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On 11/22/2021 at 4:24 PM, Herman Bricks said:

Saw Johnny O'Clock, it was OK. Haven't I seen it on that Movies! channel alot recently? Anyway...

Lee J. Cobb seems too emotional (for no apparent reasons). Dick Powell flashes some nice duds, but is too unemotional. Evelyn Keyes was just right, she smolders!

The best dialogue is thrown back and forth between Ms. Keyes and Mr. Powell. My favorites:

Keyes (about the pianist) : "tell him to stop playing, it's bad for my eyes"

Powell: "Hey you with the hands... go home."

and

Keyes to Powell: "Tell me things, sweet pretty things. I'll close my eyes and make believe they're true."

 

Like Out of the Past and plenty other good noirs, that ‘clever’ dialogue comes very close to cliche.  Who can think up those underhanded and sarcastic comebacks so quick?  Nobody can do that.  Well, maybe Dean Martin and Don Rickles can.  Here’s a guy living on the edge, the noir character, with his brain racing a hundred miles an hour for mere survival.  He does not have time to come up with smarty  back and forth dialogue.  

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1 hour ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

Tonight Noir Alley feature is Tight Spot with E.G. Robinson,   Ginger Rogers and Brian Keith.

Good film with a nice amount of tension.  ...

 

Well, I'm willing to give Tight Spot  another try.  I saw it a few years ago,  I think it's on a boxed set I have of Columbia noirs.  I remember I wasn't too impressed  - and not just because of Ginger's unfortunate hairdo!   I found it quite static, as I recall it's all set in one room  ( a living room in an apartment ).   And not terribly exciting to make up for that one location thing.

However,  sometimes upon subsequent viewings,   I  change my mind about a film I didn't like ...maybe this time I'll enjoy it more,  especially with Eddie's commentary, which lends context and also interesting bits of info to Noir Alley's airings.

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

Well, I'm willing to give Tight Spot  another try.  I saw it a few years ago,  I think it's on a boxed set I have of Columbia noirs.  I remember I wasn't too impressed  - and not just because of Ginger's unfortunate hairdo!   I found it quite static, as I recall it's all set in one room  ( a living room in an apartment ).   And not terribly exciting to make up for that one location thing.

However,  sometimes upon subsequent viewings,   I  change my mind about a film I didn't like ...maybe this time I'll enjoy it more,  especially with Eddie's commentary, which lends context and also interesting bits of info to Noir Alley's airings.

For me the best scenes are between mob boss Lorne Greene and Brian Keith and none of those take place  in that static apartment setting.    But you're right that there isn't enough action taking place within that apartment setting.   

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2 hours ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

Tonight Noir Alley feature is Tight Spot with E.G. Robinson,   Ginger Rogers and Brian Keith.

Good film with a nice amount of tension.   

I like TIGHT SPOT especially Ginger Rogers's performance,  The scene with her sister is great.

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

Well, I'm willing to give Tight Spot  another try.  I saw it a few years ago,  I think it's on a boxed set I have of Columbia noirs.  I remember I wasn't too impressed  - and not just because of Ginger's unfortunate hairdo!   I found it quite static, as I recall it's all set in one room  ( a living room in an apartment ).   And not terribly exciting to make up for that one location thing.

However,  sometimes upon subsequent viewings,   I  change my mind about a film I didn't like ...maybe this time I'll enjoy it more,  especially with Eddie's commentary, which lends context and also interesting bits of info to Noir Alley's airings.

I haven't seen it in a long time and barely remember it.  Had to look it up on Wikipedia and then remembered having seen it.  Will probably watch it again, but I was not impressed the first time I saw it.

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I have to confess I had a reaction similar to MISSWONDERLY3  and ELCID,  when I first saw it.   It was a bit of a letdown,  since I had had high hopes for it.  I love Ginger and Brian Keith.   But there was something about her performance that "missed it" for me--  was it too "broad" or something?   Can't quite put my finger on it, but yes was disappointed.   Would love to think I was wrong!

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6 minutes ago, lilypond said:

I have to confess I had a reaction similar to MISSWONDERLY3  and ELCID,  when I first saw it.   It was a bit of a letdown,  since I had had high hopes for it.  I love Ginger and Brian Keith.   But there was something about her performance that "missed it" for me--  was it too "broad" or something?   Can't quite put my finger on it, but yes was disappointed.   Would love to think I was wrong!

Maybe what we need is for Ginger to break into "The Continental" in the middle of that living room.  It would liven things up,  even without Fred's participation.  ( Perhaps Brian Keith could give it a whirl?    No !  Better yet,  Edward G. ! )

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I was disappointed that Eddie had nothing to say about Lorne Greene in Tight Spot. Although he is only on the screen briefly for three times, I thought he was wonderfully frightful as the mob boss or undesirable alien as Ginger Rogers called him on her way to the witness stand. 

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Agree 100% with Eddie's comments re: Ginger Rogers.  She strikes me as too theatrical and tonally off to be a good fit.   I had the same reaction to her performance in Nunnally Johnson's color noir Black Widow.

