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Why Do You Like Film Noir?


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

> molo, I've gotten so much education out of your brilliantly informative post!

>

> And here's that respite from all the darkness:

>

>

 

Bronxie,

 

Thanks and thanks for that great clip. I needed the respite form the darkness :)

 

MissG,

 

I'm been watching some of the old I Love Lucy shows when I can't sleep but I never saw her Carmen spoof. Thanks for posting that link.

 

FF,

 

The link in my post works and it's bascially the same link that MrsCooper linked in the linked post. Hope that clears it all up. ;)

 

Now back to the darkness.

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Jean Hagen has been mentioned on this thread, having appeared in "Side Street" and "ceased to matter a long time ago to anyone." I don't know why reading this and looking at the (wonderful) screencaps makes me think Hagen reminds me of Judy Holiday.

 

I think Judy would've been wonderful in a film noir. Her vulnerability might be a wonderful characteristic for a film noir character.

 

Are there any other actors or actresses that you think might have been good in a film noir???

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*Are there any other actors or actresses that you think might have been good in a film noir???*

 

I actually do wonder what some of the actors who weren't making movies by then would have been like if they'd been in a few noirs. You know, like Norma Shearer, or Carole Lombard, or Gloria Swanson.

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*You know, like Norma Shearer, or Carole Lombard, or Gloria Swanson.*

 

Miss Swanson was in a noir -- Sunset Boulevard. Another actress primarily known for her work in silents who had a nice turn in a noir is Lillian Gish in Night of the Hunter.

 

If only Lon Chaney, Sr. had lived another 15 years or more...a natural for noir.

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*Are there any other actors or actresses that you think might have been good in a film noir???*

 

Shearer would be interesting. How about Garbo? She's dark, enigmatic and would make a good femme fatale. I'm on a Simone Simon kick right now. I could watch her in anything after seeing *Cat People* and *The Devil and Daniel Webster.* I guess *Cat People* is noirish. Someone on IMDB described *Temptation Harbour* as British noir but there is little chance of seeing that anytime soon.

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Hey, Grahame's Guy -- Sorry I've been so long responding but I'm a bit under

the weather.

 

Look who you're talking to. ;) I hope you are you feeling much better, my friend.

 

Visual style? I have a hard time answering that with any authority. In the thirties each

studio had a particular general style like the MGM gloss and the more gritty Warner

Brother's. I think individually directors like William Wellman had a certain visual style.

Busby Berkley certainly had something visual that went beyond the kaleidescope, but

outside of the Universal Horror pictures I can't say that anything jumps out at me. I'm

certainly not saying they didn't. It's just that I can't make a general connection in my

head right now. I think other posters could though. Certain scenes jump out at me like

the rape scene in Wild Boys of the Road. The mob scenes and quick cutting close

ups in Fury. Did the films I mentioned above have a connecting visual style? I don't

think they necessarily did.

 

I really like the visual style of the Universal horrors of the 30s. They help to heighten

the mood, the horror. I'm someone who loves atmosphere, particularly that of visual.

 

I have no idea what Hollywood directors to seek out for visual style in the 30s. I'm curious

about Josef von Sternberg but I'm not sure who else deserves my attention. The reason

I bring all of this up is because the visuals of film noir captivate me and I'm not sure there

are any Hollywood films from the 30s that can match them. Maybe someone can point

me in the right direction.

 

Did anyone ever look sadder and photograph more beautifully being sad than

Sylvia Sidney?

 

No, I can't think of anyone else. Her big, sympathetic eyes are always so inviting. And

even though I find femmes fatale most interesting, I really have a soft spot for the good

girls who stand by their foolish man.

 

A film I have on my watch list is called Thirty Day Princess. I've read she is very good

in this rare (for her) comedy opposite Cary Grant. It's on DVD.

 

The Deep Discount sale starts on Friday and runs through November 23rd. It's 25% off,

so you can get the Cary Grant box set for $14.99. Amazon is selling the same box for

$13.49 right now but you have to pay for shipping unless you spend $25 or more. This

box set has been on my wish list for a few years now because I'm a fan of Cary Grant

but also because I like Joan Bennett.

 

We have mentioned some films already. Have you seen The Petrified Forest ? How about

Mayo Methot's performance in Virtue or Aline MacMahon's in Heat Lightning ? I'm sure

there are films that are similar in tone. I'll get back to you. Hopefully someone else will

have some suggestions.

