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Criss Cross (1949) Los Angeles Noir Masterpiece

criss%2Bcross%2Bposter.jpg


Soaring like Eye Of God over The City Of Angels.

We see City Hall corner of First & Spring heading North past Union Station and it's Annex, between North Spring on the left North Main and North Los Angeles Street in the middle and and North Almedea on the right. No Santa Anna Freeway in '49.

It's Chinatown!

North Almedea coming in at an angle and North Spring Street pinch off the two middle streets. We slowly pan right towards North Almedea and you end up zooming into a parking lot between North Spring Street and the West side of Almedea with Ord Street bordering on the South and the Alhambra Avenue intersection on the North.

It's behind what is now circa 2018, a restaurant Phillipes The Original, and The Little Jewel of New Orleans Grocery and Deli. It's the Parking lot of The Round Up Cafe.

We finally fade into two lovers Anna (Yvonne de Carlo) and Steve (Burt Lancaster), highlighted in the headlights of car backing into a parking space.

So begins Criss Cross another masterpiece of noir with an "amour fou" story told non linearly, and also in flashback, directed by Robert Siodmak (The File on Thelma Jordon, Cry of the City, The Killers, Christmas Holiday, Phantom Lady), and screenplay written by Daniel Fuchs (The Gangster, Storm Warning, Panic in the Streets, Hollow Triumph) based on Don Tracy's novel of the same name. The cinematography was by Franz Planer (The Chase, Champion, The Scarf, 99 River Street, 711 Ocean Drive), and the music was by Miklós Rózsa.

Its a simple story vividly illustrating the "why" in the adage "you can't go home again."

The main stars are Burt Lancaster, Yvonne de Carlo, Dan Duryea, and Stephan McNally.

The film features a lot of 1949 Los Angeles. The opening aerial over City Hall to Chinatown. The now long gone Hill Street Tunnel at North Temple Street (Steve's house), a Hill Street trolley heading for Hollywood, Angels Flight, The Third Street Tunnel, and the Sunshine Apartments, and the old Henry Ford Bridge next to the Schuyler Heim Bridge to Terminal Island, and Union Station.

Easily a 10/10 More screen caps with review in Film Noir/Gangster page.

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

Criss Cross (1949) Los Angeles Noir Masterpiece

criss%2Bcross%2Bposter.jpg


Soaring like Eye Of God over The City Of Angels....

So begins Criss Cross another masterpiece of noir with an "amour fou" story told non linearly, and also in flashback, directed by Robert Siodmak (The File on Thelma Jordon, Cry of the City, The Killers, Christmas Holiday, Phantom Lady),

I'm still without cable and moving fast through my classic horror DVDs. I got so bored last night that I checked out SON OF DRACULA (1943), mostly for larfs, but honestly- it may be the film that showcases Siodmak's talents as a director more than any.

The script is garbage, the acting is terrible (and not just from the verrrry miscast Chaney, the guy in the "Van Helsing" role can't pin down the accent to save his life, and the actress playing the voodoo priestess has to be seen to be believed), the budget was probably a buck ninety-five- but VISUALLY he strings together something  watchable, with some interesting moments, and he keeps the thing moving at such a pace that he doesn't give the viewer as much time to assess the 1,000 flaws and shortcomings of the various ingredients involved. 

like JEAN NEGULESCO and HUMORESQUE, it's a classic case of how strong direction can be evident even when working with ingredients that are less than the best....kinda like if JULIA CHILD found herself in the kitchen of an Arby's...

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

 

like JEAN NEGULESCO and HUMORESQUE, it's a classic case of how strong direction can be evident even when working with ingredients that are less than the best....kinda like if JULIA CHILD found herself in the kitchen of an Arby's...

I would kill to hear Julia Child say "We have the meats!"

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I'm still without cable and moving fast through my classic horror DVDs. I got so bored last night that I checked out SON OF DRACULA (1943), mostly for larfs, but honestly- it may be the film that showcases Siodmak's talents as a director more than any.

The script is garbage, the acting is terrible (and not just from the verrrry miscast Chaney, the guy in the "Van Helsing" role can't pin down the accent to save his life, and the actress playing the voodoo priestess has to be seen to be believed), the budget was probably a buck ninety-five- but VISUALLY he strings together something  watchable, with some interesting moments, and he keeps the thing moving at such a pace that he doesn't give the viewer as much time to assess the 1,000 flaws and shortcomings of the various ingredients involved. 

 

I like the film, but I do agree that its strong point is the visuals. I liked some of the camera angles ... like placing the viewer behind Chaney as he appears to glide across the swamp.

The first time I ever saw the film, I was astonished to hear the musical cue at the climax, when Chaney sees the sun starting to rise and realizes his a** is about to be toast. Composer Hans J. Salter's cue was used later in the beginning of all the Universal Sherlock Holmes films.

