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Film Noir Volume 1 & 2


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I have both box sets, but I'm embarrassed to say, I still haven't watched *Dillinger*.

 

I actually love or strongly like all of the nine films that I have watched. My current rankings (feelings):

 

1. Out of the Past

2. The Asphalt Jungle

3. The Set-Up

4. Clash by Night

5. Gun Crazy

6. The Narrow Margin

7. Born to Kill

8. Crossfire

9. Murder, My Sweet

 

Of those nine films, I've actually watched *Clash by Night* the most, followed by *Out of the Past* and *The Set-Up*. *Gun Crazy* and *Born to Kill* are the two films that continue to climb my noir list.

 

Both box sets have been worth every cent.

 

*On Dangerous Ground* is the only film in Volume 3 that would make the above list.

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I own Volumes 1 & 4, but have seen everything in Volumes 2 & 3 except *Born to Kill* , *Dillinger* (shame on me) & *His Kind of Woman* .

 

I agree with FrankG in that *On Dangerous Ground* is the only one in Vol. 3 that would make my Top 10 from the four volumes. And he will come to learn that the finest are *Gun Crazy* , *Crime Wave* and *Clash by Night* .

 

Volume 1 is the most even (and, therefore, strongest) of the four, and Volume 3 is the weakest. Volume 4 is hard for me to compare -- three [great] movies, *Act of Violence* , *Crime Wave* & *They Live by Night* , and seven more instead of two more. I'm one of those who doesn't mind a mediocrity now & then if I'm getting some great quality and quantity with it.

 

Message was edited by: ChiO

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DSClassic -- Something tells me I better check out The Set Up as it is highly recommended...I was a little hesitant because it is a boxing movie, but I will give a shot

 

That sounds like me before watching The Set-Up. I kept putting if off because it was a boxing film. It's definitely a boxing film, but the power of the film is far, far greater. I also enjoyed the commentary track, which features both Robert Wise and Martin Scorsese. They aren't together, though.

 

ChiO -- I'm one of those who doesn't mind a mediocrity now & then if I'm getting some great quality and quantity with it.

 

I actually end up liking many noirs for some reason or another. I usually find aspects of each film to appreciate. This has definitely been my experience with all of the titles in the four Warner boxes, thus far.

 

Here are my current rankings of the 20 (of 25) films I've seen in the four sets:

 

1. Out of the Past

2. The Asphalt Jungle

3. They Live by Night

4. The Set-Up

5. Clash by Night

6. Decoy

7. Gun Crazy

8. On Dangerous Ground

9. The Narrow Margin

10. Crime Wave

11. Mystery Street

12. Born to Kill

13. Crossfire

14. Murder, My Sweet

15. Act of Violence

16. His Kind of Woman

17. The Racket

18. Side Street

19. Border Incident

20. Tension

 

Even though I have Tension ranked last, I still find Audrey Totter's performance in the film to be very entertaining.

 

Here are a couple screen caps from The Set-Up and Tension:

 

Who or what is Robert Ryan looking for?

 

su1.jpg

 

su2.jpg

 

 

Audrey Totter can't get much hotter.

 

 

tension1.jpg

 

tension2.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

You are rollin', DSClassic. I've got a lot of ground to make up in the noir world. In a Lonely Place and Kiss Me Deadly are begging me to watch them but I keep putting them off.

 

I have all four of the Warner Film Noir box sets but I haven't picked up either of the two gangster sets yet. That's down the line for me.

 

So what are your thoughts on The Narrow Margin and Clash by Night?

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For 72 minutes Narrow Margin had plenty of twists and turns , tons of action and it was all on a train. Very enjoyable. I dont want to give away too much to other members who would like to see it and ruin the surprises, but it is a must to own..the women were great in their roles, and the cop (I forgot his name) that played Brown was in the Threat..hes great as a bad guy and a tough cop ! :)

Clash by Night was great in the 2nd hour, Barbara playing the great fem fatale...Robert Ryan is great playing a jerk :)...I liked them both a lot

Crossfire in next

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Crossfire was ok, nowhere near as good as Narrow Margin, I think there were too many Roberts in the movie, there wasn't enough Mitchum & no really sinister fem fatatle..anyway I am still getting this set to rewatch this...my first impression was it is a little flat. I knew Robert Ryan was guilty the minute he first appeared...

It is a toss up for me for the next netflix

Fallen Angel Criss Cross The Killer and the Roaring Twenties...

