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Noir Gallery


MissGoddess

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

>

>

> Me, too, MissGoddess. He's one of the very best film score composers, particularly in the jazz medium. Last year I bought the entire soundtrack for Sweet Smell of Success, one of his very best scores. The first part has several tracks from the Chico Hamilton Quintet (the group that plays background music and appears in the film (w/ Martin Milner added.) The second part consists of several original tracks composed by Bernstein. It's terrific.

>

 

Cool! I love his scores for The Man With the Golden Arm and Some Came

Running. I can listen to them for hours.

 

> I also checked out the Johnny Staccato Youtube episode. It was a lot of fun, and Elizabeth Montgomery never looked more beautiful or more sexy. Thanks, folks.

 

Wasn't she a doll!? Just like her daddy...who by the way appears in and directs

the sensational film noir, RIDE THE PINK HORSE. TCM really needs to rerun that one.

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Rickspade: As to Cassavetes, I enjoy his acting tremendously (esp. Rosemary's Baby, Minnie and Moskowitz, Husbands and Love Streams -- and I just saw in his filmography that he was an extra in Fourteen Hours, so now I have to watch for him). I like his directing even more (he and Murnau are fighting it out for #5 on my list -- Murnau has a longer reach, but I'd put my money on Cassavetes). And this is even before I married a Greek, who -- by the way --respects him, but refuses to watch his movies any more: I saw *A Woman Under the Influence* and *Love Streams*...how much more depression do I need? She doesn't understand that they're really comedies and, besides, there can never be too much Cassavetes.

 

And, as luck would have it, he was a dear friend, employer and benefactor of my third favorite actor, Timothy Carey (say it with reverence next time, FrankGrimes).

 

What does Cassavetes have to do with noir, other than The Killers, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Johnny Staccato. His life was noir -- I highly recommend Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the American Independent Film (Marshall Fine) -- and I can't believe Gena Rowlands put up with it.

 

One of his last interviews has recently been published for the first time since 1985. It occurred while shooting Big Trouble. The interview ends thusly:

 

JC: It's been a lot of trouble, but it's been worth it.

Interviewer: Big Trouble?

JC: No, my life.

 

Cue chills, followed by tears.

 

_Dewey_ sez: *Whether creepy or not, he remains, for me at least, one of Hollywood's most compelling geniuses, both in front of the camera and behind it.*

 

OK, you got that one right. But I hope you don't think that gets you off the hook as to how oblivious you are to the might of *Touch of Evil* and your incessant dissing of its Creator.

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ChiO sez, autocratically: *But I hope you don't think that gets you off the hook as to how oblivious you are to the might of Touch of Evil and your incessant dissing of its Creator.*

 

Hey, I like it on the hook! Besides, I love *TOUCH OF EVIL* as much if not more than the next lunatic. As for dissing its creator (small "c" if you will), I'll leave that to the folly of others!

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Back to *The Killers* -- Tough call for me as to which I prefer. It's hard not to love a movie with Lee Marvin _and_ John Cassavetes (and that Dickinson gal ain't bad either). From start to finish, Siegel's is probably stronger. But as my noirish friend, Dewey, points out, Siodmak's opening is spectacular -- one of my favorite starts in filmdom. Woody Bredell's cinematography throughout is mighty fine. And I have a soft spot for William Conrad's little roles, especially Max in *The Killers* and Chuckles (how perfect is that?!?) in Dial 1119. Enjoy'em both -- especially now that, as I recall, they are packaged on the same DVD.

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Part of what makes the experience of Siodmak's *THE KILLERS* so disappointing is the titanic letdown that occurs roughly twelve or thirteen minutes into the film when the bitterness and fatalism of Hemingway's beautifully adapted short story comes to its logical conclusion and then lumbers along for another hour and a half or so and becomes a very dull and routine crime film (albeit with exceptional cinematography and memorable performances), none of which can conceal the fact that it's a bloated, somewhat boring film.

 

Which makes it, for me, one of the three most overrated noir films of the 1940s, along with *THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE* and -- duck! here come the brickbats! -- *DOUBLE INDEMNITY.*

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

> Rickspade: As to Cassavetes, I enjoy his acting tremendously (esp. Rosemary's Baby, Minnie and Moskowitz, Husbands and Love Streams -- and I just saw in his filmography that he was an extra in Fourteen Hours, so now I have to watch for him). I like his directing even more (he and Murnau are fighting it out for #5 on my list -- Murnau has a longer reach, but I'd put my money on Cassavetes). And this is even before I married a Greek, who -- by the way --respects him, but refuses to watch his movies any more: I saw *A Woman Under the Influence* and *Love Streams*...how much more depression do I need? She doesn't understand that they're really comedies and, besides, there can never be too much Cassavetes.

