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ChiO

Create Your Own Nightmare Noir

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Reading the posts on "Noir Gallery" raised the question: Who would be the cast and crew in your ideal film noir? My nightmare (not necessarily the favorites, but folks I'd love to see work together):

 

_Studio_ -- Eagle-Lion

_Producer_ -- Mark Hellinger

_Director_ -- Edgar G. Ulmer

_Cinematographer_ -- John Alton

_Screenplay_ -- A.I. Bezzerides

_Source_ -- a never-written story by Cornell Woolrich

_Music_ -- Miklos Rozsa

 

_Cast_

 

Sterling Hayden -- the hardboiled detective, criminally eradicating crime

Joan Bennett -- the detective's wife (but whose side is she on?)

Robert Ryan -- outcast criminal seeking redemption

Ida Lupino -- the outcast criminal's gal (but whose side is she on?)

Lawrence Tierney -- Da Boss of Da Gang, hunting down the outcast criminal

Lee Marvin -- Meatball Slob, constantly challenging Da Boss' leadership, gets into fights a lot

Elisha Cook, Jr. -- gang member, constantly smacked around, probably dead by the end

Timothy Carey -- the Timothy Carey role

Raymond Burr -- the attorney-on-the-make

Gloria Grahame -- the ubiquitous floozy

Whit Bissell -- the Greek Chorus

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_Studio_: RKO

_Producer_: Mark Hellinger

_Director_: Jacques Tourneur

_Cinematographer_: John Alton

_Screenplay_: Daniel Mainwaring

_Source material_: a newly-discovered unpublished James M. Cain novel

_Music_: Miklos Rozsa

 

_Cast_:

Robert Mitchum: a hardboiled detective, with a dubious past

Burt Lancaster: a crusading District Attorney

Ava Gardner: a femme fatale with a dangerous side

Kirk Douglas: most dangerous mobster in town

Sterling Hayden: Kirk's main henchman

Rhonda Fleming: the good gal who tries to make things right

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Cute, ChiO! I'd pay to see it. Can you throw up a catchy ChiOwen title for this masterpiece?

 

I'm not creative like the others when it comes to packaging a movie, but I'd love to

see *Mitchum* and *Ava Gardner* do a really quality film noir (by that I mean a

first rate script and direction---Tourneur or Nicholas Ray?). Maybe they could be on the

lam, with Robert Ryan as the cop hunting them. Poor Ryan, even in our make-believe studios,

he's still getting third billing. :D

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_MissG_ kindly asked: *Can you throw up a catchy ChiOwen title for this masterpiece?*

 

I prefer the term "regurgitate", but "throw up" is more noirish.

 

*As Dark As Night* -- "A Dark and Stormy Night" is probably already taken and "Gone With the Storm" might cause confusion at the box office.

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

> _MissG_ kindly asked: *Can you throw up a catchy ChiOwen title for this masterpiece?*

>

> I prefer the term "regurgitate", but "throw up" is more noirish.

>

 

:D Please...I leave such unladylike noises to Olivia de Havilland.

 

> *As Dark As Night* -- "A Dark and Stormy Night" is probably already taken and "Gone With the Storm" might cause confusion at the box office.

 

:D I'd be first in line for my ticket. And asking "where's Rhett?" twenty minutes in...

 

What kind of music score for As Dark As Night, and by whom, maestro?

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

> *As Dark As Night* -- "A Dark and Stormy Night" is probably already taken and "Gone With the Storm" might cause confusion at the box office.

 

Sounds a bit generic! :P

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Now this is a real mind bender. How the heck did you dream this one up? You need to work

on those dreams of yours. Or have more nightmares, like me.

 

Studio -- RKO

Producer -- Val Lewton

Director -- Fritz Lang

Cinematographer -- Nicholas Musuraca

Screenplay -- Tennessee Williams

Source -- Original

Music -- who needs music? Duke Ellington

 

Cast

 

Robert Ryan -- the sexually-frustrated night club owner whose in "debt" up to his...

Vivien Leigh -- the devoted wife?

