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Noir Alley

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Interesting to me was the role's Burr played before Perry Mason.  He almost always played the heavy and did it very well.  Personally I think he did it better in some others even than in The Blue Gardenia.

And then he does the TV Perry Mason so well.

His role as the D.A. in A PLACE IN THE SUN served as his bridge from playing heavies to "Perry Mason", although he continued to play villains after A PLACE IN THE SUN.

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I’m not sure if this is the right place to post miscellaneous Noir Alley comments but here goes:

- As one who sometimes worries about the possible decline of TCM, I’m encouraged to see TCM go “all in” on a new franchise such as Noir Alley.  Complete with a regular schedule, a brand-new set, a knowledgeable host, and detailed introductions and wrap-ups, I think this has been a great series so far.  I have to admit the Sunday morning time seems a little curious to me, but I have gotten in the habit of recording it to watch later.

- I have very much enjoyed Eddie Muller as host. Of course he is TCM’s acknowledged Noir expert, and I have been impressed with the comments he has made based on his personal experiences with the writers, producers, and actors in the films.  I try to avoid movie spoilers at all costs, so another advantage of recording the show is that I can watch the movie first and then watch the intro and wrap-up comments afterwards. Eddie isn’t really spoiling anything, but sometimes I think he does present information in the intro that may influence the perception of the film if you have not seen it before.  (This is just me, I’m sure most people like the background before watching the film.)

- As others have mentioned, I was surprised at how truly dark 'Scarlet Street' was.  Compares with ‘M’ as the darkest Fritz Lang film I can recall.  As Eddie pointed out, it also did not have an ending you would expect given the Production Code rules of the time. Turns out this Noir business can be more serious than I thought.
 

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I find myself recording the movies just to watch his comments. Since I've seen many of the films multiple times already, I usually dont watch the film itself. I did watch The Set Up which I havent seen many times. I always like to spot the Bunker Hill/Court Hill locations in downtown LA used so often in noirs. (alas, all gone now. )  :(

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I find myself recording the movies just to watch his comments. Since I've seen many of the films multiple times already, I usually dont watch the film itself. I did watch The Set Up which I havent seen many times. I always like to spot the Bunker Hill/Court Hill locations in downtown LA used so often in noirs. (alas, all gone now. :(  )

Muller does the commentary on quite a few Noir DVD's sometimes with a guest sometimes stag, I'd usually watch the film then get the double pleasure of watching it with the commentaries. Some are not fond of his co commentary with James Ellroy but both of them together on Crime Wave especially are a real hoot.

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I’m not sure if this is the right place to post miscellaneous Noir Alley comments but here goes:

 

- As one who sometimes worries about the possible decline of TCM, I’m encouraged to see TCM go “all in” on a new franchise such as Noir Alley.  Complete with a regular schedule, a brand-new set, a knowledgeable host, and detailed introductions and wrap-ups, I think this has been a great series so far.  I have to admit the Sunday morning time seems a little curious to me, but I have gotten in the habit of recording it to watch later.

 

- I have very much enjoyed Eddie Muller as host. Of course he is TCM’s acknowledged Noir expert, and I have been impressed with the comments he has made based on his personal experiences with the writers, producers, and actors in the films.  I try to avoid movie spoilers at all costs, so another advantage of recording the show is that I can watch the movie first and then watch the intro and wrap-up comments afterwards. Eddie isn’t really spoiling anything, but sometimes I think he does present information in the intro that may influence the perception of the film if you have not seen it before.  (This is just me, I’m sure most people like the background before watching the film.)

 

- As others have mentioned, I was surprised at how truly dark 'Scarlet Street' was.  Compares with ‘M’ as the darkest Fritz Lang film I can recall.  As Eddie pointed out, it also did not have an ending you would expect given the Production Code rules of the time. Turns out this Noir business can be more serious than I thought.

 

Eddie Muller puts all other movie commenters on TCM to shame.

 

And, yes, "Scarlet Street" could not get any "darker".

 

He also did a first-rate job on Tab Hunter's bio.

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Yes, I recorded and watched The Prowler this wknd. I had seen it before, but had forgotten a lot of the plot aspects. I love Muller's commentary. Sometimes I'll record a film just to hear what he says about it and not watch the film (if its something I've seen a dozen times).

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Yes, I recorded and watched The Prowler this wknd. I had seen it before, but had forgotten a lot of the plot aspects. I love Muller's commentary. Sometimes I'll record a film just to hear what he says about it and not watch the film (if its something I've seen a dozen times).