>

 

> What does Cassavetes have to do with noir, other than The Killers, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Johnny Staccato. His life was noir -- I highly recommend Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented the American Independent Film (Marshall Fine) -- and I can't believe Gena Rowlands put up with it.

>

>

ChiO,

 

Both you and Dewey seem to be BIG Cassavetes fans, and as I've said, frankly I haven't seen enough of his work, both in front of, and behind, the camera to give more than a superficial opinion. From what I've seen, I think he was a decent actor (although his performances seem pretty similar from film to film) and while his directorial efforts were interesting, I think he was at times self-indulgent and his films could have benefited from tighter editing. But, obviously I need to see more of his work, especially the films he directed, to form a more definite opinion.

 

As far as some of Dewey's more outrageous comments, I'll deal with him in a subsequent post!

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> {quote:title=Dewey1960 wrote:}{quote}

> Part of what makes the experience of Siodmak's *THE KILLERS* so disappointing is the titanic letdown that occurs roughly twelve or thirteen minutes into the film when the bitterness and fatalism of Hemingway's beautifully adapted short story comes to its logical conclusion and then lumbers along for another hour and a half or so and becomes a very dull and routine crime film (albeit with exceptional cinematography and memorable performances), none of which can conceal the fact that it's a bloated, somewhat boring film.

>

> Which makes it, for me, one of the three most overrated noir films of the 1940s, along with *THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE* and -- duck! here come the brickbats! -- *DOUBLE INDEMNITY.*

 

 

Well, that tears it my fine fellow! I'll stand for the dissing of the orginal The Killers, although I think your assessment is somewhat contradictory.You say it has exceptional cinematography and memorable performances (and its literary origins come from a short story you admire), yet you claim it's bloated and boring. I don't think that makes much sense, but I'll let it slide.

 

You also claim The Postman Always Rings Twice is overrated, and I have my own reservations about that film, chiefly a serious miscasting of Cecil Kellaway and Lana Turner's rather lackluster performance as the object of Garfield's obsession. HOWEVER, when you include Double Indemnity in the overrated category, brickbats my good friend, are too good for you. I don't want to take up an enormous amount of space on this thread extolling the virtues of that film, but for the life of me I can't figure out why you believe it's overrated. What's overrated? Wilder's brilliant direction? A terrific story by Cain, adapted by both Wilder and Raymond Chandler to near-perfection? Not one, not two, but three, standout performances by Stanwyck, MacMurray, and Edward G? A great score by Miklos Rozsa?

 

All of these elements put Double Indemnity in the pantheon of film noir, in my opinion, it's the _top_ film. In addition, it appears as if you have absolutely no respect for Touch of Evil, nor it's brilliant Creator, Mr. Welles. So, at this point, I suppose I should just assume we have some very different opinions as to what a really great film noir is. I am curious, in a perverse sort of way, to hear your examples of some very good noirs. (I'll bet we'll have some good films in common, which would make our disagreement over Double Indemnity even harder to understand.)

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oooh...things are "heating up"! I'm going to stand on the corner and sell tickets. FrankGrimes,

stop being a wuss and join the fray.

 

Thanks you guys for breathing life back into this thread. :)

 

xxoo

 

"Lana"

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*Well, that tears it my fine fellow! I'll stand for the dissing of the orginal The Killers, although I think your assessment is somewhat contradictory.You say it has exceptional cinematography and memorable performances (and its literary origins come from a short story you admire), yet you claim it's bloated and boring. I don't think that makes much sense, but I'll let it slide.*

 

Very gracious of you my good man, for allowing my opinions in this subjective arena to stand! And there is nothing at all contradictory about my comments about *THE KILLERS.* It has a number of fine attributes (as stated), yet it is still, for me, an extremely boring film once the content of Hemingway's original story has evaporated from the screen. It could have been one of the finest noir short films ever made, but at 105 minutes, this film is shamelessly padded. Zzzzzzzzz.

