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Which Film Got You Hooked on Film Noir?


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Might want to check out Hard Case Crime.  They publish a lot of old mystery books and some new ones.  Originally were under Dorchester Publishing, but changed a few years ago.

Yep got a few of them too, thanks

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As for the movie that started me into film noir, well, I had always been very into mysteries. When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my mom showed me and my brother and sister both Shadow of a Doubt and Strangers on a Train. Here were mystery/thrillers, but unlike my little Nancy Drew books, the situations were more morally and emotionally complicated and there was a real sense of danger.

 

My mom is a big cinema fan, and so she was able to provide us with plenty of noir-type movies as we were growing up.

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Night of the Hunter, definitely.  I was quite young when I first saw this film, and my initial reaction to Robert Mitchum's character, Rev. Powell, was, "Wow! He's so handsome and charming!"  As I watched the film I gradually understood what kind of horrible man his character really was.  I later had nightmare images burned in my mind:  him walking on the edge of a hill, calling, "Pearl, Pearl" in that slow and menacing drawl.  Still gives me chills to this day.

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Night of the Hunter, definitely.

 

Such a unique, cool movie. I love shots like a certain critical moment looking under the water. It's a hard choice for me to say which villain role Mitchum is better in: this one, or Cape Fear.

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I fell HARD for Double Indemnity. Before that, I only knew Fred MacMurray as the father from My Three Sons, which, like Leave it to Beaver, I didn't care much for. (While I like '50s and '60s shows and my parents introduced them to me, I never liked "perfect life" sitcoms like those.)

 

So, I was blown away at the very beginning when Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff comes staggering into his office, weak from blood loss from bullet wounds and starts dictating a memo to Edward G. Robinson.

 

I also fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck. Didn't know anything that she did, although I'd seen reruns of The Big Valley, but wasn't very fond of it. Since experiencing Double Indemnity, I've sought out every movie that she's done.

 

And, then, shortly after first watching Double Indemnity (and I was in college), I got to experience Sunset Boulevard for the first time. And, even though that opening scene is parodied a lot, it still packs a punch.

 

(Thinking of Double Indemnity, MeTV has been playing Carol Burnett and Friends. One episode MeTV aired not to long ago is The Carol Burnett Show's parody of Double Indemnity. Those parodies of movies are even more brilliant if you know the movie they're spoofing.)

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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid got me hooked as I tried to see all of the movies that Martin used to create it.

 

Great to see that Steve Martin's homage to noir movies inspired people to seek out the films featured,  as well as the noir film style in general  (and maybe other great films from the studio-system era like 30s screwball comedies).  

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It wasn't the movies, because I'm still learning about which ones would be considered film noir, but the early detective radio shows.  They painted such a fascinating world where the men were hard-around-the-edges and the dames were gorgeous.  If I was going to classify newer movies under this heading, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" would be there.  Yes, it's a children's movie, but it has all of the elements we've been learning in it.

 

Through TCM and this class, I've learned that I loved "Gun Crazy", "Nora Prentiss" and "Woman on the Run".  I know that I'm driving my husband nuts with everything I've been watching, but I consider it fair trade for having sat through low-budget B movies.

 

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that happened to me to- the part about barbara stanwyck, after double indemnity i started looking for films by her. One of my favorites by her is Ladies They Talk About, Sorry Wrong Number, and Lady of Burleque. She is just one of the best actresses out of that era

I fell HARD for Double Indemnity. Before that, I only knew Fred MacMurray as the father from My Three Sons, which, like Leave it to Beaver, I didn't care much for. (While I like '50s and '60s shows and my parents introduced them to me, I never liked "perfect life" sitcoms like those.)

 

So, I was blown away at the very beginning when Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff comes staggering into his office, weak from blood loss from bullet wounds and starts dictating a memo to Edward G. Robinson.

 

I also fell in love with Barbara Stanwyck. Didn't know anything that she did, although I'd seen reruns of The Big Valley, but wasn't very fond of it. Since experiencing Double Indemnity, I've sought out every movie that she's done.

 

And, then, shortly after first watching Double Indemnity (and I was in college), I got to experience Sunset Boulevard for the first time. And, even though that opening scene is parodied a lot, it still packs a punch.

 

(Thinking of Double Indemnity, MeTV has been playing Carol Burnett and Friends. One episode MeTV aired not to long ago is The Carol Burnett Show's parody of Double Indemnity. Those parodies of movies are even more brilliant if you know the movie they're spoofing.)

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that happened to me to- the part about barbara stanwyck, after double indemnity i started looking for films by her. One of my favorites by her is Ladies They Talk About, Sorry Wrong Number, and Lady of Burleque. She is just one of the best actresses out of that era

 

Have you seen Baby Face or Night Nurse?   These are two of the best,  hard as nails,  per-code films Hollywood ever made.

 

I also enjoy her comedies like Ball of Fire and The Lady Eve.       Stanwyck is #3 in my book, right behind Davis and DeHavilland. 

