like Hibi, you think  Luidas drove Alfredo to murder by committing the crime of never shutting up! )

 

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54 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

But I thought Alfredo was a horrible person who deserved to pay for the murder of his partner

Nice write up, but I'm surprised you would label Alfredo a horrible person.     Maybe I missed something but when Alfredo committed the murder,  didn't he believe he was justified?   I.e. that Luidas had indeed cheated and betrayed him?      As you mention Alfredo should have done a lot more due-diligence to ensure any action he took was based on sound info.     But does not doing so make one "a horrible person"?      I don't think so.   It makes them a noir protagonist.     Of course maybe I'm just splitting hairs here.

 

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4 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Nice write up, but I'm surprised you would label Alfredo a horrible person.     Maybe I missed something but when Alfredo committed the murder,  didn't he believe he was justified?   I.e. that Luidas had indeed cheated and betrayed him?      As you mention Alfredo should have done a lot more due-diligence to ensure any action he took was based on sound info.     But does not doing so make one "a horrible person"?      I don't think so.   It makes them a noir protagonist.     Of course maybe I'm just splitting hairs here.

 

This has come up before, I think it was either Dargo or Sepiatone who pointed out the obvious to me, as though I didn't already know it:  it was a comment I made about the murder of Cora's husband Nick,  in The Postman Always Rings Twice.  I'd said I found both Cora and Frank unsympathetic because they cold-bloodedly murdered Nick --  even after their first attempt didn't work,  when you'd think they'd have taken that as a sign and changed their minds !   I also said that while Nick was obtuse and dull,  he didn't deserve to die.

This observation prompted a reply from  one of our regulars here   ( I think  Sepiatone) who said something to the effect of,   "  Of course Nick didn't "deserve" to get murdered,  that's the whole point,  it's a noir !   "  as though I were unfamiliar with the trope of the murder of undeserving people in film noir.

Anyway, I will state this clearly, and I know it might generate a lot of disagreement,  or even revulsion   (kidding)  from the hard core noir fans here.

I love film noir, it's pretty much my favourite type  /style of movie.  And I'm very familiar with noir,  I've seen a lot of them,  many times. "That said", the type of noir in which an innocent person gets killed, especially not by accident but because the main character(s) wants that individual dead and has planned the murder,  is NOT my favourite type of noir.   Yes, noir is meant to be dark and iterate that life is unfair, blah blah,  it's all about crime and death and the dark side of human nature.

But there are actually many noirs in which there are no murders of innocent people  (hey,  I didn't say "no murders, period",  I said of innocent people.   People who do not deserve to die. )  And I prefer that type of noir story to the ones where some poor sap gets whacked for no reason except the protagonist has decided they want that person dead.

Of course Alfredo is a horrible person.  He decides to kill someone, based on false information.  So, first, he should have, as you say, have done "due diligence" to make sure Luidas really was lying to him and cheating him  (which  it turns out he wasn't.)

But even if Luidas had been scamming him,    that's still no "justification " for murdering the guy.  As I said in my earlier post,  why didn't Alfredo just confront him about what he'd heard?  He seemed to have the upper hand, from a physically daunting angle,  so he could have threatened to kill or at least seriously hurt Luidas unless Luidas returned all the money he'd taken from Alfredo.  They could have worked something out.

I guess I'm betraying some kind of noir principle here, but yes,  I think anyone who murders another person like that is "a horrible person".   So sue me.

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

This has come up before, I think it was either Dargo or Sepiatone who pointed out the obvious to me, as though I didn't already know it:  it was a comment I made about the murder of Cora's husband Nick,  in The Postman Always Rings Twice.  I'd said I found both Cora and Frank unsympathetic because they cold-bloodedly murdered Nick --  even after their first attempt didn't work,  when you'd think they'd have taken that as a sign and changed their minds !   I also said that while Nick was obtuse and dull,  he didn't deserve to die.

This observation prompted a reply from  one of our regulars here   ( I think  Sepiatone) who said something to the effect of,   "  Of course Nick didn't "deserve" to get murdered,  that's the whole point,  it's a noir !   "  as though I was unfamiliar with the trope of the murder of undeserving people in film noir.

Anyway, I will state this clearly, and I know it might generate a lot of disagreement,  or even revulsion   (kidding)  from the hard core noir fans here.

