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On 5/12/2020 at 3:30 PM, cigarjoe said:

Compartiment tueurs aka Sleeping Car Murders (1965) Masterpiece Policier

 
"The greatest film policier ever made."(Dave Jenkins SLWB)

Directed masterfully by Costa-Gavras (Z (1969)).

Compartiment tueurs (literally translates as "Killers Compartment") is an excellent "Policier" Noir, but also functions as an Ensemble Noir.

We call them here Police Procedurals, Classic Noir films like Naked City, He Walked By Night, White Heat, The Street with No Name, Appointment with Danger, Mystery Street, The Sniper, Detective Story, Cop Hater, The Tattooed Stranger, and Shield for Murder. Transitional Noir Films like Experiment In Terror, The Manchurian CandidateIn The Heat Of The Night, and In Cold Blood cover the same territory. At the same time there were lots of equally good foreign procedurals, in fact, quite a few UK Noirs are police procedurals a classic of note being The Blue Lamp. There is also Stray Dog and High And Low from Japan, and from Germany one of the catalysts of the sub genre, the original M.
 
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Yves Montand as Inspector Grazziani
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 Jean-Louis Trintignant as Éric Grandin and Simone Signoret as actress Éliane Darrès

 

 The film is also a great Ensemble Noir with quite the interesting cast. Yves Montand as Inspector Grazziani "Grazzi," Jacques Perrin as Daniel, Catherine Allégret as Benjamine Bombat aka "Bambi,"
Pierre Mondy as Superintendent Tarquin, Claude Mann as Jean-Lou Gabert, Jean-Louis Trintignant as Éric Grandin, Simone Signoret as actress Éliane Darrès, Charles Denner as Bob Vaski, Michel Piccoli as René Cabourg, Pascale Roberts as Georgette Thomas, Jacques Dynam as Inspector Malec
André Valmy as Inspector, Philippe Rouleau as Inspector Antoine, Maurice Chevit as Inspector Moutard, Nadine Alari as Mme Grazziani, and many other memorable bit part players.
 
Compartiment tueurs was written by Sébastien Japrisot and Costa-Gavras and was based on Sébastien Japrisot's novel. The excellent Cinematography was by Jean Tournier, the exceptional ahead of it's time, Film Editing was by Christian Gaudin and the Art Direction was by Rino Mondellini. The innovative  percussive Music was by Michel Magne. 

Wow, here is a film that puts the pedal to the metal and doesn't let up until the last frame. Why the heck 
haven't we, here in the US, seen or heard of this before. Ok I'll venture a couple of guesses. One, it was
released in the US on March 7th, 1966, in the way way off Broadway Coronet Theater at Third Avenue
and 59th Street. and possibly also in Los Angeles in some art house hole-in-the-wall, and then
disappeared. Why? Because there is a great percentage of Americans that have blinders on to anything
that's foreign, and to anything that is not dubbed into English. If they, god forbid have to "read"
subtitles forgedaboudit. And these admissions and declarations come from people who claim to
be movie lovers, Noir lovers, "cineasts," etc., etc.

Its as if nothing outside their own little comfort zone of American movies matters. They'd rather watch
obscure B-Z Hollywood Product than foreign Noir Masterpieces and of course equally great foreign B
films. It's their loss.

Noirsville is dedicated to digging out these obscure, neglected, forgotten titles, and bringing them to English speaking Noir lovers attention. Quite a few of these films are the equal to many American Classic Noir and they weren't under the thumb of a Motion Picture Production Code.
 
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The platform
Compartiment tueurs is ahead of it's time. It's fast paced, stylish, engaging. Marseilles. The station. A young woman Bambi hurries to board the overnight train to Paris. At the end of her car she steps up and bumps into Daniel a boy about her age. He is trying to scam a free trip by eluding the conductor. The metal tips on his shoes puts a run on her stocking. Its a meet cute device that is repeated.
 
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Catherine Allégret as "Bambi," and  Jacques Perrin as Daniel


Bambi heads to her sleeping compartment. The compartment contains six bunks. Four of them are occupied. Two women and two men. On the lower bunk on the right is a film actress Éliane Darrès, above her is a cosmetic consultant Georgette Thomas. Above Georgette is a man named Rivolani. On the bottom bunk on the left is René Cabourg an insecure nebbish who is taking up-skirt peeps of Georgette. Bambi takes the middle bunk above him.

 
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Michel Piccoli as René Cabourg
 
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Pascale Roberts as Georgette Thomas
 
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Tickets
 The train pulls out of Marseilles. After the conductor checks her ticket Bambi gathers her toiletries and heads to the washroom. It's occupied. She knocks on the door. Daniel opens it and lets her in. When the conductor knock on the door Bambi opens it and tells him he already checked her ticket. Once he passes down the aisle, Bambi tells Daniel that the berth above her's is unoccupied and that he should sneak in and use it. He does.
 
 
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At first light, as the train pulls into Paris, Daniel tells Bambi he's going to leave now before the others awake, and asks her to grab his suitcase. He'll meet her outside the station. However Bambi forgets to get his suitcase. Daniel then heads back aboard the train. At the compartment he finds the dead body of Georgette laying in her bunk. Shocked, he grabs his suitcase, re-meets Bambi, but says nothing.
 
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The body of  Georgette Thomas

When the authorities discover the body the police investigation begins starting with trying to track down all the sleeping compartment occupants.

 

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The wonderfully detailed screenplay along with the nuanced performances of the large ensemble cast provides you with an intriguing look into the detailed investigations of a homicide bureau that has to not only investigate the original murder, but are also racing against time in Noirsville because the remaining occupants of the sleeping compartment start showing up dead 

Noirsville
 
 
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All of the cast is exemplary, especially Yves Montand (The Wages Of Fear, Is Paris Burning?, Grand Prix, Z) who reminds me of a cross between Bogart and a "baby I don't care" Mitchum. Simone Signoret (Dédée d'Anvers) (Montand's wife at the time) is good as the actress past her prime. Signoret's real life daughter Catherine Allegret (from her marriage to director Yves Allegret) is impressive.

A French Noir masterpiece 10/10. Full review with more sreencaps at Noirsville

Where did you  see this?

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On 8/31/2020 at 6:01 PM, cigarjoe said:

Check your PM

Finally got around to watching this.  FABULOUS!  For some reason I knew this was gonna be good and it didn't let me down.   First off, the cast was fantastic.  It starts with my favorite French Actress ( who is gorgeous)  Simone Signoret.  Jean Louis Trintignant and Yves Montand headline a fabulous cast.  Next, the crazy good plot was made even better by fantastic cinematography and musical scoring.  Everything was very good here.  The fast paced and VERY nuanced plot was the obvious centerpiece.   It was VERY well done and directed.  It lost me in a LOT of places, but you were still able to figure out what was happening.  Its gonna take a rewatch to really hone in on the plot as it unfolds.  Its a must watch.  Thanks CigarJoe...

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The Girl in the Black Stockings (1957) Desert Resort Film Soleil Noir

 
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"I'm having such a wonderful time!"

Ensemble Noir

Directed by Howard W. Koch (Shield for Murder (1954), Big House, U.S.A. (1955). Written by Richard Landau and based on the story "Wanton Murder" by Peter Godfrey. Cinematography was by William Margulies and the Music was by Les Baxter.

The film stars an interesting ensemble of actors . Lex Barker (who was in Classic Noir Crossfire (1947), then a bunch of Tarzan films in the early fifties and then TV. He went on to star in Euro Frontier Epic Old Shatterhand which sort of primed the pump for the Spaghetti Western phenomenon in the mid sixties) Barker plays David Hewson an L.A. lawyer on vacation. .

Anne Bancroft (New York Confidential (1955), The Naked Street (1955), Nightfall (1956), and ten years later as the Ionic Mrs Robinson in The Graduate (1967)) as Beth. Sex bombshell Mamie Van Doren as Harriet Ames, John Dehner (he had some minor roles in He Walked by Night (1948), Vicki (1953) and was in quite a few Westerns) as Sheriff Holmes. Australian actor Ron Randell (Sign Of The Ram (1948)) who made a few Bulldog Drummond and balanced his career between film and Broadway, as Edmund Parry. Classic Noir actress Marie Windsor as Julia Parry, Gene O'Donnell as Joseph Felton, John Holland as Norman Grant, Diana Vandervlis as Louise Miles, Richard Cutting as Dr. Aiken, Larry Chance as Indian Joe, Stuart Whitman as Prentiss, Gerald Frank as Frankie Pierce, and Dan Blocker as the Bartender.
 
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Ann Bancroft as Beth Prentis and Lex Barker as David Hewson
 
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Diana Vandervlis as Louise Miles and Mamie Van Doren as Harriet Ames
 
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Marie Windsor as Julia Parry
 
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John Dehner as Sheriff Holmes 
 
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 Ron Randell as Edmund Parry
It's a bit campy as it is probing cautiously into the cracks of the crumbling Motion Picture Production Code. If there is one glaring omission from this late period exploitation Noir it is the lack of any flashback to the actual female of the title. Oh we get a pretty scathing description of her from Edmund Parry. But in hindsight some sort of flashback would have made the monologue visually more powerful.

