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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.

 

I think that between the angles and lighting and some of the character types, The Twilight Zone definitely had episodes in the noir style and vein. Even some of the titles of episodes ("A Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room") are very evocative of noir and hard-boiled fiction.

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Murder, My Sweet...I was a big fan of Dick Powell from another film called Susan Slept Here and I think it must have been a birthday tribute or something but it was all Dick Powell all day that day and I tuned in to the entire block of programming. Most of it was standard '30s leading man fare...great but not particularly unique. But this film was something else. The tone, the storytelling, the general feel was completely different. I normally tended to gravitate towards screwball comedies so for something like this to capture my attention at the time was a new experience. It's still a favorite of mine, I'd say this one and Dark Passage hold the highest level of esteem for me as far as Noir films are concerned. 

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Guilty Bystander on the late show on a NYC channel, WOR probably, I like the conflicted antihero, the shadows, the pervasive sense of doom and failure. I have the poster in my living room today.

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"Double Indemnity" is the film that really got me interested in film noir. I was immediately drawn into the movie by Fred MacMurray's "Walter Neff" narrative, Barbara Stanwyck's "Phyllis Dietrichson" and Edward G. Robinson's magnificent portrayal of "Barton Keyes", and most prominent of all is Billy Wilder's superb direction. Double Indemnity has become one of my all-time favorite movies and I never tire watching it. I'm always seeing something I missed.  It's just a fabulous movie. 

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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.)

Same for me -- Double Indemnity was my intro to this genre, back when I was a kid. I only knew MacMurray and Stanwyck from their TV shows, so Double Indemnity opened up a whole new world for me.

I then had to see every Stanwyck movie I could find. She's just amazing in all of her films, even when the films are less than fantastic.

And then there were so many leading men to fall head over heels for: Dana Andrews, Glen Ford, Dick Powell, even John Payne. Who knew the man who had defended Santa Claus could be so compelling in a crime drama?

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Like many others "Double Indemnity" did it for me. Like others on this post I only knew Fred MacMurray from "My Three Sons", "The Nutty Professor" and other Disney roles; I only knew Barbara Stanwyck from the "Big Valley". I was completely blown away to see them in roles that were almost the exact opposites of what I had seen before. Then I saw " The Strange Love of Martha Iver's" WOW!

 

The artistry and just flat-out bizarreness of these movies with actors I had only seen as "good guys" pulled me in and I've never gone back

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Like many others "Double Indemnity" did it for me. Like others on this post I only knew Fred MacMurray from "My Three Sons", "The Nutty Professor" and other Disney roles; I only knew Barbara Stanwyck from the "Big Valley". I was completely blown away to see them in roles that were almost the exact opposites of what I had seen before. Then I saw " The Strange Love of Martha Iver's" WOW!

 

The artistry and just flat-out bizarreness of these movies with actors I had only seen as "good guys" pulled me in and I've never gone back

Ah -- right! Loved Strange Love of Martha Ivers! what an ending.

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Guilty Bystander on the late show on a NYC channel, WOR probably, I like the conflicted antihero, the shadows, the pervasive sense of doom and failure. I have the poster in my living room today.

I have not seen (or heard of) Guilty Bystander, but I enjoyed Danger Signal which I only saw for the first time as a result of this course. I'll have to check it out, because it will be interesting to see Faye Emerson and Zachary Scott in another noir together. I am also partial to NYC noir.

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I had always been a fan of "classic" movies shown on the only three television stations broadcasting where I grew up far too many years ago.  (Cable was yet to be invented.) But what really sunk the hook in for good were two film courses on film noir that I took in college.  The courses initially served two purposes: to relive my glory days of youth watching classic films at home and to alleviate some of the humdrum tone of other required courses for my major.

 

What the two courses actually did, though, is embed a deep appreciation for the art form of film and, especially, film noir.  I remember being impressed by viewing the films in an auditorium on a large screen, with "Scarlet Street" and "The Big Heat" among the most memorable of many Fritz Lang films we reviewed and discussed.  I never enjoyed viewing classic film so much as in those two classes, and this class brings back and newly creates many wonderful memories of discovering the deeply artful nature of film noir.  

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In my case it was The Maltese Falcon which drew me in as I saw it repeatedly on the late, late show.  (I also grew up in a pre-cable world.)  I was just a kid, but I knew I wanted to see more complex and mysterious movies like this.  Sam Spade was a good guy, but with enough amorality to keep it interesting.

 

Then as I got older I found Out of the Past and got hooked even more on the doomed protagonist with enough flaws to seal his fate.  I still have a preference of this second category of noirs, with no shining knight hero, just an imperfect guy in an unforgiving world.

