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Noir Alley

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THE CID

Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor are very good actors.  As good as Richard Basehart for sure.  I have always found both He Walked By Night and Richard Basehart kind of boring.  Although he did OK in Tension.

 

YOU ARE SO WRONG ABOUT BASEHART.

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You people are wrong that a NOIR FILM HAS TO BE IN BLACK AND WHITE.  THERE ARE COLOR EXAMPLES SUCH AS " LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN".  Eddie called LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN a noir film.  How many has seen it?

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3 hours ago, arpirose said:

I stand by my statement.  A good actor is a good actor. Bad one is a bad actor, You cannot change things.  We can agree to disagree.  Please, do not get personal. You do not know me to make judgements.

Ha !, that's rich, coming from the person who responded to a comment I made with, 

"You are wrong about this one."

And I didn't "make judgements", au contraire, I suggested there's room for fandom here for everyone. In fact, I extended an olive branch by agreeing with you about Richard Basehart and the films with him you mentioned.

 

 

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2 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

I realized a while back that the definition of Noir is similar to the definition of ‘Classic’ or topics in politics where everyone is free to have their own view of what their opinions are and there can be no end to the discussion.  So I basically surrender and the distinctions aren’t that important to me.  I must also admit that I have not taken the time to read any academic discussions that try to define it (my own loss, I’m sure - maybe eventually.)

In my mind, though, I do have a concept of a Noir film that I use for reference, and I would say that I agree with you that it does not have to contain extremely nasty crimes to qualify and that in and of itself does not make it Noir.  There obviously does need to be some type of crime at the center of the story.  But for me the quality that these films have in common is that they include some commentary on the darker aspects of life (thus the literal French definition of noir) where people are coming up against some difficulty in the human condition.  Either through their own actions or the actions of others that force them to react to situations that most would say are against the commonly accepted behavior as defined by laws or civility.

What I don’t see in your post (and maybe it’s there in a previous message) is the way a Noir film looks.  For me it has to be in black & white, since I love how the great cinematographers are such a big part of the origins of Film Noir.  This also relates to the literal definition of Noir, in that the use of blacks and shadows in the image is quite distinctive and to me plays up the use of imagination to set both the physical look and mood of the scene in your mind.  Sorry for films made in color which certainly can have all the story elements and can have their own great cinematography, to me this isn’t really Film Noir.

And with my limited sophistication that’s about it.  Hope this doesn’t bore everyone to tears.

cmovieviewer, in that post I wrote (that I quoted) I wasn't trying to "define" film noir per sec . It's been done on these boards many times, and I myself  ( I love it when people say "I myself", as who else would it be?) have contributed to the noir definition discussion.

But I was not attempting to do that in the post you're referring to . I was merely responding to airbrush's comment that they thought "10 Rillington Place" was a "neo-noir".

If you've seen that film, you'll know it's very good, but also very nasty. Horrid things happen in it (such as gassing a poor young woman into unconsciousness, sexually molesting her, then killing her, then setting it up to look like her husband did it), things that I do not associate with noir. I was trying to make the point that, it seems to me that in recent years a lot of people seem to think that anything with murder can be included in the definition of "noir".Nope, I disagree with this. Especially those films with psycho-killer sex murders and other horror-movie type stuff ("10 Rillington" is not a "horror" movie, though) - everyone seems to think, "Oh, some nasty murders and innocent people being executed for them, must be a film noir".  I don't know how this got started.

As for your comments about how noir looks, and how it's as much, or even more, a visual style as it is a narrative theme, I agree with you. But as I said, it was not my intention to get into all that in my post, I was not launching into a definition of "film noir", I was just saying, I don't know how, when, or why people started associating weirdo sex murders and the like with film noir, that's not really what noir's all about. Not to me, anyway.

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

But I was not attempting to do that in the post you're referring to . I was merely responding to airbrush's comment that they thought "10 Rillington Place" was a "neo-noir".

Sorry I misinterpreted the point of your post.  Also I have not seen 10 Rillington Place, but from your descriptions it does not sound like a film I would enjoy watching.  No offense meant to anyone, I just think I'm getting more squeamish as I get older.

