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3 hours ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

I think the link between them is fatalism (just ask Larry Talbot!).

True, Larry was  fated  to be a wolfman and Dracula was  fated to be  a vampire, but it seems too much  of a stretch to identify

these supernatural creatures with the  fate that happens  to the various  criminal  noir  types. The latter is  something  we can

have  a fellow feeling for while the former I find difficult to regard as anything other than fantasy, but that's  an individual thing.

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3 hours ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

I agree with this:   like you said many of the visual aspects can have a noir vibe but the overall themes and what motivates  the main characters are different.

 

Yeah, to me  it's harder to identify  with  an otherworldly  creature than with some poor slob whose one mistake can lead  to  tragic

consequences.

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14 hours ago, Vautrin said:

To me supernatural noir  is sort of a contradiction in terms. Yes, an eerie  supernatural movie can have many of the visual

aspects of a  noir film, but  the supernatural theme is opposite to noir's concentration on the  human elements of  the

story--alienation, paranoia, jealousy, ambiguity. Bringing  in the  supernatural  seems  like  a cop out. 

Noir was never a genre,  That is where some of the confusion comes from. Its a a particular style/tool of film making used in certain film/plot sequences or for a films entirety that conveyed claustrophobia, alienation, obsession, and events spiraling out of control that was coupled with a pan generic dark story that has enough of those elements to tip it Noir for you.

Noir being a part of Crime genre  films was a concoction of Raymond Borde and Etiene Chaumeton in their book A Panorama of American Film Noir, 1941-1953. When published in 1955, the it created the notion that a “film noir” described a crime film, and  it created a gospel from which the form is still grappling with.

The most cited original French Noir are Pierre Chenal’s “Crime and Punishment” (1935), Jean Renoir’s “The Lower Depths” (Les Bas-fonds) (1936), Julien Duvivier’s “Pépé le Moko” (1937), Jeff Musso’s “The Puritan” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Port of Shadows” (Le Quai des brumes) (1938), Jean Renoir’s “La Bête Humaine” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Hôtel du Nord” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Le Jour se lève” (Daybreak) 1939, and Pierre Chenal’s “Le Dernier Tournant” (1939). There may be a few more.

"None of these films are about private detectives hard-boiled or otherwise and none of them are police procedurals or stories where the police – or any member of governmental society – are seen as heroic. The films are about the working class and those below the working class or, in a few films, what was once referred to as the Lumpenproletariat. In fact, there isn’t a single crime film – as that term is conventionally used – in the list. “Pépé Le Moko,” a film that centers on a fugitive criminal hiding in the Casbah of Algiers, is a film about memory and desire more than anything else and its suicide ending has to do with facing what the character believes he has lost and not the possibility of incarceration." (William Ahearn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

But I can never figure out what exactly it's all about.  I own I Walked with a Zombie on a Val Lewton  set, so I've seen it about 3 times.  And still I don't understand what the frig's going on.

Is  Paul Holland's wife genuinely ill, either physically or mentally, with some disease that renders her totally catatonic,  or is she indeed under a voodoo curse that's turned her into  a zombie?   I still don't know.  Some might like that ambiguity,  but in this particular film,  I just find it frustrating.

It's true,  the film is very beautiful,  in an eerie way.  And as Tom has pointed out,  that one scene in particular,  in which Frances Dee's nurse character leads the sleepwalking  (?) wife to the voodoo meeting,  through those sugar cane fields,  is truly spooky and atmospheric. 

But even more than most of Lewton /  Tourneur collaborations,  I Walked with a Zombie is almost incomprehensible,  at least to me.  Usually I don't mind a bit of ambiguity,  leaving the viewer to figure out their own explanation themselves,  sometimes I don't need or even want everything spelled out for me.  But for some reason I Walked with a Zombie is not one of those films for me,  it just leaves me going "Whaat?"   And you never do find out what was wrong with Mrs. Holland.

I think sometimes we all may try to read too much into a movie or too much detail.

As for Zombie, I don't really view the ambiguity of the wife's condition as important to the movie.  I too don't know if it is a mental disorder or a curse, but it doesn't matter to me.