"The Prowler", which I had never seen, was such a DARK, DARK experience.

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"The Prowler", which I had never seen, was such a DARK, DARK experience.

 

 

The whole baby thing was weird.  A different film for Mother's Day.........

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"The Prowler", which I had never seen, was such a DARK, DARK experience.

Nice to see Van Hefin in leading role playing a sleazy character and one that falls into a dark hole by his own desires.

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Well, he fell into a dark hole in Act of Violence too.....(Heflin).

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CRIME OF PASSION      as usual, don't read if you haven't seen the film and dislike spoilers

 

Well, for once they aired a film in Noir Alley that was less than fascinating. Oh, what the hell, I'll just say it - I did not think it was very good at all, whether you call it a "late 50s noir" or a melodrama.

 

Yes, the leads were all great. I love Barbara Stanwyck and Sterling Hayden.  Raymond Burr, too ( who's not really in it that much) is fine. It's not the actors that make this would-be latter day noir silly and borderline dull - it's the screenplay.

 

Stanwyck's character is all over the place; she starts out as a hard-boiled newspaper writer - although her main job at the paper seems to be the resident advice columnist. But then she meets Sterling Hayden, decides she's in love with him ( one of the quickest and most arbitrary falling-in-love sequences I've ever seen), and gives up an exciting new reporter position in New York she's just been offered to marry Sterling's detective and play the loving devoted little housewife, a role her character is patently unsuited for. 

 

She even utters one of the silliest lines a newly-wed wife has ever had to say on screen; something like,

"I hope you have hundreds of socks with holes in them, because I'd love to darn your socks all day."

!  !

The film is a mish-mash of boring upper-middle- class suburban life ( did the men and women really hang out in separate rooms at their social gatherings?  If they did, I'm so glad I didnt' live in the 50s....), misdirected ambition, and confused ( and equally misdirected) sexual attraction. 

 

Crime of Passion can't make up its mind if it wants Barbara's character ( Kathy Ferguson) to  kill Anthony Pope ( Raymond Burr) because he spurns her sexual interest in him ( they really only sleep together once, it's no wild lust-filled affair) or because he refuses to promote her husband to L.A.P.D. force captain. Either way, her decision to shoot him  -which is NOT a crime of passion but premeditated - seems just slightly over-reacting, whether to Pope's rejection of her as a lover or of her husband as a police captain.

 

Sorry, Eddie, and any noir fans who enjoyed this movie. I wanted to like it, and I thought I would. But it just became increasingly over-wrought and silly as it went on. It felt like the writer was just throwing any old idea into the mix. Like Kathy's decision to stage a car accident ( just a fender bender, of course) with Pope's wife by way of getting to know her. Shirley there's an easier way to make friends with your husband's boss' wife.  How about an invite to a nice middle-class bridge game, or an outing together to the Ladies' Hydrangea Society? 

 

If Kathy's bored with the stultifying life-style of a suburban housewife then why doesn't she just go back to work? I know it was the 50s, and married women stayed home and darned their husbands' socks and played bridge, but some women - especially women who had no children - continued with their career after marriage, and were just fine. 

But of course, if Babs had done that, there wouldn't be any Crime of Passion. Which in this case, might have been just as well.

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CRIME OF PASSION      as usual, don't read if you haven't seen the film and dislike spoilers

 

Well, for once they aired a film in Noir Alley that was less than fascinating. Oh, what the hell, I'll just say it - I did not think it was very good at all, whether you call it a "late 50s noir" or a melodrama.

 

Very good comments, misswonderly.  Agree completely.

 

I also did not buy the way Lt. Doyle connected the murder weapon with the crime.  Since it was established that nobody at the police station had recognized that one of the guns was missing, it doesn't make sense for Doyle to suspect that one of those weapons could have been used in another crime the same day at a different location.  (Unless he has a photographic memory for bullet pictures.) Perhaps I missed something.

 

As a fan of all of the actors involved, it was most disappointing.

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While I didn't particularly care for the screenplay, Barbara Stanwyck's fierce performance made it "enjoyable" - she had set herself a goal and she would not be deterred.

 

I also felt her devotion to Sterling Hayden, who was decidedly "the love object".

 

Sterling Hayden played that role believably.

 

What the woman could have invested in her career, she invested in an insane scheme to better her husband's position.

 

But I did not buy the ending - she would not have gone that quietly.

 

Instead, she probably would have shot him, too. 

