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Film Noir Fridays: Can't Hardly Wait !


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You were always "sprocketesque", finance. I regard you as Sprocketman's back-up.

 

"Whinging" is a Brit term which pretty much is "whining" with a "g". As for spelling, I confess I did not look it up. Could be wrong. It's pronounced "whin-jing".

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They Won't Believe Me is a neat little movie. A nice chance to see something different from Robert Young, and his three female co-stars (Susan Hayward, Jane Greer and Rita Johnson) are all in fine form, as well. I guess I should probably refrain from saying too much until after the film airs (though I assume most have already see it). One interesting tidbit I noticed on my last viewing was that the film was produced by a woman - Joan Harrison. I only recently got into watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents (which she worked on for a number of years), so her name caught my attention.

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I see that They Won't Believe Me is listed as 80 minutes in a 90 minute timeslot. I'm hoping that one day we'll see the original version which, I believe, ran about 100 minutes.

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After I'd chosen They Won't Believe Me as one of the Spotlight films I was surprised to learn that the version in the TCM library is only 80 minutes long. We tried to locate the 90 minute version to get it digitally transferred in time for the screening, but to no avail. I know that Warner Bros. has the original negative but hasn't yet, for various reasons, preserved it on film or digitially mastered it for DVD release. I just showed it last week in Zagreb, Croatia—a 35mm print from the Belgrade Kinoteka that is exactly the same as the version I have on DVD (we won't discuss where that came from!) I'll be curious to see what (if aything) is missing from the version shown Friday night. I think a lot of the supposition about an even longer version comes from the film being listed in Silver & Ward's Encyclopedia of Film Noir as being 95 minutes. It's all very confusing. I've shown the film theatrically several times, a print from the UCLA Film & Television Archive, which is listed as being 80 minutes as well—but I couldn't see anything different from the version I have. We'll see ... The film was reissued on a double bill several years after its initial release, so that'd be when the cuts were made, to bring it in at "B" feature length. Maybe they snipped the concert scene, one of the few scenes that doesn't actually advance the plot. But that's only a couple of minutes, tops.

 

Hey—what's noir without a mystery?

 

Love this film for the three terrific women, all well-developed characters, not stereotypes. And it's great seeing Robert Young playing a cad, although he's certainly no villain. I'm sure people will weigh in on the very strange ending, which I think I discuss in the outro. Anyway ... enjoy it, whatever length it is.

 

Edited by: Eddie_Muller on Jun 20, 2013 8:29 PM

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Mr. Muller, thanks very much for the update and the fact that you, yourself, were surprised to learn that TCM's print runs only 80 minutes. To the best of my knowledge, that is the same print that the channel has had of They Won't Believe Me for years.

 

Perhaps, after you've seen the film tomorrow night, you might have a better idea of what is missing, and, if it's not too inconvenient, give us an idea of what is missing.

 

I've never really been much of a fan of (to me) the rather bland Robert Young but he's darned good in this very untypical role for him. But, as you indicated, it's a well written part for him, as well as his leading ladies. And, yes, that ending - it stays with you.

 

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That's why I love this forum, one can always befriend someone and still manage to have such a different perspective.

 

I can't consider Robert Young "bland" - in fact, I think that he does everything so well that he's overlooked. Whether it is *Secret Agent, Miracles For Sale, Mortal Storm, HM Pulham, Esq; Western Union, The Enchanted Cottage, Crossfire, Relentless, That Forsyte Woman* - the man has never failed to impress me. And it's not that I'm impressed easily either, but perhaps it's because I've seen the man endure in a business that spits out more than it digests, that I appreciate him. He's also one of the few that managed a long-running sitcom and a drama.

 

No, he hasn't the charisma of a Flynn, Bogart, Gable or Power, but he is engaging. As with Fred MacMurray, his subsequent TV career has overshadowed his film accomplishments, but then, at least MacMurray has *Double Indemnity* and *The Caine Mutiny* to remind the majority that he could be a fine dramatic actor.

 

I do hope that this prime time airing of *They Won't Believe Me* will give Young a chance to show that there's more to him than meets the eye.

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

> After I'd chosen They Won't Believe Me as one of the Spotlight films I was surprised to learn that the version in the TCM library is only 80 minutes long. We tried to locate the 90 minute version to get it digitally transferred in time for the screening, but to no avail.

 

I thank you very much for that enlightening information. It very often seems as if we are kept in the dark as to why a particular print is shown when we believe there might be a better one available.

 

> Hey; what's noir without a mystery?

 

:)

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clore, we have a difference of opinion. To be fair, though, I agree that Robert Young was quite charming in Secret Agent (though, with John Gielgud as male competition in that film, it was pretty easy to stand out). Perhaps I should take another look at H.M. Pulham Esq. sometime, as well.

