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rohanaka

A Walk on the Noir Side

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I am not all that familiar with Gray but if we are referring to the pictures that were posted at SSO of the two stars I don't find the hair all that startling. A tad unusual but it didn't make me go "Hey, look at that hair!" Most 60s hairstyles did.

 

I am the exception, generally, in that I like short hair on ladies.

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You're exceptional in many ways, MovieMan. :)

 

I liked Marilyn Monroe in short hair in the fifties, and I really like the curly, wavy bobs of the early 1930s. But Coleen looked so lovely in NIGHTMARE ALLEY with the long hair, she seemed "shorn" in KCC.

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I kept switching back and forth with Keyes - one minute I liked her performance, and the next I was thinking , aw she is really terrible - and yet, I kept watching to see what she would do.... fascinating like a car wreck. Her ability to make me watch her is what made me finally come down on her side in 99 River Street.

 

I seem to remember starting read her book once, I think she was very candid. I am not sure, but I think I ended up putting it down because she knocked someone I liked. I could probably deal with that better now. :D

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I'm thinking of Coleen in "KISS OF DEATH." Her hair looked great in there. I loved in "LEECH WOMAN."

 

I have recorded "Kansas City Confidential" after "...River Street." I've got to check it out.

 

WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY PRESTON STURGES

 

"No man who employs detectives has ever been disappointed..."

 

I watched "Unfaithfully Yours." Uhmmmm...oooh boy. It was dark, shockingly brutal. The use of language was musical. It felt like I was watching Shakespeare. Rex Harrison did a fantastic job with his bombastic apoplectic arrogant nature...but I did not like him. I thought the "comedy" (and yup, I do put that in quotes) went on too long when he was looking for the record player. But I understood what Sturgess was doing; showing his well-ordered world turn into a catastrophe of his own making. Edgar Kennedy had a wonderful pathos when he was spilled the beans of Linda's supposed infidelity. And there was a jab of classicism in terms of a --foot padded-- flat-foot daring to like classical music. The forays into "how to murder his wife" was interesting and interesting that it made him conduct with gusto and passion, like thinking about someone else when you're with your partner. But check out what he was thinking about...

 

Linda Darnell was a delight. Well, let me put it like this...she really showed another side of her. She was soooooo understanding and sweet to her out-of-his-mind husband, when we know what she's capable of from "A LETTER TO THREE WIVES" "FALLEN ANGEL" "NO WAY OUT" where she was withering. And as soon as he realized his error he was all sweetness and light and loving again. Uhmmmm...oh man. Really? Linda might not know what he was up to...but we sure did.

 

But all in all, I didn't care for the movie. Oh, I didn't mind Sturgess' brutality of the jealous mind. And he is quite a wordsmith. There must have been two billion words on his first page. You can see he was in love with his own words and Rexie was the boy who could deliver 'em. Rex Harrison did a great job...I respect the job he did, but I don't like him. He's always seemed cold to me. (Yeah yeah, Lucia Lucia...and there's no doubt he, like James Mason, has a great voice and he was some sort of gruff romantic sea captain). I think that might've been the key to everything for me. I don't like Rex Harrison and watching all his shenanigans...meh.

 

Well, at least now I can say I have officially watched "UNFAITHFULLY YOURS."

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I wasn't sure you would like it, CinemAva. That's why I mentioned seeing it with an audience, that was what won me over to it. But you sure got a ton more out of it than I did!! i don't even remember Edgar Kennedy at all.

 

Rex turns off A LOT of people, in real life he was even more ascerbic and arrogant, apparently. Yet he's one of the few English actors who I find truly entertaining to watch. Maybe because I like seeing how people react to him.

 

I think why I didn't warm to the film earlier was because I wanted more vim and vinegar from Linda Darnell. However, it would collapse the edifice of paranoia Sturges created if she were to behave differently.

 

I'm glad you gave it a shot.

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To tell the truth that one has always turned me off as well. I should give it another try.... but I really hate Rex in that movie.

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And here it's my favorite Sturges of all! Go figure. I think it captures the male ego, perfectly.

 

But, I will say, I'm a Rex fan. I like his brand of bombastic.

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Ugh. I should have known.

 

What makes you love it so much? Maybe if I can see it through your eyes, I can get beyond my initial "ick" feeling.

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Male jealousy and paranoia can be very dangerous, and Sturges shows us this with a comedic slant. Why is it dangerous? Because of the male ego.

 

I absolutely love the emotion behind a conductor (control) and his paranoid thoughts (no control).

 

The final act is a little off because it turns to slapstick. That changes the tone. While some of it absolutely kills me ("Help! Help!"), some of it is overdone. The first two acts are sensational.

 

You have to remember, I absolutely love the psychology of film, and Unfaithfully Yours is all about the mind. The MALE mind. Sturges externalizes the internal. I love stuff like that.

 

Rex Harrison is a "male" actor while someone like Laurence Olivier is a "female" actor.

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I have to watch myself - I think I'd better watch the movie again first, then comment. I am likely to say something not very nice rather than from a balanced viewpoint. I'm going to give it another try.