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15 hours ago, unwatchable said:

Lewton's I Walked with a Zombie, like his The Seventh Victim-   I don't put much thought at all into analyzing these films. I just like them. I find them mesmerizing. I can watch these films over and over, like background music.

 

4 hours ago, ElCid said:

I think sometimes we all may try to read too much into a movie or too much detail.

As for Zombie, I don't really view the ambiguity of the wife's condition as important to the movie.  I too don't know if it is a mental disorder or a curse, but it doesn't matter to me.

Well, guys,  I know what you mean.  And in fact there are movies that I'm content to waive making sense of the story,  as you both say,  sometimes style and mood trump plot and rational explanations.   

In fact,  while I can't think of any off-hand,  I know there are films where I prefer not to have an explanation,  that the unresolved quality or mystery is part of what makes me like it.

But then there are others,  and I guess for me, I Walked with a Zombie is one of them,  that I find quite frustrating if I don't know the why of a particular situation or character or whatever.  And  for some reason,  the catatonic state of Mrs. Holland in IWWAZ  puzzles and irritates me - well, not the catatonic state itself,  the lack of explanation.    Actually,  I kind of want  her to be a zombie,  or anyway,  someone who's had some kind of evil eye / voodoo curse put on her;   makes more sense to me than the unsatisfying and vague "medical condition with a long Latin name" explanation we get from the doctor.   More interesting,  too.

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On 11/3/2021 at 11:53 AM, Bronxgirl48 said:

Has it ever been this narcissistic?

I feel like the amount of emphasis on Halloween and even Christmas has to do with social media and the ability to show off. Everyone seems to want to go viral. Even for something negative. It’s mind-boggling really. 

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1 hour ago, speedracer5 said:

I feel like the amount of emphasis on Halloween and even Christmas has to do with social media and the ability to show off. Everyone seems to want to go viral. Even for something negative. It’s mind-boggling really. 

All the Marvel Comics "Superhero" movie nonsense is not helping.    Adults- fully grown and supposedly mature people- enamored with what used to be kiddie stuff.  "Let's put on our 'superhero' costumes! WEEEEE!!"

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9 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Noir was never a genre,  That is where some of the confusion comes from. Its a a particular style/tool of film making used in certain film/plot sequences or for a films entirety that conveyed claustrophobia, alienation, obsession, and events spiraling out of control that was coupled with a pan generic dark story that has enough of those elements to tip it Noir for you.

Noir being a part of Crime genre  films was a concoction of Raymond Borde and Etiene Chaumeton in their book A Panorama of American Film Noir, 1941-1953. When published in 1955, the it created the notion that a “film noir” described a crime film, and  it created a gospel from which the form is still grappling with.

The most cited original French Noir are Pierre Chenal’s “Crime and Punishment” (1935), Jean Renoir’s “The Lower Depths” (Les Bas-fonds) (1936), Julien Duvivier’s “Pépé le Moko” (1937), Jeff Musso’s “The Puritan” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Port of Shadows” (Le Quai des brumes) (1938), Jean Renoir’s “La Bête Humaine” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Hôtel du Nord” (1938), Marcel Carné’s “Le Jour se lève” (Daybreak) 1939, and Pierre Chenal’s “Le Dernier Tournant” (1939). There may be a few more.

"None of these films are about private detectives hard-boiled or otherwise and none of them are police procedurals or stories where the police – or any member of governmental society – are seen as heroic. The films are about the working class and those below the working class or, in a few films, what was once referred to as the Lumpenproletariat. In fact, there isn’t a single crime film – as that term is conventionally used – in the list. “Pépé Le Moko,” a film that centers on a fugitive criminal hiding in the Casbah of Algiers, is a film about memory and desire more than anything else and its suicide ending has to do with facing what the character believes he has lost and not the possibility of incarceration." (William Ahearn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not  that it matters in practical  terms, but I see it mostly as a genre rather  than a visual style. Of course when you add in certain film/plot sequences

that points to it being  more than just a visual style. I've seen some of those early French  noirs and most are  about the criminal life, even  if there

are no private detectives. I notice that Eddie often  talks  about the film noir movement  when discussing American noir films of  the 1940s and

1950s  as if there were a group of writers, actors, and  directors who consciously decided to make a certain kind  of film. That doesn't seem  to

jibe with the studios  of the time concentration on the bottom line. They may have recognized that this  type of film could  be profitable, but I

doubt there was any noir movement under the  studio system. 