 

I have seen The Petrified Forest and I like it quite a bit. I generally like films that

feature entrapped strangers because they usually rely on character examination and

social commentary. The Petrified Forest is all about this, particularly social

commentary.

 

Frank wrote: Westerns are big for me. John Ford definitely put westerns on the map

and then others, like Anthony Mann, continued to take them further, make them more

complex. Westerns were no longer the simplistic and quite predictable "white hat tracks

down the black hat."

 

Exactly! Darker and more complex to me. I should have mentioned them as well. Anthony

Mann made his mark in noir films before going in to Westerns.

 

And I believe Mann made film noir westerns. The backdrop changed but the dark,

pyschological themes remained. I believe Victor Mature's " 'Doc' Holliday" in John

Ford's My Darling Clementine is a strong film noir character. He's a tortured man.

 

Well musicals aren't to everyone's taste. The backstage musicals of the thirties had

a story and then big extravagant stage numbers that were not integrated into the

story.

 

A huge problem for me is that the music of musicals doesn't appeal to me at all.

 

Footlight Parade is a very enjoyable film about Cagney trying to survive the

transition to talkies by creating musical prologues for pictures.There are a lot of

crazy subplots and it really plays like a comedy with no real musical productions

until the very end when you get three big ones in a row.

 

Believe it or not, I'm not sure if I'm going to like James Cagney or not. White Heat

is probably the Cagney film that I should watch first because his character looks to be

rather complex. Are Cagney's gangster roles of the 30s straightforward or will I find

complexity?

 

Sometimes these numbers can have significant social relevance to Depression era

audiences. Check out the very powerful "Forgotten Man" number performed by Joan

Blondell and a great but uncredited Etta Moten in Gold Diggers of 1933.

 

I really liked the beginning of that clip when Joan Blondell was speaking the words. It

was powerful. But when it turned into a musical number, it lost its impact with me.

 

The Astaire/Rogers films create a certain magic for me that other films

can't. I appreciate the artistry and often the humor. In fact, The Gay Divorcee is one

of the funniest films I've ever seen, mainly due to it's brilliant supporting cast. I could

go on and on about musicals but this is a noir thread so I'll stop. The Fox war

musicals, the MGM musicals create a certain mood and are enhanced by their very

artificial and escapist nature. It's alright not to like musicals. I'm an extreme case

because as I have said before, I like all genres of film except operettas and I want to

like those. Whether that makes me well rounded or just shallow I don't know.

 

 

Ginger Rogers appeals to me. I adore her in Stage Door. But I just can't see

me enjoying musical numbers. I say this while admitting that I have never given

musicals a chance. It seems like musicals are the extreme opposite of film noir.

 

And if you are shallow, what does that make me? Ohhhh... never mind.

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I really like the visual style of the Universal horrors of the 30s. They help to heighten

the mood, the horror. I'm someone who loves atmosphere, particularly that of visual.

 

They're terrific horror films. My favourites are *The Invisible Man* and *Bride of Frankenstein*. Elsa Lanchester is just terrific! B-)

 

I have no idea what Hollywood directors to seek out for visual style in the 30s. I'm curious

about Josef von Sternberg but I'm not sure who else deserves my attention. The reason

I bring all of this up is because the visuals of film noir captivate me and I'm not sure there

are any Hollywood films from the 30s that can match them. Maybe someone can point

me in the right direction.

 

There's quite a few 30's musicals I could recommend... if you liked musicals... ;)

 

Other than that, I'd recommend Lubitsch and Capra, for starters.

 

Believe it or not, I'm not sure if I'm going to like James Cagney or not. White Heat

is probably the Cagney film that I should watch first because his character looks to be

rather complex. Are Cagney's gangster roles of the 30s straightforward or will I find

complexity?

 

I don't think there's a lot of complexity. They're still fun, though. I'd argue *Scarface* with Paul Muni has a bit more complexity. B-)

 

Ginger Rogers appeals to me. I adore her in Stage Door. But I just can't see

me enjoying musical numbers. I say this while admitting that I have never given

musicals a chance. It seems like musicals are the extreme opposite of film noir.

 

You really can't speak knowledgeably about musicals until you've given them a try. ;)

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_CrankyFranky_ said: *I have no idea what Hollywood directors to seek out for visual style in the 30s. I'm curious about Josef von Sternberg but I'm not sure who else deserves my attention. The reason I bring all of this up is because the visuals of film noir captivate me and I'm not sure there are any Hollywood films from the 30s that can match them. Maybe someone can point me in the right direction.*

 

Maybe not the "right" direction, but a direction nonetheless.