Ive seen so many of the Warner movies I really want to try something different..at least a different studio's Noir :)

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"Dillinger" is kind of a dud but there is a very remarkable scene for the period where Lawrence Tierney shoves a broken bottle in a waiter's face.

 

"Crossfire" I feel is very good but not great. In the novel, the book was based upon the lead character and the character that was killed were both homosexuals and not jews. The problem is that the screenwriters opted to leave much of the characters' masculine/sexual confusion in the script and it kind of it makes the movie a little incoherent at times. Also Mitchum zonks out in a couple scenes. The direction is great though and Robert Ryan is just amazing. Silver and Ursini do a great job of examining the complexities of his work on the audio commentary.

 

I'm not sure it's a noir though although I don't want to be dogmatic. Still, it seems more to me a social problems suspense drama with noir aspects thrown in.

 

"Clash By Night" also doesn't seem to be a noir to me although it uses some elements of the noir vocabulary. It's more a straight forward domestic drama. What's interesting to me is that if you do perceive it as a noir Robert Ryan is actually the femme fatale and Barbara Stanwyck is the morally conflicted lead usually played by a male. It is Ryan who attempts to use his sexual power to pull Stanwyck away from the things she knows are good for her.

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  • 1 year later...

Finally I watched *GUN CRAZY* today. I was reluctant all this time to see it because I was

prejudiced against it----because of its FANS. Too many people drool over it like they do BONNIE

AND CLYDE and now I realize they don't get the point. There are some scary people in

theater audiences, I guess, or else I have completely misinterpreted Joseph Lewis' intentions.

 

I think he goes out of his way to show how pathetic this pair's life started out and ended up.

Guns or no guns, they are relentlessly mediocre and therefore totally believable, especially in

the context of today's rabidly gun-obsessed culture. Because it is the people who are empty

and fear ridden on the inside, who had no love or home lives to speak of, who believed in

the "American dream" (i.e., material possessions, status, "success") and wanted it but felt

stifled by the "system" that wouldn't let them rise without some kind of compromises.

I guess it was better in their eyes to compromise in a way that was exciting than, say, the usual

time honored way of corrupt business practices, extortion, etc. That makes the pair somewhat

comprehensible, if not sympathetic. You can't blame them for what they are. I mean, look at

Bart's sister, she took the honest route but no way can we say she's all that happy. She looks

like she's aged 15 years the second time we see her, which I think is only eight or ten years

later. She's married with bratty kids and looks exhausted. Bart's friends seem fairly happy,

though, so it's not like Lewis is cynically painting the whole environment as one big dead end.

Which, by the way, reminds me. this film does take up a theme similar to Wyler's older film

about the Dead End Kids and Bogart, the one who pulled himself out and found his power

and purpose with a gun. Lewis is more interesting because he has his camera examine

the actual feelings a person with a gun goes through, especially a weak or unhappy perosn.

 

It's wild to think how if Lewis was pointing all this out in the 1950s, he'd flip his lid to think how

far it's degenerated today, the "culture of violence". I like that he makes sure we know

how vulnerable and weak Annie Laurie and Bart really are. They aren't "cool", they never

got more "glamorous" than a carney act! John Dall is excellent at portraying real, knee

knocking fear and vulnerability. You can tell he's a basically decent person, he was just

screwed up as a kid and can't be blamed, really. Peggy Cummins is not bad, she seems

phony from the start and that's the character and I thought it was a nice touch, the by then

outdated pencil eyebrows which made her look more glacial---like Dietrich, she even sported

a Dietrich beret (copied later in Bonnie and Clyde). This also indicates to me, she was

driven by dreams fed by the movies. She wanted "things, BIG things" and of course, the

movies would have inspired that desire and kept it burning. She's a real "Emma Bovary"

for the 20th Century.

 

I didn't expect this movie to play out like that. I'm glad I watched it. I really admire

Lewis more and more as a filmaker. He's got a good eye and a marvelous storyteller's

instinct. He reminds me a lot of Sam Fuller more than ever.

 

Thank you, ChiO, because you recommended it pretty highly. It wasn't what I expected

at all and for that I'm glad. It was well done.

 

GunCrazyBaja.jpg

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It's great to have another singer of the virtues of GUN CRAZY. One other little tidbit -- it was the first film that Dalton Trumbo worked on after he got out of jail.

