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DESPERATE -- a new Anthony Mann fan


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Thanks, Nightwalker! To be "Noir" or Not to be "Noir" is pretty loose in my own estimation. It seems to me it is a style and not a genre so I guess it can fit lots of scenes/situations, if not an entire film itself.

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[MissG] -- *It seems to me it is a style and not a genre so I guess it can fit lots of scenes/situations, if not an entire film itself.*

 

Bingo! Welcome to the wonderful world of noir. I agree that it's not a genre, and the elements most commonly associated with noir -- night, rain, urban setting, shadows, expressionistic camera angles, femme fatale, hard-boiled anti-heroes -- are not all in each film that most people would consider a noir. It's a style, an attitude, and -- probably the common thread -- a fatalism, an acceptance of fate, a "sinners in the hands of an angry God" theme.

 

We're doomed. And that's why I find them cathartic.

 

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Hiya, BronxieGirl -- Mary Beth Hughes is underrated, imo, as a femme fatale. She was impressive in her short screen time in THE OX-BOW INCIDENT.

 

I love Mary Beth Hughes in The Great Flamarion and this film:

 

Inner Sanctum

 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...

A couple of years later, and this thread reappears! Great... I enjoy this probably because Steve Brody is a supporting actor in tons of great films, but here's a starring role and I think he delivers a top-notch performance.

 

He, William Talman, Kenneth Tobey, Gene Evans and about a dozen others littered my favorite films as bad guys or sidekicks, and I've always enjoyed whatever starring vehicle they were given - as bad as the films might be, those guys always did good jobs.

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Hello again, Ollie, and thanks! Yes, I'd love to see that FG Noir Filmfest, lol.

 

Yeah, I like Brodie and all the actors you name -- they just do NOT make them like that anymore.

 

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  • 3 months later...

> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> Yeah, she was effective in THE GREAT FLAMARION.

>

> I haven't seen INNER SANCTUM.

>

> Mary Beth always reminds me of Lana Turner's vixen little sister.

 

FrankGrimes wrote:

I'd love to hear your opinion of The Great Flamarion. This is yet another Mann film that keeps climbing the list for me. The camerawork and lighting aren't as breathtaking as in T-Men and Raw Deal, but I do like the way the story is told and the story itself. Mary Beth Hughes' "Connie Wallace" is one of my favorite femme fatales in noir history, Erich Von Stroheim plays the sap with stoic power and glory, and Dan Duryea is interesting as a sucker drunk. It's quite an interesting film. I hope you seek it out.

 

 

I just watched this last night---so you two like this movie? Bronxie? I'm split

on it. It made me laugh a few times, and I wondered if the producers were

pulling the audience's leg? Doing a sort of farce of films noir? Or was I

missing something? On the other hand, of course Von Stroheim was terrific

as were Mary Beth Hughes and Dan D. But it's the same movie as Decoy!

Well, not quite but essentially.

 

greatflamrion.jpg

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Aaaaah, here it is. Well, I've got to look for both these films and give my review. I'd better do that soon or get my noir license revoked.

 

Think I have to pull out the klieg light and call Batman for help in getting these two movies. Ollie ollie oxen free.

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Hey, Miss G.! THE GREAT FLAMARION is in some respects a bargain basement version of SCARLET STREET (in fact Mary Beth Hughes as Connie gives a similiar cruel verbal brush-off to Erich the way Kitty does with Chris Cross) Like you, TGF made me laugh and wonder as well if it could be a noir send-up, especially in the von Stroheim character, but, after watching THE MASK OF DIIJON (another of his low-budget 1940's arrogant, eccentric, disillusioned love-struck magician roles) I realized that this is just the way Erich plays these characters -- grim-faced, domineering, barking out orders and declarations, emotionally traumatized by women, but just as easily willing to open up his heart and be fooled one more time.

 

I really like Mary Beth Hughes as a conniving baby-faced femme fatale with juicy curves and an ice-cold ticker. And then there's the great Dan Duryea as her hapless drunken possessive husband -- did he ever give a bad performance?

 

Since I'm still a novice when it comes to Anthony Mann, I can't say what parts of FLAMARION show his emerging talent and themes.

I liked the flashback narrative and some expressionistic cinematography.

 

I never saw DECOY.

 

P.S. You and everybody have got to check out the noirish THE MASK OF DIIJON. (and you won't believe the creatively macabre way von Stroheim meets his doom!)

 

Here's a fun clip: (I love the way Erich hypnotizes the newsboy, lol: "Give me a paper"):

 

 

 

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Poor Erich, lol! I actually thought he was fine, it was the dialogue they gave

Mary Beth Hughes that had me rolling. It was all so cliche, even then, that

I had to wonder if they were just having fun. They must have! You should

see *Decoy*, it's the same story again but with one of the dullest leading

men ever. I wish they'd thrown out the story and focused on Sheldon Leonard,

he was breaking me up! But I didn't believe his last moment with Gillie at

the end, he was too hard boiled to fall for her nonsense like that.