Edmund: Why did she have to stay? Why didn't she just pack up and go?
Julia: Its over now she can't hurt anybody.
Edmund: She was poison. Like a disease.

. . .a few minutes later talking to the sheriff.

Sheriff Holmes: I got a job to do, I don't like it. A girl was slaughtered and carved up like a side of beef tonight.
Edmund: I must say the man eating witch deserved it. But she might have chosen some messy public place a trailer camp at Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon.

Sheriff Holmes: You're not unhappy about the dead girl?
Edmund: Unhappy... Romance on the gold standard. A common creature whose every word, every breath,  every gesture, was the show of an empty shallow strumpet. Miss Morgan was an example of a completely justifiable homicide.

Perhaps you had to be there back in the zeitgeist of the late Eisenhower years to get the significance of the title. A girl in black stockings must have been a verbal dog whistle for a dope smoking, jazz listening, bongo playing, poetry reciting, sex crazed Beatnik chick.

"Rebellious Beatnik women developed a distinctly recognizable style in the 1950s and 1960s. They gave up trying to follow trendy fashion, opting instead for loose men’s shirts over slacks or faded jeans, and plaid skirts with black stockings. These very dark stockings had very little sheerness to them. In many cases, black leggings or snug fitting ankle pants were worn instead of stockings and were paired with a jersey shirt or loose sweater.

Diana Trilling, the wife of literary critic James Trilling, wrote after attending a poetry reading in 1959 at Columbia:  ‘so many young girls, so few of them pretty, and so many dreadful black stockings.’

Needless to say, normal society did not appreciate the Beat style. None of my ’50s catalogs even offer black stockings for sale. It was clearly an underground anti-fashion movement." (VINTAGE DANCER)

Another, hidden from view aspect, of black stockings was the implication that the bohemian women who wore them didn't shave their legs or by inference anywhere else apparently. lol That she wore black stockings is sort of akin to the scandalous revelation in Anatomy Of A Murder of Mrs Manion not wearing a girdle. Basically no girdle = jiggle = ****. My how times have changed.

This sqeuene in the trailer below never made it into the film. Looks like a case of bait and switch.
 

The Film
 
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So the story starts at an outdoor dance at a place called Three Lakes which in reality are three deep  pools in the draw of a mostly dry stream bed about seven miles out of Kanab, Utah.

It's an outdoor shindig, a lot of the guests from Parry's Lodge are out there doing it up. Los Angeles lawyer David Hewson has paired off with Beth Dixon around the far edge of the pool. David thinks he may be getting lucky, but Beth is playing a little hard to get. As David flicks on his lighter for a cigarette, the flame illuminates a dead, bloody, butchered, woman in slashed black stockings.
 
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Beth screams.

Compared to what you see in today's cinema it's tame and its in black and white. But back in a theater in 1957 it must have been quite shocking to see the scene below.
 
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The dead woman is Marsha Morgan, lately a guest at Parry's Lodge, her throat is cut her body lacerated, her black stockings in shreds. Beth's scream brings the dancers running around the edge of the water to the grisly scene. The Sheriff John Holmes, and his handful of officers arrive on the scene along with a small town crew of concerned citizens and assorted yahoos. Some are doing double duty as an undertaker/coroner, shutterbug/crime scene photographer, others are trackers, investigators and rubberneckers.
 
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Holmes begins his investigation by searching the murder scene and interviewing the patrons of Parry's Lodge.

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The lodge, a real business (still going strong), was home away from home for the many of the Hollywood Western film crews that used the scenic locations around Kanab.
 
 
Edmund Parry, the lodges paraplegic owner, is a bitter man. A vemenant misogynist.  He vents his anger on the wanton women that occasionally check in for accommodations. Parry's affliction is apparently psychosomatic. The story goes that when he was back East, he met a woman fell head over heels, and was all set to marry the girl of his dreams when she dumped him just before the wedding. He couldn't handle rejection something snapped in his head and he's been paralyzed ever since.

Edmund is cared for by his sister Julia, his personal assistant Beth and Joe a Native American who functions as a sort of helper handyman. Edmund tells Julia that she really knows how to wipe his nose, and I might say, probably his ****.

As Holmes narrows down suspects he discovers that Marsha broke off a date with local excon mill-worker Frankie to go to the dance with David. David broke off his date with Louise Miles for the date with Marsha but he stands her up and hooks up with Beth instead. A bit confusing. On top of all those women we have a cheesecake model Harriet Ames who has latched on to Hollywood has been, boozer Norman Grant. Grant is there drying out and reading the script of what he hopes will be his big comeback.
 
Now from the film poster and promotional material you get the impression that Mamie Van Doren is the girl in black stockings of the title however you never see her in any of those outfits, in fact you never see Van Doren's stocking-ed legs. However it's apparent that, at least on the inside Marsha and Harriet are birds of a feather.
 
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Gerald Frank as Frankie Pierce lt., and Dan Blocker as the Bartender rt.
 
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The sheriff questions Frankie
While the murder investigation continues Indian Joe is captured running around the hills around Three Lakes drunk as a skunk with the murder weapon a filet knife from the lodges kitchen. He claims he killed rabbit. Not woman.
 
 
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A new guest checks in named Joseph Felton. He ends up dead in the pool the next day. Did he just fall in, hit his head and drown? Sheriff Holmes has another death to investigate.
 
 
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Gene O'Donnell as Joseph Felton
 
 
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cheap hearse

Indian Joe is cleared when it's found out he was tying one on in a bar at the time of Marsha's slaying, and excon Frankie backs into a buzzsaw when he sees Holmes and his deputies show up at the saw mill.
 
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Teepee Burner and Tailfins
 
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Frankie backing into buzzsaw
At a dinner party thrown by the Parrys, a drunk Harriet decalers over and over that she's "having a wonderful time," while throwing herself on Edmund's lap and kissing his cheek.
 
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Edmund has the look of a man who just walked into a kitchen and smelled cabbage, while Julia looks disgusted. Grant meanwhile calculates pretty quickly that its his night to get lucky, while Harriett is obviously in the mood, and that he better get her steered to a mattress ASAP.

David, after witnessing Harriette's shenanigans and Julia's reaction, begins to suspect that maybe Julia is the killer protecting Edmund from wanton women.

It all goes Noirsville when later that night somebody sneaks into Grant's room while he and Harriet are making it. Grant gets his bell rung and while hes old cocked, Harriett gets her throat cut and her arms hacked.

Noirsville
 
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The entire film has a kooky sex vibe to it that couldn't fully be exploited in 1957. Barker displays his vine swinging physique, but he doesn't really sell us his attorney character. Van Doren (the last of the Hollywood blond bombshells The last M standing of the three M's of the Eisenhower years still living BTW). . She does what you'd expect her to do. Her typical “tiny, shiny, and tight” wardrobe has her assets on full display.

Ann Bancroft plays it low keyed almost mousey. Windsor is believable as the overprotective sister to her piece of work brother Randell who growls over the top rants at the sight of women continuously throughout the film. Dehner sort of plays a cliche small town Western sheriff he's got the part down pat. Chance gives a pretty spot on but also cliche performance as a drunk Native American. It's also a  nice surprise seeing Stuart Whitman and Dan Blocker.  It's an interesting piece, in a way also has a Twin Peaks vibe going on with its small town setting, murdered woman opening, sawmill, and eccentric characters.  A Café au lait Noir with minimal noir stylistics but worth a look 6-7/10. Screen caps are from an online streamer.

Here below is the Musings of a Noir Dame, Noir-ista Margot Shelby aka Jennifer Rabbit, with another review enjoy!  Full review with more screencaps at Noirsville

 
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Room 43 ( Passport to Shame ) (1958) Sex Trade Brit Noir

 
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"A woman is like a guitar it depends on the player." (Nick Biaggi)

I've been interested the last couple of weeks in Diana Dors, I recently screened her Tread Softly Stranger and was impressed. Prior to that film I caught her years ago in The Long Haul with one of my favorite Noir actors Victor Mature, but Dors in that was somewhat subdued. Sort of like seeing Marilyn in jeans in Clash By Night and making an assumption on her whole career on that. So that was the state of my opinion on Dors

More recently I viewed The Unholy Wife (1957). That one was one of those lurid  Pulp Fiction Cover Color Noirs, like Slightly Scarlet, Vertigo, Niagara, Desert Fury, Inferno, Bad Day At Black Rock, A Kiss Before Dying, Violent Saturday, etc., etc.. Diana Dors lights up every scene she's in like a highway flare. It was told in a death row flashback. Nice to see Dennis Franz  and Marie Windsor together again to jog your cinematic memory. Rod Steiger seems wasted though. It could have been better.

So here I come to Room 43. It was just the next Dors film to pop up. This film is more of an ensemble piece with Diana Dors, Herbert Lom, Odile Versois, Brenda de Banzie, Robert Brown, Elwyn Brook-Jones. Cyril Shaps, and unexpectedly an American actor who I never heard speak English in a film before, the French PI "Lemmie" Caution star Eddie Constantine.
 
