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DownGoesFrazier

Noir encyclopedia

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This may have already been discussed, but I found in my local Borders' the latest edition of the "Film Noir Encyclopedia" edited by four people (don't remember their names) with extensive plot summaries, reviews, and photos for virtually every noir and neo-noir ever released. I've seen a lot of noir books, but this is certainly the most informative. Anyone looking to dazzle others on these boards with his or her noir knowledge should start right here.

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Well if that's what it takes to dazzle others on these boards, I should be shining like a supernova by now, because I have owned that book since the 80's. That is, if we're talking about this:

 

*Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style*, edited by Alain Silver , Elizabeth Ward, Carl Macek, and Robert Porfirio , revised and expanded edition c 1988.

 

This is the book that I have jokingly referred to as my noir "bible" when we're talking about noir on these threads. My edition has a still from Sudden Fear on the cover, with Joan Crawford and Jack Palance.

Only the cover has fallen off, because this book is so heavily used by me and others in my household.

Every time I watch what I guess to be a film noir, I haul out this book and look it up. I love it. It is the first book I ever read about film noir, my introduction to all the different ideas and theories about noir.

 

I've tried to order an updated edition a few times, not only because such a reference work can always stand an update, but also because the copy I've got is almost falling apart from use. But I've always been told that a new edition is not available. So now I'm going to try again. Thanks for the update on it.

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I guess it took a while for the book to find its way to Philadelphia, cultural backwater that it is. The only noir film I could think of that's not in there was THE MOB (Broderick Crawford).

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It's a fantastic book. Did you say you picked it up? You'll be spending your time reading it instead of posting here, it's that good. I wonder if they updated the "neo-noir" appendix? Probably.

 

(ps- OT - So... are you a Phillies fan?)

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No, I'll just read it there. Too bulky for my "library"...... I'm not a big home town rooter in any sport. Even though I was born and raised in Philly and now live there, I've lived in several other cities and root for teams based upon a number of factors.

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I guess it took a while for the book to find its way to Philadelphia, cultural backwater that it is.

 

If that's the case, it may never come to Kentucky!

 

Edited by: redriver on Jun 23, 2010 2:25 PM

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I wonder if they updated the "neo-noir" appendix?

 

The appendix was removed due to inflammation and fever.

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Since you broached the subject of sports, let me follow up............ I've been trying to watch the World Cup, and the same thing that has always bothered me about soccer still bothers me: the monumental lack of scoring. Not only does that make it boring, but, more importantly, makes the results often invalid. In a 1-0 game, it is common for a team to outplay the other for the entire game, only to lose on a fluke goal..........Could I be right, and ten billion people be wrong?

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I am most definitely no expert on soccer, but from talking with people who are, I have the impression that, unfortunately, the focus seems to be on defense rather than on scoring. Many teams apparently would rather play a boring non-eventful game if it will keep the other team from getting near their net, instead of going for a fast, exciting but more risky style. This, I am told, was not always the case. The dull "keep the other guys from scoring even if it means nobody gets a goal" approach to soccer was developed fairly recently. Sometimes you see this overly cautious attitude in hockey too.

 

Again, I should emphasize that I know even less about soccer than I do about Billy Eckstine.

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So billions of people go ape***t watching games with this style of play? Well, watching this stuff is cheaper than buying Sominex.

 

Edited by: finance on Jun 24, 2010 4:42 PM

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finance wrote:

*So billions of people go ape***t watching games with this style of play? Well, watching this stuff is cheaper than buying Sominex.*

 

At the risk of keeping this thread off-topic, I felt I must interject: TO EACH HIS OWN.

Think of all the people out there who will NOT watch classic motion pictures because they can see them as only slow and boring . . . they don't see the artistry inherent in the old studio system way of moviemaking. Likewise, if you don't understand the game, and therefore don't care for it, no point in saying so on the TCM messageboards. There's got to be sports forums out there where these posts would be more than valid.

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It's my fault, I asked finance if he was following the FIFA World Cup of Soccer. On this thread, I believe. Or anyway, this forum. Sometimes we go a little off topic, but we always come back. And after all, I did mention The Killers , a bona fide noir movie.

