Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Film noir runneth over on the schedule lately


Recommended Posts

 

Yes, the Yanquis down in South America was something of a minor

subplot to the main action. When you hear the name William Friedkin

and the title Sorcerer it sounds like a different subject. I've never seen

that movie, but I would like to to see how he handled the story.

 

Many years ago I saw a movie with Brian Keith that had a similar plot

to The Wages of Fear. I've never seen it since or seen it listed on any

movie channel, though I might have missed it. It's one of those films that

seems to just disappear for a time. It was called Violent Road and was

released in 1958, so it's hard to think that Wages wasn't a influence.

Nowhere near as exciting as Wages, but it was a pretty decent movie.

 

The Wages of Beer. Good title. Probably a lot of students paid the same price.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

> I have a confession to make. I like William Friedkin's SORCERER at least as much as the French film. It's more suspenseful. There's a higher level of emotion. To be honest, neither movie is a great favorite.

 

I just can't see that. *Sorcerer* is a decent film, but can't hold a candle to *Wages of Fear* for suspense and emotion, or anything else, IMO. *WoF* is one of the tensest films I've ever seen.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Late tonight/tomorrow on TCM are a number of movies listed in my massive noir list...

 

Woman on Pier 13

Beware, My Lovely

The Racket

Crossfire

Act of Violence

The Set-Up

Bad Day at Black Rock (Yes a color movie)

 

 

Seven movies, lots to see. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Film noir definitely runneth over today! And all films I can watch over again.

 

Speaking of which, did anyone catch *The Big Heat* when it aired yesterday. I have seen it, I own it on DVD, but I think when I watched it last night from the DVR was the first time I ever really paid attention to the characters and I made some interesting observations...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the next 12 days here are some of the movies coming up listed in the unofficial massive noir list-

 

The Manchurian Candidate

The Glass Key

All The King's Men

The Third Man

The Lady From Shanghai

Red Light

The Big Combo

Border incident

The Black Book

Hollow Triumph

The Mask of Dimitrious

Danger Signal

Flamingo Road

Illegal

Link to post
Share on other sites

Finance, let me apologize. I actually meant to save that reply and come back to it when I had the time to gather my thoughts. I in no way think my opinion on *The Big Heat* (or any film for that matter) is so important that it would need a cliff hanger post on these boards!! :)

 

Dave Bannion's attitude: Both before his wife's death and after. Before, he is a crusty non nonsense detective who hates the bad guys and the politics plaguing his department. However, after his wife's death, I almost had a hard time still rooting for him. I usually root for the protagonist when I watch noirs and mystery films. Even if they are doing "shady" things, they still have a quality about them that makes me want to see them come out on top.

 

Insubordination: I get that Bannion was still upset about his wife's death and was dead set on finding the killers but his insubordination at work, attitude, questioning of suspects at some points made me feel like, dude, lighten up before one of these gangsters get you for real this time. While all police departments have some kind of politics, I found his attitude and reaction to his direct superior to be a bit un called for, however I completely understand his disgust for the commish seeing as how he was in cahoots with the bad guys.

 

It isn't until the end of the film where I like his character again. I think he starts to show that he has his emotions under control after Grahame's character is burned with the coffee. Maybe this is what makes me like this film, the fact that Bannion's character comes full circle.

 

I will say one thing though, Glenn Ford, from his facial expressions to his acting style, he plays "bitter widower" very well!

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

In The Big Heat women are clearly classified into one of two types; Saints or trash. Bannion clearly uses women in other category.

 

His wife and kid are saints and to some degree the daughter of Lagana the mob boss. While it appears Bannion cares about women at the end their lives are not worth much. What is more important is beating the mob. 4 women are killed as part of Bannion's quest. Bannion clearly cares about his wife but the other 3 women? They are just collateral damage.

