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Noir Alley


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31 minutes ago, Thompson said:

Ain’t no rain in next week’s film.  Spencer Tracy is a fine actor, but one thing he cannot do is wear a hat.

Bad Day at Black Rock is a fine film.   Not really a noir when it comes to visuals but there are a few noir themes,  like the jaded returning from war service-man lacking direction.

Tracy may not be able to wear a hat,  but he can sure throw a one-handed punch! 

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) - IMDb

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It's interesting that Eddie showed a film starring Nina Foch today, because just last night I watched Johnny O'clock  ( I own the DVD on a set), in which Nina plays a small but important part.  So two Nina Foch films in a row.  ( I know a couple of you here have already mentioned Johnny O'Clock.)

I really enjoy My Name is Julia Ross, partly because I like all the main players in it,  plus that creepy mansion on the edge of a precipice. But mainly I always like a story in which someone is being held against their will and is trying to escape.  Not prison movies, that's a whole genre on its own, I'm talking about movies where the protagonist  ( usually a woman) is being held captive ( usually by a man) and no matter how hard she tries, it looks like she won't be able to get away.  There's something so claustrophobic and suspenseful about this type of scenario.

I notice in this kind of story, the person holding the woman captive tells everyone that she is "unwell"  (' 40s and '50s code word for "insane"), so when the desperate young woman finally manages to escape and finds an outsider and tells them her situation, the outsider doesn't believe her.  "Poor lady, she's nutso.  I'll take her back home where she can have a nice glass of warm milk".   Possibly poisoned or laced with sedatives, but the outsider doesn't know that.  Definitely some similarities to Gaslight come to mind.  Not exactly the same story, but the "don't believe her, my poor wife is mad" theme is present.

Who doesn't love George Macready? And here he's so perfect as the barely-keeping-a-lid-on-it psycho, only slightly controlled by his mother.  (Ah yes, the crazy guy with the dominant mother thing...)   No disrespect to George or the film itself,  but I did have to laugh when he sticks his knife into the sofa and starts stabbing it, puffs of sofa stuffing flying out all over the place.  Such a classic movie psycho moment !

My only complaint is, they wrapped it up way too quickly.  It's like a deus ex machina, suddenly there's the London boyfriend to the rescue, complete with police men and gun.  I would have liked a scene or two, even if only 15 minutes or so, where we see Dennis  ( the London boyfriend) reading the note  ( which the landlady seems exceptionally anxious to get back for him), grasping the situation, and contacting the police in Cornwall. Maybe a dramatic car sequence in which he sees Julia running along the road, she gasps out her perilous situation to him, and they plan the set-up to catch Macready.

I mean, that's basically what happens, but that part's all off-screen. I feel kind of cheated, I would have liked to have seen some of that.

I did like that cat, a pretty black kitty. It was thanks to the cat that she found the secret passageway, I think kitty deserved a bit of herring or something.

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On 5/20/2022 at 6:08 PM, Fading Fast said:

I enjoyed this one, too, saw it for the first (and only for me) time a couple of years ago. But it was seeing  "Executive Suite," many years before that, that called Nina Foch to my attention. 

No such thing as the first and only.  If it is the only time, it is naturally the first time as well.

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First time for My Name is Julia Ross and very interesting throughout, although I did began to anticipate events near the end.  After all, Nina had to survive.

I first became well acquainted with Nina Foch in the Route 66 DVD set I bought several years ago, although I had seen her before.  She was in the final, series ending, double episodes.  Ends up marrying Chill Wills.  If you can picture that.

As for John Macready, another of those you know the face actors.  I looked it up and he was in four Perry Mason episodes.  Eddie was right, he looks and sounds sinister.

Bad Day at Black Rock is an excellent movie, but here again sort of stretches what is Noir.  Have it on DVD so may or may not watch it to get Eddies take.  May record intro and outro if possible.  Semi-spoiler:  At the end Tracy gets on the same train heading in the same direction as the one upon which he arrived.  If returning to where he came from, he is on the wrong train.