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Although I wasn't wowed by Crime of Passion so much, I did appreciate Eddie's tribute to Barbara Stanwyck by listing some of her many contributions to Noir and describing her transition to television in the 60s in The Big Valley series, explaining that Ms. Stanwyck was unwilling to continue her big-screen career via the horror genre as many of her contemporaries did.

 

(Coincidentally, I see that several examples of these 'senior horror' films are scheduled on TCM tonight.)

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"The Prowler", which I had never seen, was such a DARK, DARK experience.

 

I had only seen The Prowler online (YT) before and remain amazed at its taut structure. The burgeoning romance just sort of "happens," if you're not paying too close attention.  I love films that are able to get across a plot point like that without beating you over the head.  The end of this film is just utterly horrible -- and (for viewers) -- wonderful.  Getting shot dead while desperately trying to scale a heap of debris is the ultimate noir statement!

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While I didn't particularly care for the screenplay, Barbara Stanwyck's fierce performance made it "enjoyable" - she had set herself a goal and she would not be deterred.

 

I also felt her devotion to Sterling Hayden, who was decidedly "the love object".

 

Sterling Hayden played that role believably.

 

What the woman could have invested in her career, she invested in an insane scheme to better her husband's position.

 

But I did not buy the ending - she would not have gone that quietly.

 

Instead, she probably would have shot him, too. 

 

Not to quibble rayban, and in any case, I'm glad you watched the film and had comments to make about it, but -  it's that very "she set herself a goal and she would not be deterred" aspect of the story that I have a problem with.

 

How come, if she's such a strong character, so determined and ambitious, she never showed any interest in advancing her own career when she was a writer for that newspaper? If it were that important to her to get ahead, it seems likely to me that she would not have been content with producing the "Lovelorn" advice column she apparently laboured at for many years.  (I mean, even though yes, Barbara's still an attractive woman in this movie, it's clear that she's not a young one....)

 

Kathy never seemed to have much ambition until she married Bill Doyle. Why not? A career woman like her would have been on the move long before she met Doyle.

I know it was the 1950s when values were very different from what they are now, but even so, I find it hard to believe that the only thing that would have galvanized Kathy's ambition was marriage, and that her desire to "move up" would only be manifested vicariously, through her husband.

 

The whole film just feels to me, as I said before, like they made it up as they went along.

 

But yes, I did enjoy all the performances, especially Miss Stanwyck's.

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I had only seen The Prowler online (YT) before and remain amazed at its taut structure. The burgeoning romance just sort of "happens," if you're not paying too close attention.  I love films that are able to get across a plot point like that without beating you over the head.  The end of this film is just utterly horrible -- and (for viewers) -- wonderful.  Getting shot dead while desperately trying to scale a heap of debris is the ultimate noir statement!

 

I'd heard of The Prowler (from these forums, I believe), but never seen it until it was aired a few weeks ago on "Noir Alley".  It definitely deserves a place in the noir canon; I quite enjoyed it.

 

Aside from anything else, I always like Van Heflen, and in this film he shows his range. He's a pretty nasty character, something that's a bit of a change for Van. But this actor always played complex characters, the most complex being his Frank Enley in  a great and under-rated noir, Act of Violence. 

 

I found Eddie's comments at the end of The Prowler most interesting. He said that the censors insisted on some aspects of the story being changed, mainly the sexual heat between Webb and Susan. It's too bad, because the result is a bit tamer, and therefore less interesting and noirish, than if the two had been allowed to show unbridled lust - as opposed to the attempt at depicting some kind of nice, domestic "love"between them, which is what we end up seeing on-screen, and which doesn't really  engage us nearly as much as the kind of sexual attraction  you see in, say , The Postman Always Rings Twice.

 

Lust trumps love when it comes to film noir.

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Not to quibble rayban, and in any case, I'm glad you watched the film and had comments to make about it, but -  it's that very "she set herself a goal and she would not be deterred" aspect of the story that I have a problem with.

 

How come, if she's such a strong character, so determined and ambitious, she never showed any interest in advancing her own career when she was a writer for that newspaper? If it were that important to her to get ahead, it seems likely to me that she would not have been content with producing the "Lovelorn" advice column she apparently laboured at for many years.  (I mean, even though yes, Barbara's still an attractive woman in this movie, it's clear that she's not a young one....)

 

Kathy never seemed to have much ambition until she married Bill Doyle. Why not? A career woman like her would have been on the move long before she met Doyle.