 

As noted, at the end Bannion does finally appear to understand that women are more than just collateral to be used for his purposes (yes, his legit and nobel purposes but still purposes just the same). He treat Debby as a human being! That is a big change for Bannion. What makes Bannion a noir character is this dynamic. i.e. we should feel A LOT of sympathy but we only feel a little. Hey, are we also like Bannion?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

jamesjazzguitar basically explained why my sympathy was very limited for him. I did sympathize with him losing his wife, and I sympathized with how in one moment the family unit he had was taken away from him. He went from coming home to a beer and steak to leaving his kids at his in-laws' while he fights crime. I felt like outside of his wife and daughter, he didn't care about any female on his quest to avenge his wife's death.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the next 12 days here are some of the movies coming up listed in the unofficial massive noir list-

 

The Manchurian Candidate

The Glass Key

All The King's Men

The Third Man

The Lady From Shanghai

Red Light

The Big Combo

Border incident

The Black Book

Hollow Triumph

The Mask of Dimitrious

Danger Signal

Flamingo Road

Illegal

 

And don't forget the very first movie of November, at 6:00 AM: Detour. That's almost never shown on TCM, and it's every bit as good as any of the films above, at least in terms of a sterling plot involving a classic femme fatale (the appropriately named Ann Savage) and other assorted low lifes. It's truly one of the Holy Grails of noir.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it isn't too late to jump in on the Big Heat debate, I would like to add that I disagree with james and even LoveFilmNoir, in that I see Bannion as a sympathetic character throughout the entire film.

Let's see: first, the daughter of the gangster doesn't even come into the film, unless there's a version of *The Big Heat* that I haven't seen. She's having a party when Bannion visits her gangster fathers's house, but she herself doesn't enter into the story at all.

 

Now, as to the four women who die in this movie: the first woman, the one who was having an affair with the police officer who killed himself at the outset, and who wanted to talk to Bannion because she wasa sure the man was not in a suicidal frame of mind, is killed by the gangsters, who are afraid of what she might have already told Bannion, and what she might also tell, given a second chance. Bannion is disturbed when he hears of her death, especially when he learns she was hurt first ( cigarette burns). It was not his fault she was killed, it was the woman herself who demanded to see him.

 

Second - Bannion's wife. Of course he is devastated by this, and it certainly is not his fault that she was killed. If we're supposed to think it was, because he was pursuing a case he'd been warned off of, then just about every male protagonist in any police or detective or noir drama who has a wife or girlfriend who's harmed by the criminals said protagonist is trying to stop is guilty of "causing" their wife/girlfriend's murder. It seems odd to blame the detective, instead of the criminals who actually did it.

 

Third - Mrs.Duncan, the widow of the police officer who killed himself. Bannion does not kill her, either, In fact, Debby does. True, Bannion had explained to her how the truth about the police corruption and the gangsters would come out should Mrs. Duncan die, but he does not ask her to murder Mrs. Duncan, or even hint a such a thing. Debby forms this idea herself, probably because after her lovely face is burned, she feels she has nothing to lose. Also, to "redeem" herself, to do some good before she herself is destroyed ( she probably suspects Lee Marvin is going to "take care" of her even before Marvin does.) There's no denying that Bannion was not sorry to see Mrs. Duncan go, but neither are we - she was a horrid woman, greedy, dishonest, cold.

 

Fourth: Debby herself. Bannion is never nasty to Debby - at first, when he thinks she is loyal to Lee Marvin, he makes it clear he has no respect for her. This is nothing new - lots of noir heros display a similar attitude towards gangter's girls.When Debby appeals to him, after her face is burned, he does everything he can to help her. He is still grieving for his wife, so of course he doesn't respond to her advances, but what's wrong with that? Seems pretty normal to me.

Debby's death scene is very moving, especailly when she covers the scarred side of her face - and with the mink coat that had meant so much to her before the hot coffee incident. Bannion listens to her, tries to comfort her, tells her about his wife. He's kind to her.

 

So, why does he get the blame for the deaths of all these women? He didn't kill any of them, nor ( except for Mrs. Duncan) did he want to. He's just a noir hero, doing his thing- which is to try to catch the corrupt police and the gangsters, and put a stop to them. What's wrong with that?

 

ps- why do people say "everything's the same afterwards, the corruption continues..." ? I saw no evidence of that. I did see Bannion behave in a way pretty much the same as before the whole thing happens, answering calls for police assistance, etc. I didn't pick up on any continued police corruption, though.