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Odile Versois
 
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Herbert Lom and Brenda de Banzie,
 
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Eddie Constantine
 
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Diana Dors
Wow. C0nstantine looks and sounds like he could be actor Michael Shannon's father, they have a remarkable resemblance. I'd seen him before and I knew of his reputation as Caution but only seen him playing Caution in Alphaville, shame its not a representative flick of the Caution universe. I later saw Constantine in an Italian Gangster flick. In Alphaville he was speaking French and in the latter either French or Italian. Alphaville believe me is not a film to judge the Caution character or Constantine. lol

From Constantine's performance in Room 43 and my subsequently viewing of the very first Caution flick Poison Ivy with an English language release, it really opened my eyes to Constantine. We need all the "Lemmie" Caution flicks available with subtitles.

Anyway back to Room 43. Its a film about a Savings and Loans Banker by day and pimp by night  Nick Biaggi (Herbert Lom) and a Madame Aggie (Brenda de Banzie) run a whorehouse and a white slave ring operation that keeps the house supplied with new talent.

The scheme works like this. At a cabaret in France the joints owner selects good looking young women with no futures and no family or relatives to work as waitresses. These waitresses are to be candidates for recruitment for the sex industry. The women, after making change at the register are called over by Aggie who wants another cup of coffee. Aggie plants a bank note into the pocket of the target waitresses apron. The waitress is then accused by the owner of stealing the money after he finds it in her pocket.
 
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Aggie OKs the new recruit with Nick over the phone
 
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Bartender/owner confronts Malou accusing her of stealing from the till
 
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Aggie ready to rescue Malou
He is going to all the police, claiming that its probably not the first time. Aggie, who is sitting nearby comes to the waitresses rescue and defense telling the owner that she'll take care of any lost revenue. The waitress is relieved and in her defenders debt.

Aggie then offers her a job in London, as a way to pay her back. The only catch is that she'll need to become an English citizen by marrying a UK citizen. Its not a real marriage just a formality on paper.

The real reason for the marriage certificate is for the woman to get UK citizenship and a passport. If the whorehouse gets busted the girls can't be deported. The alternate title for the film was "Passport to Shame." The waitress unlucky enough to be the new girl is Marie Louise 'Malou' Beaucaire (Odile Versois).

Meanwhile, the other part of the scheme is finding a man, desperate enough for money to agree to marry a recruit in return for a lump sum. Braggi has picked as his target a cab driver Johnny McVey (Constantine), who has borrowed the last two hundred pounds from Braggi's Savings and Loan that he needed to purchase his first diesel Austin cab.
 
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Three days later Braggi arranges to have a lorry total McVey's new cab. Braggi also just happens to be on the scene when the accident occurs and offers to help McVey out for a little favor. All he has to do is marry, on paper only, a woman from France who can't get a working permit.
 
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That's the gist of the story. Of course Johnny and Malou start liking what each other sees, Malou is clueless to Aggie and Braggi's designs, and everything will be cool because there's no hurry to give the show away (Braggi assures Aggie that it could be a year before he's ready to turn her out). Nick Braggi is also looking forward to "breaking in," wink, wink, Malou himself.

We know....  it will all go Noirsville.

Noirsville
 
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Don't you work at all?
Malou: Don't you work at all?
Vickie: Oh yes I'm in the entertainment business.
Malou:  But what do you do?
Vickie: I entertain.

 
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I entertain
 
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The fun is watching Eddie and Diana do their stuff. Herbert Lom, pre his "Inspector Dreyfus" turn in the Pink Panther films, is just as interesting as a slimy grease ball as costar Peter Sellers was as the vicious head crook in a hijack car racket in Never let Go (1960). Full review with more screencaps here Noirsville

Directed by Alvin Rakoff and written by Patrick Alexander. The Cinematography was by Jack Asher and music was by Ken Jones A pleasant surprise. 8/10
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la môme vert-de-gris aka Poison Ivy (1953) Casablanca/French "B" Noir

 
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It was the start of a film career for Eddie Constantine. 

Who ?

I know I asked myself that same question. The only other film I've seen Eddie in up to about a week ago was Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965). I wasn't impressed at the time. Then while sampling more of Diana Dors' output I watched Room 43 aka Passport to Shame (1958) a few days ago (to be reviewed soon), where Eddie plays a Canadian cab driver in London who agrees to marry a French girl for cash. Reminding me a lot of Michael Shannon, Eddie really impresses with his performance.

So from there I managed to snag an English language copy of Poison Ivy. Its his first feature film and really not expecting much I was pleasantly surprised. You an watch it on Amazon Prime most of the film is intact, but cuts are made that excise a few risque strippers. A new Bluray has the film beautifully restored but its all in French. That was a mistake. Eddie c onstantine should be better known in his own country.
 
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Eddie Constantine as Lemmie Caution
Eddie was born in Los Angeles in 1913. He tried to have a singing career. He went to Vienna for voice training. That fizzled. Back in The City Of Angels he got work in the movie business as an extra. His first real screen credit was Egypt by Three (1953) it was the first American picture filmed entirely in Egypt. For Eddie that went nowhere. But it got Eddie back across the pond. So Eddie returned to his first passion and headed from Egypt to France and started singing in Parisian cabarets. In Paris he got noticed by Edith Piaf. Piaf was France's "national chanteuse." She cast Eddie in a musical and he later helped Edith with English transitions on her album La Vie en Rose/Édith Piaf Sings In English.

The cabaret gigs and the musical gets Eddie noticed by Bernard Borderie a produer/director, and is cast as the lead in the first of a series of films as "Lemmie" Caution. Lemmie Caution was the creation of British crime fiction writer Peter Cheyney, In a series of books between 1936 and 1951, Cheyney depicted Caution as originally an FBI agent who eventually becomes a Private Eye. These were the equivalent to the Pulp Fiction stories found in Black Mask. If you think the name "Lemmie" Caution sounds a bit weird remember that Spillane's Mike Hammer also started out as Mike Danger.

After the liberation, France was understandably infatuated with everything American, when the first films hit the Paris theaters the critics noticed that they were about dark subjects that reminded them of what right wing newspapers used to call Film Noir. Most (but not all of them) were about Crime. Those first American films were dealing with the dark sides of the human condition inluding adultery, murder plots, private detectives and femme fatales.

The French became addicted to American culture, stories, and heroes. So not only did Hammett, Chandler, Woolrich etc., find new readers but so did Cheney. When Bernard Borderie cast Eddie Constantine as Lemuel "Lemmie" Caution he kind of caught lightning in a bottle.

Constantine was no pretty boy matinée idol by American standards. He has the look of a rough and tough street bruiser. Think Bogart. Originally Bogart was never considered as a lead. On first impression in this first film, the Caution character is like taking the ingredients of Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, and Mike Hammer and putting it all in a blender with 007 and Matt Helm.
 
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Womanizer
 

Caution is a smart aleck, wisecracking, womanizer, always ready to put the moves on whatever split tail meets his fancy.

Casablanca

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As a bonus, in this film, you get sprinkle in the real and quite sleazy looking back alley international locations of Casablanca and Tangier, with a Casablanca cabaret strip show routine as icing on the cake. How cool is that? Remember this was 1953, it would be ten years before any American film would remotely come close to having that kind of freedom.

The Shipwreck

 
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The screenplay was written by Bernard Borderie along with Jacques Berland who provided the dialog. The Cinematography was by Jacques Lemare, and the Music was by Guy Lafarge.

The film stars Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution, Dominique Wilms as Carlotta de la Rue, Howard Vernon as Rudy Saltierra, Darío Moreno as Joe Madrigal, Maurice Ronet as Mickey, Nicolas Vogel as Kerts, Philippe Hersent as Le commissaire, Jess Hahn as  Le marin-geolier, Gaston Modot as L'inspecteur #1, and Paul Azaïs as Le patron du bistrot.

The story

Casablanca. An American Treasury agent in Morocco gets intelligence concerning a gold smuggling operation. He ends up dead. The FBI is notified and they dispatch agent Lemule Caution who speaks French to root-out the culprits. Arriving at the Casablanca airport he receives a call from his FBI contact, an old bureau friend. The call abruptly gets cut off. After checking his bags at his hotel he heads straight to their rendezvous The Shipwreck a nightclub owned by Joe Madrigal. In the film its neon reads  Chez Joe Madrigal "le naufrage."

At the nightclub Eddie looks around for his contact. Nada. But he does notice and appreciate the strip show and Carlotta de la Rue aka "Poison Ivy" a striking blonde chanteuse in a tight green sheath of a dress with a Veronica Lake do. She is accompanied by Rudy Saltierra a shady character. Carlotta also has a vendetta. Just before Eddie arrives in Casablanca her brother has his skull bashed in. He dies at a hospital. Carlotta suspects everyone.