Burt Lancaster -- the "Bank," who takes whatever he wants, whenever he wants

Brian Donlevy -- the defeated man whose wife "pays" his debt

Gene Tierney -- the defeated man's payment, I mean, wife

Gloria Grahame -- the torch who torments

Audrey Totter -- the washed-up woman who wants to "save" Ryan

Farley Granger -- the Bank's understudy

Gail Russell -- the lost girl

Laird Cregar -- honey, money

Timothy Carey -- the nemesis of honey, money

Elizabeth Russell -- the smartest dame in the club

Mary Beth Hughes -- the dumbest dame in the club

Margo -- the torch's tormentor

Elisha Cook, Jr. - our bartender

Esther Howard -- the "mother"

 

Title -- Bankrupt

 

Do you think this one has a happy ending? I'd reverse Out of the Past.

 

I would be bankrupt if I had to pay them salaries. Carey alone puts us in the red.

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_FrankZanuckGrimes_ wrote: *Music -- who needs music?*

 

Now I'm very scared. That's what I initially wrote, but changed it at the last moment for fear I'd catch grief from MissG (Miklos Rozsa was tossed in, but I'm flexible based on budget). So, what does she do? Asks me who doing the music. So it goes. She's a crafty predator, I tell you.

 

Vivien Leigh? Now you're just pandering to the *GWTW* crowd. And "pandering" is still a crime in the noir world.

 

Do you ever get the sense that as long as Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame and Elisha Cook, Jr. are on board, you've got yourself a noir? Duryea hasn't been cast yet. A cameo, perhaps?

 

I must work on my title. *As Dark As Night* is just the shooting title, after all. Given that Woolrich is the source, "Black" will have to be in the title.

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

> Vivien Leigh? Now you're just pandering to the *GWTW* crowd. And "pandering" is still a crime in the noir world.

>

 

I'm glad someone else feels that way! And I definitely agree that pandering should be a crime in the noir world. ;)

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FrankZanuckGrimes wrote: Music -- who needs music?

 

Now I'm very scared. That's what I initially wrote, but changed it at the last moment for fear I'd catch grief from MissG (Miklos Rozsa was tossed in, but I'm flexible based on budget). So, what does she do? Asks me who doing the music.

 

What the Zanuck! I didn't know this board allowed cursing. Can it be possible to not

have a score when a film takes place in a night club?

 

So it goes. She's a crafty predator, I tell you.

 

Scars. Deep, painful scars.

 

Vivien Leigh? Now you're just pandering to the GWTW crowd. And "pandering" is still a

crime in the noir world.

 

Is pleading still a bullet magnet? The wife plays the "Jeff Markham" role in the

picture. She must have an icy drunken power over Robert Ryan yet show feelings by

the end of the film. She's the hero. Tennessee Williams is my screenwriter, so Viv

fits. Plus, I was looking to place someone new and iconic in a film noir. Gary Cooper

would have been my "pandering." Hey, maybe we can have him play the defeated man

or possibly he can be Elisha's Tuesday replacement. What does Elisha do on

Tuesdays? Hmmmm...

 

Do you ever get the sense that as long as Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame and Elisha

Cook, Jr. are on board, you've got yourself a noir?

 

As a trio? Yes. Just Cook alone pretty much seals a film's fate. If you turn around and

seen Elisha, you know someone is gonna get it in the end. Probably me.

 

Duryea hasn't been cast yet. A cameo, perhaps?

 

I was trying to sneak him in through the back door but I couldn't find a spot for

him. Lancaster is playing the Duryea role. I wanted a guy who could be what Ryan

wasn't: successful, especially from a sexual standpoint. Lancaster would be Ryan's

mirror of masculine self-hate. His presence alone would cause Ryan to run the

gammut of emotions. Duryea can stir a man, but a man isn't as intimidated by

Duryea from a sexual point of view. I believe Lancaster is the most intimidating in the

world of film noir.

 

So if Duryea isn't the prime instigator, what is he? He could definitely be the parrot

of the "Bank." That would anger Ryan like no one's business. But I wanted the second

person behind the "Bank" to be sympathetic, conflicted, and YOUNG, hence my

choosing of Farley Granger. Granger would be playing the audience in the film. He's

the conscience.

