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Noir Alley

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On 6/15/2018 at 11:58 AM, Hibi said:

"Pitfall", another good noir with Dick Powell will be shown this weekend!

In his introduction to "Pitfall" Eddie Muller just said that before Dick Powell changed his image he was "a hoofer and a crooner". No, far as I know, Powell was never a "hoofer" or dancer.

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12 minutes ago, musicalnovelty said:

Powell was never a "hoofer" or dancer.

Fred Astaire was never really worried..LOL:

 

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On 6/15/2018 at 11:58 AM, Hibi said:

Pitfall, another good noir with Dick Powell will be shown this wknd!

I just saw this for the first time. I was very impressed at the way we see the suburban life of bored family man Dick Powell (a surprisingly cynical view of post WWII America). Then it gets going with tough noir stuff with sultry model Lizabeth Scott and creepy private eye Raymond Burr. I was shocked at some the twists that happened in the story.

Powell by this time had perfected his deadpan quips as the insurance man who gets in over his head. Burr has one of his best villain roles as the obsessed detective, very subtle but still menacing. I thought Noir Alley host Eddie Muller was a bit hard on Lizabeth Scott, saying she was not a good actress, though he does praise her in this film. I thought she was very good here and I thought she was good in "Scared Stiff" holding her own in scenes with the wacky comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. 

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Had seen Pitfall before, but watched it again today.  I think Lizabeth Scott is a better actress than Eddie Muller gives her credit for.  Personally, I liked her much better in this than Jane Wyatt.    I enjoyed Scott in Dead Reckoning, Strange Love of Martha Ivers and especially in Two of a Kind, as well as some others.

While there are some Dick Powell movies that I enjoy,  Cry Danger for example,  I find Powell to usually be dull and one dimensional.

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Burr has one of his best villain roles as the obsessed detective, very subtle but still menacing. 

The Burr character would be called today a STALKER.  He show all the classic characteristics of a stalker. He follows MS. Scott to her home, her place of work or wherever he can find her. The character is truly creepy.

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I'm mixed about Lizabeth Scott. She can be VERY wooden (and often is) but was used well in this film. I havent seen next week's film, especially interested after Eddie said Wyatt was the femme fatale in that one!!!

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

I'm mixed about Lizabeth Scott. She can be VERY wooden (and often is) but was used well in this film. I havent seen next week's film, especially interested after Eddie said Wyatt was the femme fatale in that one!!!

Try to view Two of A Kind (1951) with Edmund O'Brien and Terry Moore if you can.  I think Scott handled her role very well.

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Dick Powell beating the **** out of Raymond Burr? C'mon man. The suburban setting

is an agreeable change from the usual big city locations and the lowlifes who live there. I

think Burr stopped being subtle when he met Dickie in front of his garage and beat the

**** out of him. That I could believe. I found the Powell character to be just as tiresome

and dull as the other middle class folks he disdains. And then after all that tumult, it's

back to the salt mines. Tough break for the non-thinking man's Walter Neff.

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4 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Dick Powell beating the **** out of Raymond Burr? C'mon man. The suburban setting

is an agreeable change from the usual big city locations and the lowlifes who live there. I

think Burr stopped being subtle when he met Dickie in front of his garage and beat the

**** out of him. That I could believe. I found the Powell character to be just as tiresome

and dull as the other middle class folks he disdains. And then after all that tumult, it's

back to the salt mines. Tough break for the non-thinking man's Walter Neff.

SPOILERS:  Except he got away with it.  He should have/could have called the cops and didn't because he didn't want his wife to find out but, of course, he had to tell her.  Now he'll have to deal with her wrath and distrust.  At least Walter Neff was a single guy so it was only his own life he upended.

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3 hours ago, ChristineHoard said:

SPOILERS:  Except he got away with it.  He should have/could have called the cops and didn't because he didn't want his wife to find out but, of course, he had to tell her.  Now he'll have to deal with her wrath and distrust.  At least Walter Neff was a single guy so it was only his own life he upended.

Yes, judging from the final scenes of the film, he will be getting the cold shoulder treatment

for quite some time. Can't blame Jane Wyatt for doing so. Walter was more of a planner, 

though his plan didn't work out. Dick winged things. I really don't make much of the

characters in most films, but Dick Powell's character didn't have many redeeming features.