I know it was the 1950s when values were very different from what they are now, but even so, I find it hard to believe that the only thing that would have galvanized Kathy's ambition was marriage, and that her desire to "move up" would only be manifested vicariously, through her husband.

 

The whole film just feels to me, as I said before, like they made it up as they went along.

 

But yes, I did enjoy all the performances, especially Miss Stanwyck's.

I agree, Barbara Stanywyck's sudden conversion to "heterosexual love" is NOT that convincing.

 

She probably would have had a more prominent position at the newspaper.

 

And that position would have been the focus of her attentions.

 

But Sterling Hayden as "a love object" is persuasive.

 

And "love" has been known to "trip us up".

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I'd heard of The Prowler (from these forums, I believe), but never seen it until it was aired a few weeks ago on "Noir Alley".  It definitely deserves a place in the noir canon; I quite enjoyed it.

 

Aside from anything else, I always like Van Heflen, and in this film he shows his range. He's a pretty nasty character, something that's a bit of a change for Van. But this actor always played complex characters, the most complex being his Frank Enley in  a great and under-rated noir, Act of Violence. 

 

I found Eddie's comments at the end of The Prowler most interesting. He said that the censors insisted on some aspects of the story being changed, mainly the sexual heat between Webb and Susan. It's too bad, because the result is a bit tamer, and therefore less interesting and noirish, than if the two had been allowed to show unbridled lust - as opposed to the attempt at depicting some kind of nice, domestic "love"between them, which is what we end up seeing on-screen, and which doesn't really  engage us nearly as much as the kind of sexual attraction  you see in, say , The Postman Always Rings Twice.

 

Lust trumps love when it comes to film noir.

And, yet, Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes were convincing as "lovers".

 

When Van Heflin was "bad", he was also most interesting, like in this film and "Possessed".

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Not sure anyone else cares about this much but...

 

I had noticed this past week that the TCM schedule for Tuesday the 23rd included the film Act of Violence (1948) that misswonderly mentions below.  This is the film that was originally scheduled to be shown as part of the Noir Alley series back on March 19, but was replaced at that time due to the weekend tribute to Robert Osborne.  (The very first scene shown in the Noir Alley intro of the guy crossing the city street at night is taken from this movie.)

 

I was hoping that perhaps TCM would include the Eddie Muller material for viewing this week, but unfortunately no such luck.  The film is also listed for July 6, but this is also a non-Noir Alley time so I assume there will be no intro for this showing either.  I guess I can only hope that TCM will be able to reschedule the film sometime in the future for another 'official' Noir Alley presentation.

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I agree, Barbara Stanywyck's sudden conversion to "heterosexual love" is NOT that convincing.

 

She probably would have had a more prominent position at the newspaper.

 

And that position would have been the focus of her attentions.

 

But Sterling Hayden as "a love object" is persuasive.

 

And "love" has been known to "trip us up".

Glad someone mentioned this as we were thinking it too. I was surprised Muller did not mention this issue but someone here posted about his making mistakes about this film and others in the Sunday slot since he seems to just research them online for his opening remarks without internal background knowledge of films. Can't remember what someone here said was wrong about his intro for this film and Stanwyk's career. Maybe someone else knows where that post is detailing mistakes by Muller on noir films?

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Glad someone mentioned this as we were thinking it too. I was surprised Muller did not mention this issue but someone here posted about his making mistakes about this film and others in the Sunday slot since he seems to just research them online for his opening remarks without internal background knowledge of films. Can't remember what someone here said was wrong about his intro for this film and Stanwyk's career. Maybe someone else knows where that post is detailing mistakes by Muller on noir films?

 

I watched both Eddie's comments about Crime of Passion - by "both", I mean, both his before- and after-the screening remarks. I don't recall any "mistakes" as such that he made; certainly there's room for disagreement regarding what he said, but that doesn't really fall into the category of Eddie being inaccurate.

 

I did notice a definite mistake on the TCM schedule itself: its brief synopsis  of Crime of Passion said something about Barbara Stanwyck's character marrying a "business executive" and her efforts for him to "get ahead".

 

Of course, her husband was not a business exec, he was a police detective. His profession is integral to the story, and what happens with Stanwyck, so the erroneous blurb about the film (it's only two lines or so on the TCM schedule) is quite misleading, and it's odd that such a mistake would appear.

But of course, this isn't the first time there's been an incorrect plot precis on the TCM schedule. Not that this is a beeg deal, since presumeably one's decision to watch any film on the schedule is based on more than those two-line summaries.

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