 

Arturo, I always appreciate your informed posts. I get the impression that you can lay claim to not only a genuine love of classic films, but an impressive familiarity with the backgrounds behind many of them too. I imagine that sounds like empty flattery, but it is not. Having said that, I will respectfully repeat what I have said elsewhere on this fansite, that when a person states their opinion about something here, be it soccer or Robert Siodmak or a classic film, it is a given that it is their opinion. Of course some people like some things, and others prefer other things. Sports, movies, or what have you.

I have no problem with people disagreeing with me and saying so. In fact it happens all the time! Often on these boards. And I'm fine with that.

And I know from reading your posts that you usually are too. It must be the lapse into non-TCM territory that irked you.

Hey, maybe someone should start a thread about sports movies. Better yet, noir sports movies. That would be a challenge! MissW

 

...actually, I don't know why I said "It was my fault", like some kid caught putting a frog in the teacher's desk. Sometimes I seem to revert to being nine years old on these boards.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 24, 2010 9:41 PM

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I think it was quite an athletic feat when Fred MacMurray threw Barbara Stanwyck's husband off the train in *Double Indemenity*. See--you can mix sports with noir.

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Not to go all technical, but good ole Walter killed the husband in the car, while

Mrs. D was doing the hundred yard stare. But they might still be eligible for

the two person corpse drag. There is no I in teamwork.

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I never got caught putting a frog in the teacher's desk, but I was constantly getting caught with my hand in the cookie jar.

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Cookies -isn't The Fortune Cookie kind of a noir film, in a way? ok, maybe that's a stretch. But there's some plotting to commit a dishonest act, anyway.

 

As to sports in noir, there actually are a few, at least about the sport of boxing. Robert Ryan comes to mind - The Set-Up.

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To revisit previous territory, I am pretty sure that there are no bowling noirs. (although Stanwyck's stepdaughter was supposed to be going bowling with her friends in DI)

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Soccer is one of the most physical, team-oriented sports ever....with the political undertones of so many people from various countries around the world being able to come together, prejudices etc aside, and watch the sport. And I love it.

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Soccer was Camus favorite sport.

 

Edited by: cujas on Jun 25, 2010 2:49 PM

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finance wrote:

*To revisit previous territory, I am pretty sure that there are no bowling noirs. (although Stanwyck's stepdaughter was supposed to be going bowling with her friends in DI)*

 

Of course there is. There's ROAD HOUSE, specifically the scenes where Ida Lupino in short shorts, halter and espadrilles is taught by Cornel Wilde how to bowl in the bowling alley that's somehow a part of that roadhouse complex (!).

 

Edited by: Arturo on Jun 25, 2010 8:03 PM

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MissWonderly wondered:

*Of course some people like some things, and others prefer other things. Sports, movies, or what have you.*

 

Exactly my thoughts. So that is why I come to TCM's message boards when I want to discuss classic films. Normally, I don't bite and post on threads that are about recent films or something like music or sports (unless it is related to old films), because there are MANY messageboards out there for that. And I look forward to getting on here and seeing how a thread I'm enjoying has developed by the newest posts. So I don't like it when a thread gets hijacked by off-topic stuff that can be the subject of a new post (at best) or maybe posted on another more relevant messageboard. A case in point is one on mis-cast actors, that suddenly became all about who was gay or bi and sleeping with whom back in the day. I am NOT homophobic, and I can definitely post gossip and innuendo with the best, but if this topic was properly confined to its own thread, then I could decide if I wish to participate there in that particular dialogue, and not have to wade through many off-topic posts to find an On-topic one, which is the reason I came online in the first place. Likewise, I resisted ALL temptation to post as the LAKERS kept winning (I live in L.A.), or when M?xico won (I'm Mexican) or at least advanced in the World Cup (I love soccer and used to play it until I had a fractured knee last year), because I don't come to TCM's messageboard to share my opinions re: those topics . . . I know where to go to post on those subjects. Yes, i understand that being well-rounded is great, but let me be my one-dimensional self here on TCM and focus on my love for old movies.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Jun 25, 2010 8:36 PM

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Fair enough, Arturo.

 

It's certainly on -topic to mention Road House, a noir that features two of my very favourite actors, Richard Widmark and Ida Lupino. Thanks for mentioning it. I love watching Widmark's slow disintegration into craziness.

And yes. when (just for fun) talking about bowling in movies, Road House would have to be up on that list. The scene in which Ida, all decked out in a stylish "bowling" outfit, shows up to be taught how to bowl by Cornell Wilde, is at once tense and funny.

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