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12 hours ago, Hibi said:

I'm mixed about Lizabeth Scott. She can be VERY wooden (and often is) but was used well in this film. I havent seen next week's film, especially interested after Eddie said Wyatt was the femme fatale in that one!!!

I have yet to be impressed by Lizabeth Scott.  She seems like a poor man's Lauren Bacall.  I recorded Pitfall but haven't watched it yet, so maybe Lizabeth will win me over.

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On 6/17/2018 at 12:07 PM, Det Jim McLeod said:

I thought Noir Alley host Eddie Muller was a bit hard on Lizabeth Scott, saying she was not a good actress, though he does praise her in this film. I thought she was very good here...

I too was surprised and disappointed that he said that about Lizabeth Scott. Here I was agreeing with and enjoying  his post-movie comments, until the crack "nobody would accuse her of being a good actress" (or whatever the direct quote was). If he had said "great actress" maybe I would not have objected as much, but I think she was always "good" to very good in everything. I have never had any problem with her performances in everything I've seen her in.

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12 hours ago, Hibi said:

...I havent seen next week's film, especially interested after Eddie said Wyatt was the femme fatale in that one!!!

Eddie Muller said that next week's movie will be "The Man Who Cheated Himself" from 1950, and it'll be a TCM premiere. (And I believe that is correct - it has not been on TCM before). It looks like an independent production, released through 20th Century-Fox, and from what I've read about it, it looks like it'll be worth seeing.

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Yes, I'm looking forward to it. Most Noir picks are films I've already seen (but dont mind seeing again)........

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On 6/7/2018 at 9:52 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

i was visited by the Angel of Migraines Saturday night and missed Eddie's comments, but I'll go out on a limbsy here and say it: I THINK "THE LETTER" (1940) is a film noir.

I mean, c'mon:

Shadows. Night. THE MOON. Palm fronds. The dripdripdrip of sap from a rubber tree into the bucket.a gunshot. Another. Another.Another.Another.Another. Click. click. click. Smoking barrel. WINDCHIMES. Shadows. Curtains. Blind slits. "AM I SO EVIL?" MILE WIDE EYES. MORE SHADOWS! MAX STEINER SWOOPS IN WITH THAT MARVELOUS MANIC DEPRESSIVE SCORE FOR STRINGS!MORE SHADOWS! MORE WINDCHIMES! MORE PALM FRONDS!BLACKMAIL! MURDER! "there is in existence a letter...""WITH ALL MY HEART, I STILL LOVE THE MAN I KILLED!"

NIGHT. THE GARDEN. THE MOON. ORCHIDS.

A KNIFE.

(if that ain't film noir, I dunno what is.)

 

 

Note that I agree with you and so does the book Film Noir (Ward \ Silver) since they cover The Letter.  

The main reason this book cites the film as a very early noir type film is due to the lawyer compromising his profession and his own solid character to assist a femme fatale.     

Of course the film does NOT contain what was to become familiar noir motifs but the film does provide (along with Stranger on the Third Floor),  where the 40s decade was going to take us as it relates to the style\genre. 

 

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Felt a bit more kindly disposed towards Eddie Muller after listening to the segment where he talks about his father, how he thinks about him every day and how grateful he is to be living the life he has now, his voice cracking at the end.

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  I like & correspond with Eddie a wee-bit, but that silly wine segment is for the birds

& is it just me but this grand flix  genre-(film noir) truly belongs at night vs the daytime

Obviously RKO Radio was the mt. summit of the genre

Unfortunately missed that pt about Eddie discussing his father though & again, though VERTIGO is thee A #1 all-time mystery picture, THE THIRD MAN must be ranked as the ultimate excercise in film noir-(BFI British Film Institute in 1999 voted it as the single great UK production ever made!  It was England's obvious response to AFI's mammoth 1998 special poll & survey)

About 98% of all other movie related sites, papers, books, mags did the same soon after

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7 hours ago, spence said:

  I like & correspond with Eddie a wee-bit, but that silly wine segment is for the birds

& is it just me but this grand flix  genre-(film noir) truly belongs at night vs the daytime

Obviously RKO Radio was the mt. summit of the genre

Unfortunately missed that pt about Eddie discussing his father though & again, though VERTIGO is thee A #1 all-time mystery picture, THE THIRD MAN must be ranked as the ultimate excercise in film noir-(BFI British Film Institute in 1999 voted it as the single great UK production ever made!  It was England's obvious response to AFI's mammoth 1998 special poll & survey)

About 98% of all other movie related sites, papers, books, mags did the same soon after

Noir Alley also comes on at Midnight (or close to it) on Saturday before the Sunday presentation.