 

*You also claim The Postman Always Rings Twice is overrated, and I have my own reservations about that film, chiefly a serious miscasting of Cecil Kellaway and Lana Turner's rather lackluster performance as the object of Garfield's obsession.*

 

The casting of this film is the least of its problems, unless you'd like to bring Leon Ames into the discussion. 'Nuff said about this mind-numbingly dull pile of tripe.

 

*HOWEVER, when you include Double Indemnity in the overrated category, brickbats my good friend, are too good for you. I don't want to take up an enormous amount of space on this thread extolling the virtues of that film, but for the life of me I can't figure out why you believe it's overrated. What's overrated? Wilder's brilliant direction? A terrific story by Cain, adapted by both Wilder and Raymond Chandler to near-perfection? Not one, not two, but three, standout performances by Stanwyck, MacMurray, and Edward G? A great score by Miklos Rozsa?*

 

I think it's a good film but far from being a great film. Which makes it, in my mind, overrated given its unrealistically heralded place in the annals of noir (and Hollywood film entertainment in general). I see nothing brilliant about Wilder's direction. If he had chosen to direct it so brilliantly, then he might have considered tightening the pace, particularly in the final third of the film. It gets awfully sloppy and sluggish. Stanwyck and MacMurray are entertaining but also somewhat arch in their roles, and I don't feel that this type of acting necessarily counts for much in a primarily visual medium. Many people often mistake crassness for brilliance, and that's how this film plays for me; crass and unconvincing. It's completely devoid of emotional meat and it fairly sneers at the audience as if to say, "Aren't I something?"

 

*All of these elements put Double Indemnity in the pantheon of film noir, in my opinion, it's the top film. In addition, it appears as if you have absolutely no respect for Touch of Evil, nor it's brilliant Creator, Mr. Welles.*

 

Absolutely false! This is a result of my good friend ChiO's incessant (but amusing) ribbing that goes back to some prehistoric occurrence revolving around a "Favorite Noir" competition over on the SSO site. In fact, *TOUCH OF EVIL* is my seventh favorite noir film and I have nothing but love and admiration for Mr. Welles.

 

*So, at this point, I suppose I should just assume we have some very different opinions as to what a really great film noir is. I am curious, in a perverse sort of way, to hear your examples of some very good noirs. (I'll bet we'll have some good films in common, which would make our disagreement over Double Indemnity even harder to understand.)*

 

Well, we probably do have some very different opinions about what constitutes great film noir. And why shouldn't we? After all, isn't film (like all art forms) completely subjective? So here then, in order to satisfy your perverse curiosity, are my twenty-five most favorite noir films:

 

*1. OUT OF THE PAST (1947; Jacques Tourneur)*

*2. KISS ME DEADLY (1955; Robert Aldrich)*

*3. DETOUR (1945; Edgar G. Ulmer)*

*4. BLACK ANGEL (1946; Roy William Neill)*

*5. STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR (1940; Boris Ingster)*

*6. ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951; Nicholas Ray)*

*7. TOUCH OF EVIL (1958; Orson Welles)*

*8. THE BIG HEAT (1953; Fritz Lang)*

*9. PICK UP ON SOUTH STREET (1953; Samuel Fuller)*

*10. TRY AND GET ME (1950; Cyril Endfield)*

*11. NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947; Edmund Goulding)*

*12. THIEVES? HIGHWAY (1948; Jules Dassin)*

*13. DECOY (1946; Jack Bernhardt)*

*14. THE BIG COMBO (1955; Joseph H. Lewis)*

*15. THE KILLING (1956; Stanley Kubrick)*

*16. IN A LONELY PLACE (1950; Nicholas Ray)*

*17. SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957; Alexander MacKendrick)*

*18. FORCE OF EVIL (1948; Abraham Polonski)*

*19. NIGHTFALL (1957; Jacques Tourneur)*

*20. SCARLET STREET (1945; Fritz Lang)*

*21. GUN CRAZY (1949; Joseph H. Lewis)*

*22. THE AMAZING MR. X (1948; Bernard Vorhaus)*

*23. THE LEOPARD MAN (1943; Jacques Tourneur)*

*24. BRUTE FORCE (1947; Jules Dassin)*

*25. THE GUILTY (1947; John Reinhard)*

 

Good beefin' with you, Rick!

