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I thought I had already created a thread about this, but I guess I didn't.

There are some excellent examples of British noir online.

Perhaps if I mention titles as I come across them, some of you will watch and comment on them with me?

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Currently DOUBLE CONFESSION (1950) has been uploaded on YouTube.

Watch it while you can. It's an excellent British noir featuring Peter Lorre, directed by Ken Annakin.

It was thought to be a lost film for decades and only recently was rediscovered and restored. The print on YT is in a most excellent condition.

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11 minutes ago, Cigarjoe cellph said:

There are at least 134 and probably more Brit Noir between 1938 and the early 60s

Thanks. Is there a list you found?

Just like American noir, some British noir is a hybrid-- where it may have elements of hardboiled detective fiction, elements of mystery and police procedural and elements of romance or satire. There is probably no such thing as "total noir."

I watched THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934) yesterday and I think it's better than the 1956 remake that Hitchcock did. Peter Lorre is just perfect in his supporting role as one of the terrorists and Edna Best conveys the anguished mother routine ten times better than Doris Day. The scene near the end where Edna Best grabs the rifle and shoots the man on the rooftop is spectacular. She commits murder with such dignity and class, you'd think she was at a tea party, getting rid of a pesky fly!

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2 hours ago, Cigarjoe cellph said:

British noir classics – Movies List on MUBI

Thanks. Before seeing this, I had compiled my top 10 which I will post below.

I'm a bit surprised they rated THE LONG MEMORY as #69. It's definitely much higher on my list!

This is what I'd recommend:

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1. THE OCTOBER MAN (1947) with John Mills. Mills is a war veteran experiencing PTSD and is accused of murder. It reminds me of THE BLUE DAHLIA but the script is more balanced, very literate and the performances are all superb. A fine supporting cast for sure! It's currently on YouTube.

2. THE CLOUDED YELLOW (1950) is a stylish thriller with excellent production values. It features Trevor Howard and Jean Simmons just before she became a Hollywood star. Very Hitchcockian, especially the nail-biting final sequence. It is also on YT right now.

3. VENETIAN BIRD (1952) with Richard Todd. Todd plays a British investigator who goes to Italy to look into a crime. There is a mystery involving a missing man who was a war veteran. It has shades of THE THIRD MAN, yes, but it's still done in a fairly original way. Todd is perfect as the detective who keeps hounding suspects, like Peter Falk's Columbo. The end features an exciting chase involving Todd and the main bad guy on a rooftop in Venice. Much of it was done on location so even when the action slows in spots, the cinematography is still enjoyable. 

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4. SAPPHIRE (1959) with Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig. A police procedural with a heart. The crimes are connected to racism and other societal prejudices. Very thought-provoking, with excellent performances across the board. Filmed in color and currently on YouTube.

5. HUNTED (1952) is a noir that involves a child as a lead character, which makes it more original than most offerings. If you like THE FALLEN IDOL (1948) and THE WINDOW (1949) you will certainly enjoy this one. Dirk Bogarde plays a criminal on the lam who gets mixed up with a young boy (Jon Whiteley) who has run away from home. Of course Bogarde's character ends up developing a conscience and doing what's right by the boy, ahead of his own desire to escape justice. Very sincere performances and some nice on-location photography.

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6. TIGER BAY (1959) is another one with a kid in a main role. This time the kid is played by Hayley Mills in her first significant screen performance. Her character witnesses a murder but is fond of the murderer (Horst Buchholz). Yes, it's that kind of story! Hayley's real-life dad John Mills plays the lead inspector. Like Bogarde's character in HUNTED, Buchholz has to do what is right by the child, ahead of his own self-serving interests. On YouTube.

7. THE LONG MEMORY (1953) also with John Mills. This time Mills is an amnesiac trying to piece together what happened to him when a crime occurred. It is a very atmospheric crime drama, with intense psychological moments. If you like THE OCTOBER MAN, chances are you will like this one very much too. Mills was right at home in this particular genre. On YouTube.

8. THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934) was discussed earlier in the thread. It's currently on YouTube.

9. THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY (1949) starring Richard Todd and Valerie Hobson. Todd is a married man who meets a sexy femme fatale on a train and becomes implicated in her death. There's a twist ending. This fine British noir feels more American in its design than other U.K. offerings. I'm surprised it was not remade by a Hollywood studio with U.S. actors. The cinematography is very good, especially the night scenes on the train at the beginning of the movie.

10. THE UPTURNED GLASS (1947) has James Mason and his real-life wife Pamela Kellino in the lead roles. Mason murders nagging Kellino in a shocking scene midway through the picture and it becomes a matter of him covering up the deed. He's a refined, highly respected doctor that nobody would ever suspect of having a dark side. It's mostly routine stuff as far as these things go. But Mason plays it so smooth that you do start to wonder if he'll ever be caught. It's currently on YouTube.

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26 minutes ago, Cigarjoe cellph said:

They are just numerically numbered, not ranked

But why that numerical order? It probably would have been more logical if they were listed alphabetically on the MUBI page.

Anyway that's a relatively minor quibble. At least their list is a good resource, suggesting noir titles that readers may not be familiar with already.

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3 minutes ago, Cigarjoe cellph said:

number one was 1938 the last one 1960 something, numerically by earliest to lastest

Oh, I get it now. Thanks for illuminating that!

As I said, they've provided a good list, a good starting point for fans of the genre.

Sometimes these British productions feature Hollywood actors...and of course some of these British actors (people like Jean Simmons and James Mason) did become Hollywood mainstays later in their careers.

But even something like SAPPHIRE which is about as British as it gets, is worth seeing since it offers insights into complex human problems that people in every country probably experience.

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6 hours ago, TopBilled said:

But even something like SAPPHIRE which is about as British as it gets, is worth seeing since it offers insights into complex human problems that people in every country probably experience.

Well done story about race relations in the UK, just a different type of Dutch angle a cultural Dutch angle. Another one to check out is Pool of London with Earl Cameron again.

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These have been added recently on YouTube:

DEAR MURDERER (1947) with Eric Portman & Maxwell Reed
ESCAPE ROUTE (1952) with George Raft & Sally Gray
COSH BOY (1953) with a gorgeous young Joan Collins

FORBIDDEN CARGO (1954) with Nigel Patrick & Terence Morgan
PICCADILLY THIRD STOP (1960) with Terence Morgan & John Crawford 

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Added this weekend on YouTube:

VIOLENT PLAYGROUND (1958) with Stanley Baker & Anne Heywood
TOMORROW AT TEN (1963) with John Gregson & Robert Shaw

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I watched TOMORROW AT TEN yesterday. Loved it. I'm a Robert Shaw fan and easy to please when it comes to anything he does. It was voted one of Britain's best B films made in the period from 1945 to 1970. Script is excellent, there are some very suspenseful moments. Gregson has the overworked and under-appreciated copper down to a tee, and Shaw is quite menacing as a kidnapper. They cast a very angelic looking boy to play the kidnapped tyke. He gets locked up, left alone in an abandoned home to fend for himself. The boy could die if he's not rescued before a bomb goes off. Most films of this type would make the rich kid a spoiled brat, but this film does not play into such tropes. Also there is a decent subplot involving a police chief who is more concerned with his high society friends instead of focusing on his job and the working class men who are employed in the department.

Anyway, I highly recommend TOMORROW AT TEN.

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I haven't seen 

THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY  or  THE UPTURNED GLASS (1947) on your list, I've been working on watching Edna Sweetlove's list I started with the first two from  the late 1930s  surprised that James Mason was in one so early, I haven't checked but going by that Mason may be up there in being in the most Noir if you count Brit and American from 1939 I MET A MURDERER  to CRY TERROR 1959

He made 7 Noir before coming to Hollywood. Then I think 3 American with another Brit Noir in between.

 

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

I haven't seen 

THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY  or  THE UPTURNED GLASS (1947) on your list, I've been working on watching Edna Sweetlove's list I started with the first two from  the late 1930s  surprised that James Mason was in one so early, I haven't checked but going by that Mason may be up there in being in the most Noir if you count Brit and American from 1939 I MET A MURDERER  to CRY TERROR 1959

He made 7 Noir before coming to Hollywood. Then I think 3 American with another Brit Noir in between.

