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Film noir runneth over on the schedule lately


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Good point about the word "confirmed", but in fairness to the other two posters who used that word in conjunction with noir movies, they did both put quotation marks around it, indicating that they were aware themselves that you cant' really talk about "confirmed" or "not confirmed" noirs. I"m guessing that they were just using the word as a shortcut for referring to what is usually recognized as a film noir, the kind that have no arguments around whether they are or not.

 

On another thread here, quite a while back now, there was yet another prolonged discussion over what the parameters of noir entail, etc. As usual, interesting and fun, up to a point. But I agreed with the person who at one point said something like "Let's pay more attention to the chocolate bar than to its wrapper."

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 16, 2010 10:20 AM

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Misswonderly, thank you. I'm glad someone understood me but I wasn't trying to come off as pretentious with my definition and when I used the term "confirmed" in quotation marks I meant it more that noir enthusiasts would recognize those films as noirs. I don't want us to get too off the subject and once again into the "what is film noir?" debate but rather in dissecting the films. I say if a person is not sure, or if a film is usually debated, put an asterik after the title, we'll get the hint. :)

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

> Funny, when I think of noir women, the first 3 names that pop into my mind are Claire Trevor, Audrey Totter, and Marie Windsor. None of the 3 was probably in that many.

 

Maybe their screen presence in the characters they played still stand out for you. That's probably a great thing. As much as I love Barbara Stanwyck and even Joan Crawford, I never understand how they are always mentioned as noir ladies. I feel like Stanwyck only did a few with DOUBLE INDEMNITY being her main one, even though in reality she did quite a bit- CRY WOLF, THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS, THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS, CRIME OF PASSION, THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON, CLASH BY NIGHT, JEOPARDY - not to mention a few that may go under question if it is noir or not like WITNESS TO MURDER. The same goes for Crawford but with Crawford's films, they always seem to lean towards melodrama even with their noir elements. THE DAMNED DON'T CRY! is a noir, but it plays out like a melodrama, as does FLAMINGO ROAD.

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

> If 80% of people say that TOUCH OF EVIL is a noir, then Heston gets credit for being in .8 noirs, for that one. Maybe that's how we should tally the counts for Mitchum and Ryan.

 

Touch of Evil is a film noir. End of story.

 

Although released 8 years later and out of the "classic" film noir period, I want to throw THE MONEY TRAP into film noir without calling it a neo-noir.

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Ok since you and LoveFilmNoir asked and I have time now I'll provide some more info from the source book Film Noir:

 

First I did miss Claire Trevor! She also has 7 noirs, while Windsor and Totter have 6.

 

I also left off Lizabeth Scott with 7 - thus 5 ladies with 7; Trevor, Scott, Stanwyck, Grahame, Lupino)

 

Trevor's 7 are:

Born To Kill

Crack-Up

Johnny Angel

Key Largo

Murder, My Sweet

Raw Deal

Street of Chance

 

Stanwyck:

Clash by Night

Crime of Passion

Double Indemnity

File on Thelma Jordon

Sorry, Wrong number

Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Witness to Murder

 

Lupino:

Beware, My Lovely

The Big Knife

High Sierra

On Dangerous Ground

Private Hell 36

Road House

While The City Sleeps

 

Grahame:

The Big Heat

CrossFire

Human Desire

In a Lonely Place

Macao

Odds Against Tomorrow

Sudden Fear

 

Scott:

Dark City

Dead Reckoning

I Walk Alone

Pitfall

The Racket

Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Too Late for Tears

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Possible tie breakers:

 

_Stanwyck_ -- Silver/Ward added *No Man Her Own* (Mitchell Leisen, 1950), another of the many noirs based on a story by Cornell Woolrich, in an appendix. I would also add *Jeopardy* (John Sturges, 1953). Why they left that out is beyond me.

 

_Lupino_ -- I would add *They Drive By Night* (Raoul Walsh, 1940). Bonus points for directing The Hitchhiker?

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JJG,

 

Thanks for that list and your source.

 

The problem I have with film noir lists and books is that they are always bound to miss a few, now matter how comprehensive they seem to be. Is it their fault? Of course not. Every studio seemed to make a noir during it's classic period, I guess the "dark crime/mystery" was quite popular for moviegoers who didn't want to gush at a pretty musical. But everyone from Fox, WB, RKO, MGM to Republic and "Not Your Mama's Movie Studio" produced a few noirs.