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12 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

My only complaint is, they wrapped it up way too quickly.  It's like a deus ex machina, suddenly there's the London boyfriend to the rescue, complete with police men and gun.  I would have like a scene or two, even if only 15 minutes or so, where we see Dennis  ( the London boyfriend) reading the note  ( which the landlady seems exceptionally anxious to get back for him), grasping the situation, and contacting the police in Cornwall. Maybe a dramatic car sequence in which he sees Julia running along the road, she gasps out her perilous situation to him, and they plan the set-up to catch Macready.

I mean, that's basically what happens, but that part's all off-screen. I feel kind of cheated, I would have liked to have seen some of that.

 

I can see your point, but then that would have taken away some of the suspense.  If we knew he got the note and was contacting the police, could assume at that point that she was saved from Macready and Dame Whitty.

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2 minutes ago, ElCid said:

I can see your point, but then that would have taken away some of the suspense.  If we knew he got the note and was contacting the police, could assume at that point that she was saved from Macready and Dame Whitty.

Yes, but we know she's going to be saved, and it would have been fun to see how it's orchestrated.  Also, that part ( where Dennis reads her note) would have occurred fairly near the end, so it's not like we would have known throughout most of the film that he would be rescuing her. 

Well, actually we do know that, or least, we can figure that's what's going to happen. But I would have appreciated seeing just how it happens.

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I wonder how Eddie feels about Ben introducing the TCM premiere of The Argyle Secrets (1948) on Saturday evening?  I notice this version had been restored with funding provided by the Film Noir Foundation.  Together with The Underworld Story (1950) and Hell Drivers (1957), the evening of Cy Endfield films fit in nicely with Noir Alley afterwards.

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2 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Yes, but we know she's going to be saved, and it would have been fun to see how it's orchestrated.  Also, that part ( where Dennis reads her note) would have occurred fairly near the end, so it's not like we would have known throughout most of the film that he would be rescuing her. 

Well, actually we do know that, or least, we can figure that's what's going to happen. But I would have appreciated seeing just how it happens.

Yea,  the director missed an opportunity for an end-action scene;  George goes down to ensure Nina is dead and just finds the dress.     He then goes bat-crazy,  pulls out his knife and comes looking for her.   He see her and goes after her and right when he gets near her the police shoot him down.      This way we would get to see George as his sinister-manic self,  which was his specialty.       (e.g.  Saw him last week on GunSmoke and that episode ended with George doing something like I propose above.   If the producer is  going to have Macready as the guest star,  they might as well utilized this talent of his!).

 

  

 

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Gee  willikers. Kindly, sweet old Dame May Whitty  a coldblooded murderess? Yikes. At least she's a lot more focused  in this one than

she was as the fidgety, flighty oldster in Night Must Fall. Now  you expect Georgie to be a bad  guy. He looks a bit younger in this  one than in

some of  his other roles. And the psycho routine sometimes gets  a bit tiresome. I doubt mama appreciated  him tearing  the stuffings  out

of  her  sofa.  I saw  this one some years  ago, probably on YT. I had  forgotten the exact reason  behind their dastardly plan, though  I recall

it had something to  do with money. I  got  a kick out  of  how all the local yokels go  along  with Whitty. They probably didn't want the old

bag  to donate less  to the yearly church fair so they kept mum. An entertaining little mystery movie though it doesn't really go anywhere

and there is a bit of the  I've seen this before  feeling--Jane Eyre, And  Then There Were none, et al. 

 

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5 hours ago, ElCid said:

Bad Day at Black Rock is an excellent movie, but here again sort of stretches what is Noir.  Have it on DVD so may or may not watch it to get Eddies take.  May record intro and outro if possible.  Semi-spoiler:  At the end Tracy gets on the same train heading in the same direction as the one upon which he arrived.  If returning to where he came from, he is on the wrong train.

Film Soleil Noir, those sun baked, filled with light, desert/tropical Noir/Neo Noirs. 
 

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JULIE ANDREWS talked about the use of "fake rain" on THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY because real rain generally does not fall hard enough to show up on camera.  So "extra rain", courtesy of Hollywood, is added! 

