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Worst Film Noirs?


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With a simple google search it is so easy to find a list of the best film noirs (Double Indemnity, Maltese Falcon and other usual suspects make the list) but what are some of the worst in your opinions? And what exactly makes them bad- acting, plot, etc??? I will rattle my brain for a little and come up with some of my least favorites that I've seen so far.

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I don't think I've ever seen a really bad noir. Even the ones from Poverty Row studios are usually worth watching.

 

However, I'd say that watching Inside Job (1946) at the Noir City festival this year certainly helped me realize the huge difference in production values between a B-movie from Universal and one of their "A" efforts. Not that it wasn't interesting to watch - I liked it, and reportedly it hadn't been shown anywhere but a couple of film festivals since its original theatrical release.

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Welcome to the board, LoveFilmNoir!

 

As painful as it is for me to say, Fritz Lang's Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is one of my least favorite films noir that I have seen. I say this with Lang being my second favorite director, behind Hitch. And he's easily my favorite film noir director.

 

I'm also not that fond of docu-noir, so Call Northside 777 is flat with me.

 

Shock, The Two Mrs. Carrolls, and Jeopardy were quite disappointing.

 

But that's about it. I usually like something in most films noir.

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Holly, I look forward to seeing that film.

 

FrankGrimes, thank you for the lovely welcome.

 

I have seen Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (I believe I have the last airing of it on my DVR) and the whole plot is ridiculous and takes on the assumption that the entire police dept is incompetent. Joan Fontaine's acting was blah but for some reason I still liked the film...I liked the twist at the end and I am admittedly a Dana Andrews fan.

 

I liked Call Northside 777 as James Stewart was less hyper in this role and I guess the technology used to expose the truth was considered cutting edge for the time, it adds to the uniqueness.

 

I was priviledged (or was I?) to see the Two Mrs. Carrolls during Bogie's month in Dec and while I think Bogie and Stanwyck had chemistry and should have been in more movies together, that film was pretty weird.

 

Shock just arrived a few days ago so I will check it out, I also have not seen Jeopardy.

 

It is considered a noir, and I can say that Black Widow is not a good noir. More like a back stage broadway mystery at best. I remember seeing Peggy Ann Garner in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Daisy Kenyon, In Name Only and Nob Hill...who knew she'd grow up to be a ham? She was horrible, as was the man who played Ginger Rogers wife. If a noir is going to be shot in color, I would much prefer it done on location (Leave Her to Heaven, Party Girl) vs. on soundstages.

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I have seen Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (I believe I have the last airing of it on my DVR) and the whole plot is ridiculous and takes on the assumption that the entire police dept is incompetent. Joan Fontaine's acting was blah but for some reason I still liked the film...I liked the twist at the end and I am admittedly a Dana Andrews fan.

 

I'm an Andrews fan and a huge Lang fan, but Lang really struggles with courtroom dramas. I just felt the film was terribly boring.

 

I liked Call Northside 777 as James Stewart was less hyper in this role and I guess the technology used to expose the truth was considered cutting edge for the time, it adds to the uniqueness.

 

I did like the forensics of the film and the Chicago locales, but, again, I found it to be rather slow and boring. I prefer Stewart with some emotion. He was stripped bare, here.

 

I was priviledged (or was I?) to see the Two Mrs. Carrolls during Bogie's month in Dec and while I think Bogie and Stanwyck had chemistry and should have been in more movies together, that film was pretty weird.

 

I enjoyed seeing Bogie as a crazed painter and I liked Alexis Smith, but Barbara was completely declawed. It just wasn't Barbara. Now I do like a declawed Barbara in Sorry, Wrong Number.

 

Shock just arrived a few days ago so I will check it out,

 

It's on the ludicrous side. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it, though.

 

I also have not seen Jeopardy.

 

Ralph Meeker is the best part. Barbara is okay.

 

It is considered a noir, and I can say that Black Widow is not a good noir. More like a back stage broadway mystery at best.

 

I haven't heard many good things about it, but I do have it on DVD. I've yet to watch it.

 

If a noir is going to be shot in color, I would much prefer it done on location (Leave Her to Heaven, Party Girl) vs. on soundstages.

 

I completely agree with you.

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I have tried, several times, to like ?Kiss of Death?, but I just can?t do it.

 

The film is boring and somewhat confusing.

 

In the beginning, there is a lot of discussion about Victor Mature?s wife, but we never see her. He talks about how great she is and how everything is ok with her while he?s in prison, then someone tells him she?s dead. He looks it up in the prison library newspaper and it seems that she committed suicide.

 

Why did she do that? I thought that was her narrating the film!?

 

Ok, then some young girl-scout type of dame comes to visit him in prison, and acts like she loves him (yeah, and it?s his second time in prison, and we've never seen this dame before).

 

She announces that his wife threw her out of the apartment, then the wife kills herself. What?s this story about? That?s a whole nother movie, but where is it?

 

Then the guy walks right out of prison by squealing on some co-criminals, who we never see, and because of his squealing, Richard Widmark throws some old lady down a flight of stairs.

 

Huh?

 

Then Victor Mature suddenly marries the girl scout.

 

Well, it just goes on and on and on, for 1 hour and 40 minutes, and Mature finally decides to let himself be shot 5 times, at close range, with a .45 cal automatic, so the cops can arrest the guy who threw the old lady down the stairs. And everyone lives happily ever after, including the bullet-riddled Mature (and don?t forget his shot in the leg, early in the film), the girl scout, and the two little kids.