 

I just can't really get into these "lethal women" stories. They never do anything

for me nor do they grab me, emotionally. Maybe because I never feel sorry for

the man who could be that dumb and I figure they deserve each other. Erich

did make me feel a little sympathetic, however---I never felt he was really shooting

those guns. He didn't even bother to aim, and I was surprised when I found we

were to believe he was using real bullets.

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

> Aaaaah, here it is. Well, I've got to look for both these films and give my review. I'd better do that soon or get my noir license revoked.

>

> Think I have to pull out the klieg light and call Batman for help in getting these two movies. Ollie ollie oxen free.

 

That's a good call. ;)

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Unfortunately something tells me that THE GREAT FLAMARION was supposed to be taken straight. It's always interesting to me that I find myself feeling a little sorry for Erich in these parts, because you think he's just this stern, thick-necked, super-disciplined guy, but then he lets his guard down for the wrong woman and the chinks in his armor start to appear.

 

Sheldon Leonard, lol, "out you two pixies go". I like him as a deze-dem-dose B-movie gangster. He always seems to be in on the joke with that image.

 

I know exactly what you mean about the femme fatale angle. I mean, how dumb can their male victims be? For instance, OUT OF THE PAST. A good hard-boiled noir (although I think it's a bit overrated but that's another story) and Mitchum is a great actor and I like him in pretty much everything, but Jeff Bailey, I'm sorry, I just cannot work up any sympathy for the poor slob, nor any other guy who could fall for someone like Cathy. The rallying cry for all these men really IS "Baby, I don't care".

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> Unfortunately something tells me that THE GREAT FLAMARION was supposed to be taken straight. It's always interesting to me that I find myself feeling a little sorry for Erich in these parts, because you think he's just this stern, thick-necked, super-disciplined guy, but then he lets his guard down for the wrong woman and the chinks in his armor start to appear.

>

 

OH, I do too, bless his poor little shaved head. I've always seen Erich as

an essentially tragic figure after La Grande Illusion.

 

These roles remind me of Bela's fate, too. I mean, these men could have

had dignified acting careers if the banks and corporations (and agents) hadn't

taken over the film industry.

 

 

> Sheldon Leonard, lol, "out you two pixies go". I like him as a dez-dem-dose B-movie gangster. He always seems to be in on the joke with that image.

>

 

I was very attracted to him as the cop---I have thing about movie cops!

 

 

> I know exactly what you mean about the femme fatale angle. I mean, how dumb can their male victims be? For instance, OUT OF THE PAST. A good hard-boiled noir (although I think it's a bit overrated but that's another story) and Mitchum is a great actor and I like him in pretty much everything, but Jeff Bailey, I'm sorry, I just cannot work up any sympathy for the poor slob, nor any other guy who could fall for someone like Cathy. The rallying cry for all these men really IS "Baby, I don't care".

 

I thought I was the only one. Here was that nice and BEAUTIFUL girl so in love

with Mitch and he follows the witch around like a puppy. Yes, he deserved it.

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LOL -- "his poor little shaved head". Erich always reminded me of an autocratic fireplug. Haven't seen GRAND ILLUSION in ages, don't remember it all that well, except I'm recalling he was sort of wistfully cynical as the German soldier.

 

Bela was really a victim of his success as Count Dracula -- nobody could ever see him in anything other than horror roles after that. His natural intensity in the part was the nail in the, uh, coffin. I often thought what would his career have been like if he was allowed to play "normal", like Professor Baer in LITTLE WOMEN. (fellow countryman Paul Lukas was so good in that part, but I bet Lugosi could have interpreted it just as well, if given the chance)

 

With very few exceptions I've never seen Sheldon Leonard on the other side of the law. And I've got a thing for movie Mounties. (wish TCM would run MRS. MIKE)

 

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Ciao, Miss Gun for Hire -- I just watched this last night---so you two like this

movie? Bronxie?

 

Yes, I like The Great Flamarion. I like the flashback and I find Mary Beth Hughes'

"Connie Wallace" to be devilishly captivating. I also found Erich von Stroheim to be a

different kind of film noir sap than the usual. This gave the film a different feel to

me. I also found the stage act to be off the beaten film noir path.

 

I'm split on it. It made me laugh a few times, and I wondered if the producers

were pulling the audience's leg? Doing a sort of farce of films noir? Or was I

missing something?

 

You just don't like classic film, that's all. :P I didn't take it as a farce, but I'm a naive

sucker.

