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Your Top 4 Gangster/Noir Picks

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I want to make a box set of 3 gangster films and another set of 3 noir films as a present for Mr Tiki, the g-man. I've been recording some of the greats for him to see and he definitely prefers Cagney's gangster over the rest. He likes the snotty dialogue and the end resolutions.


Since he likes the genre, I'd also like to make a set of noir classics. Mr Tiki is NOT a seasoned Cinefile....all this is fairly new to him. He was one of the great unwashed who went to see the newest release not realizing the superior gold mine of classic film.


I'd like to know what are YOUR favorite classic gangster films...3 or 4 choices, prefer WB Cagney.


Two definite choices are:




What are your favorite noir classics? I'm thinking along the lines of;




He wasn't impressed with I'M A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG or atmospheric noirs like KEY LARGO, they were too slow moving.


Thanks for your input & opinion!

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For gangster, there's no first choice other than WHITE HEAT. A great movie regardless of genre, it's by far, the best of the bunch. My clear second favorite is HIGH SIERRA. Tightly woven, it builds to an exciting climax more efficiently than many films ever have. Your pick ASPHALT JUNGLE could arguably fit into either category. Whichever, it's a good choice.


As you suggest, DOUBLE INDEMNITY is the noir to reckon with. One of the finest movies, period, it has just about the best dialogue I've ever heard. OUT OF THE PAST is, perhaps, the most typical. I like MALTESE FALCON, THE GLASS KEY and MURDER, MY SWEET. Want to throw in a couple of cheap ones? Try DETOUR and NARROW MARGIN. They're good stories, and the lack of production values merely adds to the atmosphere.


Wish I could suggest another Cagney film. But my other favorite JC vehicle is FOOTLIGHT PARADE! Definitely wouldn't fit into your set. But for silly, fluffy, foot tapping fun, you can't beat it!

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This was harder than picking my five favorite Westerns.


Out of the Past

Double Indemnity

Little Caesar

A Bronx Tale


Yes, I know A Bronx Tale is from the 90's but the story and message is a lot better than the glamourized Godfather films. These people are killers with no sense of remorse, Little Caesar and Bronx Tale tell the story 50 years apart.

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Wow, for Cagney gangster flicks, you have chosen well! Aside from WHITE HEAT and ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, I'd consider for sure, PUBLIC ENEMY, G-MEN and THE ROARING TWENTIES!! All are great and feature Cagney in great form, and are fast-moving!


As for noir's I'd go along with those mentioned so far, all should work well, and I think the choice of HIGH SIERRA is a good one for sure!

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Hi there TikiSoo. You've picked a genre after my own heart, NOIR. And what a great gift for Mr. Tiki.




I think you've got Cagney covered. Many films I would have picked are already listed. I do enjoy Cagney in "WHlTE HEAT" and Cagney and Raft in "EACH DAWN I DIE."




Again, the previous posts have many of my own favorite choices, "OUT OF THE PAST" being my all-time favorite noir, with a great hero, and a lethal lady your husband might fall

in love with (Jane Greer) if he's not careful. But might I offer "THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS" "CROSSFIRE" "KISS OF DEATH" and "WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS" for your consideration?


When you get a chance Tiki, please look at this YouTube video. It is absolutely the best and most well-done video done on film noir, bar none:



Let us know what you decide. Oh, and tell us what your husband thinks of your gift. :D

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Like you I'm picking 4 in each category since that is easier! You have a nice well rounded listing and I love all those movies. Note that many would say High Sierra is more noir than gangster but of course that would be splitting hairs!


Mine would be:


High Sierra

White Heat

Dead End

Angels With Dirty Faces


The Big Sleep

Out of the Past

His Kind of Women

The Glass Key

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just wanted to thank you for that youtube link cinemaven. the video is so well done, and i loved the choice of music used in the background. i sympatize with TikiSoo, to whittle down the list of noir/gangster movies to four is a difficult task indeed! i can't begin to tackle that one myself. if anybody has great recommendations they are sure to be found here in this thread.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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


> Noir:

> High and Low (probably my favorite movie)


Unquestionably a fine film. But, for a Kurosawa/Mifune noir, I like *Stray Dog* even better.

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  • 1 month later...


In order from top.

The Big Steal, The Narrow Margin, His Kind of Woman, Las Vegas Story, Macao. OK, that's five, but whose counting.


