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Noir Alley


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9 hours ago, Thompson said:

That is the biggest bunch of corn I’ve ever heard and I’m not falling for any of  it.  “Film noir isn’t reality?”   How can you say that?  What is it then?  It ain’t no fantasy , just take a look around.

Film noir is fantasy escape set in worlds of street and back alley darkness done in a stylized manner that makes them appealing. You think those babe magnet hard boiled detectives with the fast patter we watch, like Powell or Bogart as Marlowe, are the REAL THING? You think there are tough, beautiful noir dames like Jane Greer with guns hiding in the shadows of the real world? Okay, I suppose there are a few but the stylized presentation itself is what draws us to these films.

To me, they're still, essentially, movie fantasies. They just have a surface appearance of reality, as opposed to the more overt movie efforts at escapism with swashbucklers, Jedi warriors or people taking trips to the land of Oz.

My original point was that you criticized the dialogue of I Love Trouble for being "unrealistic" because ordinary people don't talk that way. And my answer then, as now, is that smart patter "unrealistic" dialogue is part of the reason people tune in, hoping to hear it precisely because it's fun and, yes, because people don't talk that way. We only wish they did. But that fits right in with the genre of film noirs, which only have a surface reflection of reality but are, in fact, stylized fantasy escapes. That's why fans like them.

I'm talking primarily about the noirs of the '40s and '50s. Perhaps some later neo noirs, many of which I haven't seen, are closer to a hard edged reality. But those early noirs of the '40s only seemed more realistic compared to the other films made at that time. That doesn't mean the films themselves are still not escapism. This is not a criticism of them, by the way, because films like Murder My Sweet or The Big Sleep (which many call noir light) or Double Indemnity are among my favourites.

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When Eddie came on and said that the main guy was Stuart Bailey, I kept thinking that the name sounded familiar and when he mentioned 77 Sunset Strip, you could have knocked me down with an anchovy. I love that show. MeTV ran it weekday mornings at four o'clock. Ooo! I hated that time, but I would get up to watch. I really love that show and miss it.  

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

Film noir is fantasy escape set in worlds of street and back alley darkness done in a stylized manner that makes them appealing. You think those babe magnet hard boiled detectives with the fast patter we watch, like Powell or Bogart as Marlowe, are the REAL THING? You think there are tough, beautiful noir dames like Jane Greer with guns hiding in the shadows of the real world? Okay, I suppose there are a few but the stylized presentation itself is what draws us to these films.

To me, they're still, essentially, movie fantasies. They just have a surface appearance of reality, as opposed to the more overt movie efforts at escapism with swashbucklers, Jedi warriors or people taking trips to the land of Oz.

My original point was that you criticized the dialogue of I Love Trouble for being "unrealistic" because ordinary people don't talk that way. And my answer then, as now, is that smart patter "unrealistic" dialogue is part of the reason people tune in, hoping to hear it precisely because it's fun and, yes, because people don't talk that way. We only wish they did. But that fits right in with the genre of film noirs, which only have a surface reflection of reality but are, in fact, stylized fantasy escapes. That's why fans like them.

I'm talking primarily about the noirs of the '40s and '50s. Perhaps some later neo noirs, many of which I haven't seen, are closer to a hard edged reality. But those early noirs of the '40s only seemed more realistic compared to the other films made at that time. That doesn't mean the films themselves are still not escapism. This is not a criticism of them, by the way, because films like Murder My Sweet or The Big Sleep (which many call noir light) or Double Indemnity are among my favourites.

All movies and TV shows are unrealistic - that's why we enjoy them.

 

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19 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

 

The plot was impossible to follow.  In fact,  I can't decide if there was too much plot,  or no attempt to have a cohesive plot at all.

Now, this is nothing unusual for noir.  Two of the greatest noirs ever made have incomprehensible plots  ( The Big Sleep  and Out of the Past, although some might argue the latter does have a logical narrative,  just one that's complicated and  a bit hard to follow for neophyte viewers...)  In fact, overly complex plots are kind of a feature of many noirs.

But I Love Trouble went way beyond the pale with its baffling, abstruse story.  I figure even the original writer wouldn't be able to explain it. So after  while I gave up trying to figure it out, and just enjoyed the performances and settings ( which were gratifyingly noir-ish.)