-Dewey

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> {quote:title=Dewey1960 wrote:}{quote}

>

>

> >

>

> I think it's a good film but far from being a great film. Which makes it, in my mind, overrated given its unrealistically heralded place in the annals of noir (and Hollywood film entertainment in general). I see nothing brilliant about Wilder's direction. If he had chosen to direct it so brilliantly, then he might have considered tightening the pace, particularly in the final third of the film. It gets awfully sloppy and sluggish. Stanwyck and MacMurray are entertaining but also somewhat arch in their roles, and I don't feel that this type of acting necessarily counts for much in a primarily visual medium. Many people often mistake crassness for brilliance, and that's how this film plays for me; crass and unconvincing. It's completely devoid of emotional meat and it fairly sneers at the audience as if to say, "Aren't I something?"

>

Well, no sense in rehashing territory we've already covered. I'l just say I completely disagree and let it go at that.

 

 

 

> Absolutely false! This is a result of my good friend ChiO's incessant (but amusing) ribbing that goes back to some prehistoric occurrence revolving around a "Favorite Noir" competition over on the SSO site. In fact, *TOUCH OF EVIL* is my seventh favorite noir film and I have nothing but love and admiration for Mr. Welles.

 

Well, to quote my favorite actor, in one of my favorite films of all time, "I was misinformed." Glad to learn you think so highly of Touch of Evil, and Mr. Welles, too. When someone ever asks me about that film I tell them, "any movie that can make me watch Charleston Heston act for an entire film, has to be great," and for that the credit has to go to Orson.

>

>

> Well, we probably do have some very different opinions about what constitutes great film noir. And why shouldn't we? After all, isn't film (like all art forms) completely subjective? So here then, in order to satisfy your perverse curiosity, are my twenty-five most favorite noir films:

>

> *1. OUT OF THE PAST (1947; Jacques Tourneur)*

> *2. KISS ME DEADLY (1955; Robert Aldrich)*

> *3. DETOUR (1945; Edgar G. Ulmer)*

> *4. BLACK ANGEL (1946; Roy William Neill)*

> *5. STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR (1940; Boris Ingster)*

> *6. ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951; Nicholas Ray)*

> *7. TOUCH OF EVIL (1958; Orson Welles)*

> *8. THE BIG HEAT (1953; Fritz Lang)*

> *9. PICK UP ON SOUTH STREET (1953; Samuel Fuller)*

> *10. TRY AND GET ME (1950; Cyril Endfield)*

> *11. NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947; Edmund Goulding)*

> *12. THIEVES HIGHWAY (1948; Jules Dassin)*

> *13. DECOY (1946; Jack Bernhardt)*

> *14. THE BIG COMBO (1955; Joseph H. Lewis)*

> *15. THE KILLING (1956; Stanley Kubrick)*

> *16. IN A LONELY PLACE (1950; Nicholas Ray)*

> *17. SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957; Alexander MacKendrick)*

> *18. FORCE OF EVIL (1948; Abraham Polonski)*

> *19. NIGHTFALL (1957; Jacques Tourneur)*

> *20. SCARLET STREET (1945; Fritz Lang)*

> *21. GUN CRAZY (1949; Joseph H. Lewis)*

> *22. THE AMAZING MR. X (1948; Bernard Vorhaus)*

> *23. THE LEOPARD MAN (1943; Jacques Tourneur)*

> *24. BRUTE FORCE (1947; Jules Dassin)*

> *25. THE GUILTY (1947; John Reinhard)*

>

 

Well, just as I suspected, we have the same feelings about many other noirs. In fact, I would say that with the exception of two of your top 10, Stranger on the Third Floor (which I like, but don't rate nearly as high as you do) and Try and Get Me (which I've never seen), I think those eight films easily make my top 15. As for the rest of your list, I'd rate Sweet Smell of Success and Scarlet Street much higher, and am disappointed that D.O.A. and Night and the City (the great Widmark version, not the remake) are nowhere in your top 25. Other than that, our top 25 lists would be failry similar. Which makes your view of Double Indemnity all the more mystifying. Oh well, such is life. Nice jousting with you, Dewey.

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"Overrated" is one of those pesky terms, as I quickly learned as a novice on this Board when defending *Citizen Kane* from the slings and arrows of folks anointing it as "The Most Overrated Film of All-Time." Does it mean "really good, but not the work of genius that so many think it is" or "not even good"? If I think *Citizen Kane* is the greatest film ever (and it is), but 9 other people think it's #10, that is a very different discussion than me thinking *Citizen Kane* is the 10th best movie ever and the other 9 persons think it absolutely sucks -- yet in both instances those 9 persons would say I have "overrated" *Citizen Kane* (which is the greatest movie ever made).