 

On the other hand, of course Von Stroheim was terrific as were Mary Beth Hughes

and Dan D. But it's the same movie as Decoy! Well, not quite but essentially.

 

I think the femmes fatales are similar in The Great Flamarion and Decoy. That's

a very good call. I love 'em both, too. I'd say "Margot Shelby" is more maniacal than

"Connie Wallace." She's deadly serious. Connie is more of a manipulator who tries to

"soft play" her way out of jams. Margot is more demanding.

 

By the way, your copy of the film looks to be pretty good!

 

I just can't really get into these "lethal women" stories. They never do anything

for me nor do they grab me, emotionally.

 

Grab you emotionally? They're not supposed to do that! But they do grab us guys... :D

 

Maybe because I never feel sorry for the man who could be that dumb and I figure

they deserve each other.

 

Yes, we're that dumb and deserve what we get. Ahhhhh, film noir.

 

Erich did make me feel a little sympathetic, however---I never felt he was really

shooting those guns. He didn't even bother to aim, and I was surprised when I found we

were to believe he was using real bullets.

 

He's the Great Flamarion! He makes it look easy. :P

 

I liked how Flamarion resisted Connie, at first. He wasn't a guy who was looking to dive

in. But even the "strong" will succumb to their hidden desires:

 

"I lived a lonely life. I have no friends. I didn't like people, and people didn't like me. I didn't

drink. I didn't smoke. I retired every night, immediately after the performance. Hours

I practiced to strengthen my eyes. This afternoon, my schedule was broke. I had an

unexpected visitor."

 

greatflamarion1.jpg

 

When I watched The Great Flamarion again last night, I actually saw some Jane

Greer with Mary Beth Hughes.

 

greatflamarion2.jpg

 

greatflamarion3.jpg

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> Maybe because I never feel sorry for the man who could be that dumb and I figure they deserve each other.

>

> Yes, we're that dumb and deserve what we get. Ahhhhh, film noir.

>

 

Dumb? Dumb? It's Fate...it's Doom...it's the inevitability of Death (literal or metaphoric). But never "dumb."

 

Oh...and it's malevolent women, too, on occasion.

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Dumb? Dumb? It's Fate...it's Doom...it's the inevitability of Death (literal or

metaphoric). But never "dumb."

 

For me, it's a lot of dumb, too. I know I'm gonna get shocked if I touch that livewire, yet

I still touch it. The male animal becomes "dumb" when offered the right bait. It's never

ending...

 

It's the dumb decisions that lead to fate and doom. We know better, yet we don't.

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>

> Yes, I like The Great Flamarion. I like the flashback and I find Mary Beth Hughes'

> "Connie Wallace" to be devilishly captivating. I also found Erich von Stroheim to be a

> different kind of film noir sap than the usual. This gave the film a different feel to

> me. I also found the stage act to be off the beaten film noir path.

>

 

I appreciated Mary Beth Hughes performance, she was good, and yes, I see some

Cathy Moffat in her, too, though not quite as cold.

 

 

>

> You just don't like classic film, that's all. :P I didn't take it as a farce, but I'm a naive

> sucker.

>

 

The dialogue was just a bit too florid. I think audiences weren't meant to take it

too seriously, but to have fun with it. We take noir so seriously today, I can't help but

wonder if people used to have a better perspective when they didn't institutionalize

the "genre/style" so much.

 

>

> I think the femmes fatales are similar in The Great Flamarion and Decoy. That's

> a very good call. I love 'em both, too. I'd say "Margot Shelby" is more maniacal than

> "Connie Wallace." She's deadly serious. Connie is more of a manipulator who tries to

> "soft play" her way out of jams. Margot is more demanding.

>

 

Margot was much harsher to me, too, even her looks (I didn't find her that pretty

by the way, and she looked rather used up whereas I can see Marybeth Hughes

being more appealing).

 

> By the way, your copy of the film looks to be pretty good!

>

 

I have a very good supplier. :)

 

>

> Grab you emotionally? They're not supposed to do that! But they do grab us guys... :D

>

 

Now that is dumb. :P

 

>

> He's the Great Flamarion! He makes it look easy. :P

>

 

It's so silly.

 

> I liked how Flamarion resisted Connie, at first. He wasn't a guy who was looking to dive

> in. But even the "strong" will succumb to their hidden desires:

>

> "I lived a lonely life. I have no friends. I didn't like people, and people didn't like me. I didn't

> drink. I didn't smoke. I retired every night, immediately after the performance. Hours

> I practiced to strengthen my eyes. This afternoon, my schedule was broke. I had an

> unexpected visitor."

>

 

He was rather poignant and lots of times someone who represses a natural need for

love will burst out and make a HUGE mistake in judgement. Being extreme is a set-up

for foolish decisions.

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