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MissGoddess

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Wonderful post, Frank. Unfortunately, that's all I can say. I'm not about

to reply in kind because I fear in the present situation here, Uncle Charlie is

ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. This has turned into NIGHTMARE ALLEY.

 

Barbara/Larry/Theresa:

 

animation-kisses.gif

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I agree that "Shadow of a Doubt" is very likely one of the Master's best movies, without a shadow of a doubt (pun intended!). Having read a lot about Hitchcock in college, I seem to remember he had not been in the U.S. very long when he made that movie, and due to his contract with David O. Selznick, he did not enjoy as much creative control as he would later in his career. But he did know how to make the most with what was available to him

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> {quote:title=FrankGrimes wrote:}{quote}

> What's the score, Rick? -- I hope you do give Shadow of a Doubt another

> chance viewing. It's Hitchcock's horror from within. I also like the social commentary

> of the film.

>

I'm hoping to catch it on the 24th, or at least tape it and see it soon after that. The positive comments from you (and several other posters) has me excited about seeing it again, and hoping I'll like it much better that the first time. It's probably the only Hitchcock film I've ever seen that left me rather indifferent!

 

 

> Ahhh, you are a wise man. Yes, Barbara Stanwyck is my favorite actress, although

> I'm most drawn to Gene Tierney (#2), Gloria Grahame (#3), and Linda Darnell (#4).

>

> 5. Grace Kelly

> 6. Ingrid Bergman

> 7. Joan Bennett

> 8. Maureen O'Hara

> 9. Ava Gardner

> 10. Madeleine Carroll

>

Well, that's an impressive and eclectic list and includes at least a few actresses I like very much. My # 1 is Ann Sheridan, for her versatility, her great looks, and her overall ability to play at almsot any end of the spectrum, from melodrama to screwball comedy. And my #2 is your # 1, and frankly, this has been a very recent development. I've always liked Stanwyck, but over the past year I've _really_ begun to appreciate her talents. Saw some of her pre-codes on TCM, then those two Christmas movies last December, and have been catching up on several others that I'd never seen before courtesy of Netflix. I'm now up to 32 films, with a few more coming up on TCM in the next month or so. I don't have to tell you, she's terrific in just about anything she ever did, and I'm amazed at versatility, great comic timing in things like The Lady Eve, convincing portrayals in dramas such as Stella Dallas and My Reputation, and then a mix of both in stuff like Meet John Doe. And her pre-code films are amazing. Have you seen Ladies of Leisure, directed by Capra? I think it was only her third film, and she's so polished you think she'd been making movies for 10 years.

 

My next 7 actresses would look something like this:

#3-Carole Lombard

#4-Linda Darnell

#5-Kim Novak

#6-Sophia Loren

#7-Bette Davis

#8-Gloria Grahame

#9- Ingrid Bergman

#10- Katherine Hepburn

 

>

>

> I'm very surprised that Netflix doesn't have Raw Deal. Amazon is selling it for

> about eight bucks plus three bucks for shipping. It's a very good film noir. TCM

> showed it twice in 2007, with December of 2007 being the most recent. Has it been

> that long already?

>

> Foolishly, I'm the opposite of you. I don't rent DVDs, I only buy them. I also record

> TCM.

 

I'll keep looking for it on TCM and I think sooner or later Netflix will carry it. It's at the top of my list of "have to see" noirs.

 

>

>

 

>

> Film noir is generally viewed as an American medium, although its origins are primarily

> foreign, mostly German and French.

>

> The there is Ossessione, Visconti's 1942 Italian version of The Postman Always Rings

> Twice, a terrific adaptation of Cain's story.

>

> Now that's the perfect film to bring up. I've yet to watch The Postman Always Rings

> Twice, but I cannot imagine it coming close to matching the sweaty look and feel of

> Ossessione. Ossessione IS film noir to me, although most will call it

> neorealism. Visconti was one of the forerunners of this movement. Ossessione is

> the first foreign-language DVD that I ever got. I first saw it on TCM and I was captivated

> by it. It's a great favorite of mine.

