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Film noir runneth over on the schedule lately


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

> Others may consider ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (1959) the last noir, although THE MONEY TRAP (1966) could have been made in the forties. Nothing sixties about it at all.

 

I actually don't agree with TOUCH OF EVIL being the last noir. I don't think anyone really has a say so on when noir ended, and even when it began (Fritz Lang's FURY is a 1930s film and feels like a noir).

 

I have ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW and it was definitely released by MGM as a noir. I don't believe THE MONEY TRAP is available on DVD, I caught it on TCM and have been waiting for it to come on again so I can make a copy. I love that film.

 

I try not to lean too much on the definition. As long as there is a murder and some decent acting, I'll give almost any film a watch made between 1930-1970.

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Hey, TCM isn't showing *Odds Against Tomorrow* anytime soon, are they? (What are the odds of them showing it tomorrow? sorry.)

I've always wanted to see that movie.

 

LoveFilm Noir (baby), thanks for that schedule. I am too lazy to check out the schedule myself that far ahead, so I consider it a huge favour to noir fans when you do that.

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Of course there is really no definitive "last noir" but I would define Odds Against Tomorrow as the last noir of the 'noir era'. Well now I have to define 'noir era' but I define that as ending in 1959. Why 59?

 

Well it is the end of a decade but it also is the last year where studios release at least 3 noir movies each year. For example, in 1960 no noir films were released, in 61 only 2, 3 in 62, none in 63 etc... Thus the era was ending or clearly dying off.

 

While during the 50s each year had at least 3 noirs (58, 59) with some years having as many as 34 (50), and the other years in the 50's averaging around 11 - 12 per year.

 

Plus Odds Against Tomorrow has two major noir icons; Ryan and Grahame. So to me it is a nice cut off point.

 

My source is the book Film Noir by Silver Ward.

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jamesjazzguitar,

 

I actually like and agree with your analysis. And I like how you said 'noir era' this is how I try to word it as well so people think '40-'41 to '58-59 vs. a debate about films after 1960 that are considered noir. But like finance said a few posts up, THE MONEY TRAP is most definitely a film noir.

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I'll have to check out The Money Trap. This is what I love about this forum. I learn stuff!

 

As we all agree there where noirs in all the decades after the 50s, but the era had clearly ended. For example, take Farewell, My Lovely made in 1975. This has THE noir icon in Mitchum and it is based on the novel by Raymond Chandler. One cannot get more noir than that.

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

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

> > Since my heads-up got buried, another reminder about *CORNERED tomorrow at 8PM.*

>

> Thanks! And from the film noir short that TCM airs between movies, I believe that this film was saved and restored from a 16mm print from Dick Powell's personal collection. They do a comparison to the restored from the original - it's like a PD film getting cleaned up - very significant difference.

>

 

That's actually CRY DANGER (1951) not CORNERED.

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

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

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

> > > Since my heads-up got buried, another reminder about *CORNERED tomorrow at 8PM.*

> >

> > Thanks! And from the film noir short that TCM airs between movies, I believe that this film was saved and restored from a 16mm print from Dick Powell's personal collection. They do a comparison to the restored from the original - it's like a PD film getting cleaned up - very significant difference.

> >

>

> That's actually CRY DANGER (1951) not CORNERED.

 

That's what I get for multi-tasking! LOL You are exactly right, thanks for the correction. (oy, I wish there was a way they could underline incorrect facts before I post just how misspelled words have a red underline!)

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Noir and near-noir omissions, including post-'59 noir.

 

9/9:

*Point Blank* (1967) - a Lee Marvin nightmare

*Get Carter* (1971)

*Johnny Cool* (1963) - Rat Pack noir

 

9/15:

*The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond* (1960)

Note: The other gangster films that night probably qualify, but I haven't seen them.

 

9/17:

*The Man with a Golden Arm* (1955) - qualifies as noir for me, plus it's directed by Preminger

 

9/22:

*Sunset Boulevard* (1950)

 

9/28:

*The Naked Spur* (1953)

*Johnny Guitar* (1954)

Two excellent examples of Western noir.

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I will say a little about *Paid*, before we get onto all this other exciting stuff.

 

First, something awful about this movie that I feel has to be said before I can move on: I've heard a lot about offhand racist remarks in old films but it's not that often that I come across them,( maybe because it seems to be most pronounced in films from the 1930s, and my favourite movie period is 1940). Anyway, this was so jarring and seemed so weird, I was distracted from the film for a few minutes. At one point Joan's character is expressing appreciation to someone; she says, "Well, that's mighty wise of you." No, she says, "Well, that's mighty nice of you." No, what she actually says is, "Well that's mighty white+ of you." I have heard that people used to say that, but I couldn't believe it when I heard it coming out of Joan's mouth. I had to rewind to make sure I got it right. Some may be surprised that I'd never heard this expression in an old movie before, but I can't recall that I have; I did hear Bette Davis (I think) once say "I'm free, white, and over 21". Again, this was in a 1930s film.

 

They did it again later in the film- I don't recall the situation the second time, except that it was somewhat near the end (still talking about *Paid*), and I think this time one man says it to another. Yikes! You hear about this stuff, that's one thing, but it's still a shock when you're watching a movie and there's an actor on the screen, casually saying it.

 

Another glaring racist item: one of the character's, Joan's young man, (Kent Douglass?) has a "man servant", butler, call him what you will, who is Asian. Douglass decides to fire him in an attempt to show Joan he has turned over a new leaf. He tells the man as much, but the servant has a little difficulty taking it in, probably because he has been very useful to Douglass up to that point. Douglass' character urges him to leave immediately, saying something about freeing himself from "The Yellow Peril". ! ! ? That's three outrageous racist comments in one movie, all three of them uttered with casual off-handedness, as though they are everyday expressions. This really hit home to me how bizarre and offensive this kind of thing can be in classic movies.