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Oh so glad I found my way to this thread.   WOW!  I did read back a few pages and 10 Rillington Place (1971) is a TOUGH one.  It really points to why it is tough to define Noir, or even genres in some cases.  I really see both sides of this coin and I have to say my gut says HORROR every time I read that title, but it is really a crime drama with horrific elements.  Is there a Noir-esk title for such films? ? Such a creepy performance.  It definitely has Noir qualities, though I would say maybe the choice of the focal character leans away from Noir.  I might have missed other people's examples, but I personally can't think of a Noir with a similar focal character.  There are killers, but are there killers like Mr. Christie?

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1 hour ago, Looney said:

Oh so glad I found my way to this thread.   WOW!  I did read back a few pages and 10 Rillington Place (1971) is a TOUGH one.  It really points to why it is tough to define Noir, or even genres in some cases.  I really see both sides of this coin and I have to say my gut says HORROR every time I read that title, but it is really a crime drama with horrific elements.  Is there a Noir-esk title for such films? ? Such a creepy performance.  It definitely has Noir qualities, though I would say maybe the choice of the focal character leans away from Noir.  I might have missed other people's examples, but I personally can't think of a Noir with a similar focal character.  There are killers, but are there killers like Mr. Christie?

(facepalm)  It's not a damn noir !  

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On 7/1/2018 at 6:04 AM, Gershwin fan said:

For fans of neo-noir, debuting tonight at 2:30 AM is Le Deuxieme Souffle.

A1qEAzwPRoL._SY445_.jpg

According to IMDB this movie is partly influenced by the noir, Odds Against Tomorrow. 

Anyone catch this last night on 'Imports'?

thought it an excellent example both storywise & visually :)

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6 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

I'm going to do something that's kind of in bad form (because it looks egotistical). I'm going to  quote one of my own posts, one I wrote here a couple of pages back. I was surprised nobody except airbrush responded to it, since it's about my idea of what noir is and what it is not. 

But maybe everyone's sick of that topic, I can understand that. Anyway, here's what I said. Any thoughts?

(I can't seem to reverse this - I wanted my little explanatory post to come before my quote, not after. But I couldn't get it to do that.)

re: what is noir? 

I think people have a tendency to categorize any black and white film with negative content (e.g. sex crimes) as a noir.  Some films can definitely feature noir elements, but that does not necessarily make it a noir.  I don't think of  noir as a genre, it is a style of storytelling and filmmaking.  I don't even know if there are even definitive traits.  Noir is such a specific yet vague style of filmmaking.  Sex is often present in noir, but not explicitly.  Sex is often used as a character's motivation, often when it comes to the femme fatale.  One film I can think of that treads the line between noir and not-noir is Cape Fear (1962).  Robert Mitchum's character is a sexual predator, even though it isn't explicitly stated; however, the film does feature many noir elements. 

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44 minutes ago, mr6666 said:

Anyone catch this last night on 'Imports'?

thought it an excellent example both storywise & visually :)

You're referring to Le Deuxieme Souffle, right ?

I really wanted to watch it, but I do not have a DVR or any other recording device at the moment, so that meant I'd have had to stay up til 2:30 a.m. or whenever it was to watch it, in real time. I know I would have just fallen asleep, not because of the film (which I imagine is quite interesting), but just because I'm not usually up to staying awake at 2:30 in the morning.

Hopefully they'll air it again soon, maybe in a more accessible time slot.

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1 hour ago, mr6666 said:

Anyone catch this last night on 'Imports'?

thought it an excellent example both storywise & visually :)

I cheated by watching a Criterion DVD of Le Deuxieme Souffle earlier in the week, and I thought it was really good also.  In the special features they mention another film by the same director Jean-Pierre Melville with the same lead actor Lino Ventura that has the English title Army of Shadows (1969) and is also highly rated on IMDB.  Does not appear to be as much a Noir film, but based on the quality of Souffle I would like to see this one as well.

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21 minutes ago, cmovieviewer said:

I cheated by watching a Criterion DVD of Le Deuxieme Souffle earlier in the week, and I thought it was really good also.  In the special features they mention another film by the same director Jean-Pierre Melville with the same lead actor Lino Ventura that has the English title Army of Shadows (1969) and is also highly rated on IMDB.  Does not appear to be as much a Noir film, but based on the quality of Souffle I would like to see this one as well.

Anyone with interest in Melville's films should also check out Bob le Flambeur (1956) and Le Samourai (1967).

bob-le-flabeur-pic.jpg

le-samourai-e1510856625581-578x289.jpg

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2 hours ago, mr6666 said:

Anyone catch this last night on 'Imports'?

thought it an excellent example both storywise & visually :)

The heist scene was really well done.