 

I started to watch "Postman" the other night, and 30 minutes in I remembered why I never thought it was anywhere near the top of my favorite noirs. Another poster a few days ago (ChiO, perhaps) said it was boring, and while I won't go that far, I will say it is definitely "unconvincing," and Cecil Kellaway is so miscast and his whole character such a non-entity, that it really ruins a major aspect of the film and makes Frank and Cora's rationale for their crime seem ludicrous.

>

>

> It reminds me a little bit of Fritz Lang's

> House by the River. I'm a Henri-Georges Clouzot fan.

 

I don't know House by the River. I'll have to check it out.

>

>

>

>> So, if I may ask, when you think of film noir, what do you first think of? I'd love to hear

> how others would answer that question, as well.

 

I wanted to comment on this idea that film noir may or may not be a "genre." I don't think just because a movement or genre of film was not identified or specified until many years after its creation, and that movement was only named by critics and not the filmmakers themselves, that means it's not a valid statement. In fact, while I agree that film noir did not become a widely used term until probably the 1970s, it had been first described and written about as far back as the 1940s. The following excerpt is from the lengthy write-up on film noir in wikipedia, and while I certainly know that wikipedia is not the final word on anything, I thought the information contained in this excerpt was interesting and useful for this discussion. I hope people won't find this too long.

 

Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize moral ambiguity and sexual motivation. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression.

 

 

The term film noir (French for "black film"), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most American film industry professionals of the era. Cinema historians and critics defined the canon of film noir in retrospect; many of those involved in the making of the classic noirs later professed to be unaware of having created a distinctive type of film.

 

 

"We'd be oversimplifying things in calling film noir oneiric, strange, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel...."[2] This is the first of many attempts to define film noir made by the French critics Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton in their 1955 book Panorama du film noir am?ricain 1941?1953 (A Panorama of American Film Noir), the original and seminal extended treatment of the subject. They take pains to point out that not every film noir embodies all five attributes in equal measure?this one is more dreamlike, while this other is particularly brutal. The authors' caveats and repeated efforts at alternative definition have proved telling about noir's reliability as a label: in the five decades since, no definition has achieved anything close to general acceptance. The authors of most substantial considerations of film noir still find it necessary to add on to what are now innumerable attempts at definition. As Borde and Chaumeton suggest, however, the field of noir is very diverse and any generalization about it risks veering into oversimplification.

 

 

Film noirs embrace a variety of genres, from the gangster film to the police procedural to the so-called social problem picture, and evidence a variety of visual approaches, from meat-and-potatoes Hollywood mainstream to outr?. While many critics refer to film noir as a genre itself, others argue that it can be no such thing. Though noir is often associated with an urban setting, for example, many classic noirs take place mainly in small towns, suburbia, rural areas, or on the open road, so setting can not be its genre determinant, as with the Western. Similarly, while the private eye and the femme fatale are character types conventionally identified with noir, the majority of film noirs feature neither, so there is no character basis for genre designation as with the gangster film. Nor does it rely on anything as evident as the monstrous or supernatural elements of the horror film, the speculative leaps of the science fiction film, or the song-and-dance routines of the musical.

 

 

A more analogous case is that of the screwball comedy, widely accepted by film historians as constituting a "genre"?the screwball is defined not by a fundamental attribute, but by a general disposition and a group of elements, some (but rarely and perhaps never all) of which are found in each of the genre's films.[3] However, because of the diversity of noir (much greater than that of the screwball comedy), certain scholars in the field, such as film historian Thomas Schatz, treat it as not a genre but a "style." Alain Silver, the most widely published American critic specializing in film noir studies, refers to it as a "cycle" and a "phenomenon," even as he argues that it has?like certain genres?a consistent set of visual and thematic codes. Other critics treat film noir as a "mood," a "movement," or a "series," or simply address a chosen set of movies from the "period." There is no consensus on the matter.