The best moment in the movie was Tone talking to the counter waitress Fannie at 1 hr 3 minutes in. She was a highlight.  I loved her voice. According to IMBD, her name was Roseanne Murray. The plot...forget it.  

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20 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

 

The plot was impossible to follow.  In fact,  I can't decide if there was too much plot,  or no attempt to have a cohesive plot at all.

Now, this is nothing unusual for noir.  Two of the greatest noirs ever made have incomprehensible plots  ( The Big Sleep  and Out of the Past, although some might argue the latter does have a logical narrative,  just one that's complicated and  a bit hard to follow for neophyte viewers...)  In fact, overly complex plots are kind of a feature of many noirs.

But I Love Trouble went way beyond the pale with its baffling, abstruse story.  I figure even the original writer wouldn't be able to explain it. So after  while I gave up trying to figure it out, and just enjoyed the performances and settings ( which were gratifyingly noir-ish.)

Agree. The plot is hard to follow and doesn't make a lot of sense. But, as you say, it's an enjoyable ride! I'd seen this the first time Eddie showed it, but forgot a lot of the plot details (just as well!) Tone does get beat up a lot. Even for a private eye!

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3 hours ago, jameselliot said:

The best moment in the movie was Tone talking to the counter waitress Fannie at 1 hr 3 minutes in. She was a highlight.  I loved her voice. According to IMBD, her name was Roseanne Murray. The plot...forget it.  

And, which was something in this movie that added to my confusion about the plot of this thing.

Ya see, I thought/think that actresss Roseanne Murray looked so much like actress Janis Carter here...(click on the following YouTube link, as it's set to begin when Miss Murray is on screen)...

...that for a second  I thought the movie might have been suggesting Carter's character was supposed to be using a third alias character in it who was affecting a Brooklyn accent, and couldn't understand why Tone didn't immediate see or recognize this.

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Very good points, Tom, and I agree to an extent.  But I’m reminded of a philosophy course back in college where we studied Myth and Reality by Mircea Eliade.  The bottom line for Eliade is that myth is what’s most real.  And then you throw in Jung’s archetypes and  transcendental unity of apperception . . . and you know what I  come up with?  The Asphalt Jungle.  Archetypes galore.  And I disagree with Eddy about film noir being “suffering with Style,” because fashion to me means nothing.  Now, you take ol’ Sterling there at the end, his shirttail out, racing for the horses, hobbling towards the horses — that’s my idea of suffering with style.

 

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18 hours ago, Thompson said:

That is the biggest bunch of corn I’ve ever heard and I’m not falling for any of  it.  “Film noir isn’t reality?”   How can you say that?  What is it then?  It ain’t no fantasy , just take a look around.

I wonder if another word can be used. In a way genre pieces can be thought of as a sort of 'fantasy" whether it be a James Bond Thriller, Science Fiction, or even a screwball comedy. Each genre has its own conventions and quite often does not include any hard marriage with what he might call the verisimilitude of real life. A lot of it is still there or we would have no bearings at all but hopefully the deviations will be handled by a healthy suspension of disbelief or a trade off for something worth it.  The quips in ILT are arbitrary and unrealistic but are well within the general idea of quips as noir conventions and the excesses of which in this case are immensely entertaining, verisimilitude be damned.  At no time during the phrase, "...after one drink my voice goes high," which is almost nearly inane but I'm sure oft laughed at, would be referred to as a  W T F moment. Just at this minute recalling Eddie's statement referring to the movie as part "screwball comedy."

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3 hours ago, Dargo said:

Ya see, I thought/think that actresss Roseanne Murray looked so much like actress Janis Carter here

Note so sure about that but one can't really tell in a waitress uniform.   Either way,  Carter was much more alluring  as a blonde.   Janis lacked her typical sassiness until that last scene with her sister.

 Janis Carter - YouTube

 

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58 minutes ago, jameselliot said:

Noir or not noir? or "noirish" horror?" Noirish" melodrama? Great cast and nicely shot. I didn't think it was a noir when I saw it.

With regards to The Red House;  I'm surprised Muller is showing this film on Noir Alley,   but I'm not complaining.     At least he isn't showing a film that TCM has shown many times or one that has already been featured on Noir Alley.   

