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Noir, Noir , Noir World at TCM in June!

 

After perusing the schedule, I was overjoyed to see that TCM is featuring one of the justifiable Noir prototype antecedents at 8:00am on 6/18/05, "Phantom Lady" as directed by Robert Siodmak. This is one of the films that started it all. Seeing that title made me look through the whole month for other dark gems, and here's what I came up with for those so inclined, off the top of my head, which is full of noir unfortunately. Many of the following I'm sure all have seen already, but for those who haven't, here's a short encapsulation of what you might be missing, if you don't tune in:

 

6/5

 

3:00 AM The Lady From Shanghai

 

This is the movie where Welles had Rita's lustrous auburn locks chopped off, so she could play the evil blonde to his Michael O'Hara, with the famous house of mirrors shooting scene. See it...and you'll never forget it, especially since it also stars Mercury Theatre great, Everett Sloane and perennial bad guy, Ted de Corsia.

 

6/9

 

10:30 PM Touch Of Evil

 

Late Fifties noir, starring Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, with Welles scoring again as director and actor, enjoying his false proboscis in the role of Hank Quinlan, whose future [as fortune teller Marlena Dietrich says] is "all used up". Don't miss the opening credits as the whole story is laid out for you! Amazing cinematography by Russell Metty, and also with able support by character stars Akim Tamiroff, and Ray Collins [sergeant Tragg to "Perry Mason" fans] and the dangerous Mercedes McCambridge.

 

12:30 AM The Asphalt Jungle

 

With the novel written by W.R. Burnett, who penned "Little Caesar" and "High Sierra" you know you are in good hands. One of the great heist movies, directed by John Huston, with Sam Jaffe as the brains behind a gang planning a major heist. Each man's fatal flaw contributes to foul ups which endanger the suspense filled operation, with ample star power exhibited by Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, Louis Calhern, nasty Marc Lawrence and Norma Jean Baker as the "niece".

 

2:30 AM The Killing

 

Lower budget entry than the "Asphalt Jungle" but Stanley Kubrick still gives the film high voltage, with its screenplay twists and turns set at a racetrack. Again starring the by then slightly disheveled Hayden, with Colleen Gray, Jay C. Flippen, Timothy Carey and the Gunzel...Elisha Cook, Junior married to the double crossing Marie Windsor [who's at least a head taller!]. Look for Dr. Ben Casey [Vince Edwards] in a bit part.

 

6/11

 

8:00 PM The Big Sleep

10:00 PM The Big Sleep

 

If you don't have the dvd with both versions of this Howard Hawks' film. with differing running times, then this is the time to watch them back to back. Though I don't know if we'll ever be sure if the butler was at the beachhouse, or who Raymond Chandler really thought was behind everything, this film has it all, and Philip Marlowe not only has trysts with lusty librarian type booksellers, but breaks up a pornography ring with a thumb sucking vixen named Vickers. Watch both versions to compare the on-screen trajectory of the Bacall/Bogart film romance.

 

12:45 AM Murder, My Sweet

 

An earlier take on the Philip Marlowe legend, with Dick Powell as the detective and the serene yet sinister, Claire Trevor as older sister to Anne Shirley [who started out as Dawn O'Day but then took on the name of her character Anne Shirley from "Anne of Green Gables", but I digress]. Some great quasi-hallucinatory sequences and directed by Eddie Dmytryk. Remade effectively many years later, with the original novel title, "Farewell My Lovely" with Mitchum and Charlotte Rampling, but just not as iconic.

 

 

2:30 AM Lady In The Lake

 

This is the Philip Marlowe film where you the viewer, see things from director and actor, Bob Montgomery's viewpoint. Sometimes clever, sometimes clumsy, but always fun, this film is assisted by Leon Ames, Audrey Totter and Lloyd Nolan.

 

 

6/13

 

10:00 AM The Two Mrs. Carrolls

 

Okay..not the greatest Bogart film, but there's Stanwyck and Alexis Smith, with Nigel Bruce from the Holmes' films and Isobel Elsom. See it to watch Bogart play a deadly artist who dispatches victims with a wave of his brush.

 

12:00 PM Clash By Night

 

A Fritz Lang trumph from a Clifford Odets' play! Robert Ryan in love with Stanwyck, who's in a boring marriage with hubby Paul Douglas, with Marilyn Monroe as the next door neighbor; itadds up to one film you don't want to miss.

 

2:00 PM Odds Against Tomorrow

 

Certifiable noir, with Ryan, Harry Belafonte and one of Gloria Grahame's last noir performances as a femme fatale, directed by Robert Wise.

 

4:00 PM The Night Of The Hunter

 

Profound classic, adapted by writing great, James Agee from the Grubb novel, with good and evil portrayed not just tattoed on Mitchum's hands, but in the startling retro German Expressionism take, designed by first time director Charles Laughton. With Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, and Billy Chapin, brother to Kitten from the "Father Knows Best" show and Peter Graves, brother to Matt Dillon from "Gunsmoke".