 

As for me, I love categorizing these films as film noirs, and let all of us continue to debate and dispute which films are legitimate and/or brilliant examples of such, and which ones fall short. My criteria is simple, and I've said it before. To quote a former Supreme Court justice, who said when he was asked to define pornography: "I know it when I see it."

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_FrankenGrimer_ asked: *So, if I may ask, when you think of film noir, what do you first think of? I'd love to hear how others would answer that question, as well.*

 

If you mean "what movie or scene from a movie immediately pops into your head?", why Double Indemnity, of course. It's the first noir that I remember seeing, it's shown over and over again, it's enjoyable (a Top 20 pick for me) and has all or most of the standard elements of a characteristic noir -- urban, lots of night, light & shadow play, femme fatale...you know the drill.

 

But if the question (never answer a question without asking two) is "what is the first element of noir that pops into your head?", then it's Fate -- unrelenting Fate.

 

Given that Fate is a concept or idea that can be expressed by various "physical" elements of a film (lighting, camera angles, set, plot), but is not a physical element in and of itself, I don't view noir as a "genre". To me, a "genre" is -- and I'm probably incorrect or idiosyncratic -- a category that requires a movie to have certain physical elements or the movie isn't a Western or Musical or Gangster, et al. movie. A noir doesn't require Expressionistic camera or lighting or set, night, rain, urban -- it just requires that Fate be hanging over one or more heads (or, in the case of Detour, a foot to trip you).

 

One of my favorite definitions of film noir, because it is so easy to apply, and...well...definitive is: If it is a movie that Borde & Chaumeton listed in their book, then it's a film noir; if they didn't, then it's not.

 

P.S. *Ohhh, I thought you were on the other side of that leaning fence.* (re: The Night of the Hunter)

 

You've confused me with Ark, I believe. I am flattered. He is not.

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Yikes. I don't think that I have -- I should check into it. The only noir book that immediately comes to mind that I've read, but don't own, is Borde & Chaumeton's -- essential reading and I should find a copy.

 

Those laying around for my reading in the dark are:

 

*Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen* (Foster Hirsch) -- nice intro, if a tad mainstream for my taste

 

*Somewhere In the Night: Film Noir and the American City* (Nicholas Christopher) -- More impressionistic than analytical, but fun

 

*Film Noir* (Eddie Robson) -- Not theoretically deep, but a lot of fun; picks 18 movies as the noirs that, in his estimation, impacted or added something to noir (not "the best of noir") and provides some detail on each (two by Welles and two by Joseph H. Lewis; Wilder is the only other director with two films)

 

*Film Noir Reader 4: The Crucial Films and Themes* (Alain Silver & James Ursini, eds) -- includes two articles on *Gun Crazy* (my favorite noir) and one on *Touch of Evil* (my #2)...'nuff said

 

*More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts* (James Naremore) -- Absolutely brilliant in its historical research and analysis, but I'm glad I read the others first

 

I also liked *Anthony Mann* (Jeanine Basinger) and *Fritz Lang: Nature of the Beast* (Patrick McGilligan); the former is a critical study and the latter is a biography.

 

Would love to read what other books you noiristers recommend. If memory serves, I started a thread a couple of years ago asking for recommendations, but it's probably buried in the ether.

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

> Yikes. I don't think that I have -- I should check into it. The only noir book that immediately comes to mind that I've read, but don't own, is Borde & Chaumeton's -- essential reading and I should find a copy.

>

> Those laying around for my reading in the dark are:

>

> *Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen* (Foster Hirsch) -- nice intro, if a tad mainstream for my taste

>

> *Somewhere In the Night: Film Noir and the American City* (Nicholas Christopher) -- More impressionistic than analytical, but fun

>

> *Film Noir* (Eddie Robson) -- Not theoretically deep, but a lot of fun; picks 18 movies as the noirs that, in his estimation, impacted or added something to noir (not "the best of noir") and provides some detail on each (two by Welles and two by Joseph H. Lewis; Wilder is the only other director with two films)

>

> *Film Noir Reader 4: The Crucial Films and Themes* (Alain Silver & James Ursini, eds) -- includes two articles on *Gun Crazy* (my favorite noir) and one on *Touch of Evil* (my #2)...'nuff said

>

> *More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts* (James Naremore) -- Absolutely brilliant in its historical research and analysis, but I'm glad I read the others first

>

> I also liked *Anthony Mann* (Jeanine Basinger) and *Fritz Lang: Nature of the Beast* (Patrick McGilligan); the former is a critical study and the latter is a biography.