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Prince did Purple Rain, and he also made pancakes for all the basketball players in his skit with Dave  Chapelle, which I thought was a nice thing to do, he could have been all stuck up and said you rebound your own shots, but no he made pancakes for all the boys instead.

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15 hours ago, JamesJazGuitar said:

 

Ruined a perfectly good screen door. Walter Sande shows up in the craziest places. 

Thanks for the clip, JJG. I've never seen this film before. I look forward to it. 

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Unfortunately Bad Day at Black Rock is another film that TCM is not showing in Canada.  I can imagine how disappointing this must be.  I suppose it might not be so bad if there was another channel in Canada that was regularly showing these films, but I get the impression that the rights are reserved without being actively used much and there is no easy way to see the films in Canada short of renting/purchasing them individually.

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23 hours ago, ElCid said:

First time for My Name is Julia Ross and very interesting throughout, although I did began to anticipate events near the end.  After all, Nina had to survive.

I first became well acquainted with Nina Foch in the Route 66 DVD set I bought several years ago, although I had seen her before.  She was in the final, series ending, double episodes.  Ends up marrying Chill Wills.  If you can picture that.

As for John Macready, another of those you know the face actors.  I looked it up and he was in four Perry Mason episodes.  Eddie was right, he looks and sounds sinister.

Bad Day at Black Rock is an excellent movie, but here again sort of stretches what is Noir.  Have it on DVD so may or may not watch it to get Eddies take.  May record intro and outro if possible.  Semi-spoiler:  At the end Tracy gets on the same train heading in the same direction as the one upon which he arrived.  If returning to where he came from, he is on the wrong train.

 

23 hours ago, ElCid said:

First time for My Name is Julia Ross and very interesting throughout, although I did began to anticipate events near the end.  After all, Nina had to survive.

I first became well acquainted with Nina Foch in the Route 66 DVD set I bought several years ago, although I had seen her before.  She was in the final, series ending, double episodes.  Ends up marrying Chill Wills.  If you can picture that.

As for John Macready, another of those you know the face actors.  I looked it up and he was in four Perry Mason episodes.  Eddie was right, he looks and sounds sinister.

Bad Day at Black Rock is an excellent movie, but here again sort of stretches what is Noir.  Have it on DVD so may or may not watch it to get Eddies take.  May record intro and outro if possible.  Semi-spoiler:  At the end Tracy gets on the same train heading in the same direction as the one upon which he arrived.  If returning to where he came from, he is on the wrong train.

Macready had a continuing role on the Peyton Place 60s series for about a year or so. (Playing a bad type, of course).

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I'd seen Ross before. It's ok. A little too short and derivative. (Particularly the ending is rushed) I think it could have been expanded without seeming padded. Foch looked much better as a blonde.

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20 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Film Soleil Noir, those sun baked, filled with light, desert/tropical Noir/Neo Noirs. 
 

Yeah,  I hardly ever like them as much.  I'm not arguing that "sun baked"  noirs aren't true noirs,  I can agree that they can be noirs,  one of the many sub-genres  ( if you will) of noir.  

I just so much prefer urban streets and rain.  Fact is, I am not a "sun" person at all,  and those blastingly sunny films make me feel vaguely depressed.  The sun always looks so hot and relentless in them  ( maybe that's the point.)  There's a certain kind of sunny day - this applies as much to real life as to movies -  that is what I call "harsh".  The sun bakes glaringly down on everything, no kind sheltering clouds to help block its relentless rays.

This is actually one reason ( but only one of many) why I love "classic" era film noirs-  the dark streets and the rain.

In fact,  the sun-baked setting is partly why I don't much enjoy Bad Day at Black Rock.  It's an excellent  film, and I concede it is a noir - just not my kind of noir.  I always like Robert Ryan.  And Lee Marvin's kind of fun  -- good thing there's no coffee sitting around in this one.  But Spencer Tracy, excellent and revered actor though he is,  is never a favourite of mine.  He always seems to look so pleased with himself,  and BDABR is no exception. (Of course, who wouldn't be pleased with themselves if they could take on aggressive thugs and win with one arm?)

Anyway,  the whole film looks too hot and dry to me.  I'm not a fan of deserts. 