Hey, anybody notice, they made a point of him grabbing himself a hot coffee before he leaves the station. In view of what happened to Debby, I wondered if it were on purpose - some kind of weird allusion to it, a grim joke? Hot coffee is the last thing we want to think about after we've seen *The Big Heat.*

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Note that the term I used was collateral damage and NOT 'blame'. I used collateral damage on purpose because it is similar to how the 'good guys' (e.g. USA, Israel), defend themselves or fight for justice. Some innocents get killed or harmed in the process. Bannion like the soliders fighting in these conficts are NOT to blame. It is too simplistic to frame the discussion in terms of blame or not to blame. Thus once one frames the discussion in the terms of blame one creates strawman points. Bannion leaves a lot of collateral damage in his quest for justice. That was my basic point and I still stand by it.

 

You also frame the discussion in black and white terms by implying we don't see Bannion "as a sympathetic character". Our point was that Bannion isn't a complete and total sympathetic character. This point is why The Big Heat is more than just a hero driven crime drama but a film noir. Even other cops in the force start to lose some sympathy for Bannion. In a standard hero driven crime drame the hero would get total sympathy for having his wife blown to bits. Note the case in this noir world.

 

The same applies to the ending. In the noir world corruption isn't stopped and the city all cleaned up. Like The Racket, corruption takes a hit but it will of course come back in a different form.

 

 

 

 

As for the gangster daughter; Yea, she is only mentioned in the movie in passing but she is mentioned for a very specific purpose. The reference relates to the myth that one can live outside the world of corruption. But like Bannion's wife corruption will impact even those not directly involved in the battle between good and evil. Bannion implies that the daughter could also end up being collateral damage as a way at getting under the skin of the gangster.

 

Edited by: jamesjazzguitar on Oct 15, 2011 5:45 PM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just some clarification, misswonderly, (I've recently read the novel that the film was based on so I can add some light) Lucy Chapman was the first girl to die, the woman that Duncan was having an affair with. Duncan was on the take until he met Lucy. Lucy was actually fingered by Mrs Duncan to mob boss Laguna (who had the evidence in the "supposed" suicide letter) and was using it to blackmail Lagana. Lagana had Stone handle her torture & murder which was contracted out by Stone to a Detroit hit man. Its sort of hinted in the book that Mrs Duncan actually killed her husband because he was going to come clean

 

In the novel its made clear that a political campaign is winding down to an upcomming election which is why the mob is trying to keep a lid on Duncan's expose letter.

 

Later after Debbie kills Mrs. Duncan, Banion (O'Banion in the novel) makes a littlle statement out the window that now "The Big Heat" meaning the scutiny of the press will take care of the corruption of those currently in power

 

Edited by: cigarjoe on Oct 15, 2011 9:50 PM

Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched The Big Heat again and a few things -

 

Possible plot holes.

 

 

1) Glenn Ford is warned over the telephone to stop pushing into the death of Duncan or else. It should have come as no surprise they would attempt something when he failed to listen,they had even bumped off Lucy Chapman at that point.

 

 

2) Gloria Grahame watches her tough boyfriend get pushed around by Glenn Ford, then after her boyfriend leaves the bar she hits on Glenn Ford, a cop? And he takes her to his apartment letting her know where he is staying, this is after his wife is murdered?

 

 

3) Unless I missed things, I thought Glenn Ford said Mr. Duncan that committed suicide left a million dollar trust fund for his wife that he wanted to divorce? With that kind of dough I doubt anyone would commit suicide, much less leave it to someone they hate. Worst comes to worst he could have shot himself in the foot and claimed a mugger did it and retire. Also with that amount Mrs. Duncan didn't need to blackmail anyone, she could have played dumb and lived like a millionaire.

 

 

4) When Glenn Ford is asked for his badge by Higgins he had enough information to go to the newspapers and bring down the whole department. He could have threatened that to keep his job if he wanted and avoid interference, but instead turned his badge in.