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*" hasn't the charisma of a Flynn, Bogart, Gable or Power, but he is engaging."* - clore

 

Funny. For awhile now I was thinking of posting a thread discussing the thought I had that Robert Young, Robert Cummings and Robert Montgomery were pretty much interchangeable -- with Montgomery probably benefitting from the length of time he was at MGM.

 

Maybe Young couldn't have been a convincing Joe Pendleton, but I do think that any of the three could have been substituted for the others in most of their films.

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Montgomery, at least in the early days, could do that mid-Atlantic accent well enough to play Brits or do drawing room comedy. In his second decade, he too often sounded to me as if he was trying to imitate Bugs Bunny. This is why his Philip Marlowe fails to excite me, I can tolerate the POV cinematography, even if it is somewhat wearing on me.

 

Cummings too often came across as insincere to me - fine in THE CARPETBAGGERS but inappropriate in KINGS ROW. But I would have loved to have seen Young as Parris Mitchell, however he wasn't young enough - no pun intended. Granted, Cummings was only a few years older, but he always seemed younger than his years.

 

I like Cummings, but I do wish that either Montgomery or Young had done SABOTEUR. Oddly enough, both of them had previously worked with Hitchcock, but Cummings was already at Universal which likely gave him an edge.

 

 

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I agree that Robert Young was quite charming in Secret Agent (though, with John Gielgud as male competition in that film, it was pretty easy to stand out).

 

That's probably the funniest thing that I've read all day. But Gielgud does fare poorly in the film compared to the cast surrounding him.

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

> I had that Robert Young, Robert Cummings and Robert Montgomery were pretty much interchangeable

 

It has happened several times that my attempts to find a particular movie were made more difficult because I believed that Robert Young was the star when it was truly Robert Montgomery or vice versa.

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*"In his second decade, too often sounded to me as if he was trying to imitate Bugs Bunny."* - clore

 

I take it you've seen *The Earl Of Chicago* then.

 

I am kinda glad Cummings was cast in *Saboteur*. It gave me a reason to think of him as a genuine movie star. And the film, along with *Foreign Correspondent*, are pretty indestructible pieces of war propaganda.

 

I wonder if Young could have pulled off *Suspicion* ?

 

.

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As the poster for The Burglar puts it, you'll be tense with suspense and

limp from excitement. Okayy. I can see where the director might have nicked

a few things from the great Orsoni--the opening newsreel, which is a rather

low-budget version of The March of Time, and the carnival scene instead of

a house of mirrors. Nothing wrong with that. There were a lot of interesting

camera setups and a heist film that robs an old lady psychic while she's

watching TV is certainly different. The only sad part was that, once again,

these guys just couldn't do anything right after they got the loot. These types

of movies should be shown as educational films on how not to commit a crime,

so that today's aspiring young crooks can learn a thing or two.

 

 

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Yes, I've seen *The Earl of Chicago*. That was one tough movie to sit through, and then that downbeat ending - totally unexpected.

 

The weird thing about Cummings in *Saboteur* was that for years Hitchcock claimed that Cummings was badly cast, that he had too much of a "comedy face" for a drama...

 

So then, why did Hitchcock cast Cummings in *Dial "M" For Murder*?

 

I do believe that with Young in *Suspicion*, we might have gotten the original ending, but I don't have much of a problem with the film as it stands. It took me a few viewings to realize that it's the Hitckcock formula turned inside out. Usually we know the person is inocent, but we follow the film until he proves it. This time we, courtesy of Joan Fontaine, presume guilt, but it turns out that he is innocent.

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> {quote:title=Eddie_Muller wrote: }{quote}Maybe they snipped the concert scene, one of the few scenes that doesn't actually advance the plot. But that's only a couple of minutes, tops.

Thank you again for your insight, Mr. Muller. I've only ever seen the film on TCM, and the "concert scene" you mention is news to me.

 

As I noted earlier, I agree that all three of the film's female leads are very good, but I especially give props to Rita Johnson. Somehow, she manages to *not* come off as completely pathetic - despite the inability to cut her scummy spouse loose.

 

Young, Montgomery and Cummings (the Bob trifecta :) ). Yes, they all often straddled that fine line between genial and unsalted pretzel (translation: *bland* ). I have to say, of the three, I find Mr. Montgomery the most consistently charming. Granted that's based mostly on his 30s output. Not a fan of Lady in the Lake. I'd really like to see Ride the Pink Horse sometime, though.

