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Film noir runneth over on the schedule lately


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

> A tramp is really a woman who behaves sexually more like a man, seeing what she wants, and going after it. She is more independent and assertive, even though she uses her feminine wiles to get what she wants.

 

More criteria: She gets too hungry for dinner at eight, she loves the theatre, and never comes late

She never bothers with people she hates

THAT'S why the lady is a tramp.

 

(sorry, couldn't resist.)

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Well, I'm no expert lyric analyst myself, but this is what I get out of the song: it's about a woman who shuns convention, and doesn't care what other people think, she's true to herself; and the man singing about her admires her for that, is celebrating it.

All the various aspects of this lady's habits listed in the song are contrary to what is (or was) in style at the time the lyrics were written. Such as: being fashionably late for the theatre, eating dinner at eight. The lady is too honest , too "authentic", to go with the crowd in doing these things. She likes the theatre, why should she miss the beginning of the play just because some diva types liked to make an appearance arriving fashionably late? She likes to eat, why pretend she doesn't?

 

The best line is "She never bothers with people she hates", in other words, she won't be a hypocrite and pretend to like people she doesn't.

As for why she's a tramp, I think the singer is being ironic- he's saying, society, especially the b*tchy gossipy rich women who like to criticize people who don't follow their rules and aren't like them, says she's a tramp because she's unconventional , a free spirit. The catty socialites are jealous and annoyed to see a woman who does as she pleases, so they label her a tramp, in the way catty and jealous people have always insulted and rejected those who are not like them.

 

Now I'm the one with a thesis-like post. ;)

 

Edited by: misswonderly on May 17, 2011 4:08 PM

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For no reason other than to bump this thread back into circulation (after all, it was initiated on July 19 - going on a year ago. We can't abandon it now ! ) I 'm going to respond to a couple of mini-reviews that "cigarjoe" wrote on another thread in this forum ("Recently viewed noirs" ).

 

So...cigarjoe discusses, among others, *His Kind of Woman* and *The Big Sleep* . I have to express amazement and indignation that he's so lukewarm on *The Big Sleep*. This film is so much fun, all the actors, leads and "bits", are so entertaining, as is the dialogue. Visually, it's beautifully noirish, with its rain -soaked L.A. streets, that mysterious cottage ( Arthur Geiger's? Eddie Mars' ? ) on top of some hill, that's the scene of so many dubious activities, "Art Huck's Garage", and did I say the rain? I love rain anyway, in real life as well as the movies, so I always enjoy a good rainy noir.

 

Anyway, I repeat what I've said about this highly enjoyable film elsewhere: it's very funny, with clever sharp dialogue and characters like Joe Brady , Agnes, and the romantic book store dame contributing to the sly humour. Lots of fun. I never remember the plot (so what did happen to Sean Regan anyway? and who cares? ) but I sure remember the people and the laughs .

 

The reason I'm also commenting on *His Kind of Woman* here is because it too, like TBS, strikes me as much a comedy as a film noir. It's got a lot of lazy good -natured repartee between Mitch and Jane, and that's kind of fun in itself. But the crowning comedic glory of *His Kind of Woman* has got to be Vincent Price. There's something inherently funny about Vincent Price anyway, and given the chance, as in this film, he'll happily ham things up to his and the audience's hearts' content. The scene in which Price thinks he's going on some big rescue operation and he marshalls a few miserable aides to set his little boat off, and it starts to sink, with Price standing nobly at the prow, gazing into the sea and trying to pretend that he really is some kind of hero, is as funny as any scene in an outright comedy.

 

So, yeah, I guess I'm saying there's room for comedy in film noir, at least sometimes, and the two movies I discuss above are good examples of that.

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Well, my main reason for being lukewarm on *The Big Sleep* is that I and some friends just went through a mini marathon of detective films, all screen adaptations, aside from the *Brasher Doubloon*, of Raymond Chandler's "Phillip Marlowe", and likewise for Mickey Spillane's "Mike Hammer". We were especially discussing who interpreted Chandler's Marlowe the best and we basically came to these rankings.

 

1. James Garner the best capture of the character but the film *Marlowe* (Chandler's The Little Sister) in color and updated to contemporary LA circa 1969 with "flower children" is missing the "Romance of the Fedora".

 

2. Robert Mitchum next best Marlowe (simply because he was a bit too old for the part) in *Farewell My Lovely* and the film though in color is not only the best Neo Noir detective film but the best adaptation of Chandler and it was fortunate to be made post Hayes code and pre PC.

 

3. Dick Powell no doubt the front runner before the Garner and Mitchum films. In *Murder My Sweet* the wise cracking Powell does an excellent job but the story is truncated and has an obvious tacked on love story.

 

4. Robert Montgomery a close runner up to Powell, with the neat first person POV gimmick, but *The Lady in the Lake* becomes Audrey Totter's film because of it.

 

5. Humphrey Bogart, for me Bogart is an icon and that overwhelming fact obscures the Marlowe character, team him with Bacall and it becomes a Bogart & Bacall film and Bogart's interpretation of Marlowe makes him seem infallible. As one poster commented "But in *The Big Sleep*, he is ten steps ahead of everyone all the time, having one of those "major discovery" or "I knew you were lying" moments every 30 seconds."