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Yes I have seen all 4, Night Nurse snook up on me, it started out light hearted and then  it goes to children being starved to death

Have you seen Baby Face or Night Nurse?   These are two of the best,  hard as nails,  per-code films Hollywood ever made.

 

I also enjoy her comedies like Ball of Fire and The Lady Eve.       Stanwyck is #3 in my book, right behind Davis and DeHavilland. 

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HE WALKED BY NIGHT got to me. Saw it while babysitting in So.I'll., but I was swept into the hunt 1500 miles & 12 years earlier.

 

While I was not totally gripped by the movie overall, I think that the scene with the bullet being removed is one of the most harrowing, stomach-turning things I've ever seen in a movie. I don't know why it gets to me so badly--I think it's mostly the actor's brilliant portrayal of someone so close to the edge of what he can tolerate in terms of pain and just needing to get it done. There's this moment (when he pulls the bullet out? I can't quite remember . . . ) where he makes this sound that is a perfect mix of a laugh and a sob and it's amazing and horrible at the same time.

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For me it was Fuller's Pickup on South Street that got me really interested on Film Noir.

 

I've seen quite a few but never got to being entirely that hooked into it until after watching the aforementioned film. My wife and I loved Sunset Boulevard (and seen it several times already), however I never considered it a noir (maybe a dark melodrama and Wilder's scathing indictment of the system). 

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For me it was Fuller's Pickup on South Street that got me really interested on Film Noir.

 

Oh, man--you guys are name-dropping such great movies. I was late to seeing Pickup on South Street, but when I saw it it was one of those movies that I immediately fell in love with. For starters, it is just beautifully shot. I love the different kinds of criminals you see and their different grifts. Thelma Ritter's Moe is one of the most memorable supporting characters I can think of (especially in her emotionally charged final scene). My sister and I rewatched it together recently and I was totally enthralled. Plus, on the totally shallow side, I adore its Criterion cover:

 

224_box_348x490_w128.jpg

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Not a film, and nothing sudden, but I distinctly remember the whole love affair's genesis for me in the novels of Raymond Chandler when I was a teenager (so many moons ago now!), which led inexorably to the films...

 

However, I still don't see Dick Powell as Marlowe! 

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Oh, man--you guys are name-dropping such great movies. I was late to seeing Pickup on South Street, but when I saw it it was one of those movies that I immediately fell in love with. For starters, it is just beautifully shot. I love the different kinds of criminals you see and their different grifts. Thelma Ritter's Moe is one of the most memorable supporting characters I can think of (especially in her emotionally charged final scene). My sister and I rewatched it together recently and I was totally enthralled. Plus, on the totally shallow side, I adore its Criterion cover:

 

224_box_348x490_w128.jpg

 

Pickup on South Street also made a Fuller fan out of me (which, I think, his rarely-seen Dead Pigeons on Beethoven Street also has some noirish elements to it). 

 

Fuller tiptoed on the conventions during that time (the staircase pugilism scene asserts to that) as well as casting Richard Widmark (Dassin broke the ground to this sort of character with Night and the City a few years back) as a kind-of antihero whose demeanor you would have had qualms about putting sympathies to.

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OK, since everyone else is spilling their guts, I'll spill mine. It was the films of Orson Welles that did it for me. It started with Citizen Kane, which I will always argue is a proto-noir blueprint. But then The Lady from Shanghai and Touch of Evil sealed the deal for me. And a helluva an actor too. I can never get enough of his role in The Third Man, maybe 15 of my favorite minutes in all of film noir when he is on screen.

 

After seeing Welles' films as a young man, I felt I could spend the rest of my life in a dark movie theater watching these kinds of films (Oh, I guess that part kinda happened :-)

 

Thanks for starting this thread!

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oh man, i was talking about Pickup on South Street in another thread. fantastic movie! Jean Peters is gorgeous and Thelma Ritter is awesome. i've always felt that the character of Moe is what eventually happened to all the femme fatales if they managed to stay alive. 

Pickup on South Street also made a Fuller fan out of me (which, I think, his rarely-seen Dead Pigeons on Beethoven Street also has some noirish elements to it). 

 

Fuller tiptoed on the conventions during that time (the staircase pugilism scene asserts to that) as well as casting Richard Widmark (Dassin broke the ground to this sort of character with Night and the City a few years back) as a kind-of antihero whose demeanor you would have had qualms about putting sympathies to.

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I actually think it was The Twilight Zone and Blade Runner!  Okay, those are not film noir as much as noir influenced entertainment, but those were two I always enjoyed for reasons I could never quite articulate.  It wasn't until I took a film history course in college that I realized it was the noir influence and not so much the sci-fi that was making me a fan (not that the sci-fi content was't good, too!).  My prof showed us Detour! and Scarlet Street as examples of film noir, and from that point I was hooked.  But honestly, it is only this past year that the noir bug has really bitten deep.  TCM is feeding my new found addiction.   :D

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