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You Be the Programmer for One Evening, Pick 4 Film Noirs

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}Sorry to be a contrarian, but I disagree with you on both counts. I think that *Narrow Margin* is a nice, taut little film noir, about 7 or 8 out of 10.


> I do like *Ace in the Hole*, but to me, it isn't a noir. And, as I've said before, I take a broad view as to what is noir. To me, it's more in the tradition of films about journalism.


Never apologize for being a contrarian. Our nation- nay the world itself- needs contrarians of all shapes, sizes, and lacks of faith.


I am, I think, the only person on these boards- nay in the world?- who does not like The Narrow Margin Throughout the year, numerous threads are posted- one just showed up on the boards today- about how people love it. I don't get it, for me it rates no better than **1/2 out of ****.



(I use a four-star scale)


Ace in the Hole (**** out of ****, just in case you were curious) is a noir to me. There are *two murders, there is a femme fatale and there is cynicism aplenty.* It was also done by the filmaker who- to me- got film noir better than anyone, Billy Wilder. Ace in the Hole, Double Indemnity, and Sunset Boulevard *are* the Wilderian Noir Triumverate.






Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Dec 5, 2012 9:22 AM

I am having some serious text coloring issues. If it doesn't get straight this time, I give up.

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I kept meaning to comment on Eddie Muller's picks, ever since Lori posted them (thanks, Lori baby.) Here they are again:


*"From Eddie) And for those of you who haven't seen what my choices are for the actual "Night in Noir City" airing January 17 on TCM, here they are:*






*THE PROWLER (I didn't actually pick this, but TCM added it to the end of the program, for which I* * am grateful!)"*



Now I remember why I didn't respond right away to this list: I was so shaken at not even getting an "honourable mention" that I had to take a valium and go to bed for the rest of the day. No, not really. (Although I still say my picks were really good, and certainly not your everyday garden variety noir. If that's not an oxymoron.)



Ok, fact is, I've only seen the first two films on this list. I know, how can I claim noir-lover status if I havent' seen the others, at least *The Breaking Point* ? Still, we do what we can. I mean, we view what we can.



Blather blather...Ok, here's my take on the first two films, which are the only ones I can comment on because they are the only ones I've seen:



*99 River Street*: not bad. I like John Payne, he should have been cast in more noirs ( check out *Kansas City Confidential*.) Also, Evelyn Keyes is fun - Mr. Muller must like her, since she's in another one of his choices ( *The Prowler*.) I love the final scene, very nicely noirish (can I say that?), what with the shipyard/ docks, all those mysterious shadowy old shacks, the night time shadows, etc. I love shipyards and docks as noir settings, and apparently a lot of noir filmmakers did as well.

Still, "that said", I'm kind of thinking Ed picked it mostly for its rareness. Or if not rare, it certainly is not one of the more well-known film noirs. Oh, I forgot, it's also got the "washed-up boxer" motif, a common film noir character theme.



*Cry Danger* : Now this I love. Who can resist Dick Powell as a cynical wrongfully imprisoned ex-small time crook, who upon getting inexplicably sprung before his time is over, starts hanging out with Richard Erdman and Rhonda Fleming in a trailer park ! Erdman is great fun as a world weary wise cracking semi-alcoholic, and Rhonda is her usual sexy bad girl self. ( It is a little-known fact that the Beach Boys named their famous hit song after her. Apparently Brian Wilson had a hopeless crush on her...) The trailer park setting is a hoot, and Powell is gratifyingly tough in this fast-paced little pic. I "get" why Muller would have chosen this one.


















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I like CRY DANGER a lot. Better than CORNERED which falls flat. I would love a night of Dick Powell's RKO noir output.


TCM programmers, are you reading this? Or are you too busy scheduling an all-day marathon of IRON PETTICOAT?

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Thanks misswonderly for reposting "Eddie's" picks, and I am sorry none of "us"won or were even a "honorable mention" and I did list your choices on the FNF Facebook page.


I did a a reponse regarding my question of "when will we get to read Eddie's essay, rationales or reasoning for his choices?" The answer, as soon as it is posted here on the TCM site a link will be provided.


I think this "night of noir" with Eddie Muller might be a good night, and I think maybe TCM should program more "noir nights."


Many good choices have been listed here, at least that is IMHO.





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Right, of course...Wilder directed both of them, duh, I forgot. Sorry, Vertigo, that was silly of me.

Actually, Billy Wilder directed a number of noirs (especially if we apply that broad definition you're talking about) including the ultra-noir, *Double Indemnity*.

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Speaking of books that became movies...I recently read the three James Cain novels that became film classics - Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce. Fascinating variations from the movie versions, and quite enjoyable, even though the books may have major differences (Monty is not shot in Mildred Pierce, for example) . Good fun for film buffs.