>

> Would love to read what other books you noiristers recommend. If memory serves, I started a thread a couple of years ago asking for recommendations, but it's probably buried in the ether.

 

 

ChiO,

 

If you look again, you'll see that the book in question _is_ the one you've read; the Borde & Chaumeton book is called A Panorama of American Film Noir (1941-1953); its French title (cited below in the wikipedia excerpt) is Panorama du film noir am?ricain 1941?1953. I've read several film noir books, but somehow have missed that one. I'm going to have to get it soon and read it.

 

My favorites: (1) Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen (Foster Hirsch)

(2) Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (Eddie Muller; Muller does the commentary on several DVDs, notably Fox noirs such as Fallen Angel, and he's very knowledgeable; in addition he runs the SF FIlm Noir festival every yaer

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(I wasn't finished with my list and inadvertently hit something and the message posted prematurely.)

 

> (2) Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (Eddie Muller; for those who don't know him, Muller does the commentary on several DVDs, notably Fox noirs such as Fallen Angel, and he's very knowledgeable; in addition, he runs the San Francisco Film Noir festival every year.)

(3) Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir (Eddie Muller); profiles and lengthy interviews with six women who were in notable noirs: Coleen Gray; Jane Greer; Evelyn Keyes; Ann Savage; Audrey Totter, and Marie Windsor.

(4) Hard-Boiled: Great Lines From Classic Noir Films; this one contains dozens of great photos and tons of classic quotes from every great noir ever made

(5) Film Noir Reader 3, (edited by Robert Porfirio, Alain Silver and James Ursini); terrific interviews with such notable directors as Billy Wilder, Samuel Fuller, Fritz Lang, and Robert Wise, as well as interviews with some cinematographers, composers and actors.

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

> Oh -- I knew that (blush blush). It's time to close up shop.

>

> Ignore the man behind the curtain -- he's an idiot.

 

Don't feel bad, this is now my _third_ attempt to post my list of favorite noir books. (I think something weird is up with the boards right now because the last time I didn't do anything wrong and only one part of my list made it.) Anyway:

 

Here, I think, are four other noteworthy titles.

 

(1) Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (Eddie Muller) A terrific and fun book, written by a very knowledgeable guy. He does the commentary on several noir DVDs and runs the San Francisco Film Noir Festival every year.

(2) Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir (Eddie Muller) Interviews and profiles with six noir "dames:" Colleen Gray; Jane Greer; Evelyn Keyes; Audrey Totter; Ann Savage, and Marie Windsor.

(3) Film Noir Reader 3 (edited by Robert Porfirio, Alain Silver, and James Ursini) Interviews with directors such as Wilder, Lang, Fuller, and Wise, as well as some cinematographers and actors.

(4) Hard-Boiled: Great Lines From Classic Noir Films. Filled with dozens of great photos and more than a hundred fabulous lines from classic noirs.

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Don't feel bad, this is now my third attempt to post my list of favorite noir

books. (I think something weird is up with the boards right now because the

last time I didn't do anything wrong and only one part of my list made it.)

 

The board doesn't permit a line to begin with a space. If you start a line with a space, all

the text on that line will "disappear," not be seen.

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> {quote:title=FrankGrimes wrote:}{quote}

>

> The board doesn't permit a line to begin with a space. If you start a line with a space, all

> the text on that line will "disappear," not be seen.

 

Who knew? I think that's what I did; thanks, Frank for the info.