What tickled me was them watching TV and the clever songs by the hillbilly band.  That's not something you often see in noir, if ever.  They're usually too busy planning something or being on the run.

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Tight Spot.  The title suggests something naughty to me so I was hoping for some sexual tension.  Ginger Rogers did not cut it.  At times it was painful to watch her act.  Keith showed a little lust at times but was that because he was battling with his conscience?  Anyway that thing didn’t work.  Eddie suggested Gloria Grahame as Sheri, that’s an idea but the dialogue for Sheri needs to be completely reworked.  I get the “Broad” idea, the rough and tumble con, out on the loose, trusts nobody — but, why does she have some sort of nail finish on her fingernails?  Do they let you do that in women’s prison?  Lorne Greene was terrific.  Ben, I believe it was.  I kinda liked the hillbilly tv program too but I have to consider it was part of the movie because it annoyed most of the characters.  This one, all in all, was a dud.  

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Another example of close to cliche  dialogue in Tight Spot. It might read okay on paper, but it doesn’t work on screen.  The Killing had a big problem with dialogue,  Jim Thompson wrote it.  Almost ruined the film.

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26 minutes ago, Thompson said:

Another example of close to cliche  dialogue in Tight Spot. It might read okay on paper, but it doesn’t work on screen.  The Killing had a big problem with dialogue,  Jim Thompson wrote it.  Almost ruined the film.

how so? what dialogue problem - seemed fine to me

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Watched Tight Spot this morning hoping maybe I'd like it better this time around.  Maybe a little, but not much.  It was as I remembered it, extremely static, almost everything happening in that fancy hotel room  ( and by "happening" I mean,  not much.)

The one thing I'd forgotten,  and which turned out to be the most interesting part of the movie,  was  SPOILER ALERT   when Brian Keith goes for a ride with those goons,  and we find out he's a crooked cop on the take,  in very thick with the bad guys.  This in itself was a surprise, and added much-needed tension to the tale.  But what adds to the interest of that part of the story -- Keith's  working with the head of the mob, the plan to leave a window open so one of the thugs can get in and kill Sherry -- is the subsequent conflict Keith's character experiences, torn as he is between the hold the mobster has on him,  and his growing sympathy for Sherry.

Notice I don't say "love" for Sherry.  I know we're supposed to think the two of them develop some kind of romance, but sorry, it just doesn't work.  There's absolutely no chemistry there,  and in fact,  the scenes where Sherry tries to attract Vince,  I find cringe-worthy. Still,  as far as I could see, that was the most noir aspect of this film:  the trope of a major character who isn't what they seem,  and who is conflicted in having to choose between "the right thing to do" and their own welfare.

Eddie had a really good point when he listed a number of actresses who would have been better cast as Sherry Conley.  Poor Ginger Rogers,  I like her a lot, and she could act.  So not to diss her,  but yes,  in this role she just didn't  convince.   For sure,  I can see Gloria Grahame doing much better.

...and,  just to mention it one more time,  what were the stylists thinking with that awful hair do they gave Ginger?  Was that the zenith of hair fashionableness in 1955?   I don't believe that 'do would have suited anyone, and it sure didn't help Ginger.  

I did like the polka dot dress, though.

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...Also,  a word about Lorne Greene: Who knew Mr.  Bonanza could be so menacing ?  I thought he had a very Raymond Burr vibe in this role.  He even looked a little like Burr,  or maybe it was just the evil expression on his face.

Apropos of nothing,  I just want to add that Lorne Greene was Canadian.  ( See,  we're not just polite wimps ! )

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57 minutes ago, Cinemartian said:

how so? what dialogue problem - seemed fine to me

The way to explain it I guess is if you believe the character is delivering his/her own dialogue, if it’s coming from his/her own head, coming from the character.  It’s no good if it sounds like the actor is reciting a line he/she had to memorize and recite.  There’s a difference.

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Lorne Greene is effectively sleazy in AUTUMN LEAVES with Joan Crawford.  Definitely had the chops to exude a sinister side underneath that smooth, bland exterior.  

I love Brian Keith in anything.

Ginger seemed like she was auditioning for a sequel to CAGED as one of the "colorful" inmates.  She didn't do it for me here, unfortunately.   That hair did not help.  And her character never shut up.  

Robinson looked like a tired old frog.   Must have been all the off-screen drama he was experiencing in his personal life.

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This is one I actually  hadn't seen before, so there's at least one plus. Unfortunately  the movie itself is nothing very special.

