Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Bring Back "The Czar of Noir"


twtpark
 Share

Recommended Posts

James Ellroy dubbed Eddie Muller "The Czar of Noir" and he did bring many interesting and some quite obsure film noirs to TCM. I miss him and hope he returns soon with some new Noirs he has uncovered. These Friday nights have been pretty bad lately on TCM.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, but first of all hasn't Ellroy milked the death of his mother long enough in print and on tv, and should be on to a new genre?

 

And Muller is not really a Czar of Noir but more like a spear-toting private in that field.

 

They need a woman to address the Noir genre on TCM and not all these guys who would be just pawns in the hands of a real femme fatale.

 

No, no more male noir blather. Find a real noirish type chick and go with her as the historian.

 

I think it would rock!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd love to see Molly Haskell return to TCM to do something besides narrate those 3 minute mini-biographies that get repeated about 600 times a week. But I'd also be grateful if we got another round of Muller's critiques. No need to disparage Eddie in order to praise Molly.

 

But if we want to get some more women up there with Bob, a sentiment I'd second, I'd suggest two great bloggers: Farran Smith Nehme, AKA "The Self-Styled Siren", and Jacqueline T. Lynch, who does "Another Old Movie Blog". Either of these would be a terrific addition to the TCM lineup.

 

http://selfstyledsiren.blogspot.com/

 

http://anotheroldmovieblog.blogspot.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, Eddie Muller is the perfect "Czar of Noir", very knowledgeable, articulate and like Robert Osborne, likeable and classy. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him and I hope he will be back on TCM !

 

Sorry, I can't say the same about Molly Haskel...as in, at all !

 

Twink

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Molly Haskell would be good if they ever did another pre-code women series or if they ever did a series on the treatment of women in film (since I think that's her specialty?)

 

I like Jeanine Bassinger (who also has nothing to do with Noir). Her book about the silent stars is wonderful and introduced me to some stars that I'd never heard of up to that point, like the Talmadge sisters. Her book The Star Machine is an interesting look at how the studios "made" stars and why it didn;t always work as planned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finance, you said a mouthful when you said this most sensible statement about not using Muller as host:

 

He IS likeable, but in keeping with the mood of noir, it might be interesting to have a noir host who was very unlikeable.

 

So true, so true. It's like having Debbie Reynolds introducing a series about women who are serial murderers.

 

Does not fit or compute.

 

And instead of a guy hosting, they should have a woman, preferably someone diabolically entrancing like Glen Close or maybe a Gloria Grahame type.

 

Now that would be fun and in keeping with the noir spirit!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think those who are suggesting that a "dislikable" host for a Film Noir night would be in keeping with the noir sensibility are either sticking their tongues in their cheeks or are demonstrating a misunderstanding of the genre.

If noir were "unpleasant" or "dislikable", then I wouldn't like it. Yup, its themes, mood, stories, and characters are usually "dark" (not to mention its look), but it does not follow that its films are hard to like, or that its characters are.

Au contraire, the protagonists of film noir are often - in fact, they're usually - people we can identify with, and therefore, like - or at the very least, we do not DISlike them.

Just because they are sucked into doing bad things does not mean they are bad, or even "dislikable". (see that "Good Bad Judgemental" thread for more on this idea. Sorry, I do not intend blatant self-promotion, honestly.)

 

In fact, I find most of the characters in noir to be either likable or at least entertaining. Even the villains (when there are any) are fun to watch (like Kirk Douglas in *Out of the Past* )

 

So I respectfully submit that the suggestion that a host for a Film Noir Night at TCM ought to be "dislikable" because it somehow fits with noir as a concept is facile and poorly thought out.

Sorry, that's rather harsh - and I do respect the folks who've put forward this idea. But, what can I say? Baby, it's all wrong.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Oct 3, 2013 10:09 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Poorly thought out"? Wow. I feel like I've really been taken to the woodshed.. Let's take the films that are arguably the two top noirs. In DOUBLE INDEMNITY, the only chatacter of the many in the film who is half-likeable is the EGR character, and he is supporting. In OUT OF THE PAST, everybody is pretty unlikeable except for maybe Jeff Bailey, and he certainly was not a candidate for any "good citizenship" award. (although there is nothing wrong with Bailey's girlfriend or the deaf and dumb guy.)

 

Edited by: finance on Oct 4, 2013 9:26 AM

 

Edited by: finance on Oct 4, 2013 9:46 AM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't agree. I think Walter Neff is likable, or at least, understandable, someone we can sort of identify with...until, of course, he actually murders Phyllis' hapless husband.

Again, I offer the same argument I used when talking about *Sunset Boulevard* : it's no accident when a director or screenwriter chooses to employ a main character narrative voice-over in a film, especially if that character is not a model citizen. It helps the audience empathize with that character,which is exactly what the director wants us to do.

Interesting to consider that in both the above examples, the director is Billy Wilder.

 

Again, I am not deliberately promoting my "Good, Bad, and Judgemental" thread -it had its day, fine... but that was the whole point of my thread, that people who perform what is commonly regarded as "bad" acts in society can still be sympathetic, even likable.

 

I like Jeff Bailey; as far as I can recall the film (and I've seen it many times) he never even kills anyone, except of course Kathy, at the very end. He's just some guy who, smart though he may have been, got drawn into Whit Sterling's complicated illicit web of lust, greed, and power. He also fell for the wrong woman, but shirley that does not make a guy "dislikeable".

 

"Likable" is not the same thing as morally upright; some of the most charming people in filmdom (not to mention real life) have been bad 'uns.

Being a candidate for a "good citizenship" award does not ipso facto render one a likeable human being. Such a person might be boring, self-righteous, or just plain socially awkward.

Sheesh, I can see that that "Good Bad Judgemental" thread was not fully explored - that whole "good citizenship" vs "likable" thing was exactly what I was talking about.

 

Maybe when casting about for a potential host for a film noir night, we should consider who might be the most charming, the most serpentine, the most silkily deceptive.

Upon consideration, I don't even want a "good" person introducing my beloved noirs. But neither do I want someone who might be, shall we say, socially challenged.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at the characters of Walter, Joe and Jeff is interesting. I agree all three characters are drawn to be likeable. But are we pulling for them? I.e. hoping all turns out well for their character?

 

One major difference is that with Walter and Joe we know right from the start how they end up. That knowledge makes it illogical to get emotionally invested in a good outcome for them. But with Joe I do feel bad that he cannot get himself out of his situation (I think where we may disagree is that it takes me longer to get this compassion for Joe than it does for you).

 

As for Walter, like you noted, one has very little compassion as soon as we understand he is willing to murder. But Walter was a likeable flirt until that point. With Jeff I have compassion for him from the start. I?m pulling for him the entire way but with the understanding that, this being noir, the odds are he will still end up like Walter and Joe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...