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misswonderly3

Act of Violence: a great noir

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DIALM is second-tier Hitchcock. THE LOST WEEKEND is first-tier Wilder. If you guys are marginalizing THE LOST WEEKEND because it's a "black and white" film, you are also marginalizing most of the films starring Gable, Cagney, Cooper, Stewart, and all the other first-tier actors that are much-better remembered than Milland.

 

Once again I guess I wasn't making myself clear.

 

1. I love Ray Milland as an actor. I love most of the films I've seen him in, from the better known to the obscure. I'd rather watch his films than those of many of those actors (Spencer Tracy, Astaire, Wayne, Cooper, etc.) who are much better remembered by the casual "movie buffs" of today.

 

2. The Lost Weekend undoubtedly has more social significance than nearly any movie made by Van Heflin, Dana Andrews, or most any other actor, for that matter. Along with Days of Wine and Roses, it's in a class by itself in terms of dealing with alcohol addiction.

 

3. All that said, Ray Milland simply isn't remembered today to nearly the same degree as the Gables and the Cagneys and the Bogarts and the Coopers. That's *not* a knock on Milland; it's a knock on the way non-TCM venues give short shrift to his films in favor of the Same Old Same Old classics like Casablanca and Adam's Rib. It's got nothing to do with Ray Milland's well deserved reputation among critics and knowledgeable film buffs. I hope that at some point this distinction I'm making will get through.

 

4. And what I said about black & white films has solely to do with the current generation's dismissal of them. They'll make exceptions for a tiny handful of "iconic" films like Casablanca, but no more than a few dozen at most, and more like about half a dozen for a lot of people. Me, I'd guess that 70% to 80% or more of *my* favorite films are B&W, but then I'm almost 70.

 

And P.S.: IMO Dial M For Murder is second only to Vertigo among Hitchcock's films, and I've seen nearly all of them at least once, including his recently discovered silents. But then we all have our own subjective criteria for making such ratings.

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Not to drag out the discussion, but you rate Dial only 2nd to Vertigo? I think you'd have a lot of naysayers on that one..............I dont think it would make my top 20 Hitchcock.

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Not to drag out the discussion, but you rate Dial only 2nd to Vertigo? I think you'd have a lot of naysayers on that one..............I dont think it would make my top 20 Hitchcock.

 

If I've got a lot of naysayers on that, then what about my opinion that the greatest movie of all time is Angi Vera? :) Followed by Kapo. :) You might want to lock me up in the Funny Farm and throw away the key. ;)

 

I would hope it would be clear by now that our preferences in films aren't (or shouldn't be) dictated by either critics or critical consensus, but rather by how a movie speaks to our own peculiar and individual taste.

 

Among my favorite other Hitchcocks, I'd add Marnie (vastly underrated), The Lady Vanishes, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much (the Stewart version), North By Northwest, Psycho, Stage Fright, and The Paradine Case. The only ones I don't care much for are Shadow of a Doubt (vastly overrated by Hitchcock himself) and Rope. I consider him among the best of the "entertainment" directors, though not on the level of a Kurosawa.

 

How all that corresponds to critical consensus: You tell me. :)

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I'm a Milland fan. My two favourites are probably The Big Clock and Ministry of Fear.

 

Two of the absolutely greatest noirs ever. I could watch The Big Clock every year for the next 30 years (if I live that long) and never tire of it.

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Milland may be a little more well known than some of those "second tier" stars you mentioned because of the films he did late in his career. I know a few people that know next to nothing about studio era films and stars but they have heard of the movie The Man with Two Heads. Staring in a really bad camp color movie is one way to distance yourself from the rest of the pack!

 

(he was also in the sequel to Love Story,, my point being that color films made in the 70s may have been seen by NON classic (studio) era movie fans).

 

Oh, and Act of Violence is a solid noir. Heflin, Ryan and Astor; that is a strong crop of noir actors.

 

Edited by: jamesjazzguitar on Mar 25, 2014 5:38 PM

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Milland may be a little more well know than some of those "second tier" stars you mentioned because of the films he did late in his career. I know a few people that know next to nothing about studio era films and stars but they have heard of the movie The Man with Two Heads. Staring in a really bad camp color movie is one way to distance yourself from the rest of the pack!

 

(he was also in the sequel to Love Story,, my point being that color films made in the 70s may have been seen by NON classic (studio) era movie fans).

 

When was the last film Milland made where (a) Milland was the lead; and (B) the film is seen as "iconic"? Being vaguely "remembered" is only part of the equation, and even with that, you'd have to be 50 to have seen even his *last* movie first run as an adult, being as how it was made in 1984.