 

The Duryea roles just keep disappearing. Anything smaller, and it would be a

waste. The best role I can come up with would be the nip dog. Duryea could be

the sack of small potatoes who's always taking bites at Ryan at the worst

times. Ryan would know he's bigger than Duryea, but Duryea would always find

a way to get under his skin. Eventually, he'd let the worthless be just that.

 

I must work on my title. As Dark As Night is just the shooting title, after all. Given

that Woolrich is the source, "Black" will have to be in the title.

 

Black as Night? The Black Cabinet of Dr. ChiOgari?

 

streetcarnameddesire1.jpg

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I admire Vivian Leigh very, very much, but for the life of me, I cannot imagine her in a film noir. She's very good in "Gone with the Wind", of course, and also "A Streetcar Named Desire". But noir? I don't know about that :P

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I forgot another key element (good thing we haven't gone into production yet).

 

What do the best film noirs have? Why voice-over narration, of course. So, as a tip of the hat to Blast of Silence, I hereby cast as the off-screen, never seen, Voice of the God Forsaken...Lionel Stander.

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Yes, this is not to say that she wasn't talented, but it's not a genre that she'd have had an easy time fitting in. Or maybe she would have, but was never given a chance.

 

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

> What do the best film noirs have? Why voice-over narration, of course. So, as a tip of the hat to Blast of Silence, I hereby cast as the off-screen, never seen, Voice of the God Forsaken...Lionel Stander.

 

Not a bad idea, and Stander was already doing movies at RKO, I think. Wasn't he in the original "A Star is Born"? He always did have a very distinctive voice, so he'd have been good.

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I forgot another key element (good thing we haven't gone into production yet).

 

What do the best film noirs have? Why voice-over narration, of course. So, as a tip

of the hat to Blast of Silence, I hereby cast as the off-screen, never seen, Voice of

the God Forsaken...Lionel Stander.

 

Is "Freeway" with him?

 

No voiceover for me. But my favorite film noir voiceover was Claire Trevor's in

Raw Deal, with the theremin playing the background.

 

Ahhh, ants...

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RKO presents:

 

FRIGHT!

 

From the novel by Cornell Woolrich. A man has a fling before getting married, only to be blackmailed by the woman. In a fit of rage, he kills her. In fear of apprehension, his life becomes a nightmare. Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur collaborate for a chilling adaptation of this dark, disturbing story.

 

Tom Neal: The groom

Cathy O'Donnell: The bride

Doris Dowling: The blackmailer

Philip Terry: The best man.

 

Screenplay by Clifford Odets.

Cinematography by Robert de Grasse

Music: Miles Davis

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That sounds like a great "nightmare noir", redriver! My only quibble would be that Miles Davis would probably have been too young to have been working in Hollywood at the time, but hey, we can all dream. ;)

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STUDIO: Turner Productions, Inc.

YEAR: 2009

TITLE: *DARK ZOMBIES*

Director: Edward D. Wood III

Cast: Cinemascope, FilmFatale, and the rest

Story: An army of soulless ghouls invades an unsuspecting village.

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A very interesting idea for a noir, redriver. I've to confess I wasn't really familiar with Robert De Grasse's work as DP, but looking at his filmography convinced me that you must have thought long and hard before selecting him. I think he could have made a really great-looking noir out of "Fright!".

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STUDIO: Turner Productions, Inc.

YEAR: 2009

TITLE: *DARK ZOMBIES*

Director: Edward D. Wood

Cast: Cinemascope, FilmFatale, and the rest

Story: An army of soulless ghouls invades an unsuspecting village.

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Mr. H... you left out the part where the town constable left the city gate wide open to allow the ghouls free access and then was too ill equipped to keep them from having free reign...

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*Mr. H... you left out the part where the town constable left the city gate wide open to allow the ghouls free access and then was too ill equipped to keep them from having free reign...*

 

Yes, my good friend, and that is what makes the story so ultimately...noir.

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