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Vertigo2, I was wondering if you read or plan on reading James Cain's recently published (lost I guess) novel "The Cocktail Waitress?" I am wondering too if it will be made into a movie?



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I'm copying from Lori's post the contest winners and their picks. It's worth taking a look:




MARTIN ARCHER: The Narrow Margin / Deadline at Dawn / Ace in the Hole / Jeopardy ("Race Against Time")



DESPINA VNT: Dark Passage / Stolen Face / The Man with My Face / Strange Impersonation / Hollow Triumph ("Facial Issues")



Ok, Mr. Muller, if I'd known you wanted a "thematic link" for our lists, I could have and would have done that. I'm wondering if these folks won because of their clever theme-related selection of noirs.



Regarding the second set :Perhaps the relative obscurity of at least the last three (most noir/Bogart fans have seen Dark Passage) titles accounts in part for the win. And certainly it's a well-thought out and interesting theme. I've seen *Dark Passage* and *Hollow Triumph. DP* is very good and quite fun, it's been discussed on this forum fairly recently. *Hollow Triumph* is, (IMO), well,... hollow. Although points for starring the under-appreciated Joan Bennett. The other two films sound almost as much like horror films ( esp. Stolen Face, which apparently is a Hammer pic) as noirs. But I haven't seen them, so any criticism would be sour grapes. Today I'm eating oranges.



Anyway, it's a very clever line-up, what with that "Facial Issues" theme. And it introduces lots to ponder on noiretic (made that up ! "Noiretic" ! What'd ya think? - sounds too much like neurotic,maybe...) tropes such as alienation, subterfuge, things not being what they seem, etc.



Well I've blathered so much about Despina's ( like that name) picks, I'll save Martin's for another post.



Any comments so far?



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I feel similarly about the issue of a theme to link the films. I had chosen


You Only Live Once

Double Indemnity


Criss Cross


and those were deliberately picked as they all have tragic endings. I like my noir to be a little more hard-boiled than something like DARK PASSAGE which I love, but it does have a happy ending.


Not that I'm saying that I would have won, but generally the rules of the contest are given before the deadline.

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Hi. I just got a response from Eddie Muller himself regarding his "essay" on his "film noir" choices that will be aired on January 17th when he co-hosts with Robert O.


His response was on the FNF Facebook page. Here is what he wrote:" Lori, this is Eddie. TCM asked me to write that (brief) essay, which I did, but I actually have no idea where or when it's going to show up. I wasn't clear whether it would be printed in the NOW SHOWING guide sent to subscribers or posted on the website. Sorry I can't be of more help."


I thought it was very nice of Eddie Muller himself to answer my request.


I left him a message thanking him for answering me, said I would try to find his (essays) here,and how people on the message boards liked his choices and were looking forward to January 17th. I also told him I was particularly happy with one of his choices. (I know he knows about my petition, but FNF can't sign, against their policy or something, that is OK).


Any way I thought it was very nice of Eddie to take the time and answer my request. If I do find his essays I will for sure post here, or if any you guys find it please post on this thread. OK?




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Thanks for the update, Lori.

I used to want to subscribe to the NOW PLAYING guide, but my enthusiam's waned over the years, partly because I don't have enough time for the books and other reading material I've already got, and partly because, even with the Canadian dollar at par (and sometimes above) its American counterpart, the magazine would cost me a fair bit more than Americans pay for it. Which makes me mad - when I think about it, which isn't very often.


So I hope there will be some way for those who don't get NOW PLAYING to read Eddie Muller's essay.


I still say, AAaargh ! I did not know a "thematic link" was expected in the contestants' submissions for 4 noirs, and if I had, I would most certainly have done it that way.


Edited by: misswonderly on Dec 13, 2012 5:08 PM

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misswonderly: I too DO NOT subscribe to Now Playing for the same reasons you give.



Being Canadian as well, I resent the fact that we have to pay almost TWICE as much as our American counterparts which just does not same fair at all, as much as I would love to subscribe to Now Playing, it is the principal of the matter that I won"t. :(



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twinkee: I don't know if you watch The National, but every night they give the value of the Canadian dollar as measured against the US dollar. Almost always, of late, it's been at par or a cent or two higher (ok sometimes .05 of a cent.) And yet, at the bank the other day, I asked for $10.00 US, and had to pay $10.09 Canadian for it. Now this is a really trivial amount of money, who cares about 9 cents one way or the other?

But it was THE PRINCIPLE of the thing ! Even when our dollar is worth MORE than the American dollar, it's still worth less ! Go figure ! I asked the teller to explain it to me, but she couldn't, and I didn't want to give her a hard time, it wasn't her fault.

I say, AAAaargh !

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