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BRONXGIRL48,  your comments about Hallowe'en are quite interesting.    Personally, I do have a somewhat "distanced" feeling about the holiday now, which I didn't have as a kid.  As a child, it was one fun day out of the year, for running around and getting candy.  Over time it has evolved into something else, in my view, encompassing the adult world as well as the child's.   

In the more overboard manifestations,  I think there are elements of a fascination with a kind of "death" culture now, which puts me off.   Hadn't been able to fully articulate that distinct impression to myself, until I recently read an essay by one of my favorite theologians and social observers,  who put into words exactly what I had thought.   Not presuming to speak for other believing Christians, (and I'm well aware that this is probably a VERY minority viewpoint here) but,  'them's my thoughts'.    It's a long way from the time when my poor Dad, last minute, had to scour the city to find me a boring nurse costume to go trick or treating that night.....    

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LILYPOND, I am in agreement about this allure of a "death culture"; it could be argued that both organized religion and secular humanism have their own versions/interpretations of what that phrase actually means and I could expand on these thoughts but don't want to unduly alienate, divide or open up a hornet's nest!

Yes, Halloween was fun back in the day, wasn't it?  Like you, I don't have that feeling anymore, although I was joyful when one of our public television stations last week ran IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN.   Made me really feel like a kid again.   

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21 hours ago, Vautrin said:

True, Larry was  fated  to be a wolfman and Dracula was  fated to be  a vampire, but it seems too much  of a stretch to identify

these supernatural creatures with the  fate that happens  to the various  criminal  noir  types. The latter is  something  we can

have  a fellow feeling for while the former I find difficult to regard as anything other than fantasy, but that's  an individual thing.

I get what you're saying, although I do submit that every human being feels sorry for Larry Talbot.  He's cursed with the sign of the pentagram and, when the poor guy isn't whining about wanting to die (which I admit is almost all the time), I think we can relate to his dilemma, as fantastic as the premise is.   Frankly, I'm more in sympathy with him than any of the criminal noir types.   Those grifter/murderer losers have only themselves to blame!

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38 minutes ago, Thompson said:

Isn’t that the truth!  But they do it with style, the good ones do it with style.

Tyrone Power as Stan Carlisle in NIGHTMARE ALLEY certainly did.

Unfortunately, he couldn't last long....

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1 hour ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

I get what you're saying, although I do submit that every human being feels sorry for Larry Talbot.  He's cursed with the sign of the pentagram and, when the poor guy isn't whining about wanting to die (which I admit is almost all the time), I think we can relate to his dilemma, as fantastic as the premise is.   Frankly, I'm more in sympathy with him than any of the criminal noir types.   Those grifter/murderer losers have only themselves to blame!

True, he is a sympathetic figure and is not personally responsible for becoming a werewolf, unlike many of the typical noir criminals, though a

few of them seem victims of fate as  much as  of  their  own actions.  But it's  still harder to identify with a wolfman more than a man, unless

the wolfman figure is used as some kind of metaphor. For me LT is more relatable  than the other Universal monsters, though it's  still difficult

to live the wolfbane life. 

 

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5 hours ago, lilypond said:

BRONXGIRL48,  your comments about Hallowe'en are quite interesting.    Personally, I do have a somewhat "distanced" feeling about the holiday now, which I didn't have as a kid.  As a child, it was one fun day out of the year, for running around and getting candy.  Over time it has evolved into something else, in my view, encompassing the adult world as well as the child's.   

In the more overboard manifestations,  I think there are elements of a fascination with a kind of "death" culture now, which puts me off.   Hadn't been able to fully articulate that distinct impression to myself, until I recently read an essay by one of my favorite theologians and social observers,  who put into words exactly what I had thought.   Not presuming to speak for other believing Christians, (and I'm well aware that this is probably a VERY minority viewpoint here) but,  'them's my thoughts'.    It's a long way from the time when my poor Dad, last minute, had to scour the city to find me a boring nurse costume to go trick or treating that night.....    