I love film noir, it's pretty much my favourite type  /style of movie.  And I'm very familiar with noir,  I've seen a lot of them,  many times. "That said", the type of noir in which an innocent person gets killed, especially not by accident but because the main character(s) wants that individual dead and has planned the murder,  is NOT my favourite type of noir.   Yes, noir is meant to be dark and iterate that life is unfair, blah blah,  it's all about crime and death and the dark side of human nature.

But there are actually many noirs in which there are no murders of innocent people  (hey,  I didn't say "no murders, period",  I said of innocent people.   People who do not deserve to die. )  And I prefer that type of noir story to the ones where some poor sap gets whacked for no reason except the protagonist has decided they want that person dead.

Of course Alfredo is a horrible person.  He decides to kill someone, based on false information.  So, first, he should have, as you say, have done "due diligence" to make sure Luidas really was lying to him and cheating him  (which  it turns out he wasn't.)

But even if Luidas had been scamming him,    that's still no "justification " for murdering the guy.  As I said in my earlier post,  why didn't Alfredo just confront him about what he'd heard?  He seemed to have the upper hand, from a physically daunting angle,  so he could have threatened to kill or at least seriously hurt Luidas unless Luidas returned all the money he'd taken from Alfredo.  They could have worked something out.

I guess I'm betraying some kind of noir principle here, but yes,  I think anyone who murders another person like that is "a horrible person".   So sue me.

Tweren't ME, MissW.

However, I CAN understand your confusion here though, and seein' as how that SEPIA guy STOLE my whole overuse of the uppercase in order to imply conversational inflection grammatical shtick around here YEARS ago! BUT of course, HE'LL never admit this!!!

Nope, all I ever remember tellin' you about The Postman Always Rings Twice was that MY mailman NEVER rang twice!

(...oh, and MAYBE that I never thought Lana Turner was all that hot UNTIL I watched this flick for the first time...yeah, maybe that too)

;)

 

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

Tweren't ME, MissW.

However, I CAN understand your confusion here though, and seein' as how that SEPIA guy STOLE my whole overuse of the uppercase in order to imply conversational inflection grammatical shtick around here YEARS ago! BUT of course, HE'LL never admit this!!!

Nope, all I ever remember tellin' you about The Postman Always Rings Twice was that MY mailman NEVER rang twice!

(...oh, and MAYBE that I never thought Lana Turner was all that hot UNTIL I watched this flick for the first time...yeah, maybe that too)

;)

 

Right, Dargo, it wasn't you who reminded me that noir was "supposed to be dark".  I think I did clear that up a little later in my post.

But I'm a little disappointed that the most interesting thing to you about my post was my "confusion" as to whether it was you or Sepiatone who made that comment to me  (regarding what I'd said about "The Postman Always Rings Twice".)   After all that trouble I went to to make a point about a certain type of storyline in film noir,  I'd like to hear more from you as to what I said,  not who I quoted .

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

Right, Dargo, it wasn't you who reminded me that noir was "supposed to be dark".  I think I did clear that up a little later in my post.

But I'm a little disappointed that the most interesting thing to you about my post was my "confusion" as to whether it was you or Sepiatone who made that comment to me  (regarding what I'd said about "The Postman Always Rings Twice".)   After all that trouble I went to to make a point about a certain type of storyline in film noir,  I'd like to hear more from you as to what I said,  not who I quoted .

Well, in THAT case, and in MY case, and seein' as how my attempt at humor in the above posting apparently didn't tickle your funny bone at all this time MissW, AND if ya wanna get all serious about this here...

I personally have no problem or at least don't hold it against any noirs that show "innocent people" getting bumped off somewhere along the way, as this sort of thing unfortunately happens in real life all the time, and so might make the narrative in such a noir seem even more true to life and reflect and expose an even darker aspects of the human condition.

Now, I DO agree with you and took note of it myself while watching The Bitter Stems the other night that the MOTIVATION for the Alfredo character to commit the murder that he did, did NOT seem all that well presented and seemed to be truncated in its presentation and questioned why he --and who btw I do NOT think was "evil" or "horrible" but just more an extremely frustrated and desperate man with and about his own life--would take such a drastic step and instead of just confronting Liudas with his suspicions.

(...there...is THAT better?)  ;)

 

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8 hours ago, Dargo said:

.