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*Who knew? I think that's what I did; thanks, Frank for the info.*

 

Rick,

 

If you got back to that post with missing text and click on the Edit Button, that post will open in a new window. You will see the entire post, missing text and all.

 

Remove the offending indentations and hit the send button. Your message will post in it's entirety.

 

The indentation bug is a nuisance. It will do the disappearing text act even if a line has one a space indentation at the beginning of it.

 

Beware the Indentation Bug.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> *Who knew? I think that's what I did; thanks, Frank for the info.*

>

> Rick,

>

> If you got back to that post with missing text and click on the Edit Button, that post will open in a new window. You will see the entire post, missing text and all.

>

> Remove the offending indentations and hit the send button. Your message will post in it's entirety.

>

> The indentation bug is a nuisance. It will do the disappearing text act even if a line has one a space indentation at the beginning of it.

>

> Beware the Indentation Bug.

 

 

Thanks very much, Liz. As you and Frank can probably tell, I'm not the most experienced poster on these boards, but what I like about coming here is not only exchanging views/passions about films, but receiving helpful advice from thoughtful people.

 

By the way, I'm looking forward to your appearance next month with Robert Osborne during the anniversary celebration, as you and several of the other TCM "veterans" discuss your favorite films (which I can tell from reading the other postings about this event are some of my favorite films as well).

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Hi Mr. Grey... and folks...

 

Don't want to interupt the flow... you've got a lot of different topics going on... just wanted to say it is a fun read... and also give a nod to Shadow of a Doubt.. I have enjoyed this film since I first saw it years ago... (one of my very fave Hitchcock's) Thanks for the nice Screencaps!!

 

Carry on...

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"My # 1 is Ann Sheridan, for her versatility, her great looks, and her overall ability to play at almsot any end of the spectrum, from melodrama to screwball comedy." - Rickspade

 

If I may chime in...just want to let you know that "King's Row" is on Wednesday nite @ 10:00pm, I believe. Good film. And your "Oomph Girl" give s really warm, nice and down-to-earth performance.

 

It's hard to believe she's the same girl in "The Man Who Came to Dinner." I'm a big fan of hers as well.

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> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

>>

> If I may chime in...just want to let you know that "King's Row" is on Wednesday nite @ 10:00pm, I believe. Good film. And your "Oomph Girl" give s really warm, nice and down-to-earth performance.

>

> It's hard to believe she's the same girl in "The Man Who Came to Dinner." I'm a big fan of hers as well.

 

Hi Cinemaven,

 

Thanks, Kings Row is a film I've seen more than a few times. You're right, Annie gives one of her best performances, just as you described it. It shows her soft and tender side, with nice touches of humor. You can put this one next to not only The Man Who Came to Dinner, but also Torrid Zone (one of my very favorites), They Drive by Night, Nora Prentiss, The Unfaithful, and a terrific little noir gem, Woman on the Run, and that gives you a full spectrum of Annie's versatility.

 

By the way, while I was never a big fan of our former president, (either on screen or off), to give him his due, I think he's quite good in King's Row, probably his best screen performance. As I've mentioned before, the weak spot for me in this movie is the rather cloying performance of Robert Cummings, who I thought was pretty good in some light comedies, but I don't care for him here.

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_Rickspade_ wrote: *By the way, while I was never a big fan of our former president, (either on screen or off), to give him his due, I think he's quite good in King's Row, probably his best screen performance.*

 

That and The Killers, and I didn't mind him in Night Unto Night. Maybe it's a Don Siegel-thing for me.

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I like Night Unto Night---I can't resist Broderick Crawford as a philosophical painter! :D

 

The only book touching on film noir I've ever read/owned was this coffee table one which

focused on the visual aspect of the style:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Noir-Style-Alain-Silver/dp/0879517220/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237391746&sr=1-13

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

>

> That and The Killers, and I didn't mind him in Night Unto Night. Maybe it's a Don Siegel-thing for me.