Too much of  a talkathon, with the best  bits  being the few minutes spent outside  the hotel room with  the  gangsters trying

to  off Ginger.  And her brassy, wise-cracking blonde role   gets tiresome very quickly. I do give her a break  on the hairdo since

my mom had  a something similar one for  a while. And Eddie really didn't have much to do except play the bulldog, one

dimensional gov't lawyer. Lorne  Greene was good  as  the villain. Yeah, Ben Cartwright  was a nice guy until you set one foot

on the Ponderosa  and then he had a hissy fit,  especially in the early  seasons. I have to say the highlight of this  one was

Mississippi Mac and  his  noggin knocking rendition of  Little Brown  Jug.  Of course Brian  Keith,  the big city cop/snob  turned

off  Mac  midway  through  his performance. Philistine. Maltin gave  this one 3 1/2 stars, while  Halliwell gave  it none. I split

the difference and give it a C+. Somewhat entertaining, but nothing to  get excited about. What was really needed  was  more

Mississippi Mac.

 

When the  government has to pay for high  priced meals for a ravenous stoolie, it's  a tight spot.

When your dress is two decades  out of style, it's a tight spot.

When you used to be  a big star, but  you're in Tight  Spot,  you're in a tight spot. 

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Bronxgirl48 said:

Lorne Greene is effectively sleazy in AUTUMN LEAVES with Joan Crawford.  Definitely had the chops to exude a sinister side underneath that smooth, bland exterior.  

I love Brian Keith in anything.

Ginger seemed like she was auditioning for a sequel to CAGED as one of the "colorful" inmates.  She didn't do it for me here, unfortunately.   That hair did not help.  And her character never shut up.  

Robinson looked like a tired old frog.   Must have been all the off-screen drama he was experiencing in his personal life.

Agree just about all the way, Bronxie. In his intro Eddie mentioned how much dialogue Ginger has. Oh yes. Tight Spot wasn't tight enough. Phil Karlson did a good job directing the film, given the constraints of the setting. We have movement within shots and a fair amount of variety in camera set-ups. Cutting fifteen minutes--fifteen minutes of Ginger's dialogue, mostly--would have improved the film.

Did you notice how Ginger's character is watered down? She didn't participate in the robbery, she didn't sleep with the unattractive aging gangster but only pretended to be his girlfriend, etc. Perhaps this is supposed to make Sherry more sympathetic, but it simply makes her less real, which in turn makes her less sympathetic. Gloria Grahame would have played against those lines and made us suspect, if not actually know, that she was lying. BTW, the actresses Eddie thought would have been better as Sherry were Gloria Grahame, Jean Hagen, Jan Sterling, and Judy Holliday. Shirley MacLaine seems to me another possibility, if you want a lighter touch but someone more age-appropriate. Now if Ginger had played Sherry as an weary playgirl of forty--and it's understandable for career reasons why she would not have wanted this--that might have been moving.

I did like Brian Keith's line of dialogue, which I may not have exactly right, when Sherry pouts because he isn't responding to her and says, "Don't you like girls?" and he says, "I like 'em better than any other alternative."

Karlson and cinematographer Burnett Guffey do good work, and Brian Keith and Lorne Greene are outstanding. Some of the supporting actors are quite good, too. The scenes with Mississippi Mac were hilarious, and right on point.

 

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King Rat, now that's a fascinating possibility with Shirley MacLaine as Sherry.   She would have brought a quirky vulnerability to the part and a piquant sex appeal.

Ginger was all over the place emotionally.   It was hard for me to figure out just exactly who this woman was.   I agree about the script making her look more the "innocent" (for lack of a better word) instead of some purely cynical, street-smart floozy, which on the other hand would have made Sherry more cliched noir-dame conventional.   

A year before this film was made Ginger played (to perfection in my book; others disagree) a controlling, super-****y stage actress of a certain age in BLACK WIDOW.   Rogers really sinks her teeth into the role; she seems to enjoy every aspect of "Carlotta" who is no spring chicken.   I actually think it's one of her most underrated performances.

 

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I also like the idea of Jan Sterling playing the Sherry Conley role.  Although she did get a few leads in a few noirs  ( most notably Ace in the Hole),  I always felt she never got her due.  She was talented and had a unique style,  she wasn't like everybody else, maybe it was her voice.  Anyway,  Jan Sterling definitely would have had the requisite combination of toughness, street smarts,  and vulnerability to play the lead in Tight Spot.

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I'd seen this film once before, but forgot about the SPOILER TWIST about 3/4 in, so it was a surprise again. Way too talky and with that filmed stage play vibe during most of it. Don't think Ginger was the best casting for this (Agree with Eddie there) plus that unflattering hairdo! (or was it a wig?) Eddie G was pretty much wasted (only a handful of scenes) It had some good scenes, but too much Ginger talk about her past life (I DID enjoy the sister visit though! LOL).

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42 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I also like the idea of Jan Sterling playing the Sherry Conley role.  Although she did get a few leads in a few noirs  ( most notably Ace in the Hole),  I always felt she never got her due.  She was talented and had a unique style,  she wasn't like everybody else, maybe it was her voice.  Anyway,  Jan Sterling definitely would have had the requisite combination of toughness, street smarts,  and vulnerability to play the lead in Tight Spot.

Agree. For some reason, her career never really took off. She was always good in whatever role I've seen her in. Oddly, though she played mostly working class "tarts" she was well educated in real life.

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