 

My latest list of favorites (subject to immediate arbitrary and capricious alteration):

 

1. *Gun Crazy*

2. *Touch of Evil*

3. *Blast of Silence*

4. *Detour*

5. *Pickup on South Street*

6. *The Killing*

7. *Out of the Past*

8. *Kiss Me Deadly*

9. *On Dangerous Ground*

10. *Crime Wave*

11. *He Walked by Night*

12. *The Big Combo*

13. *Black Angel*

14. *The Friends of Eddie Coyle*

15. *In a Lonely Place*

16. *Thieves' Highway*

17. *Scarlet Street*

18. *Sweet Smell of Success*

19. *Raw Deal*

20. *Double Indemnity*

21. *Force of Evil*

22. *Dial 1119*

23. *The Guilty*

24. *My Name Is Julia Ross*

25. *The World's Greatest Sinner*

 

Message was edited by: ChiO

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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.

 

Heh, I was going to point that out but Rickspade beat me to it. Since you consider it "essential reading", I will definitely try to find a copy. Many thanks to both of you for all the book recommendations, I think they all sound fascinating and I hope I can catch up with as many of those titles as humanly possible.

 

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

> Wasn't she a doll!? Just like her daddy...who by the way appears in and directs

> the sensational film noir, RIDE THE PINK HORSE. TCM really needs to rerun that one.

 

I've been hoping to catch that movie for years, if not decades, so I really hope TCM does manage to find a copy somewhere they can show.

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

> "Overrated" is one of those pesky terms, as I quickly learned as a novice on this Board when defending *Citizen Kane* from the slings and arrows of folks anointing it as "The Most Overrated Film of All-Time." Does it mean "really good, but not the work of genius that so many think it is" or "not even good"? If I think *Citizen Kane* is the greatest film ever (and it is), but 9 other people think it's #10, that is a very different discussion than me thinking *Citizen Kane* is the 10th best movie ever and the other 9 persons think it absolutely sucks -- yet in both instances those 9 persons would say I have "overrated" *Citizen Kane* (which is the greatest movie ever made).

>

That's an interesting take on the various perceptions of "overrated" movies. Personally, I don't have a problem with anyone anointing Citizen Kane as the greatest movie ever made; although it's not my _favorite_ movie of all time, I always say that I think it is one of the top four or five greatest movies ever made. And for anyone not to rate it even in the top 10 of greatest movies of all time because he or she thinks it's "overrated," is, in my opinion, nonsense.

 

 

> My latest list of favorites (subject to immediate arbitrary and capricious alteration):

>

> 1. *Gun Crazy*

> 2. *Touch of Evil*

> 3. *Blast of Silence*

> 4. *Detour*

> 5. *Pickup on South Street*

> 6. *The Killing*

> 7. *Out of the Past*

> 8. *Kiss Me Deadly*

> 9. *On Dangerous Ground*

> 10. *Crime Wave*

> 11. *He Walked by Night*

> 12. *The Big Combo*

> 13. *Black Angel*

> 14. *The Friends of Eddie Coyle*

> 15. *In a Lonely Place*

> 16. *Thieves' Highway*

> 17. *Scarlet Street*

> 18. *Sweet Smell of Success*

> 19. *Raw Deal*

> 20. *Double Indemnity*

> 21. *Force of Evil*

> 22. *Dial 1119*

> 23. *The Guilty*

> 24. *My Name Is Julia Ross*

> 25. *The World's Greatest Sinner*

>

> Message was edited by: ChiO

 

That's a pretty good list, ChiO. As with Dewey's list, I would definitely move some of your films up and down (especially Double Indemnity; what's up with that, you guys? Neither one of you puts it in the pantheon, although at least it rates #20 for you. In addition, you don't consider either D.O.A. or Night and the City worthy of top 25 status. That surprises me. Anyway, I guess I've seen about 80 percent of your list, the exceptions being #'s 3, 14, 19, 22, 23, 25. Frankly, I haven't even heard of a few of them, (#'s 22, 23, and 25); when I looked them up on IMDB, I saw that #25 is a Timothy Carey "specialty," so I guess you're the BIG Timothy Carey fan hereabouts. I have only seen him a few times, but he has left a definite impression on me: very strange and creepy, you have a hard time not watching him when he's on screen. I'll have to try to locate the films I haven't seen that both you and Dewey have on your lists. I know The Friends of Eddie Coyle has just come out on DVD and I'm glad because somehow I've never seen that movie; very surprising because I practically lived in movie theaters in the 1970s and I'm also a big Robert Mitchum fan. Go figure.