 

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm still against altering or deleting or "improving" these films to avoid offending today's viewers, and the last thing I want is to return to a debate about making such alterations . I think we've all been there recently, and we don't need to go there again. But I actually was jolted by these little phrases, so casually written into the screenplay. I do think perhaps they could pop up an "advisement" or something, just to forewarn people about the presence of this kind of language in a film.

 

Ok, sorry about bringing that up. But to me, it was kind of "the elephant in the room" that needed to be acknowledged before moving on to talk about the film.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 8, 2010 7:30 PM

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 8, 2010 7:31 PM

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Sep 8, 2010 7:32 PM

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I guess what was the last noir made is as open to debate as what was the first noir

made. It's an interesting topic, but one that will likely have no conclusive answer. There

has to a gap somewhere, so that noir can be distinguished from neo-noir. I watched

The Wrong Man when it was on a little while back, and I recognized a shot that

you often see in those noir montages that are on you tube, the shot where the 1950s

car slowly pulls up to park on the street with a bridge looming very large in the background.

Then the headlights go out. Aha. I saw it a long time ago and didn't remember the shot.

 

I've heard that expression Mighty white of you in a few films, though I don't remember which

ones. It doesn't come up too often. I believe Bette Davis uses the line I'm, free, white. and

twenty-one in In This Our Life (1942), which was set in the South. There may have been

a few other no-nos in that one, but I don't recall for sure.

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>>I thought there was a line, or it may have been heard on a radio report or shown in a shot of a newspaper, that he escaped during a work detail, or something like that. So, no they didn't show it, but at least it was mentioned.

 

I'll have to check that out. I have the DVD as part of a Kino noir set, but since TCM has aired it a couple of times in the last six months, I've yet to open the disc.

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I know. And I have heard that one a few times, usually uttered by a female character. But that doesn't seem quite as bad as "That's mighty white of you."

 

Anyway, I don't want to get derailed into a further discussion about racism is classic movies because there are so many more fun things to talk about. It's just that those phrases were fresh in my mind, I"d just seen *Paid* the evening before, and I sort of wanted to get it "out of the way'" before we talked about that film.

 

Remember, just a week or two ago, that very bitter thread about "banning" or "censoring" films?

A) I would never advocate for that, and B) I suspect that most people who read this thread would agree with me, and that they don't want to "go there" again.

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*There has to a gap somewhere, so that noir can be distinguished from neo-noir.*

 

Not necessarily.

 

In my view, noir has never stopped being made so there is no gap -- cycles, perhaps, but not "gaps". At some point, however, "noir" became -- or was starting to become (Chinatown, perhaps) -- a recognizable term in popular culture and then certain films began to be made that were self-consciously noir ("Hey, gang! Let's put on a noir!") while some others, though likely a smaller number, continued to be made and happened to be noir. Those that are (or appear to be) self-consciously noir, from my perspective, are neo-noir.

 

So both a noir (The Killing of a Chinese Bookie) and a neo-noir (Red Rock West) can be made after the Golden Age of Noir. In short, the last noir is yet to be made.

 

Also, this approach has the advantage of making any debate about dates and eras less important than the content and form of the movies.

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I think there was a gap between the familiar b&w noirs of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s and the

neo-noirs, whenever they started or were recognized as such. Perhaps it is more of a matter

of terminology, which simplifies what is more complicated and lets people put a certain order

to things. I don't remember if Chinatown was called neo-noir when it originally came out, or

if the term was even around at the time. I agree there were still noirs being made in every year,

even if they weren't still explicitly categorized as such, and they were different from neo-noir's

self-conscious feeling of Hey, let's kind of do that old noir thing with a bit of a twist. Perhaps

there were earlier ones, but Body Heat strikes me as being one of the first self-conscious

neo-noirs. It's true that form and content are more important, but it's always easier to sell

something if there's a handy shortcut in the form of a label to be found.

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I remember Chinatown being marketed as a noir movie. In fact it was one of the reasons I got into classic noir movies and actors like Bogie and Mitchum. So I agree that there is no such paradigm as 'the last noir' but we can define the classic noir era (40 41 until 59) like we can define other eras, like the era of the screenball comedy or the big musical.

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

> I remember Chinatown being marketed as a noir movie. In fact it was one of the reasons I got into classic noir movies and actors like Bogie and Mitchum. So I agree that there is no such paradigm as 'the last noir' but we can define the classic noir era (40 41 until 59) like we can define other eras, like the era of the screenball comedy or the big musical.

 

I agree james. I like the term 'classic noir' and if I saw a trailer for a film today that had significant noir elements, I would probably go see it.

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I believe that is too simplistic. For example take Leave Her To Heaven; This is an early noir but it is in color. While noir means black it wasn't because the movies were black and white but because the vibe of the movies were black.

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We could discuss the definition and parameters around film noir til the cows come home.

(especially those black and white cows -Holsteins?)

 

Get ready to talk about *Cornered* and especially *Act of Violence* (one of my favourites) . Van Heflin and a very angry (surprise) Robert Ryan square it off . Love this movie.

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I think classic noir is a good term to describe those movies from that period, roughly

from the early 1940s to the late 1950s or early 1960s. And most of them, except for

a few exceptions, were in black and white. Though b&w is not necessary, it seems

as much a part of classic noir as the other usual suspects often mentioned. I don't

know if color is that important, since neo-noirs, being of recent vintage, are mostly color

by default.

 

Or until the cows are found mutilated. No, that would be a sci-fi topic.

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