Mason excelled in this particular genre. Last night I watched ODD MAN OUT (1947). It had been a few years since I'd seen it. I think Reed drags the story out way too much. Scene after scene of walking through the snow, Mason's character heading from place to another in open view without police or other folks seeing him. But Mason's acting pulls the viewer into the despair the character is feeling as he dies, so much so that one can overlook the hokeyness of his prolonged suffering.

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I think it was timed to the music piece.

Are you saying they couldn't have edited the music?

When I watched it, that last 30 minute sequence, it felt rather stagey despite the snow and outdoor filming. It was like having him traipse down street after street the same way an actor would have just walked back and forth on a stage to simulate his impending doom before the final curtain. I just found it very theatrical and belabored. (Not Mason's acting but Reed's direction.)

I thought the best part was when the woman secretly called the cops on the accomplices then quickly hurried them out the door, so they would get gunned down by the cops. That sequence was not dragged out and felt like it played in 'real time.' If only Mason's character had been given an equally swift resolution.

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5 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Are you saying they couldn't have edited the music?

When I watched it, that last 30 minute sequence, it felt rather stagey despite the snow and outdoor filming. It was like having him traipse down street after street the same way an actor would have just walked back and forth on a stage to simulate his impending doom before the final curtain. I just found it very theatrical and belabored. (Not Mason's acting but Reed's direction.)

I thought the best part was when the woman secretly called the cops on the accomplices then quickly hurried them out the door, so they would get gunned down by the cops. That sequence was not dragged out and felt like it played in 'real time.' If only Mason's character had been given an equally swift resolution.

I agree with you about the dragged out sequence.    It appears Reed did also;   2 years later in the ending of The Third Man,   Welles is trapped in a sewer but instead of long sequences,  there are quick cuts  and edits,  and the trapped man meets his fate in a tightly directed scene.  

 

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1 minute ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I agree with you about the dragged out sequence.    It appears Reed did also;   2 years later in the ending of The Third Man,   Welles is trapped in a sewer but instead of long sequences,  there are quick cuts  and edits,  and the trapped man meets his fate in a tightly directed scene.  

Yes, action sequences need faster cutting.

Personally I think action sequences work best when there is more than once situation playing out at the same time and the director/editor cuts back and forth between the various set-ups, escalating it to a dramatic crescendo.

As cheesy as those Irwin Allen disaster movies were in the 1970s, they got this aspect right...and most of those movies have very exciting finales.

When I watched the end of ODD MAN OUT, honestly I kept thinking to myself "when is this going to end, I need to go to the bathroom!" I just felt like the resolution was being unnecessarily delayed.

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8 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

When I watched the end of ODD MAN OUT, honestly I kept thinking to myself "when is this going to end, I need to go to the bathroom!" I just felt like the resolution was being unnecessarily delayed.

Of course film is a highly visual media and therefor we both understand the need to set a mood.   To create an atmosphere.    In this regard I understand why the scene was set up the way it was,  but once that atmosphere is established,  and milked just to the right degree,   it loses its values if it continues on and on.

 

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4 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Of course film is a highly visual media and therefor we both understand the need to set a mood.   To create an atmosphere.    In this regard I understand why the scene was set up the way it was,  but once that atmosphere is established,  and milked just to the right degree,   it loses its values if it continues on and on.

Exactly.

I also think the earthquake sequence in SAN FRANCISCO (1936) drags on too long. It would have been better, more realistic, if they had cut it by half...then kept the tension going by showing sporadic aftershocks.

Sometimes these filmmakers get a little too fancy and as you say "milk it" too much.

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9 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Are you saying they couldn't have edited the music?

I saying it may have been the intent of the director. I liked the piece of music and the snowfall so it didn't bother me. Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone shot a lot of scenes to fit the music pieces, a good example is Ecstasy of Gold. 

 

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Oh I am sure it was the intent of the director (Reed)...but I think he could have chosen a shorter piece of music. The ending, as "artistic" as it may be, still drags on too long in my opinion. Stalling Mason's death undermines what came before. It's a fine movie except for that tedious ending.

***

On another note, has anyone had a chance to look at TOMORROW AT TEN..? I absolutely fell in love with this British B-movie. I raved about it to Jlewis and we're going to include it in our Essentials thread in April as part of a theme called "A child in danger."

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