I personally have no problem or at least don't hold it against any noirs that show "innocent people" getting bumped off somewhere along the way, as this sort of thing unfortunately happens in real life all the time, and so might make the narrative in such a noir seem even more true to life and reflect and expose an even darker aspects of the human condition.

Now, I DO agree with you and took note of it myself while watching The Bitter Stems the other night that the MOTIVATION for the Alfredo character to commit the murder that he did, did NOT seem all that well presented and seemed to be truncated in its presentation and questioned why he --and who btw I do NOT think was "evil" or "horrible" but just more an extremely frustrated and desperate man with and about his own life--would take such a drastic step and instead of just confronting Liudas with his suspicions.

 

 

It's not so much that I " hold it against   any noirs showing innocent people getting bumped off";   off course people in real life get killed all the time, and it follows that characters in movies will also get killed,  deserving of such a fate or otherwise.  

I think it's more that most of the time in movies,  and especially in film noir,  we see events through the main character's eyes, we experience the story from that person's point-of-view, and in that respect,  we're in a way expected to "side" with the protagonist, or at least, have some kind of sympathetic view of them.  We're kind of vicariously experiencing, thinking,  and feeling whatever the protagonist is thinking.  And I just can't get with a protagonist who wants to kill someone arbitrarily. 

There are actually a ton of great noirs that don't present a protagonist who plans to kill an innocent person  ( although they might end up killing someone ).  Just to name a few:  Out of the Past,  Gilda,  The Big Heat,  Act of Violence, Laura  (the murder of the innocent woman in this happens offscreen before the film even begins), This Gun for Hire,  (again, yup, paid assassin, but he doesn't kill anyone who's not involved with his "work", and he rejects his initial intention to kill Lake's character ),  Murder, My Sweet, They Live by Night....  there are actually lots of classic noirs that aren't about a protagonist bent upon murdering an unsuspecting innocent person.   

Anyway,  the "Bitter Stems" character, Alfredo, was in my view a "horrible" person because he very carefully, with much calculation, planned to murder his partner because he thought the partner was cheating him.  Most people don't kill someone just because of that  --confront them, beat them up if you must,  but no need to whack them on the head and bury them in the garden.  And while such actions are seen by most noir fans as "hey, that's noir for you",  and while I do like such films from a   "the world is dark"  and therefore so is noir  perspective,  I still say anyone who acts as Alfredo did is, at the very least,  not a sympathetic character in my book.  He didn't even feel any real remorse after he discovered he was mistaken about Luidas,  he just started worrying about getting caught. 

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15 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

It's not so much that I " hold it against   any noirs showing innocent people getting bumped off";   off course people in real life get killed all the time, and it follows that characters in movies will also get killed,  deserving of such a fate or otherwise.  

I think it's more that most of the time in movies,  and especially in film noir,  we see events through the main character's eyes, we experience the story from that person's point-of-view, and in that respect,  we're in a way expected to "side" with the protagonist, or at least, have some kind of sympathetic view of them.  We're kind of vicariously experiencing, thinking,  and feeling whatever the protagonist is thinking.  And I just can't get with a protagonist who wants to kill someone arbitrarily. 

There are actually a ton of great noirs that don't present a protagonist who plans to kill an innocent person  ( although they might end up killing someone ).  Just to name a few:  Out of the Past,  Gilda,  The Big Heat,  Act of Violence, Laura  (the murder of the innocent woman in this happens offscreen before the film even begins), This Gun for Hire,  (again, yup, paid assassin, but he doesn't kill anyone who's not involved with his "work", and he rejects his initial intention to kill Lake's character ),  Murder, My Sweet, They Live by Night....  there are actually lots of classic noirs that aren't about a protagonist bent upon murdering an unsuspecting innocent person.   

Anyway,  the "Bitter Stems" character, Alfredo, was in my view a "horrible" person because he very carefully, with much calculation, planned to murder his partner because he thought the partner was cheating him.  Most people don't kill someone just because of that  --confront them, beat them up if you must,  but no need to whack them on the head and bury them in the garden.  And while such actions are seen by most noir fans as "hey, that's noir for you",  and while I do like such films from a   "the world is dark"  and therefore so is noir  perspective,  I still say anyone who acts as Alfredo did is, at the very least,  not a sympathetic character in my book.  He didn't even feel any real remorse after he discovered he was mistaken about Luidas,  he just started worrying about getting caught. 