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19 hours ago, Mr. Gorman said:

JULIE ANDREWS talked about the use of "fake rain" on THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY because real rain generally does not fall hard enough to show up on camera.  So "extra rain", courtesy of Hollywood, is added! 

Right, as I said in a post a page or two back.  Hollywood was good at coming up with fake rain when needed, which it pretty much always was in a scene that demanded rain.

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4 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

Unfortunately Bad Day at Black Rock is another film that TCM is not showing in Canada.  I can imagine how disappointing this must be.  I suppose it might not be so bad if there was another channel in Canada that was regularly showing these films, but I get the impression that the rights are reserved without being actively used much and there is no easy way to see the films in Canada short of renting/purchasing them individually.

Well, for once I'm not heart-broken, since as I stated above,  I don't love Bad Day at Black Rock  anyway.  Also,  I've seen it, at least twice.

However, your point is taken.  There are probably Canadian TCM viewers who are frustrated and disappointed that they'll be missing it. And the ridiculous thing is,  I know for a fact that Bad Day at Black Rock  has  been aired on TCM  and shown in Canada.  It's partly the apparent randomness, the inconsistency of the "rights" thing, that is so annoying.  It changes from year to year, it's totally unpredictable.

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

I'd seen Ross before. It's ok. A little soo short and derivative. (Particularly the ending is rushed) I think it could have been expanded without seeming padded. Foch looked much better as a blonde.

Agree 100 percent,  Hibi,  the ending was so rushed and wrapped up way too quickly.  There are no scenes at all that show the London boyfriend figuring out what happened  ( whether by the note Julia sent,  or some other way) and taking action.  It's as though Joseph Lewis et all just suddenly got sick of making the movie-  "Ok, we're done here, let's wrap it up, folks."

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17 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I just so much prefer urban streets and rain.  Fact is, I am not a "sun" person at all,  and those blastingly sunny films make me feel vaguely depressed.  The sun always looks so hot and relentless in them  ( maybe that's the point.)  There's a certain kind of sunny day - this applies as much to real life as to movies -  that is what I call "harsh".  The sun bakes glaringly down on everything, no kind sheltering clouds to help block its relentless rays.

This is actually one reason ( but only one of many) why I love "classic" era film noirs-  the dark streets and the rain.

And don't forget here MissW, this would also be one of the reasons you prefer living in Toronto, Canada.

(...and why you aren't one of those many Canadian "snowbirds" who winter down here in Arizona every year, either)  ;) 

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9 minutes ago, Dargo said:

And don't forget here MissW, this would also be one of the reasons you prefer living in Toronto, Canada.

(...and why you aren't one of those many Canadian "snowbirds" who winter down here in Arizona every year, either)  ;) 

Dargs,  I know you live in the desert, and I know that in its own way it's beautiful.  I actually thought of you when I wrote "I don't like deserts" and was going to add,  "No offence to Dargo."   😎

(Note that this emoji features the sun itself wearing sunglasses,  which is a little puzzling, but oh well.)

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I agree with MissW about Bad Day.  Seen it twice and it didn’t grab me, However, seeing as I’m a neophyte at most everything I’ll watch it again without prejudice.  Tracy’s girlfriend isn’t in it thank goodness.  She never shuts up and is not in the least bit funny, but she’s not in this one so that’s good.  

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26 minutes ago, Thompson said:

I agree with MissW about Bad Day.  Seen it twice and it didn’t grab me, However, seeing as I’m a neophyte at most everything I’ll watch it again without prejudice.  Tracy’s girlfriend isn’t in it thank goodness.  She never shuts up and is not in the least bit funny, but she’s not in this one so that’s good.  

Nope, as we know, a young nubile Anne Francis is the lone feminine presence in this one...

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(...and for the record here...I think John Sturges' direction of this film and how he managed to convey the desolation of the low deserts of the American Southwest, is as much a potent character in this film as is any of the actors in it, and just as much so as any large American city's rain-soaked streets would be that are shown in any noir one could name...remember, Sturges garnered a Best Director Oscar nomination for his work in this film for a very good reason)

 

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