 

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However, I’ve seen all the episodes of The Prisoner, so right off I can say, “I am not a number, I am a free man.”  You can  call me number 6 if you want, but that doesn’t mean I have to call you number 2.

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I often think of noir as the flip side of those MGM technicolor happy ending musicals.  They're both  fantasies,  one of  a positive type,

the other  of  a negative one.  I  would say that noir is a bit more  realistic and  to me more entertaining.  As for stylish  fashion, the

people in noirs  don't  seem  to dress  any better than the people in other genres of  the period.

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I really enjoyed it. EGR was awfully good. Am I overstating this, that this is about as find as performance as I have seen by EGR? I thought him drop-dead brilliant. Maybe I am overdoing it.  I have just finished the film and am still fairly sizzling with admiration.

Allene Roberts was quite appealing in  her role. It was a little sad Eddie's comment about her career. Was Rory Calhoun miscast? He seems wrong, looks to much like a matinee-idol type for being a bad guy. And the role of Ellen Morgan might have been wasted on Judith Anderson. She didn't have that much to do. Julie London certainly did not look like a teenager, Eddie's remark was funny, "If high schoolers looked like her I would have never graduated."

There was some great rapid-fire editing. EGR brings down a piece furniture upon Judith Anderson' person, upstairs Allene reacting immediately to that, startled in her bed upstair, bam-bam-bam, quite effective.

When I was a small child we lived in Alameda (near SF) in a Quonset hut naval housing.  Across the street was a downward slope at the bottom of which were supposed to be sundry horrors and lots of lots of quicksand.  It was quite a few years later when it dawned on me one day that this was just a story by my parents to keep me from going down there.  It was an epiphany. Well, it worked, I would never have gone down there and I never did. Now, If they had told me there was a red house down there, different story. I would have gone down there in a flash. I may have had an inordinate fear of quicksand back then. The ice cream truck that came around with that musical jingle would issue as the weekly comic book episode of The Adventures of Peter Wheat. Peter Wheat was always sinking into quicksand.  Maybe that's where my parents got the idea.

//

 

 

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I found The Red House entertaining and I think I may have seen it years ago.  All the actors performed well and the music definitely made the movie better.   Several things appeared too unrealistic to me:  The distances the actors had to walk in the time they had to do it; Rory Calhoun making $750 off what Robinson was paying him and what little hunting money he made; Julie London as a high school student waltzing into a bank or post office and purchasing a $750 bond in the name of Calhoun's character and no one getting suspicious/curious; no kids or others had found the red house in over 15 years, etc.  Calhoun was too clean and had too much to do to really stay in the woods all the time.   So, many kids and adults would have wandered into the woods and the house and ice house were too big not to be easily seen.  Judith Anderson giving up her life to stay with her brother after he killed two people also seemed a stretch?

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Next week's Noir Alley will be The Phenix City Story (1955).  Not a stellar cast, but you will probably recognize most of them.  This is one of the "true" crime stories that was popular during the period.

As a youth, we would travel by car between coastal S.C. and northeastern Louisiana.  Phenix City AL was on US 80 along the route.  It is right across the river/border from Columbus GA, which is the home of Ft. Benning - home of the US Army Infantry School and site of Army's airborne and ranger schools.  That's where all the soldiers in the movie would have come from.

I remember as we were crossing the river from GA into Phenix City my father would comment on how bad the city was.  This would have been in mid to late 50's.  He made it a point not to stop in environs of Phenix City.

Supposedly in 1941, George S. Patton, then commander of Army's 2nd Armored Div. at Ft. Benning threatened to take his tanks and flatten Phenix City to keep them from preying on his troops.  Didn't work.

https://opelikaobserver.com/phenix-city-then-and-now/

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Sweet and innocent-looking  Allene Roberts, ( The Red House's "Meg")  had, as Eddie mentioned,  a limited career. However, the few films she was in were often noirs, viz,  (  I like writing "viz", it's fun),  Union Station ( as the kidnapped blind girl), Knock on Any Door,  and a quasi-noir, more a melodrama  ( like The Red House), which Eddie featured on Noir Alley a few years back,  The Sign of the Ram.

As Eddie said, she did indeed have the same kind of gentle, sweet quality that Cathy O'Donnell had.