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On 6/18/2018 at 5:01 PM, Vautrin said:

Dick Powell beating the **** out of Raymond Burr? C'mon man. The suburban setting

is an agreeable change from the usual big city locations and the lowlifes who live there. I

think Burr stopped being subtle when he met Dickie in front of his garage and beat the

**** out of him. That I could believe. I found the Powell character to be just as tiresome

and dull as the other middle class folks he disdains. And then after all that tumult, it's

back to the salt mines. Tough break for the non-thinking man's Walter Neff.

Powell is dull as ditchwater, Vautrin. But Muller continually overpraises and overrates this routine film. One would think he has some personal attachment to its theme and I will say Muller looks a bit like a second string Dick Powell. Maybe this is the noir that Muller relates most to, hence he can't get it out of his head. Often one is drawn to films which relate to one's own life, and many men live lives of quiet boredom even if they are on television and touting less than Swank-y cufflinks and wine continually.

I seriously doubt that the fascinating Lizbeth Scott would go for either Powell or Muller, since she likes to drive her speedboat faster than ten miles per hour and would find both inducing somnambulance daily. No surprise, since Eddie thinks Jane Wyatt could be a femme fatale which is like saying Miss Jane from the Beverly Hillbillies could give Ava Gardner a run for her money in the allure category. These noir lover men who write the books and herd up old stars for their own aggrandizement at festivals, are just like the men in the noir movies they adore, lame-o and as interesting as watching wallpaper peel off in some dump boarding house!

By the way, Freddie boy as Walter Neff was as sexless as Jane Wyatt but at least he could play an instrument. Next time I'll tell you what I really think though...so excuse my reticence.

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On 6/19/2018 at 12:04 AM, musicalnovelty said:

I too was surprised and disappointed that he said that about Lizabeth Scott. Here I was agreeing with and enjoying  his post-movie comments, until the crack "nobody would accuse her of being a good actress" (or whatever the direct quote was). If he had said "great actress" maybe I would not have objected as much, but I think she was always "good" to very good in everything. I have never had any problem with her performances in everything I've seen her in.

No one would also accuse Muller of having any real background as a film critic or as a knowledgeable movie viewer per se, so it is not surprising that he just gives his off the cuff impressions of films and actors for his monologues. "Surprise, surprise" as Casey Anthony would say. Go to any of his seminars and ask him an unrehearsed question about classic movies and you will find he has no real background knowledge of movies and probably doesn't know the difference between Ann Sothern and Anne of Green Gables, when it comes right down to it. He obviously researchs films online before commenting hence does not give off an aura of really being sponge worthy about movies in general or actors and their careers ostensibly.

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On 6/19/2018 at 12:04 AM, musicalnovelty said:

I too was surprised and disappointed that he said that about Lizabeth Scott. Here I was agreeing with and enjoying  his post-movie comments, until the crack "nobody would accuse her of being a good actress" (or whatever the direct quote was). If he had said "great actress" maybe I would not have objected as much, but I think she was always "good" to very good in everything. I have never had any problem with her performances in everything I've seen her in.

I find Scott to be an OK actress;  i.e. adequate but nothing special.   She has given some very weak performances like in the film I Walk Alone.    Seeing Scott with Bogie in Dead Reckoning one can see the vast difference in their abilities (but I see this also with Bacall in the first 3 films she made with Bogie).

    

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22 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Note that I agree with you and so does the book Film Noir (Ward \ Silver) since they cover The Letter.  

The main reason this book cites the film as a very early noir type film is due to the lawyer compromising his profession and his own solid character to assist a femme fatale.     