 

6:00 PM Cape Fear

 

We all know this one, again with Mitchum out to get Gregory Peck's goat...and maybe his daughter, Lori Martin. Scarier than the DeNiro version, in my opinion, which was well done though.

 

6/15

 

6:00 PM The Bad and the Beautiful

 

Quintessential Tinseltown noir in contemplation of its own foul, lint filled navel, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Dick Powell, Gilbert Roland and with Gloria Grahame's supporting actress Oscar performance.

 

6/17

 

8:00 PM They Live by Night

 

Cathy O'Donnell meets up with Farley Granger, and a kinder and gentler Bonnie and Clyde type story is born, as directed by the great Nick Ray.

 

9:45 PM In a Lonely Place

 

Watch this and you get to hear Bogart say to Gloria Grahame the immortal refraint: " I was born when she kissed me, I died when she left me, I lived a few weeks while she loved me."

 

11:30 PM On Dangerous Ground

 

Tough as toenails cop, Robert Ryan gets tamed by the blind Ida Lupino. Not as sappy as it sounds in the hands of Nick Ray.

 

6/18

 

8:00 AM Phantom Lady

 

Hard to find on tv, except for the great TCM, "Phantom Lady" has it all! A Cornell Woolrich story, Ella Raines as the strong woman who has to help the sad sap, unhappily married Alan Curtis, whose world falls apart after he finds his wife strangled and his alibi, the feather encrusted hatted woman, is nowhere to be found. Essential Noir, History 101 style! Great visuals with the bar jazz scene a stunner!

 

6/24

 

6:00 AM Follow Me Quietly

 

A decent B-programmer, with William Lundigan out to catch a serial killer, assisted by Jeff Corey, with writing assistance by Anthony Mann.

 

10:30 AM Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

 

Not the most famous Fritz Lang, but still jarring entertainment! Dana Andrews sets himself up as a patsy, to prove a point about culpability, then gets caught in his own trap, that even girlfriend Joan Fontaine can't extricate him from.

 

12:00 PM While The City Sleeps

 

Based on the exploits of real life Chicago serial killer, William Heirens [aka The Lipstick Killer] who wrote on the wall of one victim in Tangee orange lipstick " "For Heaven's sake catch me before I kill more. I cannot control myself" this effective thriller stars Dana Andrews, Vincent Price and John Drew Barrymore as the brilliant, yet misguided young misanthrope and bloodthirsty misogynist. Heirens to this day, is still protesting his innocence....

 

6/25

 

8:00 AM Double Indemnity

 

Stanwyck, the blonde wig, Fred MacMurray and Eddie G. after all three of them, with direction by Wilder.

 

6/30

 

8:30 AM Desperate

 

Decent Anthony Mann vehicle with great journeyman actor, Steve Brodie on the lam from Ray Burr.

 

9:45 AM Two O'Clock Courage

 

Amnesia is so noirish! Watch Tom Conway get it, under Mann's guidance.

 

11:00 AM Side Street

 

Granger and O'Donnell together again, and with Noir great, Charles McGraw in pursuit and the wonderful Minerva Urecal, as the obligatory landlady.

 

12:30 PM Border Incident

 

Pivotal Anthony Mann noir, lensed by legendary cinematographer, John Alton...with Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Howard DaSilva and dancer, later turned soap opera star [Palmer Cortlandt from "All My Children"] James Mitchell about illegals in California, which is highly believable and effective.

 

Have you seen any of these, and which were your favorites?

 

Enjoy!

 

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Thanks for this list of films! Between this and Ingrid Bergman in June, I will be watching a lot of films! You've said to say what films on your list we've seen, well, I've seen Clash by Night, Night of the Hunter, They Live by Night, In a Lonely Place, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Double Indemnity, and Two O'Clock Courage. They were all good in their own respects. I loved the storyline of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and I intend to watch that again. Robert Mitchum gave a wonderful performance in Night of the Hunter; he was really scary and convincing. In a Lonely Place was great with Bogart and Gloria Grahame, a stable in film noirs. I just saw Double Indemnity again, and boy, what a great film.

I really want to see The Two Mrs. Carrolls (I like Barbara Stanwyck and Bogart in film noirs), Murder, My Sweet, and Phantom Lady. But...they all look good!

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You mention the one film, which I can't remember too well. I always watch Tom Conway films, but seem to have a bit of amnesia myself about that "Two O'Clock Courage", even though I know I've seen it a few years ago.

 

You've seen all the great ones, I can see by your list, and this should be a fun month for Ingrid and Noir fans too, but don't expect too much from Bogey in TTMC. I get the feeling that he might have rather been on his boat when this one was filmed....haha!

 

Thanks for your response!

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