When Eddie goes to the phone to call the embassy about his AWOL contact, he finds his buddies dead body slumped on the floor. Soon after that, during Carlotta's number a man who was sitting at her table is shot in the back. Welcome to Noirsville. Its not Rick's Cassablanca anymore.

Noirsville
 
 
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Screencaps are from the Pathé Blu ray. A must watch, for English language version rent from Amazon Prime. 7/10. I'll definitely be checking out the the rest of the Lemmie Caution films. Full review with more screencaps here Noirsville.
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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) Neo Noir From The Twilight Zone

 
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"The Last Days of Laura Palmer"

Anybody with a working imagination can invent the mythology that works for them. Others without,  have to have a Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, a Bible, a Koran along with a common core of understanding and support.

Its fitting that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me starts with the original blue screen "the tube." It's the cold blue hearth of the modern world. The flickering images on the screen replace the flickering firelight and the ancient traditional stories.
                                                                      
When I was a kid if we weren't out playing out in the street at night we were inside glued to the tube. Everybody watched the tube. Its the reincarnation of the ancient Circus Maximums. Instead of 135 days of the year devoted to circus we could now do it for 365.

Twilight Zone, on the tube, was one of my favorites. It was a gateway to a world of imagination, fantasy, and even Film Noir. It was visually stylistic, it had a voice over narration by its creator/ringmaster Rod Serling, it featured some Classic Noir stars and future Transitional and Neo Noir stars in an anthology series that was pan generic.
 
Supernatural and fantasy based Noir have been around since the beginning. During the Classic Film Noir Era films like Alias Nick Beal (1949), Repeat Performance (1947), The Amazing Mr. X (1948), Fear in the Night (1947), The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), Nightmare  (1956), covered roughly the same territory, there are probably a few more. You can possibly even include  the the Noir-ish "Potterville" sequence in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)as another example and Val Lewton's The Seventh Victim (1943). There are even cases to be made for SiFi Noir. Films like Invasion of The Body Snatchers, The Thing From Outer Space and The Day The Earth Stood Still to name a few.

You pretty much should be familiar with the TV Series Twin Peaks (1990–1991) it would enhanced your viewing experience if you are familiar with all the quirks of the full Twin Peaks Universe. In the series you were introduced to a plethora of quirky minor characters who flickered in and out adding an extra dimension of small town realism on one hand and a bizarre eccentricity that hides beneath on the other. It was something that became expected.
 
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If you watch Fire Walk With Me cold turkey you could almost treat the whole first half hour as a McGuffin that serves mainly to both trigger the main story and to replicate the feeling of the TV series. Characters appear make their impression or serve their plot point and then disappear never to be seen again. Its almost like a pilot for the future series. Parts of the first half hour do connect up however, so pay attention.

<spoilers>
 
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Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer
The real story begins with the chronicling the last days of high school homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Laura Palmer at the very beginning of the TV series washed up dead on the shores of a Pacific Northwest lake near the town of Twin Peaks. We never definitively found out how she got there in the series.
 
 
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Laura and Moira Kelly as Donna Hayward
 

Laura was much more than she seemed. By day a sweet, frumpish, conservatively dressed (baggy sweaters and Catholic school girl plaid skirts) who volunteers for meals on wheels, and has a childhood sweetheart/steady boyfriend James Hurley. Her best friend is Donna Haywood.
 
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snorting coke
 
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Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs
 
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James Marshall as James Hurley
 
 
By night and behind closed doors the voluptuous town pump who is cheating on James with high school jock and drug dealer Bobby Brigs, and stringing along a handful of high school seniors and some townies on the side.
 
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She is also a choke addict. To support this habit she sells her **** at the Band Bang Bar. She also participates in "private sex parties" along with Ronette Pulaski and Teresa Banks. On top of all this, Laura has been engaged in an incestual relationship with her overprotective father Leland Plamer since she was 12.
 
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Ray Wise as Leland Palmer
 
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Frank Silva as BOB
 
 
She coped with the incest by completely blanking out her father and inventing a hairy wild ****-ed character named Bob. It was Bob who would turn on the ceiling fan at night. It was Bob she saw climbing into her room through the window. It was Bob who would orally stimulate her before taking her. She had never acknowledged her father Leland's indiscretions. Leland in his own weird, screwed up mind thought that she loved him equally. He felt safe, but pressure has been building in Leland ever since Laura has started going out on real dates with James, he's actually jealous of her high school steady.
 
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 Serving as a sort of eerie aura surrounding all of this is David Lynches own Black Lodge mythology "The lodge presents a horror that is both grand and intimate (he relates as an equivalent to Loveraft); it reaches as high as the cosmos in regards to its spiritual intrigue, yet it also looks to capture the minds of those who roam its corridors. In other words, it is a “dark world” that exists purely as a part of the universe while also acting to warp and torture those who inhabit it." (Mihael Pementel)



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Two events start things drifting seriously towards Noirsville. The first happens before the actual start of the events depicted in the film but, is not revealed until later. It occurs when Leland, arriving at the four-way he's set up with Teresa Banks at a hot sheet motel, sees in the window, Ronette and his daughter Laura sitting on the bed in their bras and panties waiting for Teresa and the "john" they were expecting. Seeing Laura as a hooker shatters his illusions and crosses some wires in Leland's head. For "corrupting" his daughter Leland murders Teresa Banks.

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The second event is when Laura discoverers that her self coping, self delusional invention Bob could actually her father.
 
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This is all triggered after she discovers pages missing from her diary. She takes her diary over to a friend she trusts and tells him to hold on to it for her. Upon coming home early a few days later she sees Bob looking in the hiding place behind her dresser for her diary. She runs from the house and hides under a bush. Instead of Bob leaving the house its her father.

Noirsville
 
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Grace Zabriskie as Sarah Palmer
 
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Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd
 
 
 
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Julee Cruise
 
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Chris Isaak as Special Agent Chester Desmond and Kiefer Sutherland as Special Agent Sam Stanley

 

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was directed by David Lynch. The film was written by David Lynch, Robert Engels, and Mark Frost. Music by Angelo Badalaenti, Cinematography was by Ronald Víctor García.

The film stars Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer, Ray Wise as Leland Palmer, Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper, Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs, Phoebe Augustine as Ronette Pulaski,
Pamela Gidley as Teresa Banks, Chris Isaak as Special Agent Chester Desmond, Moira Kelly as Donna Hayward, Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd, Kiefer Sutherland as Special Agent Sam Stanley, Grace Zabriskie as Sarah Palmer, Michael J. Anderson as The Man from Another Place, Frank Silva as BOB, James Marshall as James Hurley, and Walter Olkewicz as Jacques Renault. More screencaps at Noirsville
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It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) Escaped Con Brit Noir

 
 
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Directed by Robert Hamer (The Long Memory (1953)).

Based on the novel by Arthur La Bern. The screenplay was written by Angus MacPhail, Robert Hamer, and Henry Cornelius.

The film stars Googie Withers as Rose Sandigate, Edward Chapman as George Sandigate, Susan Shaw as Vi Sandigate, Patricia Plunkett as Doris Sandigate, David Lines as Alfie Sandigate, Sydney Tafler as Morry Hyams, Betty Ann Davies as Sadie Hyams, John Slater as Lou Hyams, Jane Hylton as Bessie Hyams, Meier Tzelniker as Solly Hyams, father of Morry, John McCallum as Tommy Swann, Jimmy Hanley as Whitey, John Carol as Freddie, Alfie Bass as Dicey Perkins, Nigel Stock as Ted Edwards, Jack Warner as Detective Sergeant Fothergill, Frederick Piper as Detective Sergeant Leech, Michael Howard as Slopey Collins, and Hermione Baddeley as Doss-house keeper.

Sunday. Early Morning. Alley cat. Scoping food. Droplets splatter a garbage bin. A bobby making his beat.
 
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Tommy Swann. Escaped con. Heading to the place he knows best, Low rent Bethnal Green, East End, London. Rain. Coming down harder. Tommy jumps down into a railroad cut and makes his way along the tracks. First light.
 
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George Sandigate is awake. Rose is his wife. She is still asleep. They have two daughters from Georges previous marriage. The rain is coming in the window. He gets up in time to see his eldest daughter Vi just getting home.
 
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Googie Withers as Rose Sandigate
 
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Patricia Plunkett as Doris Sandigate,
 
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Susan Shaw as Vi Sandigate

Vi hangs out dancing at The Palace a ballroom dance joint. Shes been out with the sax player Morry Hyams, who runs a record store by day.
 
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Sydney Tafler as Morry Hyams with Vi

Hes married to Sadie who figures somethings stinko. She slips into the house and into the bed she shares with fully clothed. Morry's brother Lou, is a small time hood a fence who handles stolen merchandise and the owner of an amusement arcade. He fancies Doris Sandigate. Doris has a steady boyfriend Ted Edwards.
 
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Jack Warner as Detective Sergeant Fothergill
 
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Morry Hyams with Ann Davies as Sadie Hyams
 
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Nigel Stock as Ted Edwards
 
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John Slater as Lou Hyams with Doris
 

Rose gets her youngest daughter up by banging on the wall. She brings in the morning tea and the paper. As George reads the news he tells Rose that..Tommy Swann her old beau has escaped Dartmoor Prison.
 
