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HollywoodGolightly

Noirs & Gangster movies coming up on FMC

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I was channel surfing and saw that Night and the City was on at noon, so I

thought, why not. I had forgotten how much of a total hustler Dicky was,

on the hype 24/7. Sort of a thin and much more intense Ralph Kramden, with a

new get rich quick scheme every week, getting in on the old "ground floor." Today

he'd probably be peddling cleaning products on late-night TV. But the little con man

is up against the big timers, and in that battle the little guy usually loses. Dicky had

the Dead of Night dummy look again when he got overly stimulated after being

dissed by Francis L. Sullivan. Sullivan is marvelous as the sleazy nightclub owner,

and while he is as thin on moral grounds as he is fat on regular grounds, one should

appreciate a pro who knows his business. Too bad he decided to end it all. He could

have taught the younger generation a thing or two.

 

The problem with these small time grifters is that, like the greenhorns Dobbs and Curtin

in TTOTSM, there's gold right under their feet but they never see it. All jibber jabber

with nothing in the attic. Mr. Fabian should have put two and two together and gone

with the scheme of a combined greyhound race/wrestling match. Build a chain link fence

around the ring, put in a half-dozen hungry doggies with the two wrestlers, and you've got

yourself a money making proposition, guaranteed. The fur will fly. And people will pay to

see that.

 

The Plausibles: So, you have a 1,000 pound bounty on your head and you need to get out

of London Town tout suite, and you're right by the Thames, where you could probably

steal a little boat and head down river. But noooooooo.

 

 

The Gene Genie seemed to disappear for long stretches of the film. And wouldn't you

know it, as soon as poor Dicky meets his maker, who should show up but Mr. Self-

Effacing, Hugh Marlowe. My, what an unforeseen coincidence. Sometimes nice, but

dull, guys don't finish last. There are two versions of this movie. Fox showed the shorter

U.S. version. The UK version is six minutes longer. Maybe that's how long it takes Mr.

Sullivan to wrangle a tiny peck on the cheek from Lady Withers.

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

> There are two versions of this movie. Fox showed the shorter U.S. version. The UK version is six minutes longer. Maybe that's how long it takes Mr. Sullivan to wrangle a tiny peck on the cheek from Lady Withers.

 

Do you know which version is on the DVD?

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No, I have no idea. I'm sure there's information about that somewhere, maybe at amazon

or other sites that sell DVDs. According to Wiki, Dassin preferred the shorter American

version. Visually, it looked very good on FMC.

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According to this review:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdreviews8/nightandthecity.htm

 

neither the U.S. DVD nor the one released in the U.K. contain the British version of the movie, although the Criterion one apparently has a few clips to compare the two different scores that were used.

 

The review also says the British version is apparently tied up due to some rights issues.

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Rights issues. What a surprise. That's too bad. From what I could glean, the ending

of the British version is more upbeat than the American. I don't know if that means

Widmark lives or not. Have to wait and see.

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"Night and the City" is rightfully regarded as a great film noir, it has all the requisite components (although when we're talking noir, what exactly those components are can be problematic -as the earlier discussions on this thread show), it's got the shadowy city streets, the dark cinematography, the story of a desperate loser/grifter trying to make some crazy scheme work, etc. And it's got the great Richard Widmark at the centre of it all.

 

What it doesn't have is an American setting. And yes, I agree with everyone who has said that there are actually many movies that could be described as film noir that are not American. But for me, the ultimate noirs are American. I just love those rain-soaked American urban streetscapes, even when they're actually studio sets (like in "Scarlet Street".) New York, Chicago, Los Angeles -it doesn't get more noir than that.

 

Having just said that, I'm going to contradict myself by saying that there are some great noir films set in London, England. Besides the one currently under discussion, there's a little-known but very fine 1947 movie called "They Made Me a Fugitive", with Trevor Howard (!) of all people playing a classic noir figure, a man wrongly accused. It's got a fantastic scene near the end, a struggle on top of an undertaker's building. I think TCM screened it a few months ago.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Apr 25, 2010 11:03 PM

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I saw most of NIGHT AND THE CITY, and I was amazed that Tierney had such a small role ( I didn't see the last half-hour). Her career was in high gear around then, so I'm surprised she agreed to do the film......Incidentally, I hope you are all aware that there is a "Fox Legacy" presentation every Sunday at 8 PM in which a classic movie is fully discussed from a film history persspective, and then shown. Last night was ALL ABOUT EVE.

 

Edited by: finance on Apr 26, 2010 3:46 PM

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>>Besides the one currently under discussion, there's a little-known but very fine 1947 movie called "They Made Me a Fugitive", with Trevor Howard (!) of all people playing a classic noir figure, a man wrongly accused.