I was curious about her, so looked her up.  There's very little about her on wikipaedia, but I found another article, I guess published at the time of her death, which goes into a little more detail about her life.  The story about her being asked,  "When you go to the beach, do the boys whistle at you?", and her simple answer, "No, they don't" -- which got her the part as Meg -- is amusing.

Here's the article I found:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/allene-roberts-dead-actress-humphrey-bogarts-knock-any-door-was-90-1209876/

 

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

Sweet and innocent-looking  Allene Roberts, ( The Red House's "Meg")  had, as Eddie mentioned,  a limited career. However, the few films she was in were often noirs, viz,  (  I like writing "viz", it's fun),  Union Station ( as the kidnapped blind girl), Knock on Any Door,  and a quasi-noir, more a melodrama  ( like The Red House), which Eddie featured on Noir Alley a few years back,  The Sign of the Ram.

As Eddie said, she did indeed have the same kind of gentle, sweet quality that Cathy O'Donnell had.

I was curious about her, so looked her up.  There's very little about her on wikipaedia, but I found another article, I guess published at the time of her death, which goes into a little more detail about her life.  The story about her being asked,  "When you go to the beach, do the boys whistle at you?", and her simple answer, "No, they don't" -- which got her the part as Meg -- is amusing.

Here's the article I found:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/allene-roberts-dead-actress-humphrey-bogarts-knock-any-door-was-90-1209876/

 

Thanks for that.  Nice to know that she quit show business in order to raise a family rather than just being bypassed and left in the dust.

Wonder if her sweet and innocent appearance kept her from being more successful.

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1 hour ago, ElCid said:

Thanks for that.  Nice to know that she quit show business in order to raise a family rather than just being bypassed and left in the dust.

Wonder if her sweet and innocent appearance kept her from being more successful.

I got the impression that, while she was happy to play those few roles she did, she was not particularly ambitious- at least, in terms of becoming a Hollywood  star.  I think when she got married, she was content to live a quiet respectable married life, have a family, etc., and not pursue success as an actress.

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3 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Sweet and innocent-looking  Allene Roberts, ( The Red House's "Meg")  had, as Eddie mentioned,  a limited career. However, the few films she was in were often noirs, viz,  (  I like writing "viz", it's fun),  Union Station ( as the kidnapped blind girl), Knock on Any Door,  and a quasi-noir, more a melodrama  ( like The Red House), which Eddie featured on Noir Alley a few years back,  The Sign of the Ram.

As Eddie said, she did indeed have the same kind of gentle, sweet quality that Cathy O'Donnell had.

I was curious about her, so looked her up.  There's very little about her on wikipaedia, but I found another article, I guess published at the time of her death, which goes into a little more detail about her life.  The story about her being asked,  "When you go to the beach, do the boys whistle at you?", and her simple answer, "No, they don't" -- which got her the part as Meg -- is amusing.

Here's the article I found:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/allene-roberts-dead-actress-humphrey-bogarts-knock-any-door-was-90-1209876/

 

I asked my bartender friend if any of the boys whistled at her at the beach.  No, she said, they threw sand in my face instead.  Let’s go shoot a game a pool, I replied, I’ve never been to a beach,  I was just wondering.

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An example of  the rare 4-H noir. I've seen The Red  House a few times over  the years, though  probably not within the last ten years.

I had even forgotten what the secret was.  This  one reminds  me of  taking a long trip where the destination was  not worth it;

too much talk and one starts to think Just get on with it already. Some  of the  young love stuff is okay, but Eddie's weird psycho

drama gets  tiresome fairly quickly. I too got a kick  out of Rory asking Julie  to buy a $750 bond.  It seemed  out  of character  for  a rough

and tumble  guy to be interested  in bonds. Oh, pick  me up a hundred  shares  of   IBM  while you're  at it. Lon was smart to  drop

Julie  because she turned  out to be  untrustworthy . He was smart to go  with Meg  instead. And I could make the argument that Eddie

had 15 years to get rid of the bodies, but never bothered to, but he was so  nutty that maybe it never crossed his cobwebbed  mind.

A  few suspenseful scenes, but a lot of swamp in between.  I don't where Eduardo went to high school, but we had plenty of sexy

dames who were better looking  than Julie London. All things considered, I prefer the Jimi Hendrix song.  😊

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