I can understand your reasoning here.  It makes sense.

I'm curious though. I haven't seen Postman in quite a few years but as I remember (admittedly I might be completely wrong) Garfield and Turner weren't the typical Noire femme fatale and duped patsy villains. They killed Nick because they saw it as the only way out of her marriage financially. So I can see your point about disliking them more for killing the innocent Nick but do you have the same opinion of the traditional duped patsy who kills an innocent victim because the femme fatale convinced him to do it like Fred McMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity or William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in Body Heat?

I like your well thought out reasoning for your opinion on Postman and I'd be interested to hear if you feel that the patsy who's duped into killing an innocent is just as reprehensible.

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We knew something was wrong with Alfredo from the beginning — living with his mother and suffering nightmares whenever he slept, his coworkers trying to bring him back to “reality,” the relationship with his girlfriend.  All of that intro could have been done better but I viewed him as off his nut from the get go.  The actor was so good that he was believable as a normal person, hiding everything.  The gay angle is right there, and you wonder if Luidas doesn’t exploit it.  The whole scheme is his, and the past he tells, he’s a natural manipulator.  He’s not exactly innocent.  In the beginning.  Only later do we learn different.  That’s one of things I find interesting about this film — you see things in hindsight.

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I've seen that commercial before several times; think I saw it late at night on my local MeTV channel during a break from "The Twilight Zone" or some such.  DOWN THERE! 

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Well, I haven't visited this thread in a few weeks. It appears to me it's really gone off the rails. I hope Eddie shows something this weekend to get us back on track. 

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tonight's entries are:

8:00
pm
bloodsimple1984.69149.jpg?w=900
Blood Simple (1984)
1h 35m | Suspense/Mystery | TV-MA
An owner of a seedy small-town Texas bar discovers one of his employees is havin...
Director
Joel Coen
Cast
John Getz, Frances Mcdormand, Dan Hedaya
 
10:00
pm
nightmoves1975.84889.jpg?w=900
Night Moves (1975)
1h 39m | Suspense/Mystery | TV-MA
An L.A. private detective puts aside his own marital woes while tracing a toples...
Director
Arthur Penn
Cast
Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark
 
11:45
pm
cuttersway1981.72046.jpg?w=900
Cutter's Way (1981)
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I haven't seen CUTTER'S WAY or NIGHT MOVES, although I've heard a lot of good things about both.

I apologize if this turns into a derailing or offends any of you COENITES out there, but I tried watching BLOOD SIMPLE the last time it aired and frankly I thought it sucked.

There. i said it.

author's note: I'm recovering from a late-night visit from the Migraine Fairy, so there is no governor on my mood today. get your knickers in as much of a twist as you want over it, but I hate the Coen brothers and I detested the half an hour of BLOOD SIMPLE that I was able to sit through.

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22 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

It's not so much that I " hold it against   any noirs showing innocent people getting bumped off"

Innocent! The man was a heartless, self centered, drunken, road hazard ! How many loaded school buses were run over a cliff by him driving back and forth to berate poor hard working Chinese launderers! And are we sure he wasn't the one who caused his sister's paralysis? Clearly he wants to get up to Northern Canada so he can wheel her  outside some subzero evening in order to screw her out of her half of the house.  And don't get me started on his diabolical cat electrocution trap. It explains  what kind of meat was in those burgers.

Innocent schminnocent.

 

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4 minutes ago, Moe Howard said:

Innocent! The man was a heartless, self centered, drunken, road hazard ! How many loaded school buses were run over a cliff by him driving back and forth to berate poor hard working Chinese launderers! And are we sure he wasn't the one who caused his sister's paralysis? Clearly he wants to get up to Northern Canada so he can wheel her  outside some subzero evening in order to screw her out of her half of the house.  And don't get me started on his diabolical cat electrocution trap. It explains  what kind of meat was in those burgers.

Innocent schminnocent.

 

Are we talking THE BITTER STEMS here?

(If so, I gotta see this movie!!!!)

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7 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Are we talking THE BITTER STEMS here?

(If so, I gotta see this movie!!!!)

I was talking Postman, otherwise Bitter Stems has some 'splainin to do.

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