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Edward Chapman as George Sandigate with wife Rose
Rose flashes back to the days when her carpet didn't match her blonde drapes. She was a sexy B-girl pouring drinks at a local.
 
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Back when Rose was a blonde lust at first sight
 
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John McCallum as Tommy Swann
 
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She was young and ****. Tommy was a dashing crook. It was "love" on the first date. They are inseparable. At a private picnic where, apparently more than just food was eaten, Rose is laying with her head in Tommy's lap.
 
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Rose with her head in Tommy's lap
Tommy gives Rose a ring. They are going to be married. A few days later while Rose is packing for their elopement she gets the bad news, Tommy got busted on a smash and grab job up in Manchester and get a big sentence.
 
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Rose goes back to reality.

The rain is coming through the broken pane in the back yard door. The kitchen floor is getting wet. Rose goes out the Anderson a correlated pipe air raid shelter/shed to get some tar paper. to cover the hole. She is surprised by Tommy who is hiding in there. He asks her if she could just hide him till night.
 
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She agrees to help him even though she knows it's a two year sentence if she gets caught. While Tommy hides out during the day the tension builds as the police close in. Of course it all goes Noirsville.

Noirvsille
 
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Rose's fires still burn for Tommy
 
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Step Mom-Daughter catfight
 
 
 
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Meier Tzelniker as Solly Hyams
 
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Kudos to cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, the slow build to the gorgeous chiaroscuro sequences in the rail yards is worth the wait. Music by Georges Auric.

Director Robert Hamer nicely weaves the story of the Sandigate family with various neighborhood denizens lives in a 24 hour tale of lost dreams, dashed desires and dead ends. This emotional family drama is masterfully intermingled with the inevitable denouement with the police. You'll notice if you watch enough British Noir the police in their films are always steadfast and resolute and there is never any shadow of a doubt that all miscreants will receive justice. Must have had something to do with their version of the MPPC the BBFC, the British Board of Film Censors. 7.5/10.  More screencaps at Noirsville.
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CrissCross (1992) Key West - Kid Neo Noir - Lite

 
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Here was a nice little surprise.

I never herd of it, and saw it featured as one of the films on Goldie Hawn's day on Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars August theme.

The director was Chris Menges. This was Menges second feature film as a director. He is more known for his work as a cinematographer on The Killing FieldsThe Mission, and Michael Collins. The film was written by Scott Sommer and based on his novella.

The gorgeous cinematography by Ivan Strasburg (Dirty Pretty Things). Music by Trevor Jones.

The film stars David Arnott as Chris Cross, Goldie Hawn as Tracy Cross. Arliss Howard as Joe, Keith Carradine as John Cross, James Gammon as Emmitt, Steve Buscemi as Louis. and Key West, and Southern Florida.
 
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David Arnott as Chris Cross

Chris Cross narrates and tells the story in a flashback.
 
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Goldie Hawn as Tracy Cross.

1969. Key West. Tracy Cross is a divorcee. She lives in The Eden House hotel with her twelve year old son Chris. She and Chris make the rent by working for the hotel. During the day Tracy waits on tables. At night she moonlights bar-tending at the Key Club a local strip joint. Tray drives an oil burning 1957 Chrysler Imperial.

Chris has an early morning newspaper route, buses tables at the Hotel and cleans the pool. He also picks up fresh fish a few ties a week for a local restaurant cook from a fishing trawler that's seen better days. Chris has a first girlfriend Termina. They are both just at the age of puberty and are on the brink of "doing it." They haven't progressed much farther than the I'll show you mine if you show me yours stage.

 

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Chris and Termina
Tracy's ex husband John is a piece of work. He was a Navy fighter pilot who mistakenly bombed a hospital on his last mission.
 
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Keith Carradine as John Cross
He lost it. Quit the Navy. Burned his uniform. Took to boozing it up to forget. Then pulls a one eighty. Goes old sober deserts his family and runs off to a monastery North of Miami. There he takes a vow of silence and raises vegetables in the monasteries garden.
 
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Arliss Howard as Joe
Tracy gets into a new relationship with a just got in town jasper named Joe. Chris is dismayed. He complains to his guidance counselor that all these guys are trying to nail his mother.
 
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To make more money Tracy decides to start stripping when one of the regulars takes off for Miami. At the same time, while carrying the stringer of fish along the dock the dog Rebel takes a bite out of one of them and Chris discovers a packet of cocaine inserted into the fishes belly. Chris keeps the cocaine and tells the cook that Rebel ate one of the fish.
 
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On the night of Tracy's debut as a stripper, Chris overhears his mom's gal pal say something to Tracy about her act. Curious, Chris sneaks into the back seat of the Imperial and goes to the strip club. He sneaks in through the door and watches Tracy do act fro the back wall. Chris is embarrassed. He runs out of the place and hitches a ride with a truck driver to North Miami to visit his father.

His father John pretty much dashes his hopes of a happy family reunion. Chris decides to become a dealer to make enough money so that his mother can stop stripping. Things go Noirsville when he tries to sell cocaine to some undercover narcotics cops.

Noirsville
 
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The whole tale is woven about the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing and the director and cinematographer recreate a wonderful sense of time and place. David Arnott  in his only film does a wonderful job, Goldie is excellent. The rest of the cast are quite believable and look for Steve Buscemi as a longhair hippy. Café au lait Neo Noir worth a look 7/10.  More screencaps here Noirsville.
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  • 1 month later...

Cet homme est dangereux (This Man Is Dangerous) (1953) French Riviera Noir


Eddie Constantine's second outing as Lemmy Caution. 
 
Directed by Jean Sacha. Written by Jacques Berland the adaptation, with additional dialog by Marcel Duhamel and based on Peter Cheyney's novel. Cinematography was by Marcel Weiss. Music by 
Jean Marion.  This second Caution flick was directed by Jean Sacha who also shows some style but this one is lighter in atmosphere and in this film the back and forth dialogue between Eddie the various women and the gangsters is a bit snappier and more humorous. 
 
The film stars Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution, Colette Deréal  as Constance, Grégoire Aslan as Siégella, Claude Borelli as Miranda van Zelten, Luc Andrieux as Maurice, Michel Nastorg as Goyas.
 
The Story
 
Lemmy Caution escapes a Kansas Penitentiary. All points bulletin. All ports and airports. Use caution, this man is dangerous! 
 
We pick up the tale as Eddie is tooling down a French Riviera two lane. He's listening to another news bulletin this one in French. It describes Lemmy Caution as in France and driving a stolen 1950 Simca 8 Sport Cabriolet. Lemmy laughs. 
 
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1950 Simca 8 Sport Cabriole
 
 
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Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution
 
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That evening at an apparently predetermined spot Lemmy pulls over and hoofs it down to a small cove with a small Chris-Craft riding on a shore secured line. 
 
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On the beach in the bright moonlight he confronts his contact. Lemmy asks him if the American heiress Miranda van Zelten is on board. He's belligerent. Lemmy slaps him around, and takes the boat. He's heading out to a gambling yacht owned by a gangster named Goyas who works for head Riviera mobster Siegella. 
 
At the yacht, Lemmy sneaks aboard unseen. 
 
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Lemmy questions "hostess"
 
A hostess (prostitute) comes up on deck. She's sick. Lemmy questions her. He tells her that she's never seen him and he sends her back into the ship. Lemmy follows soon after. In one of the staterooms he finds a dead man Kelly that he apparently knew. 
 
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With his automatic now out he enters the main gambling room. He calls out Goyas. He tells the rest of the gamblers to stay put and takes Goyas up on deck. Lemmy puts two bullets into him tells Goyas one is from his dead friend Kelly, the other is from him. Goyas falls over the side. 
 
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 Lemmy with Goyas (Michel Nastorg)  
 
Back in the gambling room Lemmy tells Miranda to gather her things. He also grabs the table stakes for what he tells the gamblers is expense money. Lemmy and Miranda speed away from the yacht and head back to the cove. Miranda seems un-phased and is genuinely excited by all the attention.
 
 
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At the cove Lemmy checks on the boat owner contact that he has hogtied and them he drags Miranda up to his parked car. He drives her back to her hotel and escorts her to her room. Miranda wants him to stay but Lemmy begs off telling her he's tired.
 
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Claude Borelli as Miranda van Zelten
 
Outside his own hotel Lemmy is greeted in the driveway by a woman named Constance he knows from Paris. She is driving a 1952 De Soto Diplomat convertible. She asks him to join her for a nightcap at her house, Lemmy invites her to the hotel bar telling her its closer. 
 
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Colette Deréal  as Constance
 
Constance counters that they water down their whiskey going right for Lemmy's softness for good booze. Lemmy reluctantly hops in.  
 
At Constance's, Lemmy walks into a roomful of French gangsters lead by kingpin Siégella. Siegella's  M.O. is to always wears gloves so that he never leaves a trace. 
 