 

Regarding your list, and Lupino: I guess people don't consider THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT to be technically noir since it was released in 1940 (I don't agree with this, but whatever). She also was in OUT OF THE FOG (1941) with John Garfield and Thomas Mitchell and MOONTIDE (1942) with Jean Gabin and again with Thomas Mitchell and both are considered noirs....or are they?

 

With Gloria Grahame: The list doesn't include NAKED ALIBI with Sterling Hayden and Gene Barry which is considered noir, and THE GOOD DIE YOUNG with Laurence Harvey and Richard Basehart may also be considered noir even though it was made in the UK.

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

> Possible tie breakers:

>

> _Stanwyck_ -- Silver/Ward added *No Man Her Own* (Mitchell Leisen, 1950), another of the many noirs based on a story by Cornell Woolrich, in an appendix. I would also add *Jeopardy* (John Sturges, 1953). Why they left that out is beyond me.

>

> _Lupino_ -- I would add *They Drive By Night* (Raoul Walsh, 1940). Bonus points for directing The Hitchhiker?

 

chiQ...I meant to also say I too would add JEOPARDY. Short film, but it is a noir.

 

Also, with Lupino, 1940 or not, THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT is a noir, even if it came from the great Raoul Walsh known for his great gangster films of the 30s.

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Well those that write these book might say that people that do NOT write books are bound to include a view films that are not really noir movies into their home-grown listings! (ha ha). As we have discussed what is a noir is subjective and thus any listing will differ.

 

As you noted this is especially true with the movies made in early 1940s since 'noir' wasn't even a concept when these movies were released. If these same movies were released during the height of the noir era, it is very likely they would be considerd noir movies by these 'experts'.

 

But regardless of the source we all have a good idea who the primary noir actors of the classic era were. Mitchum and Ryan as the leading men, and Tevor, Lupino, Scott, Stanwyck and Grahame as the women.

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*I guess people don't consider THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT to be technically noir since it was released in 1940 (I don't agree with this, but whatever).*

 

For what it's worth, Silver/Ward include nine pre-1940 movies, so apparently they do not feel compelled to adhere to the "1940" dogma either, but they didn't include They Drive By Night.

 

*Naked Alibi* -- what a marvelous movie...and noir as all get-out. Silver/Ward include it in the appendix, as well as -- another for Lupino & Walsh -- The Man I Love.

 

Edited by: ChiO on Sep 16, 2010 1:06 PM (how many typos can I find?)

 

Edited by: ChiO on Sep 16, 2010 1:08 PM

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great points james.

 

The subjective nature of film noir is what makes the genre (even that is subjective) so interesting and opens up topics of discussions that lead to directors, actors, and usually films that aren't well known. I have never seen any topics trying to debate if something is drama or melodrama.

 

What you wrote reminds me of why I am happy the term "film noir" was coined after these films had been pumped out so there was really wasn't too much room for any quick, cheap manufactured noirs just to fill seats (like the cheesy drama and musicals of the WWII era). Even a noir B flick was just more as the second movie on a double bill and while it may have been made cheaply, is still of decent quality today (think DETOUR).

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

> *I guess people don't consider THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT to be technically noir since it was released in 1940 (I don't agree with this, but whatever).*

>

> For what it's worth, Silver/Ward include nine pre-1940 movies, so apparently they do not fell compelled to adhere to the "1940" dogma either, but they didn't include They Drive By Night.

>

> *Naked Alibi* -- what a marvelous movie...and noir as all get-out. Silver/Ward include it in the appendix, as well as -- another for Lupino & Walsh -- The Man I Love.

>

> Edited by: ChiO on Sep 16, 2010 1:06 PM

 

I wonder what those pre-1940s films are. By any chance is THE ROARING TWENTIES or FURY on there? I can't comprehend why they would omit THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT.

 

I also can't comprehend why Fox would release the film DAISY KENYON on DVD as part of their Fox Film Noir collection some years back when clearly it is a melodrama. It has NEVER been on a film noir list or book yet the DVD calls it just that! One could easily be fooled when you see Joan Crawford and Dana Andrews in a film together - you almost expect a murder or two - and that doesn't happen. It must have been to capitalize of off Joan's diehard fans.