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I have to watch myself - I think I'd better watch the movie again first, then comment. I am likely to say something not very nice rather than from a balanced viewpoint. I'm going to give it another try.

 

Oh, goodness. I actually have to see it again, myself. It's been a good two years.

 

I just love watching one's mind. I find it fascinating.

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My mind is much dirtier. :P :p

 

I'm definitely one who lives within his thoughts, which makes me a worrier, so I certainly understand a racing mind.

 

This is me:

 

"They need to be organized in their mind, sometimes all their energy is taken from organizing their mind that they have a difficult time organizing their surroundings. They easily look too deep into an issue and over analyze what they percept. Virgo is ambitious and strives to always know more and have more. This is in their eternal quest to bring order to chaos. Even if order is obtained from an outsiders' point of view, Virgo will not be settled for they have a very active mind that is always thinking and can never be silenced. Virgos want to be of use, they need to be important and essential to everyone in their lives and in everything they do. Virgo's major life lesson is to learn to trust in and have faith in the unknown. They have to understand that things in life happen for a reason that is not always known to them, they do not have to always know everything. They need to learn to calm down and not over-analyze a situation or event. Deep inside, Virgo is very sensitive and they need to be appreciated for all the things they do. When Virgo is offended or hurt, they may never show it."

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You poor thing! That sounds awful.

 

I'm a bit of a sensitive worrier too, but as for an organized mind...well...... THAT it isn't! I'm an Aquarius - If I had to organize my mind, I'd shoot myself.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Jan 17, 2011 3:41 PM

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Hi all,

 

Well this thread sure caught fire today. I have to read through everything but I know Miss G mentioned *99 River Street* and I want to talk a little about that. Also I think I will check out *Unfaithfully Yours* again and see if I like it better than the last time.

 

I shall return!!! :)

 

Seriously. Later tonight.

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> {quote:title=movieman1957 wrote:}{quote}

> You already are supportive. You talk to me. :)

 

Awww! You are fun to talk to.

 

Frank - I once had a friend who liked to knit. I once asked her what she thought about when she was knitting and she said "Nothing." I told her that was impossible, that she must be thinking about something while she worked. She insisted that her mind was a blank when she was occupied with something. That floored me!

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Hola, Spunky -- Frank - I once had a friend who liked to knit. I once asked her what she thought about when she was knitting and she said "Nothing." I told her that was impossible, that she must be thinking about something while she worked. She insisted that her mind was a blank when she was occupied with something. That floored me!

 

:D That would be impossible with me. The only thing that can keep me from my thoughts is talking or doing things with others. If I'm left to myself, I'm off to wander my mind. A shower can be a dangerous trap for me. :D I can talk nights away and dream days away.

 

After reading how both you and CinemAva don't like Unfaithfully Yours, I'm really wanting to watch it again. It's one of my all-time faves (#88 = organized).

 

I'll see if I can check out 99 River Street, too. It was one of the elusive titles I needed from the Quintessential Film Noir list.

 

Hiya, Movieman -- I do sense a lot of "Virgo" with you. Where you and I seem to differ is with overanalysis. You are much more succinct.

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Thanks. I don't think you over-analyze as much as you have more to say.

 

Ladies:

 

I spent the evening with John Payne and "99 River Street." My first thought was I liked Evelyn's hair more than I did her. I thought she was too much too often. Once again, for me, Payne was really good. Tough but still likable he carries the film. He is older and looks a little weathered while still being in good enough shape to carry off the boxer character though he may a be a bit old.

 

A bit of a convoluted plot is set in a pretty seedy part of town with an equally seedy group of people. Payne gets sucked into this and fights, literally and figuratively, out a predicament.

 

One thing that struck me is how sexual parts of the film are. We get a couple of cheesecake shots of Peggy Castle fixing her stockings and getting something off of a shelf. There are also several times when for her and Evelyn there are shots where there chest is prominent in the foreground of the shot with Payne as someone else is the focal point of the shot. Later when Evelyn goes to the bar in Jersey I'd like to think that just because a woman hiked her skirt a little, pulls back her coat and sticks out her chest that some guy wouldn't just lose all reason. Luckily "Rollins," after some more blatant flirtation he refuses more than once.

 

Pretty good drama. I still like "KC Confidential" better but this one has its moments. Some of the plot points were a little hard to connect. More proof that they can make a perfectly fine film in less than 90 minutes.

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First off I haven't seen *Kansas City Confidential* in a few years. It's one of those noirs that I have always considered a "must see".

 

Now about *99 River Street*:

 

*A River of Spoilers Ahead!!!!!*

 

I didn't know what to make of Payne's Ernie Driscoll for a while there. I mean the poor guy had to put up with Pauline's (Peggy Castle) put downs, she was real piece of work, but in noir you got to expect these things. He seemed to really long for something. Was is to earn Pauline's love and respect? Recapture whatever magic was there? I'm not sure, he seems to both hold her in contempt for her materialism but, rather naively, hope of winning her over with flowers. He was willing to make a go of it with the cab. He wanted kids, a son like Junior, and he almost let himself believe it was possible.