I'm not too sure about Chaney as Dracula ... maybe he just wanted to put on his resume that he had appeared as every monster Universal could dig up.

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15 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

I'm not too sure about [LON] Chaney [JR.] as Dracula [IN SON OF DRACULA] ... maybe he just wanted to put on his resume that he had appeared as every monster Universal could dig up.

I doubt he had much of  a choice in the matter, it was the studio system after all. Probably got the call Sunday night "Six AM call time tomorrow- you're Dracula; next week: The Mummy, be there at four am."

the first time we see Chaney as Dracula, he turns to the camera and I SWEAR his eyes flash with a desperate plea to the audience that says "look guys, I'm not happy about this either..."

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SOMEONE here once mentioned that their favorite part in SON OF DRACULA is when CHANEY emerges as a mist from the coffin, levitates magically over the swamp water...and then gets into Louise Allbritton's 1941 Buick Skylark to ride to the Justice of the Peace.

ps- not sure that it was a Buick, but for comedy's sake, go with it....

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

Four Matt Helm films in one night - now, that is punishment!

The whole month has been (Dean Martin), but that night especially! A SUTS ok, but a SOTM? (Especially when people like Lillian Gish, Joan Bennett and so many others are still waiting).

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49 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

SOMEONE here once mentioned that their favorite part in SON OF DRACULA is when CHANEY emerges as a mist from the coffin, levitates magically over the swamp water...and then gets into Louise Allbritton's 1941 Buick Skylark to ride to the Justice of the Peace.

ps- not sure that it was a Buick, but for comedy's sake, go with it....

Well, the Tesla hadn't been invented yet.

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Fashions of 1934 (1934) - Comedy from Warner Brothers and director William Dieterle. Smooth talking crook Sherwood Nash (William Powell) runs a counterfeit clothing scam in NYC with his partner Snap (Frank McHugh), but their luck has run out and the law is after them. They take off for Paris, bringing along aspiring fashion designer Lynn Mason (Bette Davis). Once in France, they start a new operation combining the fashion ideas of respected designer Oscar Baroque (Reginald Owen) with a musical revue. Also featuring Verree Teasdale, Henry O'Neill, Phillip Reed, Gordon Westcott, Dorothy Burgess, Etienne Girardot, Hobart Cavanaugh, Martin Kosleck, Sam McDaniel, Arthur Treacher, and Jane Darwell.

This amusing comedy doesn't come together all that well, and the ending is a bit abrupt, but there are some humorous moments throughout. Powell could play this kind of charming rogue in his sleep, and McHugh is the same in most films of the period ("Heee Heee Heee"). This must be one of those throwaway roles that Bette Davis lamented having to do during this period of her career, because there's nothing to it. The musical numbers late in the picture seem thrown in, as if to try and grab the Busby Berkeley musical fans, and Berkeley was the choreographer.     (6/10)

Source: Amazon video

fashionsof1934.jpg

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6 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Fashions of 1934 (1934) - Comedy from Warner Brothers and director William Dieterle. Smooth talking crook Sherwood Nash (William Powell) runs a counterfeit clothing scam in NYC with his partner Snap (Frank McHugh), but their luck has run out and the law is after them. They take off for Paris, bringing along aspiring fashion designer Lynn Mason (Bette Davis). Once in France, they start a new operation combining the fashion ideas of respected designer Oscar Baroque (Reginald Owen) with a musical revue. Also featuring Verree Teasdale, Henry O'Neill, Phillip Reed, Gordon Westcott, Dorothy Burgess, Etienne Girardot, Hobart Cavanaugh, Martin Kosleck, Sam McDaniel, Arthur Treacher, and Jane Darwell.

This amusing comedy doesn't come together all that well, and the ending is a bit abrupt, but there are some humorous moments throughout. Powell could play this kind of charming rogue in his sleep, and McHugh is the same in most films of the period ("Heee Heee Heee"). This must be one of those throwaway roles that Bette Davis lamented having to do during this period of her career, because there's nothing to it. The musical numbers late in the picture seem thrown in, as if to try and grab the Busby Berkeley music fans, and Berkeley was the choreographer.     (6/10)

Source: Amazon video

 

I just watched the Bette Davis documentary that was on yesterday afternoon (I think I watched it the previous time it was on as well) and Bette mentioned that she disliked this film.  To paraphrase, she said that she felt ridiculous and out of place in this type of role and that she was not a model type.

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8 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I just watched the Bette Davis documentary that was on yesterday afternoon (I think I watched it the previous time it was on as well) and Bette mentioned that she disliked this film.  To paraphrase, she said that she felt ridiculous and out of place in this type of role and that she was not a model type.