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15 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

(facepalm)  It's not a damn noir !  

Do not recall having seen 10 Rillington Place, but did read the description on Wikipedia.  Agree, it is not a Noir.

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19 hours ago, arpirose said:

THE CID

Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor are very good actors.  As good as Richard Basehart for sure.  I have always found both He Walked By Night and Richard Basehart kind of boring.  Although he did OK in Tension.

 

YOU ARE SO WRONG ABOUT BASEHART.

As I said, I find him boring.  How can I be wrong about my own findings?

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13 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

I cheated by watching a Criterion DVD of Le Deuxieme Souffle earlier in the week, and I thought it was really good also.  In the special features they mention another film by the same director Jean-Pierre Melville with the same lead actor Lino Ventura that has the English title Army of Shadows (1969) and is also highly rated on IMDB.  Does not appear to be as much a Noir film, but based on the quality of Souffle I would like to see this one as well.

Apparently there's also a remake that has Monica Bellucci in it. Sounds worth viewing. 

MV5BMDFiMjNkMjEtZWIxZi00NDc3LTliZDgtN2Ew

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15 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

(facepalm)  It's not a damn noir !  

Yeah, missw.

Doesn't a noir have to have a femme fatale?

Ain't no femme fatale in 10 Rillington Place.

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19 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

(facepalm)  It's not a damn noir !  

Where did I say it was a Noir?  I said it is tough to say what it is because it has qualities from different genres.  I said I can see both sides of the argument, but I don't think Noir when I think of that movie; I think "horror."  You can't deny that it has Noir qualities, but that doesn't mean it is a Noir.  Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) has Noir qualities, but that doesn't make it a Noir movie, or is it?! ?  That is why I made the joke asking if there was a "Noir-esk" term that would define a movie like 10 Rillington Place.  Meaning a term that describes a movie that has some Noir qualities, but is possibly more horror leaning than Noir.  If need be I can make up a word. ?

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Not to bring up a sensitive subject, but the fans of Virginia Mayo should be happy to see her featured during Summer Under the Stars on August 23rd.  The movies included are:

King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)
The West Point Story (1950)
She's Working Her Way through College (1952)
The Big Land (1957)
Great Day in the Morning (1956)
Colorado Territory (1949)
Flaxy Martin (1949)
Backfire (1950)
Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948)
The Girl from Jones Beach (1949)
The Princess and the Pirate (1944)
South Sea Woman (1953)

(And no, Adele Jergens is not featured in Summer Under the Stars this year.)

Sorry this is a bit off-topic, but I couldn't resist.

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29 minutes ago, cmovieviewer said:

Not to bring up a sensitive subject, but the fans of Virginia Mayo should be happy to see her featured as a Star of the Month coming up on August 23rd.  The movies included are:

King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)
The West Point Story (1950)
She's Working Her Way through College (1952)
The Big Land (1957)
Great Day in the Morning (1956)
Colorado Territory (1949)
Flaxy Martin (1949)
Backfire (1950)
Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948)
The Girl from Jones Beach (1949)
The Princess and the Pirate (1944)
South Sea Woman (1953)

(And no, Adele Jergens is not featured as a Star of the Month this year.)

Sorry this is a bit off-topic, but I couldn't resist.

Did you mean to say "SUMMER UNDER THE STARS"?

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11 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Did you mean to say "SUMMER UNDER THE STARS"?

Yes, thank you!  (Corrected it above.)  Disappointed that my flub kind of killed my joke.

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2 minutes ago, cmovieviewer said:

Yes, thank you!  (Corrected it above.)  Disappointed that my flub kind of killed my joke.

from someone who flubs up a lot, it's cool- it happens.

 

ETA- Joke still works.

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On 7/1/2018 at 12:41 PM, misswonderly3 said:

I've noticed that a lot of people seem to think that anything with nastiness, with murder and weird sex in it, is a film noir. That is not my idea of noir at all, and if you read any of the original writings about the idea of film noir (you know, those French guys in the late 1950s,  Cahiers du Cinema and all that), they don't say much about that stuff. Just because it's dark and there's a killing (or several) in a film, doesn't necessarily make it a "noir".

Before Cahiers du Cinema, the original term coined in the 30s was for any film concerning the "dark" side. 