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Grégoire Aslan as Siégella
 
Siegella wants to kill Eddie, kidnap Miranda, and demand a half million in ransom money, but Eddie tells him his plan was to woo Miranda, tell Miranda's father that he plans to marry her and then take a payoff to bow out seeing as how they wouldn't want a gangster in the family. 
 
Eddie explains that instead of carrying out his plan he would keep Miranda unsuspecting and on ice until Siegella makes his kidnapping move. Eddie tells Siegella that he'll do it for $200,000.  Siegella admires Lemmy's balls and agrees.
 
It all goes Noirsville when the next morning both Eddie and Siegella discover that Miranda flew to Paris on the morning flight, and Goya's girlfriend and remaining gang members want revenge  for his whack. 
 
Noirsville
 
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I wasn't expecting much so was again pleasantly surprised. Poison Ivy the first Caution flick was directed by Bernard Borderie he showed a flair for on location shooting and the first film had a lot of atmosphere. This second Caution flick directed by Jean Sacha also shows some style but this one is lighter in atmosphere and in this film the back and forth dialogue between Eddie the various women and the gangsters is a bit snappier and more humorous. 
 
There is a good copy available on DVD from Video Dimensions with English Subs, 7/10 Full review with more screencaps here Noirsville
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2 Days In The Valley (1996) San Fernando Valley Ensemble Noir

 

 

"You have one minute to decide the rest of your life..."

 

Another Nice Surprize!

Written and Directed by John Herzfeld. 

Cinematography by Oliver Wood and Music by Anthony Marinelli. Film Editing was by Jim Miller and Wayne Wahrman.

The film stars Danny Aiello (Once Upon A Time In America, Do the Right ThingLéon: The Professional ) as Dosmo Pizzo, Greg Cruttwell as Allan Hopper, Jeff Daniels (The Lookout) as Alvin Strayer, Teri Hatcher as Becky Foxx, Glenne Headly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Dick Tracy) as Susan Parish, Peter Horton as Roy Foxx, Marsha Mason as Audrey Hopper, Paul Mazursky (Blackboard Jungle) as Teddy Peppers, James Spader (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Storyville) as Lee Woods, Eric Stoltz as Wes Taylor, Charlize Theron as Helga Svelgen, Keith Carradine (McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Emperor of the North, Pretty Baby) as Detective Creighton, Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over The  Cuckoo's Nest, Mulholland Falls ) as Evelyn and even a cameo by Classic Noir vet Lawrence Tierney as Older Man. 

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Danny Aiello as Dosmo Pizzo
 
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James Spader as Lee Woods
 
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Teri Hatcher as Becky Foxx
 
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Charlize Theron as Helga Svelgen
 
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Paul Mazursky (Blackboard Jungle) as Teddy Peppers
 
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Louise Fletcher as Evelyn 
 
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Eric Stoltz as Wes Taylor and Jeff Daniels as Alvin Strayer
 
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Keith Carradine as Detective Creighton
 
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Glenne Headly as Susan Parish
 
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Marsha Mason as Audrey Hopper
 
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Lawrence Tierney as Older Man

The Story

Night. Mulholland Drive. A dirt turnoff. 1984 Buick Century. Two contract killers. One, a four-eyed  whack job named Lee "one minute" Wood. The other, an overweight, toup wearing, has been named Dosmo Pizzo. Currently flipping pizza at some Valley pizzeria.

 
 
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Its Lee's gig. Dosmo is his backup. Its an uneasy and unlikely business relationship.
 

Dosmo Pizzo: How did you find me?

Lee Woods: In the phone book under Washout.

Dosmo Pizzo: Hey, you go through a little dry spell, what's it make? It makes you stronger.

They are surveilling the house of American Olympic Skier Becky Foxx. They watch with binoculars and eavesdrop over a bug. Her ex-husband Roy has stopped by and is trying to make the moves on her. 

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When things quite down Lee and Dosmo make their move. The drop down the hill to the back of the house. Break in. In the bedroom, Becky and Roy are asleep on the bed.  Lee pulls out a large hypodermic and stabs it into the **** of Becky. It's a trank. Becky's out. But Roy awakened by the jolt, finds Domso's revolver stuck in his mouth.
 
 
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Lee takes over, hops onto Roy's chest, pulls out a stop watch and starts it. 

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Lee Woods:  You have one minute to decide the rest of your life.

Lee asks Roy about a relationship with Helga Svelgen. Wants to know if they did it. Thinking it might save him Roy answers yes. Lee blows his brains out.

Later, parked at an abandoned building site with an old pool that overlooks The Valley.  A settling of accounts. Dosmo is the patsy. Lee shoots him. Fakes evidence to make it look like the suicide of an addict. Then opens the trunk and sets a timer that will blow the gas tank of the Century. 

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A 1993 Buick Park Avenue pulls up driven by Helga Svelgen. Lee hops in. They make out.
 
 
 
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Meanwhile, a bullet proof vest wearing Dosmo is not dead. He's exited the Century and is surrying down the hill when the explosion goes off.  he rolls into the back yard of Allan Hopper. Hooper is a dealer in high end new age kitsch. 

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New Age Kitsch
 
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New Age Kitsch
 
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At Hoopers, Dosmo takes Hooper and his assistant Susan Parish hostage and decides to hold out there until all the police activity brought on by the car explosion dies down. Hooper who is suffering from kidney stones, had prior to Dosmos arrival called his sister Audrey who is a nurse for her medical advice. 

While all the above is going on, Teddy Peppers a forgotten writer/director, four months behind on his rent is contemplating suicide. While he is about to pull the trigger at the grave of his mother he spots Audrey who is visiting the grave of her boyfriend on the way to see her brother Allan. Teddy has a dog and it's his concern for his companion that spurs Teddy to ask Audrey if she wants to take the dog off his hands. One thing leads to another and Teddy hops in with Audrey and the eventually end up at Allan Hoopers.

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Two Valley police officers on a mission to bust massage parlors come upon a hysterical Becky who had awakened from her sedation splattered in blood laying next to Roy with his brains blown out.

 All these various storylines trickle together on their way down the drain to Noirsville.

Noirvsille

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It probably got lost in the aura of Pulp Fiction. The characterizations are crisp, well developed, the dialog is very knowing.  All the principals of the stellar cast perform admirably and the pacing is quick. A fun Neo Noir. 8/10  Full Reivew with more screencaps here Noirsville

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Dames Don't Care (Les femmes s'en balancent) (1954) French-Italian Noir

The 3rd Lemmy Caution flick. 
 
Like the first directed again by Bernard Borderie. The writing credits are Bernard Borderie for the adaptation of  Peter Cheyney's novel. Additional dialogue was by Jacques Vilfrid and Bernard Borderie. Cinematography was by Jacques Lemare. Music was by Paul Misraki.
 
 
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Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution
 

The stars are Eddie Constantine as Selby Frayme / Lemmy Caution, Nadia Gray as Henrietta Aymes, Dominique Wilms as Paulette Burdell, Robert Berri as Fernandez / Jean Termiglio, Darío Moreno as Perera, the Head Waiter of Casa Antica, Nicolas Vogel as Jim Maloney, François Perrot as Langdon Burdell, Paul Azaïs as the watchman at the Bridge, Guy Henry as Daredo, Paulette's Friend, Emilio Carrer as Dr. Madrales, Gil Delamare as Sagers, Dominique Bukar as Bénito Burdell, Georgette Anys as Mrs. Martinguez, Martine Alexis, and Robert Burnieras Metts, the Police Chief.
 
The Story

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Desert looking. Aloe Vera. Parched ground. Southern Italian coast. Early Evening. You hear it long before you see it. 
1950 Oldsmobile Futuramic 98 Convertible Coupe Deluxe. Horn blaring. Tools down the scrub land bordered two lane. Turns off and goes up the entrance road to the Casa Antica. 
 
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The Coupe Deluxe is dusty. Sun oxidized. A Dull finish. The doorman runs over and lifts the hood.
 
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The American Oldsmobile contains the burlesqued epitome of the "Ugly American" a loud mouth drunk. A VO tells us its FBI agent "Lemmy" Caution. The doorman pops the hood and pulls the horn connection plug. The blaring stops. Lemmy tells him not to touch anything else. He then announces loudly that "Me? I'M gonna tank up going to tank up," he pivots and stumbles off towards the entrance leaving his lights on.
 
 
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Cheap rumba music, heavy on bongos and horns.

Lemmy's style of drunk walk is the one where you lean in the direction you want to go and just when you are about to fall on your face you're legs and feet instinctively go into survival mode and propel you along while you lurch side to side grabbing support from whatever is within range. 

The Casa Antica is a mostly alfresco night club, a high end kitsch version of an ancient beer garden set among fountains, faux Greco-Roman ruins of marble blocks, broken columns,and statuary. All that, is Frankenstein-ly attached to a bleak Italian Modern bar/kitchen building, with a full casino on the second floor.
 
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Lemmy grips a broken pillar leans way out towards the maître d and waves a hello. The maître d steps over, leans into Lemmy and asks....
 