 

At some point I'll post my top 25 list (if anyone is interested), but I'd have to give it some real thought. I don't know if I've ever gone past my top 10 or 12, although I know I certainly have 25 films noir that I think are terrific.

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Rick, if you can tear yourself away from Ilsa I'd love to see your top 25 list!

 

I'm amazed that I've seen all but two of the movies on Dewey's list. And I'm

so glad both Dewey and ChiO rate On Dangerous Ground rather highly.

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> {quote:title=Dewey1960 wrote:}{quote}

> *I'm amazed that I've seen all but two of the movies on Dewey's list.*

>

> Let me guess: #10 *(TRY AND GET ME)* and #25 *(THE GUILTY).*

 

Ha!! You got it! :D

 

Message was edited by: MissGoddess

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At some point I'll post my top 25 list (if anyone is interested), but I'd have to give it

some real thought. I don't know if I've ever gone past my top 10 or 12, although I know

I certainly have 25 films noir that I think are terrific.

 

Now we're talkin'! I'd love to see your favorite films noir list. And you mentioned something

that actually matters to me as well: "give it some real thought." I like those words.

 

My list:

 

1. Scarlet Street

2. Pickup on South Street

3. Out of the Past

4. In a Lonely Place

5. The Third Man

6. Raw Deal

7. Fallen Angel

8. The Killing

9. The Night of the Hunter

10. The Big Heat

11. They Live by Night

12. The Asphalt Jungle

13. Double Indemnity

14. Touch of Evil

15. Clash by Night

16. The Set-Up

17. Criss Cross

18. The Lady from Shanghai

19. Gun Crazy

20. Sweet Smell of Success

21. Decoy

22. On Dangerous Ground

23. Nightmare Alley

24. The Maltese Falcon

25. Laura

26. Where the Sidewalk Ends

27. The Big Sleep

28. The Narrow Margin

29. This Gun for Hire

30. Leave Her to Heaven

31. Angel Face

32. Mystery Street

33. Born to Kill

34. Detour

35. Odds Against Tomorrow

36. D.O.A.

37. The Stranger

38. T-Men

39. Force of Evil

40. Crime Wave

41. I Wake Up Screaming

42. Somewhere in the Night

43. The Street With No Name

44. Act of Violence

45. Murder, My Sweet

46. The Woman in the Window

47. The Woman on the Beach

48. Human Desire

49. Don't Bother to Knock

50. Macao

 

I decided to go with 50 just so that your D.O.A. would show up. And I do like the

film quite a bit, despite its "lower" ranking. Film noir is my favorite "genre," so what ranks

in the 30s still ranks very high on my overall list of favorite classic films.

 

I have been using the following checklist to keep track of movies worth looking into on TCM:

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/film-noir.htm

 

If I were to use the loose interpretation of film noir that is provided on that list, the following

films would make my top 25 films noir:

 

Cape Fear

M

Vertigo

Cat People

Strangers on a Train

The Manchurian Candidate

The Leopard Man

Shadow of a Doubt

Notorious

 

If those nine titles were added to my list and the bottom nine of my 25 were

removed, I don't believe my list would look all that film noirish. This is where my

selfish purist thinking comes into play. I basically narrow my definition when

making lists, such as the above.

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I tried to "give it some real thought" and my head started hurting. As if it matters: My #1-3 are about as set in stone as I ever get; #4-15 would likely be in my Top 25 at any time of night, but order and position will always fluctuate; #16-25 -- I could probably come up with another 20 that I could easily substitute for them (how'd I omit Act of Violence? Oh, well.). I've never met a film noir I didn't like -- except The Postman Always Rings Twice. And maybe Laura, but I figure that's my problem that I may rectify someday.

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What's up, Bulldog? -- Did you get to watch any of the game?

 

I tried to "give it some real thought" and my head started hurting.

 

You're always thinking. Or is it drinking? The two are one.

 

As if it matters: My #1-3 are about as set in stone as I ever get;

 

I need to get myself Blast of Silence. It's at my Borders, too. What's better, Oph?ls

or Blast of Silence? Ohhhh, I know how you love those kind of questions.