 

6. Elliot Gould a bit too off the wall as Marlowe in the contemporary 70's, with no dialog from the book at all in *The Long Goodbye* and driving around in a hardly inconspicuous 1948 Lincoln, come on.

 

7. James Caan does nothing to sympathize with his character: and he looks old, too old in the adaptation of the unfinished *Poodle Springs*, older than Mitchum in his own Marlowe movies.

 

If I had to rank the Marlowe films I'd go:

 

1. *Farewell My Lovely*

2. *Murder My Sweet*

3. *The Lady in The Lake*

4. *The Big Sleep*

5. *Marlowe*

 

and the rest until I see "The Brasher Doubloon"

 

6. The Long Goodbye/Poodle Springs/The Brasher Doubloon

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

> Well, I'm no expert lyric analyst myself, but this is what I get out of the song: it's about a woman who shuns convention, and doesn't care what other people think, she's true to herself; and the man singing about her admires her for that, is celebrating it.

> All the various aspects of this lady's habits listed in the song are contrary to what is (or was) in style at the time the lyrics were written. Such as: being fashionably late for the theatre, eating dinner at eight. The lady is too honest , too "authentic", to go with the crowd in doing these things. She likes the theatre, why should she miss the beginning of the play just because some diva types liked to make an appearance arriving fashionably late? She likes to eat, why pretend she doesn't?

>

> The best line is "She never bothers with people she hates", in other words, she won't be a hypocrite and pretend to like people she doesn't.

> As for why she's a tramp, I think the singer is being ironic- he's saying, society, especially the b*tchy gossipy rich women who like to criticize people who don't follow their rules and aren't like them, says she's a tramp because she's unconventional , a free spirit. The catty socialites are jealous and annoyed to see a woman who does as she pleases, so they label her a tramp, in the way catty and jealous people have always insulted and rejected those who are not like them.

 

That's the way I always interpreted it. Eating late and arriving late were considered hallmarks of New York's high society. She's such a free spirit that not only does she not care if she's called a tramp, she actually calls herself a tramp--at least, when the song is sung by a woman like Shirley Bassey, which is the way I prefer it.

 

My favorite line is, "I was never at a party where they honored Noel Coward."

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CJ, not having read Chandler, I won't contest your appraisals of how well the films reflect his work. But, as a film, I'll have to stick up for *The Big Sleep*. It's far and away my favorite Bogart film. A little over the top, perhaps. But I love the characters, the convoluted plot, and the humor.

 

To Miss W., I agree that there can be comedy in noir, and there definitely is in *His Kind of Woman*. In part, it is almost a parody of noir, even though other parts are very serious. However, I find humor, but not what I call comedy, in *TBS*. Many, perhaps even most noirs have some wise-cracking humor in them. *TBS* just has a bit more than most. Certainly Dick Powell in *Murder, My Sweet*, and Allan Ladd in *The Glass Key* had lots of humor in the internal dialog, and also the spoken dialog.

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

> CJ, not having read Chandler, I won't contest your appraisals of how well the films reflect his work. But, as a film, I'll have to stick up for *The Big Sleep*. It's far and away my favorite Bogart film. A little over the top, perhaps. But I love the characters, the convoluted plot, and the humor.

>

> To Miss W., I agree that there can be comedy in noir, and there definitely is in *His Kind of Woman*. In part, it is almost a parody of noir, even though other parts are very serious. However, I find humor, but not what I call comedy, in *TBS*. Many, perhaps even most noirs have some wise-cracking humor in them. *TBS* just has a bit more than most. Certainly Dick Powell in *Murder, My Sweet*, and Allan Ladd in *The Glass Key* had lots of humor in the internal dialog, and also the spoken dialog.

 

My only question Val is have you seen, aside from *Murder My Sweet*, the other Marlowe interpretations/performances?

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

> MovieMadness: Thanks for the tip on "Kiss of Death" running on FMC. I've been dying to see that movie! (no pun intended.)

 

Just make sure you're not sitting in a wheelchair at the top of the stairs.

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

> My only question Val is have you seen, aside from *Murder My Sweet*, the other Marlowe interpretations/performances?

 

 

I have seen all on your list of five films, and prefer the Bogart version of *The Big Sleep* to any of them, as a film. But, I do like them all. I'm a big fan of Mitchum, and I like his *Farewell My Lovely*. It's way better than his *TBS*, made three years later. But, Mitchum has made so much better films. I believe I'd pick *Lady in the Lake* as the second best on your list.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This was a long running thread (no posts in almost 2 months). I hope I haven't killed it. I didn't mean to. Maybe I am trapped in my own noir thriller? Who is my femme fatale? (Hope its Barbara Stanwyck, maybe Jean Peters)

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I mentioned *The Lodger* earlier and I wanted to say I think they have solved the Jack The Ripper case.

 

No it has no connection to the movie bacause apparently the real killer was a merchant seaman who was signed aboard a vessel at the time of the murders. Once the ship left port the murders stopped.

 

His next port was New York and murders started to happen there until he was killed. So that happened and apparently no more Jack the Ripper.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What a treat to see *The Spiral Staircase* again. A good print of a film with a tight script, crafty direction, solid performances (exceptional work by Dorothy McGuire and Ethel Barrymore). TCM has shown *Phantom Lady* and *The Killers* recently. More Siodmak noir, please.

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