Of course the film does NOT contain what was to become familiar noir motifs but the film does provide (along with Stranger on the Third Floor),  where the 40s decade was going to take us as it relates to the style\genre. 

I would argue that the Bette Davis character is NOT a "femme fatale", a trope that is not nearly as prevalent in noir as many seem to believe.

Leslie Crosbie is unfaithful to her husband, yes. And she does kill her lover, yes. But those two acts alone do not necessarily render her a "femme fatale".

The classic noir "femme fatale" is a woman who deliberately leads a man to disaster, who holds a man in thrall to her sexually, and who cares only for herself and her own gain, and uses the man to obtain this gain  (money, status, power...)

Leslie Crosbie does not do any of those things. Just because a married woman has a lover does not make her a femme fatale. And she killed her lover in a fit of jealous passion, not for any calculated reason. She does not fit the noir definition of "femme fatale" at all.

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27 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I find Scott to be an OK actress;  i.e. adequate but nothing special.   She has given some very weak performances like in the film I Walk Alone.    Seeing Scott with Bogie in Dead Reckoning one can see the vast difference in their abilities (but I see this also with Bacall in the first 3 films she made with Bogie).

    

I think Scott did very well in Dead Reckoning. While maybe not up to Bogart's standard, I wouldn't say the difference was "vast."  Same for Bacall in all four films.

Of course, it is hard to compare male and female actors in same movie, especially when the movie is primarily about the male lead.

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45 minutes ago, CaveGirl said:

Powell is dull as ditchwater, Vautrin. ...

I think it's "dishwater".

But I don't think old Dick Powell is dull at all, whether you prefer ditchwater or dishwater. I really like him as a noir protagonist. I enjoy his dry line deliveries. And two of my favourite noirs star Powell:  "Murder My Sweet" and "Cry Danger !"  True, he's kind of goofy-looking. But so is Fred MacMurray. Goofiness in itself doesn't preclude being a noir hero.  And I think Dick often shows a bit of a sense of humour, sometimes even a slightly self-mocking one. No, I don't believe I'd toss a pan of dishwater over Dick Powell. Or toss him into a ditch, either.

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3 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I think it's "dishwater".

But I don't think old Dick Powell is dull at all, whether you prefer ditchwater or dishwater. I really like him as a noir protagonist. I enjoy his dry line deliveries. And two of my favourite noirs star Powell:  "Murder My Sweet" and "Cry Danger !"  True, he's kind of goofy-looking. But so is Fred MacMurray. Goofiness in itself doesn't preclude being a noir hero.  And I think Dick often shows a bit of a sense of humour, sometimes even a slightly self-mocking one. No, I don't believe I'd toss a pan of dishwater over Dick Powell. Or toss him into a ditch, either.

Not to give you a hard time, since I'm thrilled to see you back, Miss Wonderly but I always used to say "Dull as dishwater" and then one time looked its derivation up and found "ditchwater" predated "dishwater".

Check this out and then I will be back:

"

very boring, or miserable. 

old english phrase dating back to the 1700s, which plays on the double meaning of dull (boring/opaque). 

modern english and american english also uses the phrase "dull as dishwater", probably evolved through mispronounciation and familiarity with the latter.
"andy has a new girlfriend but i can't understand why, she is as dull as ditchwater" 

"wear the purple one, that black dress is dull as ditchwater" 


 

(1) who specifically, or at least when specifically, did originate the phrase?

{Example answer - "that was one of Shakespeare's!"}

(2) why?

(3) when first did someone screw up and use "..dishwater"? why? who?

Thank you.

(PS note that in print, apparently "...dishwater" become more popular from about the 1970s. I am interested in the above three questions, if anyone has any info on those three specific questions, thank you in advance.)

BTW I appreciate this question may be "easily answered by some reference book", if so, please (A) tell me the book and (B) close the question. (I'm afraid I couldn't find anything.)

asked Sep 10 '14 at 12:04
mLu2E.jpg?s=32&g=1
Fattie
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    The switch from ditchwater to dishwater is very likely to have been in speech, since they sound very much alike. So it's going to be undocumented. (Although you might be able to figure out roughly when and where the switch happened.) – Peter Shor Sep 10 '14 at 12:12
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