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Regarding the word "confirmed" in previous posts about noir : on the other hand, I think Mr. Bogle was not necessarily being critical of you and jjg for using that word; rather, I suspect he was just having some fun with it.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 16, 2010 1:28 PM

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

 

> The problem I have with film noir lists and books is that they are always bound to miss a few, now matter how comprehensive they seem to be. Is it their fault?

 

I have often wondered why some films that are clearly bona fide noirs are not included in that book

( the Silvain/Ward Noir "Bible"). I'm unfamiliar with the most recent edition, but I have thought that the explanation might be, at least with the edition I have, which is from the late 80s, that perhaps some of the noirs that have been re-released in recent years simply weren't available for viewing at the time of publication, so the editors decided to exclude them, not wanting to create confusion or desires to see movies that were not accessible at the time - or, perhaps for the same reason (not available then, hadn't been re-released yet) they just forgot to list them.

 

> With Gloria Grahame: The list doesn't include NAKED ALIBI with Sterling Hayden and Gene Barry which is considered noir, and THE GOOD DIE YOUNG with Laurence Harvey and Richard Basehart may also be considered noir even though it was made in the UK.

 

I would love to see those two films. Those actors are all really good; I especially like Richard Basehart, who is often overlooked and under-rated.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 16, 2010 1:37 PM

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Confirmed just strikes me as an odd term and if somebody uses it with quotation

marks around it that does signify it is being taken with some reserve. No problem.

I think there's little doubt that Touch of Evil is a noir, just using it as an example.

 

I wouldn't have a problem with calling They Drive By Night a noir simply because

it came out in 1940, because, for me, the dates can be somewhat flexible. As for the

film itself, I'd probably label it a hybrid noir, with the whole gritty life of the truck drivers

as one important element, and with many noir touches intermingled with the main story.

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When I say "confirmed" I am doing the quotes with my fingers and being somewhat sarcastic because I feel that for the most part, most noir enthusiasts have a general understanding of the genre, it's elements, films, stars etc....but generally speaking, everything I write on the subject is opinion. I feel like I've learned more in this thread than I have contributed. Thanks everyone :)

 

Interesting that you break down the whole gritty truck driving business in THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT. I remember someone arguing that THIEVES' HIGHWAY was not a noir but simply a drama film and it also revolves around some shady business in the truck driving business.

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I wouldn't view They Drive By Night as a noir because it really isn't about the dark side of life. Yes, there is a murder but that is a crime of passion (Lupino killing her husband so she could be with Raft), but crime isn't core to the plot. I.e. the trucking business that is core to the plot doesn't have a mob element to the story. The noir elements in the movie are all centered around Lupino but her actions are driven by love which isn't a typical movite for a femme fatale (Leave her to Heaven being an exception of course).

 

Of course Walsh's next movie High Sierra, again with Bogie and Lupino is defined as an early noir movie but then crime is at the center of that plot.

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So, how many watched UNDERWORLD USA ? I liked this even more the second time I saw it than the first. I think it's a very interesting film. What ever happened to Dolores Dorn? She was very pretty, and she was good in that role. And I also really enjoyed the Beatrice Kay character. I want to go to "Sandy's Elite Bar" now.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 16, 2010 10:36 PM

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They Drive by Night does have a few noir elements, even if it's not a "straight ahead"

noir. There's the shabby, low-rent environment of the truck drivers, including the

greasy spoon, a number of shadowy night scenes, the possibility of violence in the battle

between the rival drivers, if not to the point of murder, and Ida Lupino as one of those

noirish women who will do anything to get what they want. I still see it as more of a good

old-fashioned WB meat and potatoes hard drama than a noir, but if people want to call

it one, that's all right. I've never seen Thieve's Highway, but it sounds interesting, noir

or not.

 

 

I saw it and was a bit disappointed. It had some nice visual touches and the love story

between Devlin and Cuddles kept the ending a little more interesting, but for the most part

it seemed like the usual gangster flick. The ending with Cliff stumbling all around a city block

in his dying moments was straight out of one of the 1930's gangster movies, can't recall

which one. I did get a kick out of some of the gangster's plans. Hey there's millions of

kids between 10 and 15 who we can sell dope to out of places like the Elite Espresso

Club. Oh yeah, daddy-o. In other words, there was a bit of camp to it, but it is almost fifty

years old. I wouldn't say it's a bad movie, but to me nothing special. I do agree that Dolores

Dorn was very pretty and was convincing in that role. Oh, one more thing, didn't the music

seem just a tad overblown? Anyway, Bergman will be on in a while to balance things out.

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