 

It just occured to me that actor Tom Powers will be making two appearances here tonight. First, as Robert Young's partner in They Won't Believe Me, and later as Phyllis Dietrichson's hubby in Double Indemnity. And we all know how well that little union works out . . . ;)

 

Edited by: NoraCharles1934 on Jun 21, 2013 6:11 AM

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Man, you know how when you're a workin' stiff, you sorta always look forward to Fridays (provided you work the regular type of work week, that is)??? Well, with Friday Night Noir, it makes looking forward to Fridays even more outrageously awesome!!!! I mean, wow! Here I am counting the hours and minutes until my big bad boy George Raft hits the screen tonight!!! Man, I dig that dude!! I simply cannot wait!!! And the other flix are rock 'em, sock 'em too, no doubt about it!!

 

And wow, we even have some contributions here on our board and in this thread from Eddie Muller himself, that's just out of this universe, man!!!

 

Now that Eddie mentioned that some minutes might be missing from the TCM print of THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME, I'm really curious about that too!!! That's another flick that just sizzle-wizzles, and I agree with comments made that the dames characters in this flick are really richly and densely written and well-portrayed by each of the actresses! Woah, this is gonna be such a groovy night!!

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> {quote:title=John2Bad wrote:}{quote}

> As the poster for The Burglar puts it, you'll be tense with suspense and

> limp from excitement. Okayy. I can see where the director might have nicked

> a few things from the great Orsoni--the opening newsreel, which is a rather

> low-budget version of The March of Time, and the carnival scene instead of

> a house of mirrors. Nothing wrong with that. There were a lot of interesting

> camera setups and a heist film that robs an old lady psychic while she's

> watching TV is certainly different. The only sad part was that, once again,

> these guys just couldn't do anything right after they got the loot. These types

> of movies should be shown as educational films on how not to commit a crime,

> so that today's aspiring young crooks can learn a thing or two.

John2Bad, welcome a boards ! I hope you stick around. So often, it seems, someone new starts to post here, but after one or two, they drift away again. It's too darned bad.

 

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts re: *The Burglar*.

Something I've been meaning to say about it: while watching the tense safe-cracking scene in which

Duryea finds the necklace, but the thieves are also running out of time and have to exit the place very quickly: Duryea's character neglects to put back the painting which had been covering the safe. I think he even leaves the safe door open !

I know he was in a hurry, but he should have taken just those few extra seconds to close the safe and cover it up with the picture again ! It would have been worth it, the old lady would likely not even have noticed the disruption. It might have been days, weeks, or even months before she noticed.

 

I remember calling out loud to Dan's character: "Close the safe ! Put the painting back ! You'll be soooorry !"

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clore, I fear we share a common brain b/c ITA with your thoughts on Robert Young. I can see how some would call him bland. He was quite handsome but not of the superstar variety as the others mentioned. But I have never, ever been disappointed in any of his roles. (Damn, Susan Hayward is gorgeous in They Won't Believe Me!)

 

Freddy Mac! Again our common brain waves.

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> mean, wow! Here I am counting the hours and minutes until my big bad boy George Raft hits the screen tonight!!! Man, I dig that dude!!

 

Well Mark, I sure wish I could share your enthusiasm for the dude, BUT just having finished watching the guy in "Nocturne" out here in the West, I gotta say, while some around here might think Robert Young is "bland" and most likely because he usually always played the "nice and sincere" type, I was once again reminded that I THINK the "Great Stone Face"(no not Buster Keaton) with that signature monotone line delivery fof his, yes one Mr. George Raft, IS probably THE most "bland" actor I have ever seen...and this DESPITE the fact that he usually got to play the more interesting "tough guy" roles.

 

(...Yep, I'm sorry, but dude, THAT dude JUST could NOT act worth a darn!)

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Thanks for the welcome, misswonderly. I didn't notice Dan's mistake. I

guess I was concentrating on the fact that they were robbing a lady while

she was watching TV, which is not like many heist movies, where they

are trying to break into some building with very formidable security. I

found Dan to be more sympathetic than he was in those mid 1940s noirs

where he was a true creep, in part because it was obvious that Jayne was

in love with him and either he didn't have a clue or did and was trying to

resist temptation. Fairly impressive movie on first view and one that would

be worthwhile to see again.

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> (...Yep, I'm sorry, but dude, THAT dude JUST could NOT act worth a darn!)

:^0 It's funny because it's true!

 

I do think Raft could be effective if cast just so. Barrymore he was not, but the man did have presense and a grace in movement (coming from his dance background). He's perfect tossing that coin and eying Ann Dvorak as Tony Camonte's second hand in Scarface and riffing on that very image decades later in Some Like it Hot.

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Oh, don't get me wrong here Nora, I also think Raft was GREAT in "Some Like It Hot", because as you mentioned, he's playing off his image, but I think that "graceful movements" thing you ALSO mentioned is, well, off-the-mark, as while I know his first grab at stardom was as a dancer, not ONLY does he seldom move any of those facial muscles of his while he's acting in these films, BUT the dude's body movements in these films are usually as stiff-as-a-rail TOO!

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