Maître d : Tabel for one sir?
Lemmy [waving him off while letting go and stumbling on to the dance floor yells out] : The best table. [walks into a couple on the dance floor and putting his hands on the mans back] The best whiskey. [he sits down at an empty table] And the best seat.
 
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Lemmy  watches his contact FBI agent Sagers. He's the one  dancing with an older woman that Lemmy bumped into. The club waiter arrives with a glass, an ice bucket, and whiskey bottle. Lemmy grabs the bottle, the waiter stands there. Lemmy tells him "Ya getting in my way. Get lost" 
 
Lemmy turns back to Sagers, Lemmy calls him an old gigolo. Sagers stops dancing and goes over to Lemmy.

Sagers : I didn't hear you right.
Lemmy : Sure you did, I called you an old gigolo
Sagers : You mind stepping out.
 
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Lemmy Caution with Gil Delamare as Sagers
 
 
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As Sagers turns Lemmy sticks out his leg and trips him. They fight. With Lemmy throwing wild haymakers. Eventually Sagers lands a right hook. Lemmy decked. Lemmy declares out loud that he takes it all back, Sagers is a real man, and he'll buy him a drink. Lemmy grabs his whiskey bottle, tells the waiter to bring another, and then shakes Sagers hand.

Sagers and Lemmy sit at a table and before they can talk the same waiter arrives with another bottle. Lemmy stares at him and tells him again to get lost.
 
Lemmy is not drunk after all. Lemmy tells Saugers his cover name is Selby Frayme. Sagers tells him that he thinks he's been around too long. Lemmy asks about the letters. Saugers tells he they should be at Henrietta Aymes' house and he passes Henrietta's key to Lemmy. Lemmy asks about the phony dollars. They are looking for the source of counterfeit U.S. thousand dollar bills. Saugers tells him nothing new. Lemmy says that tomorrow he'll get a cable, hes being reassigned to the New York office and and himself, Lemmy is taking over. At that moment Henrietta herself makes the scene. She and her escort walk across the dance floor and up the stairs to the casino. 
 
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Nadia Gray as Henrietta Aymes
 
Lemmy tells Sagers no hard feelings and gets up. He pinballs off another couple dancing. He careens towards the maître d. Lemmy waves and wobbles a "So long chubby," while grabbing his lapel. "See ya around." While the maître d fixes his jacket. Lemmy waves a, wait a minute, finger in the air and gives the maître d a big tip. Lemmy tells him "buono sera" (good night in Italian) pirouettes, and stumbles out.
 
So ends the hilarious opening sequence of the English language release of Dames Don't Care
 
Lemmy then heads to Henrietta's house. With the key he lets himself in and searches for the letters. He finds them hidden in a book. 
 
 
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The whole case was first brought to the FBI's attention when Henrietta went to cash a thousand dollar bill from the money her late banker husband gave her and found out it was counterfeit. Her husband committed suicide two months earlier in Rome by driving off a bridge under repair, conveniently before the whole scheme was exposed. Once the phony bills connected to the Ames, the entire suicide "investigation" was reopened and the re-questioned watchman at the bridge changed his story to admit he saw a woman jump from the car right before the car drove off the bridge. 
 
Then a tip off to the letters in Henrietta's possession came from a suspicious anonymous letter sent to the FBI. The letters in question, the anonymous letter claimed, shows that Henrietta was in Rome the day of the suicide.
 
Lemmy heads back to the Casa Antica to snoop around, He parks the Oldsmobile Futuramic alongside the Casa's wall and climbs from the side of car to the windscreen and then to the top of the wall and over.
 
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Lemmy pulls out an automatic and a flashlight. It all goes Noirvsille He spots a napkin with blood on The tiles near the bar.
 
 
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On the floor of the back bar Lemmy spots blood drops they lead to a refrigerator. Inside the refrigerator is Sagers. Inside of Sagers are six bullets. He also finds evidence that his cover is blown.
 
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Lemmy heads back to the Olds and drives to the nearest police station. He identifies himself as a US FBI special agent and reports the murder of his fellow agent at Casa Antica . However he tells the Chief to not take any action. He tells him the crooks made the mistake of killing Sagers and that he'll be there when they make there next mistake.
 
Noirsville
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Nicolas Vogel as Jim Maloney with Lemmy
 
 
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Dominique Wilms as Paulette Burdell
 
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Darío Moreno as Perera, the maître d  of Casa Antica
 
 
 
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Robert Berri as Fernandez / Jean Termiglio
 
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The film is has an interesting balance of Noir, picaresque humor and a hard boiled detective mystery with a big dose of surreal Italian Modern atmosphere with a little dash of kitsch. 
 
Again Lemmy Caution is a great addition to the pantheon of great Film Noir P.I.'s A character who can be described as an amalgamation of Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, and Mike Hammer and putting that i in a blender with whiskey, and the early 60s versions of spies 007 and Matt Helm. The two female leads are both full figured broads, Nadia Gray as Henrietta Aymes is more old school traditional looking, while Dominique Wilms as Paulette Burdell gives off an Anita Ekberg vibe. The rest of the cast is quite adequate. The cinematography was good and the score adequate. Watch for the running gags with the waiter at the Casa Antica and the blaring car horn.
 
Available to stream on Amazon Prime in an English language release. A fun flick, could use a good restoration, 7/10.  Full Review with more screen caps here Noirsville
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  • 1 month later...

Der Verlorene aka The Lost Man (1951)

 

Directed by Peter Lorre.  Based on a novel by Peter Lorre screenplay was by Axel Eggebrecht, Helmut Käutner, Peter Lorre and Benno Vigny. Cinematography was by Václav Vích, Music by Willy Schmidt-Gentner. The  film stars Peter Lorre as Dr. Karl Rothe, aka Dr. Karl Neumeister, Karl John as Hösch, aka Nowak, Helmuth Rudolph as Colonel Winkler, Johanna Hofer as Frau Hermann, Renate Mannhardt as Inge Hermann, Eva Ingeborg Scholz asUrsula Weber, Lotte Rausch as Woman on Train, Gisela Trowe as Prostitute, Hansi Wendler as the Secretary.

 

This story is told in a series of flashbacks. Dr Rothe is a kindly German doctor caring for refugees and displaced persons in a relocation camp after the war. When Hösch his former assistant is brought to the camp he triggers the flashbacks.  

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Karl John as Hösch
 
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Peter Lorre as Dr. Karl Rothe, aka Dr. Karl Neumeister
 

In reality he is Dr. Karl Neumeister who was a scientist doing bacteriological research to help the Nazi war effort during WWII. 

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All is good until the SS informs him that his fiancée is secretly selling his secret discoveries and formulas to the Allies for food money while also having an affair with Hösch. Hösch is an SS informer who reveals her activities to the authorities. Neumeister goes off his rocker and murders her by strangulation. 

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The crime is covered up by the SS. However  things go Noirsville when Neumeister not quite right in the head any longer now gets an un-controllable impulse to strangle any woman who reminds him in any small way of his dead fiancée.

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Noirsville

 

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Lorre has some great closeups, his puss twitching grotesquely in this depicting his conflicting emotions and tortured mental illness. Václav Vích's  cinematography is both nightmarish and dream like. A reviewer below sums the film up pretty well.

Classic film noir by an unexpected master

"After years of dreary labor in Hollywood as a professional "evil foreigner," Lorre went home to Germany to write, direct and star in this dark, dreamlike narrative in which he plays the ultimate Peter Lorre character: a Nazi mad doctor sex murderer. The film is an ironic commentary by Lorre, the reluctant impersonator of psychopaths, on the nature of true psychopathology as embodied in the amoral Nazi regime. It's also an ingenious melding of the sort of B-film noir that Lorre had specialized in for years as an actor (Maltese Falcon, Stranger on the Third Floor, Quicksand) and the impressionistic Nouvelle Roman/Nouvelle Vague influenced art film just picking up steam on the continent (shades of Orpheus, Wild Strawberries, and Last Year at Marienbad can be seen in its shadowy enfolding of past/present and dream/reality.) Though somewhat uncertain in balancing himself between his roles as principal actor and director (the motivations of some of the other characters are somewhat murky, for instance, and it's rather a shock to see Peter Lorre so continually being the object of women's lustful attentions) this was clearly a man with the makings of an ingenious and original filmmaker. It's a shame this film isn't better known, and that Lorre never got the chance to make another." (IMDb Anne_Sharp 27 December 1999)

8/10 Screecaps from You tube streamer.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/3/2021 at 2:21 PM, TopBilled said:

Joe,

If you're a fan of Peter Lorre, I suggest checking out DOUBLE CONFESSION (1950).

It was just uploaded by one of my British friends on YouTube. Not sure how long it will remain posted.

Lorre is third-billed in this slick British noir and does a fine job. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Confession

Gonna check this out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

白日焰火 aka Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014) International Version Chinese Polar

 

Witten and directed by Diao Yinan. 'Daylight Fireworks'  (Chinese title) produced by Vivian Qu. The film won the Golden Bear award at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival

Cinematography by Jingsong Dong and Music by Zi Wen. 