 

 

5) Glenn Ford did try to choke Mrs. Duncan but the cops showed up before he could finish it. Not really a plot hole but attempting murder on Mrs. Duncan, the weakest of all the villains. Why didn't he force her to get the safe deposit box instead?

 

 

6) What was the police commissionaire Higgins doing playing poker with Lee Marvin and his hit man?

 

 

Anyway interesting movie, and has a great ending. Don't mean to make it sound like it is a bad movie, but as I watch I try to see how plots go and just notice these things.

 

 

I think most people would be sympathetic to Glenn Ford for having lost such a nice wife, even if he did push into something he was warned not to do.

 

 

PS At the very end when he is back at the department and the other cops welcome him, one brings him a cup of coffee. He should have told the guy thanks just don't throw it on me, lol. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Glenn Ford is warned over the telephone to stop pushing into the death of Duncan or else. It should have come as no surprise they would attempt something when he failed to listen,they had even bumped off Lucy Chapman at that point.

 

I don't see how is this a plot hole, its a bit naive, but not a hole

 

2) Gloria Grahame watches her tough boyfriend get pushed around by Glenn Ford, then after her boyfriend leaves the bar she hits on Glenn Ford, a cop? And he takes her to his apartment letting her know where he is staying, this is after his wife is murdered?

 

She likes the way Ford pushes around "tough" guy Stone, gets off on it, come on she's a Femme Fatale. It's a hotel where he is staying, Ford is still looking into info on who killed his wife, he's using her at this point.

 

3) Unless I missed things, I thought Glenn Ford said Mr. Duncan that committed suicide left a million dollar trust fund for his wife that he wanted to divorce? With that kind of dough I doubt anyone would commit suicide, much less leave it to someone they hate. Worst comes to worst he could have shot himself in the foot and claimed a mugger did it and retire. Also with that amount Mrs. Duncan didn't need to blackmail anyone, she could have played dumb and lived like a millionaire.

 

I don't remember that, like I said I've just finished the novel about 2 weeks ago and there was no mention of a trust fund, in fact it's hinted that Mrs Duncan killed Mr Duncan because he was going come clean and divorce her for Lucy.

 

4) When Glenn Ford is asked for his badge by Higgins he had enough information to go to the newspapers and bring down the whole department. He could have threatened that to keep his job if he wanted and avoid interference, but instead turned his badge in.

 

by this time he's obsessed and doesn't give a rat's **** the true Noir protagonist, no?

 

5) Glenn Ford did try to choke Mrs. Duncan but the cops showed up before he could finish it. Not really a plot hole but attempting murder on Mrs. Duncan, the weakest of all the villains. Why didn't he force her to get the safe deposit box instead?

 

how is he going to do that? She has the crooked elements in the PD and Mob on her side

 

6) What was the police commissionaire Higgins doing playing poker with Lee Marvin and his hit man?

 

quite a large faction of the Philly PD and the Philly City Gov. is on the take and the Commissioner is Lagana's hand picked appointment.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes in the book, it is, and one of the clues Banion (O'Bannion in the novel) uncovers is that Duncan had a second "vacation house" in Atlantic City pretty extravagant for a police officer of his rank and pay (at least O'Bannion thought so). In the film remember he acts like having steak on his salary was a bit over budget.

 

B-)

 

Edited by: cigarjoe on Oct 16, 2011 3:03 PM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Glenn Ford may have meant that the things Mr. Duncan wrote down about the syndicate were worth a million dollar trust fund, so that probably explains that part (so no trust fund really exists).

 

The way he could have gotten into the safe deposit box was by using the courts. Once he told the police commissionaire he was not handing in his badge, he arrests Mrs. Duncan. Then a court orders the safe deposit box to be opened.

 

Yes this is not very good for movie drama, so the way they did it is more interesting.

 

I still think Gloria Grahame would have never gone with the cop after he made her boyfriend look so foolish, that was like a death sentence. But as others say it is just a movie, so it is how they made it.

 

Did you notice how much of the lighting was noir? I saw maybe 10% max or less, the use of mirrors a few times but really only the ending was noirish to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...