Fashions of 1934 is a good movie,  mainly because of William Powell,   but Bette does well in a secondary role.  But yea,  I always wondered if the wig used was passed on to Barbara Stanwyck for Double Indemnity.    While the wig had a purpose in DI,  it just looks silly on Bette.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Fashions of 1934 is a good movie,  mainly because of William Powell,   but Bette does well in a secondary role.  But yea,  I always wondered if the wig used was passed on to Barbara Stanwyck for Double Indemnity.    While the wig had a purpose in DI,  it just looks silly on Bette.

Her hair looked much like it did in Parachute Jumper, but just a bit longer.

Parachute Jumper

parachutejumper1933_072320131148.jpg

Fashions of 1934

bette-davis-fashions-1934-promo-435.jpg

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Gambling Lady (1934) - Crime drama/romance from Warner Brothers and director Archie Mayo. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Jennfier Lady Lee, an ace gambler and daughter of respected professional gambler Mike Lee (Robert Barrat). Lady goes to work for a crime syndicate, playing high stakes poker and winning big (but on the level), with the syndicate staking her and taking the lion's share of the profit. One night while on the job she meets rich guy Garry (Joel McRae), and the two fall in love. But will his high society set accept someone with the sordid past of Lady? Also featuring Pat O'Brien, Claire Dodd, C. Aubrey Smith, Arthur Vinton, Phillip Reed, Phillip Faversham, Robert Elliott, Arthur Treacher, Louise Beavers, Willie Fung, and Ferdinand Gottschalk.

I enjoy Stanwyck in this sort of role, a tough dame that moves in rough circles, but who still retains some morality and empathy. The supporting cast of Warners stock players is good, and while there wasn't much meat on either McRae or O'Brien's roles (the latter playing a good-natured bookie), they fill them well.   (7/10)

Source: TCM

114870-gambling-lady-0-230-0-345-crop.jp

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Housewife (1934) - Melodrama from Warner Brothers and director Alfred E. Green. Housewife Nan (Ann Dvorak) tries to inspire her unfulfilled husband William (George Brent) to leave his dead end job at an advertising agency and open up his own firm. He finds success, but he also begins an affair with co-worker Patricia (Bette Davis). Can Nan win back William, or should she even try? Also featuring John Halliday, Ruth Donnelly, Hobart Cavanaugh, Robert Barrat, Joseph Cawthorn, Ronnie Cosby, and Jonathan Hale.

I like Ann Dvorak, and haven't seen her in nearly enough movies, so I was pleasantly surprised when she turned out to be the lead here. Bette Davis, who didn't care for this movie ("What a horror!") plays the "other woman", but with a little too much New England posh and not enough vamp to make it fun. I enjoyed the comic relief from Donnelly and Cavanaugh as in-laws.    (6/10)

220px-Housewife_1932_film,_poster.jpg

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"Cast A Dark Shadow" - Lewis Gilbert - 1955 -

"Spoiler Alert" -

It's an extremely dark story about a young man (Dirk Bogarde), who might be gay, and probably is, who marries a much older woman (Mona Washbourne) for her money and then arranges an accidental murder and does manage to kill her.

Unfortunately, thinking he would inherit her estate, he learns that she left everything to her sister, who lives in Jamaica.

Needing money, he isn't going to work for a living, he manages to woo and marry a tough broad with money (Margaret Lockwood), who knows that he has skeletons in his closet, but who loves him too much to care one way or the other.

Unfortunately, for Bogarde, he falls in love with an older, but lovely lady (Kay Walsh) who is looking to buy a home in the area - she seems to have a lot of money, too.

Lockwood knows that Bogarde is attracted to this other woman, but, strangely, she doesn't really care that much.

He's hers - she's his - until death does them part.

Eventually, Walsh is revealed to be Washbourne's sister and is convinced that Bogarde murdered her sister.

Bogard tampers with her car and plans to kill her.

Unfortunately, when Lockwood enters the scene and learns the truth about everything, Bogard is forced to flee.

And, unthinkingly, he takes flight in Walsh's car and crashes to his death.

The film is more a dark character study than an out-and-out thriller about a beautiful amoral man who doesn't really know what he will do from one moment to the next.

The director informs the darkness with a great deal of intensity.

And the small cast, especially Dirk Bogarde and Margaret Lockwood, is top-flight.

Bogarde's character comes across as a gay homicidial maniac who preys on older women.

Is it a first?  Probably not. But I'd like to think so.

castadarkshadow.jpg

 

 

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Housewife (1934) - Melodrama from Warner Brothers and director Alfred E. Green. Housewife Nan (Ann Dvorak) tries to inspire her unfulfilled husband William (George Brent) to leave his dead end job at an advertising agency and open up his own firm. He finds success, but he also begins an affair with co-worker Patricia (Bette Davis). Can Nan win back William, or should she even try? Also featuring John Halliday, Ruth Donnelly, Hobart Cavanaugh, Robert Barrat, Joseph Cawthorn, Ronnie Cosby, and Jonathan Hale.