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I agree mostly with your Hitch picks aside from Marnie, Parradine and Rope. I'm fond of Shadow of a Doubt.........

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The Thing With Two Heads! A classic. (****) I actually bought it on DVD! And who could forget Ray (sans toupee) in Love Story??

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Oh, and Act of Violence is a solid noir. Heflin, Ryan and Astor; that is a strong crop of noir actors.

 

It sure is, but if it weren't for Astor's role in The Maltese Falcon, all three of those fine actors would barely be remembered today outside of TCM circles. Which is why it's so important to keep TCM around for another 500 years or so. :)

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I agree mostly with your Hitch picks aside from Marnie, Parradine and Rope. I'm fond of Shadow of a Doubt........

 

Well, with Hitchcock there's something for everyone. I sure don't claim to speak for critics, although I think Marnie's reputation has been creeping somewhat upward as of late. Tippi Hedren is just fabulous in that complicated role.

 

And as for Shadow of a Doubt, I'm well aware that WRT to that film I many be in a minority of one. So be it.

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Like I said Andy, "may be a little more well known", but hey maybe not.

 

But I believe my point has value; that many cult camp movies have a way of living on with future generations more so than 'really good' films from the studio era.

 

PS: My gut also tell me that The Lost Weekend is more well known today than DMFM, but that is because I saw the film as a psych major since it was about addiction. Maybe The Lost Weekend is still shown to college students due to reasons like that.

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Bringing it back to the original topic (because this thread is rapidly becoming an amorphous catch-all site for anything even remotely connected to *Act of Violence*, and good heavens, we can't have that)

here are some critical comments about the film I found on the lazyperson's (like me) guide to everything you wanted to know about anything, Wikipedia:

 

"The staff at Variety magazine liked the film and gave it a positive review. They wrote, "The grim melodrama implied by its title is fully displayed in Acts of Violence...tellingly produced and played to develop tight excitement...The playing and direction catch plot aims and the characterizations are all topflight thesping. Heflin and Ryan deliver punchy performances that give substance to the menacing terror...It's grim business, unrelieved by lightness, and the players belt over their assignments under Zinnemann's knowing direction. Janet Leigh points up her role as Heflin's worried but courageous wife, while Phyllis Thaxter does well by a smaller part as Ryan's girl. A standout is the brassy, blowzy femme created by Mary Astor ? a woman of the streets who gives Heflin shelter during his wild flight from fate."

The film was entered into the 1949 Cannes Film Festival.

Currently, it holds a 100% "Fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 9 reviews."

 

I really enjoy that the reviewer uses the word "thesping".

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Spoiler Alert:

 

Related to Hefin and Ryan as so called second tier stars verses Bogie, Cagney, Gable, Tracy, etc... I wonder if a noir movie where the star dies at the end somewhat requires that the lead be a second tier type of star.

 

For example; Yea, Mitchum dies at the end of Out of The Past but in many of the noirs he did after this he plays the hero and even comes out with the girl at the end (e.g. both of his noirs with Russell). When Mitchum plays the bad guy he dies in the end but movies like Cape Fear also had another major male star where all ends well for that star (Peck of course).

 

Many of noir films Bogie starred in (note I don't say Bogie movies since I read that Woody Allen thread!), have romantic endings that take away from the noir vibe.

 

So I wonder if an actor with the status of a Bogie, Gable etc.. was cast in the Hefin role would the producers have felt the need to change the ending so the big star lived on?

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I would say that there are at least 7 or 8 films that eclipse DIAL M among Hitchcock fans, and among non-Hitchcock fans. I , e.g., am a big Hitchcock fan, and my favorites are REAR WINDOW, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, REBECCA, and NORTH BY NORTHWEST. VERTIGO PSYCHO, and NOTORIOUS, which are not big favorites of MINE, are big favorites of MOST Hitchcock fans.

 

Edited by: finance on Mar 26, 2014 12:43 PM

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LOL. Heavens no! Violence is on tomw, right? I may record it to watch again. Too bad this gem wasnt scheduled for prime time. It should have been........

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I know right!!! The Mary Astor flix this month have been golden!!! I have a DVR filled with many of them, but I'm fortunately off today so getting to watch most of them "live"!!! We should see about getting paid to watch TCM flix, eh?? :)

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Hibi, I hear what you are saying!!! My DVR is simply bursting!!!

 

Buy a DVD recorder and just make sure you have a spare closet for all those DVDs. Works for me. :)

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