 

I agree, he's good in The Killers, which has to be one of his very few (or his only?) villains, and he's quite convincing. Although I think you'd agree that the original with Lancaster, Ava, and Conrad and McGraw as the assassins, is heads above the Siegel remake. I don't know Night Unto Night, but after just looking the synopsis over briefly on TCM's website, it looks interesting.

It's not on DVD, but I'll keep looking for it on TCM; perhaps it will show up there. Thanks.

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

>

>

> The only book touching on film noir I've ever read/owned was this coffee table one which

> focused on the visual aspect of the style:

>

> http://www.amazon.com/Noir-Style-Alain-Silver/dp/0879517220/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237391746&sr=1-13

 

I don't know this book, but I just checked out the link you posted and it appears to be quite interesting. I have two other books either co-written or co-edited by Alain Silver, who I guess is considered a film noir expert, (whatever that means). One of them, Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style (1979, Overlook Press), is a totally mixed bag. It lists hundreds films, has a complete cast list, including bit parts, other credits, then a plot synopsis and also an analysis of each film by one of several contributors, all of whom seem to know something about film noir. It also has several appendices, with actors, directors, composers, cinematographers, etc.

 

As a reference book for cast/credits its fine, however, many, many of the synopses are filled with egregious errors, including describing scenes incorrectly and mis-identifying characters; it's embarrassing. I think the authors/editors did a sloppy job when reviewing the films and the publisher did a terrible job in not verifying the author's/editor's work. Of course, this was years before all this film information became available on the internet, so in many ways in wasn't nearly as easy as it is today to verify things. Still, it really needed a good fact-checking editor on the job.

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Rick said: *"Although I think you'd agree that the original with Lancaster, Ava, and Conrad and McGraw as the assassins, is heads above the Siegel remake."*

 

Hi Rick - Hope you won't mind me stepping in with my two cents, but I think Siegel's version of THE KILLERS towers over Siodmak's, which, for me is a disappointingly dull film once the incredible opening sequence is over. Despite all the fire power between Lancaster and Gardner and some dazzling camera work, what we're ultimately left with here is a fairly routine time filler. Siegel's film, on the other hand, drives harder and deeper at the emotional level. I'll take Cassavetes and Dickinson any day. Not to mention Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager. And yes, it's a total kick to see Ronald Reagan, just two years before he became California's governor, play a vicious thug for the first and only time in his (acting) career

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Well, for someone who spent an entire paragraph criticizing the editorial work of other people, you'd think I'd carefully proof my own writing. My post had two errors in it, so I guess I should stop "throwing stones" at other people.

 

It lists hundreds _of_ films...

As a reference book for casts/credits _it's_ fine. . .

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>

> Hi Rick - Hope you won't mind me stepping in with my two cents, but I think Siegel's version of THE KILLERS towers over Siodmak's, which, for me is a disappointingly dull film once the incredible opening sequence is over. Despite all the fire power between Lancaster and Gardner and some dazzling camera work, what we're ultimately left with here is a fairly routine time filler. Siegel's film, on the other hand, drives harder and deeper at the emotional level. I'll take Cassavetes and Dickinson any day. Not to mention Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager. And yes, it's a total kick to see Ronald Reagan, just two years before he became California's governor, play a vicious thug for the first and only time in his (acting) career

 

Your comments, two cents and more, are always welcome. I'm a little surprised with your view however, although I know the remake has its fans, as does Don Siegel. I guess for me, Lancaster's character more closely approaches the classic noir protagonist and Ava more convincingly the classic femme fatale. I agree Marvin and Gulager are pretty good, but Cassavetes doesn't do much for me as an actor.

 

The remake has the look and feel of a TV movie to me, and evidently it was originally shot for TV. I guess after it was completed, the studio involved felt it was too "violent" and released it to theaters instead. I don't know anything for sure, but why do I have a feeling that Reagan had second thoughts about playing such a vicious thug since he knew he was about to launch his political career, and he used his influence to stop the movie from being shown on television, where in theory more people might see it. I have no idea how widespread a release it received in theaters.

 

Anyone else out there have a strong preference for one version over the other?

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