 

#4-15 would likely be in my Top 25 at any time of night, but order and position will always fluctuate; #16-25 -- I could probably come up with another 20 that I could easily substitute for them (how'd I omit Act of Violence? Oh, well.).

 

Snapshots in time. That's how I view lists. That's one of the reasons why I like them

so much.

 

I've never met a film noir I didn't like -- except The Postman Always Rings Twice. And

maybe Laura, but I figure that's my problem that I may rectify someday.

 

Laura is another argued film noir. It seems like most hardcore noirists tend to

dismiss it, deeming it "soft." Is it purely a mystery film or is it film noir?

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> Laura is another argued film noir. It seems like most hardcore noirists tend to dismiss it, deeming it "soft." Is it purely a mystery film or is it film noir?

 

I've pretty much always considered it a film noir, and one of the very better ones, at that.

 

A poster for the noir gallery:

 

Laura-1944-724626.JPG

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Hey there, Rick -- 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!

 

I'll be interested in hearing your second take. Joseph Cotten's performance is one of

my favorite in all of Hitchcock's films. Hitchcock films usually have villains but not all

of them exude such great hate as Cotten's "Uncle Charlie." Evil, yes. Hate, no.

 

Well, that's an impressive and eclectic list and includes at least a few actresses I like

very much.

 

My favorite actress list reflects my favorites: Hitch and film noir. Maureen O'Hara is the

one who has recently emerged. I like her spunk.

 

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.

 

I have seen a handful of people sing the praises of Ann on this board. I believe Arkadin is

a Sheridan admirer. I've yet to see a single Sheridan film unless you count The Treasure

of Sierra Madre. I have seen a bit of I Was a Male War Bride, but that was

before I knew anything about classic film.

 

What are your favorite Sheridan movies?

 

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.

 

Your reasons for Stanwyck being your second favorite actress are my reasons for her

being numero uno. She's the kind of actress who is comfortable in all kinds of genres.

From Capra to Wilder to Fuller. I wonder how Hitch would have used her.

 

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.

 

No, I haven't watched that one yet. I have it on tape, though. Baby Face is the

earliest Stanwyck that I have seen.

 

The only Stanwyck performance that I wasn't too keen on was The Two Mrs. Carrolls.

 

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

 

Now your list is truly a fascinating mix. To see Sophia Loren then Bette Davis then Gloria

Grahame. Wow!

 

I've just started becoming a Kim fan. She's mesmerizing to me. She's #14 on my

list... right now. Carole is #13. I have a feeling that Carole will climb my list the more

I see of her. I've only seen two of her films.

 

I also like Bette and Kate, in that order. I haven't seen any Sophia films.

 

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.

 

I'll have to check it out for myself. I've often heard of the hardcore noirists not liking

The Postman Always Rings Twice. I'm curious to see how MGM gloss (Lana)

does in a dark story and with a dark actor.

 

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

 

It's an okay Lang film. The beginning is terrific but the middle really drags.

 

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.

 

I agree with that.

 

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."

 

I'm a fool for the mindless. Going in circles is a speciality of mine. :D I've had many

discussions about this stuff with sports. Film noir is the classic film "genre" that

reminds me the most of sports talk, mainly because it's a masculine world full of

questions, not answers.

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Yo, ChiO -- 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.

 

Ahhh, very good. I was not expecting that answer from you, either.

 

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.

 

That's what I was going for. I forgot about "Fate" being your primary component for film

noir. I like it. Are there any tales of Fate outside of film noir?

 

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).

 

That was brilliant, my Mann. I never really thought of the physical angle before and

the lack of needing such to make it film noir. Excellent stuff.

 

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.

 

Now that's a new one to me.

 

For me, it's simply, dark look and dark story, in that order. Some films are stretches for

me, like Clash by Night, a great favorite of mine. The Lewton films are always so

tough for me to define. Dewey is right, many really are film noir. Lewton often dabbled

in the world of death and it doesn't get much darker than that. The Seventh Victim

is a very dark film and it plays similarly to Somewhere in the Night. I always think

of After Hours with these films, a "contemporary" film you mentioned as film noir.

 

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

 

:D Now that killed me.

 

I need to apologize to Arkadin. I cannot believe I made such a grievous mistake as that.

 

I could have sworn I saw Arkadin list The Night of the Hunter on a film noir list.