It was only as a little kid that Hallowe'en meant something to me, and it was for the usual reason, put on a costume and get some candy. The Hallowe'en that stands out to me the most, though, was when my Dad decided to accompany me in costume. He put on a monkey mask, wore a short sleeve shirt and bent over when we went to the neighbours, looking for a treat from them without saying anything. I remember, in particular, when we went to the house of our next door neighbours, who were good friends of my parents. Dad grunted like a monkey behind the mask and Bill, our neighbour, gave him a few candies. I recall, however, as we walked away Bill turning to his wife and saying, "Look at the hair on that kid's arms!"

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On 11/3/2021 at 11:51 PM, Vautrin said:

Yeah, to me  it's harder to identify  with  an otherworldly  creature than with some poor slob whose one mistake can lead  to  tragic

consequences.

That's why their are only a very few that qualify as Horror Noir. There's the films on the cusp between Horror and Noir and a handful that tip Noir.  If you buy the premise of Decoy it's no stretch to include The Indestructible Man.

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So,  looks like this weekend's Noir Alley offering is 5 Steps to Danger.  I don't think I've ever seen this one,  so any work featured on Noir Alley I haven't already seen is always a bonus.   ( although recently there've been quite a few of them, including the foreign films.  )

I'm not sure about the "Commie threat" theme,  I often find that American films from the 1950s on that topic can be a bit proselytizing -ish and over-the-top.  A major exception is Pickup on South Street, but in that film the Commie spy thing is more a McGuffin than anything else,  it's really about Skip McCoy and the other shady characters who populate the seedier areas of New York City.  Not much anti-Commie propaganda,  unless you count Moe's extremely touching and eloquent speech .  But I'm digressing here.

I'm prepared to like 5 Steps to Danger.  It's got the always interesting Sterling Hayden,  and also the somewhat under-rated Ruth Roman  ( I believe last seen on Noir Alley in Tomorrow is Another Day.)  I've never heard of the director,  one Henry Kesler.  Anyone know anything about him?

Anyway, looking forward to this.  It's got a good title, for starters.

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On 11/3/2021 at 2:28 PM, Vautrin said:

To begin  with. Hard to  imagine that Chabrol could make  it any more  confusing. I don't think I've ever seen his

version. 

The Chabrol version, This Man Must Die (Que la bete meure) is very straightforward. No doubt about who did what.

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14 hours ago, Cigarjoe cellph said:

That's why their are only a very few that qualify as Horror Noir. There's the films on the cusp between Horror and Noir and a handful that tip Noir.  If you buy the premise of Decoy it's no stretch to include The Indestructible Man.

I don't believe I've ever seen Decoy, at least I don't remember it.  I think I have seen The Indestructible Man, though  it was some time ago.

I agree that there are  few horror noirs, but I would likely lean toward  the horror angle. 

 

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1 hour ago, King Rat said:

The Chabrol version, This Man Must Die (Que la bete meure) is very straightforward. No doubt about who did what.

The ambiguity of who the killer was does lend  interest to the other movie, but I'll like to see Chabrol's version too.

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15 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

So,  looks like this weekend's Noir Alley offering is 5 Steps to Danger.  I don't think I've ever seen this one,  so any work featured on Noir Alley I haven't already seen is always a bonus.   ( although recently there've been quite a few of them, including the foreign films.  )

I'm not sure about the "Commie threat" theme,  I often find that American films from the 1950s on that topic can be a bit proselytizing -ish and over-the-top.  A major exception is Pickup on South Street, but in that film the Commie spy thing is more a McGuffin than anything else,  it's really about Skip McCoy and the other shady characters who populate the seedier areas of New York City.  Not much anti-Commie propaganda,  unless you count Moe's extremely touching and eloquent speech .  But I'm digressing here.

I'm prepared to like 5 Steps to Danger.  It's got the always interesting Sterling Hayden,  and also the somewhat under-rated Ruth Roman  ( I believe last seen on Noir Alley in Tomorrow is Another Day.)  I've never heard of the director,  one Henry Kesler.  Anyone know anything about him?

Anyway, looking forward to this.  It's got a good title, for starters.

I haven't seen it either, but the description in Wikipedia makes it sound interesting.

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