Starring Liao Fan as Zhang Zili, Gwei Lun-mei as Wu Zhizhen, Wang Xuebing as Liang Zhijun, Wang Jingchun as Rong Rong, Yu Ailei as Captain Wang and Ni Jingyang as Su Lijuan.

The Story

1999. Heilongjiang, China's Alaska, Inner Mongolia to the West Siberia to the North and East. It's got five thousand foot mountains called the Greater Khingan Range the kind that stick up out of the high plains of Montana like the Bear Paws, the Judiths, the The Little Rockies. Only these plains are of the Black Dragon River. Its a little bigger than California a little smaller than Texas.

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Liao Fan as Zhang Zili
 
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Gwei Lun-mei as Wu Zhizhen
 
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Yu Ailei as Captain Wang with Zang
 

The capitol city is called Harbin. The catalyst to the tale is a dismembered hand and arm that ends up on a coal conveyor at one of the nearby power plants. Harbin Detectives Zang (Fan) and Wang (Ailei) with their squad are sent to investigate. Zang. Woman Problems. Just went through a messy divorce, he's feeling down about life.

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Further poking around uncovers a fragment of a shirt and an I.D. card the victim is Liang Zhijun. More body parts are discovered, in locations three days drive away. They narrow down suspects and figure its got to be a coal truck driver who has a brother who helps him on his runs. This brother the squads investigation discovers is the owner of beauty parlor. He's a wise **** punk. Hair dyed blonde.
 
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The punk and his buddy, who has a Mohawk, are subdued after a brief scuffle. They are kneeling on the floor hand cuffed. When one of Zang's squad men picks up one of their jacket's a pistol falls out. Mohawk grabs it and shoots. Two of Zang's men are killed. Zang empties his gun into the both of them but blondie gets off one more shot hitting Zang.

When Zang gets out of the hospital he and Wang  return the ashes of Liang to his widow Wu (Gwei Lun-mei). Wu is an employee at the Rong Rong Laundry. Wu, who has dug a hole at the base of a tree just outside the laundry buries the ashes.

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2004. Zang, in expected Noir fashion went on a record bender, after the divorce, not solving the case, and loosing two partners. He quits the force and gets by working for a security company. One early morning while passed drunk he gets his motorcycle swapped out for a moped. He's late for work again. He's going Nowheresille.

 
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One day he spots his old squad car staking out something on the street.  He walks up to it and is invited inside by his old partner Wang. A girl comes out of the building the car starts to follow. 
 
 
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Wang asks Zang if he remembers the Liang Zhijun case? Then Wang tells him that the girl they are following is Wu  and was connected to that case and had dated the two just recently found dismemberments. He shows Zang photos of feet wearing ice-skates. 

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Zang gets interested in the case again and becomes obsessed with Wu. He becomes a dc facto private investigator.

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Zang becomes a customer at the Rong Rong laundry and dry cleaners. Zang starts to tail Wu at night..  Pumping the Rong Rong owner he finds out that Wu isn't that good an employee. The reason she wasn't a good employee because she ruined an expensive leather jacket and had no money to cover it's replacement. Five days afterward the owner suddenly stopped complaining 

He was going to fire her but  he keeps her on out of sympathy after her husband was killed and, we find out later, by the feels he can cop when she is ironing. One night while tailing Wu, Zang discovers that someone is tailing him from the tracks he spots in the snow.

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Zang starts making the moves on Wu. Wang is following his old partner as a backup and he spots a truck that is following Zang and Wu back from a date ice skating. When Wang goes out to confront the truck driver in an alley things go brutally Noirvsille.

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Noirsville

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Diners Chinese Style - Old bus carcasses with no heat and blanket doors
 
 
 
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Daylight Fireworks Club
 
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This is a great Noir, familiar and yet different enough to make it all fresh again. It may take you a couple of go rounds to make through the film, It's worth it. The Color Noir cinematography by Jingsong Dong is excellent. Streaming on Amazon Prime 9/10
 
Full review at Noirsville.
 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/3/2021 at 2:21 PM, TopBilled said:

Joe,

If you're a fan of Peter Lorre, I suggest checking out DOUBLE CONFESSION (1950).

It was just uploaded by one of my British friends on YouTube. Not sure how long it will remain posted.

Lorre is third-billed in this slick British noir and does a fine job. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Confession

I finally got around to screening this. It was slow and then picked up the pace toward the end. The ending was convoluted and surprising.  The highlights for me were the on location filming, Peter Lorre, and the guy who played his boss.  Its a fine film and worth a watch. I read on wiki that the film was missing and THAT BFI was seeking a copy of the original print.  A 35mm print was restored and a later DVD was done but is now out of print.

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7 minutes ago, Moorman said:

I finally got around to screening this. It was slow and then picked up the pace toward the end. The ending was convoluted and surprising.  The highlights for me were the on location filming, Peter Lorre, and the guy who played his boss.  Its a fine film and worth a watch. I read on wiki that the film was missing and THAT BFI was seeking a copy of the original print. A restored print was turned into a out of print DVD.  

Glad you screened it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

Yes, I believe it was missing for decades then found/restored. 

Lorre is fourth-billed but leaves a strong impression. I love the part where he wants to cause an "accident" for another man, using a speedboat to try and kill him. Lorre plays it with caution but also with a bit of levity, that this man is so absurd we can't possibly take him seriously.

Another thing I love about this film is that we get these offbeat tangents with assorted beach people that are interspersed throughout the story. Like the domineering wife, played by Kathleen Harrison, and her henpecked husband. At first she doesn't want to have anything to do with him, like she'd rather be on vacation without him. But then gradually we see her change her stance and eventually they are having a pleasant time together. 

It felt like these were real people all intermingling, dealing with their own dramas, during that one eventful day along the seashore. 

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Glad you screened it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 

Yes, I believe it was missing for decades then found/restored. 

Lorre is fourth-billed but leaves a strong impression. I love the part where he wants to cause an "accident" for another man, using a speedboat to try and kill him. Lorre plays it with caution but also with a bit of levity, that this man is so absurd we can't possibly take him seriously.

Another thing I love about this film is that we get these offbeat tangents with assorted beach people that are interspersed throughout the story. Like the domineering wife, played by Kathleen Harrison, and her henpecked husband. At first she doesn't want to have anything to do with him, like she'd rather be on vacation without him. But then gradually we see her change her stance and eventually they are having a pleasant time together. 

It felt like these were real people all intermingling, dealing with their own dramas, during that one eventful day along the seashore. 

I was waiting for the guy who was playing with his toy boat to become a part of the main plot, lol.  As far as Lorre goes, his character became soo unhinged when he was explaining his part of the mystery that I couldn't make out totally what he was saying. It didn't detract from the ending.  His behavior just made it hard to keep up with his dialogue which was probably intended by either Lorre or the director.

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  • 1 month later...

I Wake Up Screaming (1941) is very stylized. Victor Mature conveys vulnerability and doubt that cut against the confident, macho facade. Laird Cregar I found to be well cast. There was a vagueness to his character, even his sexuality. His fellow police officers knew he was deeply troubled. Betty Grable, famous for her work in Technicolor musicals, also looks great in black & white. Her character was still the same: the wholesome, uncomplicated girl-next-door. This type of screen persona can be cloying, but Grable makes it endearing. 20th Century Fox made some great noirs, and this is one of them. Even the overuse of the “Over the Rainbow” score doesn’t take away from the film.

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1 hour ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

I Wake Up Screaming (1941) is very stylized. Victor Mature conveys vulnerability and doubt that cut against the confident, macho facade. Laird Cregar I found to be well cast. There was a vagueness to his character, even his sexuality. His fellow police officers knew he was deeply troubled. Betty Grable, famous for her work in Technicolor musicals, also looks great in black & white. Her character was still the same: the wholesome, uncomplicated girl-next-door. This type of screen persona can be cloying, but Grable makes it endearing. 20th Century Fox made some great noirs, and this is one of them. Even the overuse of the “Over the Rainbow” score doesn’t take away from the film.

Well said;   I'm a big fan of IWUS,  an early noir film that helped set the stage for future films with similar themes.      

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4 hours ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

I Wake Up Screaming (1941) is very stylized. Victor Mature conveys vulnerability and doubt that cut against the confident, macho facade. Laird Cregar I found to be well cast. There was a vagueness to his character, even his sexuality. His fellow police officers knew he was deeply troubled. Betty Grable, famous for her work in Technicolor musicals, also looks great in black & white. Her character was still the same: the wholesome, uncomplicated girl-next-door. This type of screen persona can be cloying, but Grable makes it endearing. 20th Century Fox made some great noirs, and this is one of them. Even the overuse of the “Over the Rainbow” score doesn’t take away from the film.

I look at it as a "gateway" noir,  I Wake Up Screaming  😎

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3 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I look at it as a "gateway" noir,  I Wake Up Screaming  😎

I see that this is a blog you have created.  Cool!!!  Very nice write up on IWUS.    I like the term "gateway noir".        I always fine your take on noir films interesting.   Keep up the good work!  

 

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