 

Yes, that is a good one that I saw for the first time when TCM aired it. I just got it in a noir package from Kino that I got at 55% off. The main reason I wanted the package was because it also includes SCARLET STREET of which I've yet to see a decent copy. Getting those two, plus CONTRABAND (Michael Powell), STRANGE IMPERSONATION (early Anthony Mann) and THE HITCH-HIKER for 25 bucks was a no-brainer considering that it was just twice the price of SCARLET STREET alone.

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That's quite a find you have! All of those films you mentioned are pretty rare; I'm not even sure if TCM has ever shown them. "The Hitchhiker" - is that the one directed by Ida Lupino? And the Anthony Mann film you mentioned, "Strange Impersonation" -I'd love to see that, I'm a big fan of Anthony Mann (rhyme unintentional), but I thought he usually made Westerns. The one you've got sounds like a film noir, all right, with a title like that.

 

Finance: if you're planning to watch "All About Eve", you'd better fasten your seatbelt, because it's going to be a bumpy night!" ("All About Eve" is one of my all time favourite movies.)

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Yes, these are all remastered. Kino doesn't put out junk, but they don't throw in as many extras as Criterion. That's OK, usually Criterion is not in my budget.

 

You can find SCARLET STREET and THE HITCH-HIKER on various public domain labels, but the prints tend to be unwatchable. You can even find those two at archive.org and watch them on line.

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The print of *The Hitch-hiker* TCM shows is watchable and one could get a very decent DVD copy from it as well. The entire film fits into an hour and 15 minute block. They last showed it in December or November 2009 in a block of films that also included *The Bigamist* and *D.O.A* (one of my top 10 movies of all time).

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Hey, "D.O.A. is one of my favourites, too. It's such an original concept. And Edmund O'Brien is so good in it. Come to think of it, he's in "The Hitchhiker" too. And "The Bigamist". Hails to Edmond O'Brien.

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I'm Canadian. Some of us still put "u's" in words like "colour" and "favourite". Also sometimes 2 "t';s in words like "cigarette". "Theater" is American, "Theatre" Canadian. But if you check out a Canadian newspaper (or Canadian websites) they usually adhere to U.S. spelling. But I'm pretty old school (or maybe just pretty old!) . A lot of Canadians spell the American way, and aren't even aware of the difference. Also, pronounciation... I say "mum", but I've noticed most Americans (and Canadians) pronounce it "Maawm."

 

As Fred Astaire would say, you say tomaytoe, I say tomahtoe.

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_misswonderly_ wrote: *And the Anthony Mann film you mentioned, "Strange Impersonation" -I'd love to see that, I'm a big fan of Anthony Mann (rhyme unintentional), but I thought he usually made Westerns.*

 

A case could be made that Anthony Mann is the top -- or near the top -- director of film noir.

 

*Strangers in the Night* (1944)

*The Great Flamarion* (1945)

*Strange Impersonation* (1946)

*Desperate* (1947)

*Railroaded* (1947)

*T-Men* (1947) - cinematography by John Alton

*Raw Deal* (1948) - cinematography by John Alton

*He Walked by Night* (1948) (uncredited) - cinematography by John Alton

*Reign of Terror* aka *The Black Book* (1949) - cinematography by John Alton

*Border Incident* (1949) - cinematography by John Alton

*Side Street* (1949)

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"Je suis Canadien". It's just the French way of spelling "Canadian", and the Montreal Canadiens, also known as the "Habs" , are a French -Canadian Montreal based hockey team. (absolutely OT: they've got a shot at the Stanley Cup this year. I'm no jock, but this is big stuff for Canadians. And esp. for Canadiens.)

 

In a feeble attempt to stick to talking about noir, I will venture to say that there's a Hitchcock movie set and filmed in Montreal, starring Montgomery Clift: "I Confess".

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finance, I was going to explain the name "Habs". but I wasn't sure how interesting this would be to other readers of this thread. It's short for "Habitant", which is a kind of (very old, no one uses it anymore except with respect to the hockey team) nickname for Quebecois, those who inhabit the land of Quebec. Originally referred to the French pioneers who settled in Lower Canada (Quebec).

 

chiO: I'm embarrassed at my ignorance about Anthony Mann, a director I've always associated with Westerns (albeit, sort of existentialist Westerns). I've never even heard of some of the ones you listed, except for "He Walked by Night" and "Side Street" (love the overhead shots of the city streets in the latter.) So, he made at least as many film noirs as he did Westerns! I do learn stuff in these TCM forums.

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misswonderly wrote:

"In a feeble attempt to stick to talking about noir, I will venture to say that there's a Hitchcock movie set and filmed in Montreal, starring Montgomery Clift: "I Confess".

 

Another noir, Otto Preminger's "The Thirteenth Letter" (1951), was filmed in a small town Quebe?ois. A remake of the French film, Le Corbeau, it deals with the effects of a bunch of anonymous poison pen letters on the inhabitants of this town. It stars Linda Darnell, Charles Boyer, Michael Rennie, and Constance Smith. Interesting film.

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