 

Excellent point about Bart's sister and her importance to the movie's tone and theme: She's so good, so admirable...and becomes so bored. There's a real perverse sense of humor at work when Annie Laurie actually wants to take one of the brats for use as a shield.

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

> It's great to have another singer of the virtues of GUN CRAZY. One other little tidbit -- it was the first film that Dalton Trumbo worked on after he got out of jail.

>

 

That alone is reason enough to watch it! B-)

 

142772~Gun-Crazy-Posters.jpg

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

> It's great to have another singer of the virtues of GUN CRAZY. One other little tidbit -- it was the first film that Dalton Trumbo worked on after he got out of jail.

>

> Excellent point about Bart's sister and her importance to the movie's tone and theme: She's so good, so admirable...and becomes so bored. There's a real perverse sense of humor at work when Annie Laurie actually wants to take one of the brats for use as a shield.

 

Ha! Yes, Annie Laurie had what I call an "Eve Arden" moment there. :)

 

Thanks for steering me to the film, it was quite a ride.

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  • 2 weeks later...

CRISS CROSS is a knockout of a picture. To start with the supporting players: Tony Curtis makes his debut dancing with Yvonne DeCarlo. He has no lines, but he's a really good dancer.

 

Dan Duryea made a career playing weak or evil men. Here there's nothing weak about him: he is pure, cold-blooded evil.

 

This is one of my two favorite Burt Lancaster films, the other being BRUTE FORCE. If you like him, chances are you'll love this movie.

 

And hold on tight for that ending!

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GUN CRAZY takes a while to get going, but once it does it's quite a ride! I slipped a note to myself in the DVD case so I'll know where to start watching it the next time, and that is when Peggy Cummins makes her memorable appearance -- from the BOTTOM of the frame! (How often do you see that?)

 

The bank robbery sequence is noteworthy for film buffs, as it's shot in one continuous take. And Berry Kroeger is always fun to watch.

 

The script was co-written by MacKinlay Kantor, the author of the great Civil War novel, "Andersonville."

 

When John Dall's character -- the one with the conscience -- says, "Two people are dead so we won't have to work," we get a moral tone that was missing from BONNIE AND CLYDE, and in that respect, and others as well, it's the superior film.

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

> When John Dall's character -- the one with the conscience -- says, "Two people are dead so we won't have to work," we get a moral tone that was missing from BONNIE AND CLYDE, and in that respect, and others as well, it's the superior film.

 

It is a very good point. In that regard, I do generally like *Gun Crazy* better than *Bonnie and Clyde* - although I haven't seen *B&C* in ages, and I'm hoping to check it out on blu-ray sometime soon.

 

It is interesting, imho, that *Gun Crazy* apparently didn't cause nearly as much uproar when it was released as *B&C*. Was it because it was a UA release? Because *B&C* had the bigger stars?

 

In any event, I think I will remain fonder of *Gun Crazy* and *You Only Live Once* than of *B&C*, which at times has seemed a bit overrated to me.

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I think BONNIE AND CLYDE caused such outrage -- although it's very well made -- because of its light-hearted tone -- the humor, and the jolly banjo music. It would be more enjoyable if one could forget that these two were murdering anyone who got in their way.

 

The slow-motion ambush at the climax of the picture is justly celebrated, as are many other moments. B & C is a perfect example of how a film can be cinematically brilliant and morally repulsive at the same time -- one thing has nothing to do with the other. Just think of TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, and the second half of THE BIRTH OF A NATION.

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

> CRISS CROSS is a knockout of a picture. To start with the supporting players: Tony Curtis makes his debut dancing with Yvonne DeCarlo. He has no lines, but he's a really good dancer.

>

 

I'd like to see CRISS CROSS again, and hope TCM airs it. It should be better known. I actually

like it much better than Lancaster's THE KILLERS.

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

> I think BONNIE AND CLYDE caused such outrage -- although it's very well made -- because of its light-hearted tone -- the humor, and the jolly banjo music. It would be more enjoyable if one could forget that these two were murdering anyone who got in their way.

>

> The slow-motion ambush at the climax of the picture is justly celebrated, as are many other moments. B & C is a perfect example of how a film can be cinematically brilliant and morally repulsive at the same time -- one thing has nothing to do with the other. Just think of TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, and the second half of THE BIRTH OF A NATION.

 

Good points. I would even add *Peeping Tom* to the two movies you've mentioned. I've the blu-ray version in my Netflix queue, I hope to be watching it fairly soon. B-)

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