 

He was brooding. A defeated boxer, forced out by injury. He also had an unnerving habit of lashing out in anger at the wrong targets. I wasn't sure where all of this was going.

 

_*Miss Goddess writes:*_ *I am less thrilled with Keyes this time around, at least I was until the last scenes. I thought she was corny in the theater until I realized she was putting on an "act". Then I was skeptical that after being so desperate to make it on Broadway she could drop it so quickly to get mixed up with a guy suspected of murdering his wife. :0 Now that reflect back on it, Evelyn played her just kooky enough that she would switch on you like that.*

 

After seeing Keyes in *The Prowler* I was kind of up for her performance here but she threw me a curve at first. "Kooky" is a good description. She's also rather dangerously pushy. Driscoll was telling her to back away, sending every kind of signal to "don't mess with me tonight" and she just wouldn't stop.

 

I found the whole "theater trick" a little hard to believe and when Evelyn's Linda was describing the murder, so melodramatic, eyes shifting furiously, I was like "well she's really chewing up the scenery". What's wrong with her? This had better be a put on! Well it was and shame on those nasty theater people too! Then there was Driscoll's reaction, both before the joke was revealed: "Hey let's go hide the body" and afterward where you knew he was just one crack a way from cleaning up the floor with these people. Which he did.

 

How exactly did Linda expect him to react? She must have known he was volatile, or was she just so completely focused on herself that she didn't care? Again Linda is pushy, dangerously pushy.

 

_*Jackie writes:*_ *I kept switching back and forth with Keyes - one minute I liked her performance, and the next I was thinking , aw she is really terrible - and yet, I kept watching to see what she would do.... fascinating like a car wreck. Her ability to make me watch her is what made me finally come down on her side in 99 River Street.*

 

Fascinating like a car wreck. I like that. Actually I guess some people are really like that too. So Keyes finally won me over, but it was a crazy ride there. I agree she did have the ability to keep you watching. It would be interesting, after some time, to see how this performance plays on a second viewing.

 

Back to Pauline, I was strangely fascinated. Now this was a noir dame. She seemed almost sadistic in pressing poor Ernie's buttons, but then, when caught in the act, she tells Rawlins (Brad Dexter) you don't know what he's like, he'll kill me. She talks of how he broods, lets it build up, and then strikes. It's like she's been down this road before. Yet she takes big chances. She knows it's time to get the heck out of Dodge too.

 

In the first botched jewel exchange, she squirms around. Did she not want to be there, or did she know that they didn't want her there? Either way she goes off on Rawlins about the murder. She didn't play that very cool, I mean there is the proper time to go off about being involved in murder and that wasn't the time for it. In the end all her fear makes her a big liability. She didn't help her case in that regard.

 

So with Pauline's exit and Driscoll and Linda finding her in the cab the movie really starts rolling. This was the big pay off. Now it gets really interesting as the chase is on. This is what put the movie into the "very good" if not "great" category.

 

Here I appreciated Linda's pushy nature and it showed her loyalty as well as her seeking amends. She really cared for Ernie Driscoll. The scene in the apartment between Driscoll and Mickey was just brutal. Payne really knows how to make those fight scenes come alive and I was just waiting for him to get the upper hand. That was a tough brawl!

 

The cab company sticking by one of their own was interesting and well done. Ernie had friends. He wasn't just an ill tempered brooder, he worried me at first because he was quick to take his troubles out on others. A short fuse. However understandable his emotions might be. A boxer might have more control, or maybe not. Loyalty comes up again and it highlights Ernie's redeeming qualities in the eyes of those who really know him.

 

The scene in the bar between Linda and Rawlins was good. She shows her pushy side again, and her kooky side. The actress in Linda comes out and she's playing with fire here. Dexter's Rawlins is definitely a tough customer. (I do think he is really good in this movie) When Linda mentions Pauline, I think she knows she needs to pull out some trick to play for time. It works but now she's in even more danger.

 

The ending, with all the major players coming together on River Street was well done. The whole movie was full of twists and turns leading up to this. The final battle was inevitable but I found it all pretty darn satisfying after all that had come before, the final scene back in the gym was pretty uplifting for a noir but I liked it.

 

So that's my take on *99 River Street*

 

Edited by: molo14 on Jan 18, 2011 1:05 AM

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Chris,

 

I think *Kansas City Confidential* is a better film too. I think it's a true noir classic and Payne is really great in that one. A great "everyman' as someone mentioned before. *99 River Street* started out rough and was a little too quirky perhaps, but I did end up liking it. The last half made up for the first half.

 

Edited by: molo14 on Jan 18, 2011 1:35 AM

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I love your review of 99 River street, Molo! That was perfect, especially your description of Payne and his temperament. Short fuse indeed - and he really makes those fight scenes hurt. You think he can't take any more but then he does, but he also eventually gives as good as he gets. There is something very masochistic about him in this film, that was not present in Kansas City Confidential.

 

This leads me to what you said, movieman - how sexual the movie was... I was actually surprised at the connotations of some of the dialogue, and like I said, the way Payne was beaten around. Very interesting for a 1950 something movie.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Jan 18, 2011 9:15 AM

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