 

My recommendation (as a pretend-studio-head, before the final film is released), is to cut about 30 minutes out of this film, show the wife, show her nagging, show Widmark and Mature actually committing a crime with the guy who?s mother later gets pushed down the stairs. And... have a few of the bullets to the stomach, chest, and body, actually miss Mature, so the scene will seem more realistic.

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

> Holly, I look forward to seeing that film.

 

I do hope you will get a chance one of these days, LFN - I hope TCM could get to show it.

 

> I have seen Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (I believe I have the last airing of it on my DVR) and the whole plot is ridiculous and takes on the assumption that the entire police dept is incompetent. Joan Fontaine's acting was blah but for some reason I still liked the film...I liked the twist at the end and I am admittedly a Dana Andrews fan.

 

You know, I have to confess, I kinda like the film, too, in spite of its flaws.

 

Sure, it's far from Fritz Lang's best film. And I guess if you think about it too hard, you can see more than a few plot holes. But looking at it as a B-film, without a lot of pretensions, I think it's kind of a fun movie in a hare-brained kind of way. It is a little sad to see Lang doing this when you know all of the great films he had done before, but I'm also at the point in my life where I can appreciate whatever comes out of someone, artistically, even when they're at their lowest point - especially when I have respect for their career accomplishments overall.

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I also have to admit that I really like BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT! I enjoyed the plot well enough, and I'm a huge Dana Andrews fan. He's kind of like latter career George Raft and Brian Donlevy. Even if the film isn't all that (and I think this one was pretty good, actually), I still enjoy watching them do their stuff.

 

I absolutely adore KISS OF DEATH, one of my all time faves.

 

I don't care much for THE TWO MRS. CARROLL'S. I have to admit, and Bogie wouldn't like it, but I'm not a huge fan of him when he steps too far away from the type of roles (in the 40's that is) he's most associated with. I don't mind seeing him as a bad dude in the 30's, but in the 40's, I want my tough guy with a heart Bogie.

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

> I also have to admit that I really like BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT! I enjoyed the plot well enough, and I'm a huge Dana Andrews fan. He's kind of like latter career George Raft and Brian Donlevy. Even if the film isn't all that (and I think this one was pretty good, actually), I still enjoy watching them do their stuff.

>

 

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me, too.

 

Plus the fact that Lang's original, for all of its flaws, still seems leagues ahead of that dreadful remake starring Michael Douglas. ;)

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You all have made some good points.

 

I sometimes think my bias towards certain actors may blind some of their not so good performances etc. For example, many people think Victor Mature is a ham when I usually love him in films.

 

Bogie is one of my favorite actors and I definitely agree with you markbeckuaf. Give me The Harder They Fall or Barefoot Contessa or In a Lonely Place Bogie...maybe Cagney would have made a better Mr. Carroll!

 

I still have MANY noirs I have yet to see.....especially B films so it is hard for me to decide what I didn't care for from what I have seen...the more and more I ponder through my memory archive, the more I start thinking about actors who should have contributed to the noir genre.

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

> Bogie is one of my favorite actors and I definitely agree with you markbeckuaf. Give me The Harder They Fall or Barefoot Contessa or In a Lonely Place Bogie...maybe Cagney would have made a better Mr. Carroll!

 

The great thing about Bogie is that he was in many of the best gangster movies in the late 30s, and he almost seemed a natural for noir by the 50s, so he's a natural for the crime-related movies, whether pure gangster or noir films.

 

> I still have MANY noirs I have yet to see.....especially B films so it is hard for me to decide what I didn't care for from what I have seen...the more and more I ponder through my memory archive, the more I start thinking about actors who should have contributed to the noir genre.

 

Well the great thing about film noir is that there almost always seems to be another little-known movie, a B-film perhaps, awaiting discovery. Hope you'll have fun exploring these! :D

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>>My recommendation (as a pretend-studio-head, before the final film is released), is to cut about 30 minutes out of this film, show the wife, show her nagging, show Widmark and Mature actually committing a crime with the guy who?s mother later gets pushed down the stairs. And... have a few of the bullets to the stomach, chest, and body, actually miss Mature, so the scene will seem more realistic.

 

Apparently a studio head did have second thoughts on the film. I read years ago that the narration was an after-thought, it was used in order to present a happy ending. There was another reason why none of the bullets missed Mature - the most obvious one.

 

The wife was originally filmed, but Patricia Morison despite a credit on the film, was cut out entirely. She was to have committed suicide because her character was "attacked" by a crony of Mature who was supposed to be protecting her. Censors didn't like rape and suicide to be depicted.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Guys, i respectfully disagree on The Two Mrs. Carrolls. I adore this film. Great cast, moody film in a dark, creepy mansion. I love how Alexis Smith tries to steal Bogie right from under Stanwyck's nose. Alexis has no shame in this film, she cracks me up with her brazenness. And the housekeeper is a smart-a** from the word go. And Ann Carter is very good and Nigel Bruce plays a lush. What fun.

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You are welcome, Holly. I never tire of The Two Mrs. Carrolls. It is really one of my fave classic films, but i am biased. I love Alexis Smith when she is ruthlessly pursuing her selfish desires on film. Warner ladies knew how to bring it!!

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