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What's the word, Sam? -- "You're good. You're very good."

 

:D I'm the body in the trunk around here.

 

So are you a film noir fan, my war/western friend?

 

Hey, Quiet Gal -- Are you lost? You don't want to be lost in this world. :)

 

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)

 

When you have heavyweights like Dewey, ChiO, Arkadin, and Rick mixing it up, it's

always a pleasure to watch.

 

Thanks for the nice Screencaps!!

 

;)

 

shadowofadoubt9.jpg

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

> >

> I'll be interested in hearing your second take. Joseph Cotten's performance is one of

> my favorite in all of Hitchcock's films. Hitchcock films usually have villains but not all

> of them exude such great hate as Cotten's "Uncle Charlie." Evil, yes. Hate, no.

 

After all this "chatter" about Shadow, I'm now really looking forward to seeing it again.

>

>

> I have seen a handful of people sing the praises of Ann on this board. I believe Arkadin is

> a Sheridan admirer. I've yet to see a single Sheridan film unless you count The Treasure

> of Sierra Madre. I have seen a bit of I Was a Male War Bride, but that was

> before I knew anything about classic film.

>

Funny you should mention Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The "legend" is that Ann made a brief cameo appearance in it as a streetwalker in an early scene in Mexico. I've seen that movie more than half a dozen times (and I own a copy) and I've never been able to positively identify her in that scene. Several months ago, there was a discussion on another thread about this legend; the consensus, citing new written material, is that it's a falsehood. The woman in the scene in question looks nothing like Sheridan, and the feeling now is that it was just some extra Huston got to do a walk-on.

 

> What are your favorite Sheridan movies?

>

I like her in almost everything she ever did, but I would have to say my favorites would be: Comedies: Torrid Zone, I Was a Male War Bride; Dramas: They Drive by Night; City for Conquest; Kings Row; Nora Prentiss, and a terrific little film noir gem called Woman on the Run.

 

>

> Your reasons for Stanwyck being your second favorite actress are my reasons for her

> being numero uno. She's the kind of actress who is comfortable in all kinds of genres.

> From Capra to Wilder to Fuller. I wonder how Hitch would have used her.

>

That's a very interesting point to consider. I think she would have been terrific in the right Hitchcock movie.

>>

> The only Stanwyck performance that I wasn't too keen on was The Two Mrs. Carrolls.

 

I haven't seen that one in more than 20 years, and even though Bogie is in it, I don't remember being knocked out by it either.

>

> >>

>

> I've just started becoming a Kim fan. She's mesmerizing to me. She's #14 on my

> list... right now. Carole is #13. I have a feeling that Carole will climb my list the more

> I see of her. I've only seen two of her films.

>

I think Novak is very underrated, and in fact, a lot of people don't think much of her at all. I've always thought she was one of the sexiest actresses of any era, and after seeing her in films like Pushover, Pal Joey and certainly Vertigo, I think she was certainly versatile and quite capable. As for Carole, no film noirs of course, but a genius at comedy, and a very good dramatic actress as well. Which two of her films have you seen? Tragically, she died right at the height of her career, and she was never any better (or more beautiful) than in her last movie, the brilliant Lubitsch comedy, To Be or Not To Be.

 

> I also like Bette and Kate, in that order. I haven't seen any Sophia films.

>

Oh, my friend, if you have any interest in foreign films, you must see both Two Women and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, prime examples of Sophia's dramatic and comedic talents, to say nothing of her drop-dead sexiness (well, at least in the latter. There's a strip-tease scene in Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow that is as scalding today as it was when it was filmed 45 years ago! Some of her American films are fun too, but her Italian ones are really good.

>>

> >

I'm a fool for the mindless. Going in circles is a speciality of mine. :D I've had many

> discussions about this stuff with sports. Film noir is the classic film "genre" that

> reminds me the most of sports talk, mainly because it's a masculine world full of

> questions, not answers.

 

Very good analogy, Frank. It's probably why I'm so comfortable going back-and-forth with these discussions, too. I can remember many long winter nights hanging out in Brooklyn bars with my friends arguing sports until last call at 4:00 a.m.. . .and then continuing to argue when we headed out for breakfast!

 

OK, tomorrow I'm going to try and post my top 25 films noir. Thanks so much for posting your top 50. You've made it much easier for me to pick out just about all the ones I'd put on my list. At my age, as the memory deteriorates on a daily basis, I could use all the help I can get!

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