I like Ann Dvorak, and haven't seen her in nearly enough movies, so I was pleasantly surprised when she turned out to be the lead here. Bette Davis, who didn't care for this movie ("What a horror!") plays the "other woman", but with a little too much New England posh and not enough vamp to make it fun. I enjoyed the comic relief from Donnelly and Cavanaugh as in-laws.    (6/10)

220px-Housewife_1932_film,_poster.jpg

I liked Ann Dvorak in "Three On A Match".

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The Little Minister (1934) - Romantic drama based on the novel and play by J.M. Barrie, from RKO and director Richard Wallace. Gavin (John Beal) is the new minister assigned to a church in a small Scottish town, circa 1840. His youth and slight frame belie his fiery rhetoric and impassioned sermons. The locals chafe under the oppressive rule of Lord Rintoul (Frank Conroy), and a mysterious gypsy girl (Katharine Hepburn) gives valuable intelligence about the Lord's attempts to suppress revolt using armed troops. Gavin falls for the gypsy girl, but she has a secret that may doom them both. Also featuring Donald Crisp, Alan Hale Sr., Beryl Mercer, Lumsden Hare, Andy Clyde, Billy Watson, Dorothy Stckney, Reginald Denny, E.E. Clive, and Byron Foulger in his film debut.

Judging by the description, I was reluctant to watch this, as it doesn't sound like something I'd care for, despite the presence of Hepburn (for whom I watched) and a couple of the supporting players. I was surprised to find myself enjoying this, and more than the average viewer, judging by the IMDb score. I thought Beal assayed his role perfectly, a combination of youthful self-righteousness and naive social blunderer, and that Hepburn was strong, funny, attractive, and vibrant. Among the others, Hale was a stand-out as the hulking town drunk looking for redemption. This was the sixth, and so far final, film version of the Barrie work.   (7/10)

Source: TCM

220px-The_Little_Minister.jpg

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rayban, I like that photo of Bogarde.  He looks quite handsome in it and maybe a little bit naughty.

Fashions of 1934 - I haven't seen this one in years but watched it because of Bill & Bette.  I didn't know her hair was a wig; I just noticed she was "glammed up".  By the way, I think the title was shortened to just Fashions later on.

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Now I'll Tell (1934) - Crime drama from Fox and director Edwin J. Burke. Murray Golden (Spencer Tracy) is a small-time gambler and crook who rises to become one of the most recognizable figures in 1920's gambling circles, running upscale gaming parlors and taking book on all sorts of sports matches. He's happily married to nice-girl Virginia (Helen Twelvetrees), but that doesn't stop him from having an affair with flashy showgirl Peggy (Alice Faye). Like all men on top of the crime world, it's only a matter of time before his luck runs out. Also featuring Robert Gleckler, Henry O'Neill, Hobart Cavanaugh, G.P. Huntley, Ronnie Cosby, Leon Ames, Joseph Crehan, and Shirley Temple.

This was a thinly-veiled take on the life of Arnold Rothstein. So thin, in fact, that the story is credited to "Mrs. Arnold Rothstein", and her name also appears under the title! The direction is pretty bad, and the cinematography and production design were hard to judge thanks to the poor quality of the copy I watched, but Tracy is outstanding, and elevates a very mediocre picture to a worthwhile watch. Twelvetrees isn't bad, either, although she's a bit too saintly, while Faye fits her moll role well.    (7/10)

MV5BYTIzYTI5MzktNGY2ZC00MjhmLTg1MzAtMWM3

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9 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Fashions of 1934 is a good movie,  mainly because of William Powell,   but Bette does well in a secondary role.  But yea,  I always wondered if the wig used was passed on to Barbara Stanwyck for Double Indemnity.    While the wig had a purpose in DI,  it just looks silly on Bette.

 

 

This is when Warners pushed Davis as a blonde glamor girl.  She knew she wasn't the type, and soon rebelled with a vengeance....she fought for her career-making role as Mildred in  OF HUMAN BONDAGE.  Now established with a reputation as an actress, she no longer had to go along with the glamor ruse.

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2 hours ago, ChristineHoard said:

rayban, I like that photo of Bogarde.  He looks quite handsome in at and maybe a little bit naughty.

Fashions of 1934 - I haven't seen this one in years but watched it because of Bill & Bette.  I didn't know her hair was a wig; I just noticed she was "glammed up".  By the way, I think the title was shortened to just Fashions later on.

Yes, Dirk Bogarde was quite handsome in "Cast A Dark Shadow".

His beauty and charm were quite instrumental to his long-lasting stardom.

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