Color Noir: Farewell My Lovely; LA Confidential; Dangerous Mission; The Narrow Margin; Mullholland Falls.


Actually hard to pick just four from the above. Sort of depends on mood I'm in, but Big Steal and Narrow Margin are always on top.



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As far as Noir is concerned, nobody did it better than Jules Dassin.


His city pictures are my favorites though. 'Night and the City' and 'The Naked City' are both amazing. I watched them back to back today and I loved every little bit of them. The cosmic struggles of the desperate men depicted in both films blow my mind every time I witness them. Richard Widmark, in my opinion, was at his best in Night And The City. I'd take watching Harry Fabian scheme and swindle over witnessing a thousand murders committed by Tommy Udo. They are both great, GREAT, films. I just finished up watching 'Rififi' for a third time this year. 'Rififi' is also quite brilliant, and I strongly suggest it to those who haven't seen it. Dassin's other efforts like 'Brute Force' are truly worth watching as well.


My three favorite films of all time also also happen to be my three favorite Film Noirs of all time as well.


1. Jules Dassin's 'Night And The City'

2. Alexander Mackendrick's 'Sweet Smell Of Success'

3. Carol Reed's 'The Third Man'


And if I had to choose a fourth one on the spot, I suppose it would be Billy Wilder's 'Sunset Boulevard'. You really can't go wrong with that picture.

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I agree with Mr Fabian, Richard Widmark is way better in *Night And The City* than his Tommy Udo character in *Kiss Of Death*. And as I always say, I am a BIG Widmark fan. I do really like *Kiss of Death* anyway, Victor Mature is very, very good in that, but many don't take him seriously as an actor. --- anyway , my top picks (limiting to 4 each, and in no particular order) Noir --- *Night And The City*, *Out Of The Past*, *Double Indemnity*, *The Asphalt Jungle*. Gangster --- *High Sierra*, *White Heat*, *Key Largo*, *Public Enemy*.


Edited by: mrroberts on Jul 8, 2011 12:07 PM

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Thank you for agreeing with me! And I agree with you that Mature was acutally a really good actor, but in 'Kiss Of Death', he had the unfortunate and ultimately futile task of trying to compete with Richard Widmark. Under any other circumstances, it would have been Mature who was to be remembered for 'Kiss Of Death', but seeing Widmark strut his stuff as Tommy Udo was like seeing a block of wood try to outshine a frework.


I'm getting ready to watch 'The Bedford Incident' tomorrow night on TCM. I've never seen it, but I know a few people who have told me that 'The Bedford Incident' marks Widmark's finest achievement as an actor. Well... I'll just have to see about that.


And I just have to say, that upon watching The Big Sleep again, I have decided that my heart belongs to Lauren Bacall. More specifically, that she is what Noir means to me. That's all. I'm going to watch key Largo next, I haven't seen it in years, but I do own a copy of it. Seeing in on your list made me want to revisit the film. Consider this me thanking you in advance for the suggestion. :)

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About *Key Largo* --- while I like Lauren Bacall as much as most people, she really isn't anything special in that film. Claire Trevor is the far more interesting female (and she won the Oscar). Even Bogart is kind of low key in much of the picture, he only really comes on in the end. Right from the start, Edward G Robinson and Lionel Barrymore dominate the scenes, even Thomas Gomez plays a good role. I think of *Key Largo* as more of an Eddie G. film then anything; was that by design, or did he just "steal" the picture. I don't think Bogart minded letting Robinson shine in this one. --- About Widmark, *The Bedford Incident* is definitely one of his very best movies, you won't forget it.


Edited by: mrroberts on Jul 8, 2011 5:01 PM

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You're pretty much right about Key Largo. Claire Trevor is one to be remembered after the credits roll, and not so much Lauren Bacall. I still love watching her though.


I somewhat disagree about it being an Edward G. Robinson vehicle, I think Bogart's passivity is just as engaging of Robinson's dominance. Because you know, with Bogie's character, that there's a little old time bomb just ticking away, waiting patiently to explode. Robinson's energy is just raw throughout, and I absolutely loved him in this. I liked Bogie's subtlety an awful lot, a nice change of pace for him I think.


Key Largo was well worth revisiting. And I'm looking forward to The Bedford Incident, I hope I'll be satisfied with the movie.

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