Distilled from William Ahearn The Death Of Film Noir

Charles O’Brien researched the use of “film noir” before the war in Film Noir In France: Before The Liberation

In its original coinage in the 1930s term was used in the newspapers and magazines of Paris.  It was coined by the political rightwing and that may be because many – but not all – of the film noirs were from the poetic realist movement that was closely associated with the leftist Popular Front. 

O’Brien writes, “references to film noir during the [pre-war years] often entailed denunciations of the moral condition of the cinema in France. Although critics during the late 1930s discussed film noir in terms of major developments in film history – tracing it to antecedents in German Expressionism and to French films such as ‘Sous les toits de Paris’ [Rene Clair’s ‘Under The Roofs of Paris’ 1930] – they typically attributed to film noir cultural connotations that were unambiguously negative.”

Writing in Action française in January 1938, the critic Francois Vinneuil called “Le Puritan” “a classic subject: the film noir, plunging into debauchery and crime.”

If a film concerns "the dark side" with any crime, nastiness, addiction, murder and weird sex in it and (most importantly) is filmed with the noir stylistics we all love then it's a Neo Noir in my book. If it has a noir plot but filmed traditionally I call it a NIPO, Noir In Plot Only. 

BTW - I consider Physco one of the first Noir to blur the traditional Noir/Horror/Thriller boundries.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Before Cahiers du Cinema, the original term coined in the 30s was for any film concerning the "dark" side. 

Distilled from William Ahearn The Death Of Film Noir

Charles O’Brien researched the use of “film noir” before the war in Film Noir In France: Before The Liberation

In its original coinage in the 1930s term was used in the newspapers and magazines of Paris.  It was coined by the political rightwing and that may be because many – but not all – of the film noirs were from the poetic realist movement that was closely associated with the leftist Popular Front. 

O’Brien writes, “references to film noir during the [pre-war years] often entailed denunciations of the moral condition of the cinema in France. Although critics during the late 1930s discussed film noir in terms of major developments in film history – tracing it to antecedents in German Expressionism and to French films such as ‘Sous les toits de Paris’ [Rene Clair’s ‘Under The Roofs of Paris’ 1930] – they typically attributed to film noir cultural connotations that were unambiguously negative.”

Writing in Action française in January 1938, the critic Francois Vinneuil called “Le Puritan” “a classic subject: the film noir, plunging into debauchery and crime.”

If a film concerns "the dark side" and is filmed with the noir stylistics we all love then it's a Neo Noir in my book. If it has a noir plot but filmed traditionally I call it a NIPO, Noir In Plot Only. 

BTW - I consider Physco one of the first Noir to blur the traditional Noir/Horror/Thriller boundries.*

 

 

*What about the movie Edward Dmytryk's "The Sniper" starring Arthur Franz and Marie Windsor?

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Here is another way to look at it remember "Noir" is not carved in stone.

Classic Film Noir (productions by year) 

1940 (5)
1941 (11)
1942 (5)
1943 (5)
1944 (18)
1945 (22)
1946 (42)
1947 (53)
1948 (43)
1949 (52)

1950 (57) ------ The high water mark year
1951 (39)
1952 (26)
1953 (21)
1954 (26)
1955 (20)
1956 (19)
1957 (12)
1958 (7)
1959 (7) ........... the quite arbitrary cut off for Classic Noir (Why?)

1960 (5)
1961 (5)
1962 (10)
1963 (1)
1964 (8)
1965 (9)
1966 (4)
1967 (3)
1968 (1)

The majority of these were shot in Black & White but you can look at the Color Film Noirs that were produced within this 1940-1968 time frame as actually the first Neo Noirs (let's call these first phase neos or proto neos) so that the two sub genres/styles actually overlap. But until the Motion Picture Production Code weakened in the 1960s the only significant difference between Noir and Neo Noir was the use of color film. Post 1960 the Neo Noirs (second phase neos) both Color and Black & White began to drift away from predominantly crime centric stories into more previously taboo "dark" subject matter and employing various salacious visual depictions not possible before.

As the Motion Picture Production Code weakened and independent poverty row and low budget film creators were allowed more artistic freedom. So those Film Noir that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as Horror, Thriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, maniacs, and psychotics, etc.). Those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, etc., situations were being lumped into or classed as various Exploitation flicks, (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films). The the noir-ish films that dealt with everything else, except Crime, concerning the human condition were labeled Dramas and Suspense. Those that tried new techniques, lenses, etc., were labeled Experimental. Some films are so so bad in all aspects that they acquire the "so bad it's good" Cult status.

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