 

As for Von Sternberg, I think you would like The Blue Angel and like it alot. Follow with the usual suspects: Morocco and Blonde Venus (have a fan and bag of ice handy when you watch these -- love that Marlene!).

 

Ignoring Lang, Hitchcock and Murnau, whose '30s films you have likely seen, and the Universal horror movies, some other recommendations among the usual suspects:

 

Hawks: Scarface, Bringing Up Baby (when Kate's dress rips, that's a visual), Only Angels Have Wings (I know, you already love it)

McCarey (not the most "visual", but still worth it): Duck Soup, Ruggles of Red Gap, Make Way For Tomorrow

Chaplin: City Lights, Modern Times

 

Plus: Little Caesar, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Public Enemy, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Trouble in Paradise, Stella Dallas, Angels with Dirty Faces, Destry Rides Again, Night Nurse, Dead End, The Roaring Twenties, The Hearts of Age. Yes, Frank, in and among the screwball comedies and musicals, Hollywood did have some interesting films visually in the '30s (though one of the beauties of film noir in the '40s & '50s is that even Poverty Row productions have visual interest).

 

And like you, those '30s musicals can drive me up a wall. There is, however, one huge exception: Love Me Tonight. No, I don't like it because of Chevalier and MacDonald. Songs by Rodgers & Hart are plus, as is Myrna Loy. No, it is a real film -- visually stunning and cleverly constructed. And actually witty. Absolutely brilliant. #2 on my favorite Musical list (admittedly a short one) after All That Jazz.

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And like you, those '30s musicals can drive me up a wall. There is, however, one huge exception: Love Me Tonight. No, I don't like it because of Chevalier and MacDonald. Songs by Rodgers & Hart are plus, as is Myrna Loy. No, it is a real film -- visually stunning and cleverly constructed. And actually witty. Absolutely brilliant. #2 on my favorite Musical list (admittedly a short one) after All That Jazz.

 

I've been meaning to watch *Love Me Tonight* - thank you for the recommendation. B-)

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Hola, World's Second Greatest Sinner -- As for Von Sternberg, I think you would like The Blue Angel and like it alot. Follow with the usual suspects: Morocco and Blonde Venus (have a fan and bag of ice handy when you watch these -- love that Marlene!).

 

Morocco is a favorite of mine. It's the film where I "found" Marlene. Have you ever seen The Devil is a Woman?

 

Hawks: Scarface, Bringing Up Baby (when Kate's dress rips, that's a visual), Only Angels Have Wings (I know, you already love it)

 

Hawks is the Hollywood director I feel will most interest me from the 30s. I just don't know if the kind of films he made in the 30s will appeal to me.

 

McCarey (not the most "visual", but still worth it): Duck Soup, Ruggles of Red Gap, Make Way For Tomorrow

 

Make Way for Tomorrow is a film I'm curious about, mainly for the emotional.

 

Chaplin: City Lights, Modern Times

 

What's Chaplin's visual style?

 

Plus: Little Caesar, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Public Enemy, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Trouble in Paradise, Stella Dallas, Angels with Dirty Faces, Destry Rides Again, Night Nurse, Dead End, The Roaring Twenties, The Hearts of Age.

 

I've yet to see any of those films but I do have some of them on DVD and VHS. Of that group, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang and Trouble in Paradise interest me the most. So you're a Stella Dallas fan, eh? And you threw a short at me, didn't ya?

 

Yes, Frank, in and among the screwball comedies and musicals, Hollywood did have some interesting films visually in the '30s (though one of the beauties of film noir in the '40s & '50s is that even Poverty Row productions have visual interest).

 

One of the most visual Hollywood films from the 30s that I've seen is Henry Hathaway's Peter Ibbetson. The visuals match the great emotion of the film. I also love the special effects in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and King Kong. Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail is a 30s film that I believe I'm going to really like because of the visuals.

 

And like you, those '30s musicals can drive me up a wall. There is, however, one huge exception: Love Me Tonight. No, I don't like it because of Chevalier and MacDonald. Songs by Rodgers & Hart are plus, as is Myrna Loy. No, it is a real film -- visually stunning and cleverly constructed. And actually witty. Absolutely brilliant. #2 on my favorite Musical list (admittedly a short one) after All That Jazz.

 

lovemetonight1.jpg

 

lovemetonight2.jpg

 

blueangel1.jpg

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