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 no shining knight hero, just an imperfect guy in an unforgiving world.

 

This sums up so many great noirs, and also why I sometimes feel conflicted about them. I'm a total sucker for a happy ending (even "unearned" happy endings). So sad endings often feel more "honest", but other times I'm like (*SPOILERS IN WHITE*) "Maybe Robert Mitchum could recover from that gunshot wound and move to Paris and fall in love!!!"

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It's hard to pinpoint the one movie. I grew up watching Hitchcock with my Mom and have always loved old movies. I think probably it was Bogie & Bacall's movies along with Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

 

Hitchcock's Notorious was another one. While there is arguments whether or not it's Noir, I think it's strongly in the category despite it's high-priced actors, kisses and upbeat ending. It was definitely full of the cinemagraphic style, twisted relationships, victims and violence.

 

I always seem to pick these films to sit back and chill.

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It was Bogie as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Mary Astor as a Femme Fatale to die for. The 40s style clothes, trench coats and men's fedora hats that I find at Goodwill along with the old furs that I still wear today.  I've always preferred the black & white films I grew up watching on TV, maybe that's why I love film noir.

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Hitchcock's Notorious was another one. While there is arguments whether or not it's Noir, I think it's strongly in the category despite it's high-priced actors, kisses and upbeat ending. It was definitely full of the cinemagraphic style, twisted relationships, victims and violence.

 

Notorious has a really cool, almost contemporary vibe to it at times. I really like the way that sometimes Cary Grant is shot from the back so that you can't see his face. It's a risky thing to do with such a famous actor, but it manages to imbue his character with ambiguity and menace just by having him walk across a room. Another example, by the by, of a fantastic Criterion cover.

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Like many noir fans, I grew up wating these films. Not only was there no cable when I was growing up but I lived in a rural area. I loved all of them but the first one that really got me started on film noir was "The Shanghai Gesture"  (1941) directed by Josef von Sternberg. I love the films that take place in the orient such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macao etc. The busy atmosphere of these cities seems to add to the sometimes nightmarish scenes in film noir.

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I've been a fan since attending film school in 1979-80 (Sunset Boulevard, The Big Sleep, etc.). 

What got me really hooked more recently were the films made by Val Lewton (with Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson, Robert Wise), as described by Martin Scorcese in his excellent "Val Lewton: Man in the Shadows" documentary. These incredible works of cinematic art, produced on limited budget, include: Cat People (and its excellent and unrelated sequel), I Walked with a Zombie, The Body Snatcher (Karloff AND Lugosi), Isle of the Dead, and Bedlam.

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I've been a fan since attending film school in 1979-80 (Sunset Boulevard, The Big Sleep, etc.). 

What got me really hooked more recently were the films made by Val Lewton (with Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson, Robert Wise), as described by Martin Scorcese in his excellent "Val Lewton: Man in the Shadows" documentary. These incredible works of cinematic art, produced on limited budget, include: Cat People (and its excellent and unrelated sequel), I Walked with a Zombie, The Body Snatcher (Karloff AND Lugosi), Isle of the Dead, and Bedlam.

 

Great documentary "Val Lewton: Man in the Shadows".   Hopefully TCM will show this again for those that missed it.

 

As you noted Lewton didn't make just movies,  he made cinematic art.  

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I've been a fan since attending film school in 1979-80 (Sunset Boulevard, The Big Sleep, etc.). 

What got me really hooked more recently were the films made by Val Lewton (with Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson, Robert Wise), as described by Martin Scorcese in his excellent "Val Lewton: Man in the Shadows" documentary. These incredible works of cinematic art, produced on limited budget, include: Cat People (and its excellent and unrelated sequel), I Walked with a Zombie, The Body Snatcher (Karloff AND Lugosi), Isle of the Dead, and Bedlam.

 

I'd add The Leopard Man to that list. In fact, the way that it meshes up crime with horror is pretty spectacular, especially the sequence of the girl being stalked down the dark streets. While I ultimately felt so-so about the way that the whole movie resolved, it has a lot of noir elements to it and it build incredible atmosphere. Cat People is one of my sister's favorite movies--that sequence in the pool!!

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I'd add The Leopard Man to that list. In fact, the way that it meshes up crime with horror is pretty spectacular, especially the sequence of the girl being stalked down the dark streets. While I ultimately felt so-so about the way that the whole movie resolved, it has a lot of noir elements to it and it build incredible atmosphere. Cat People is one of my sister's favorite movies--that sequence in the pool!!

I'd add The Seventh Victim to the list, it's very good also.

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I'd add The Seventh Victim to the list, it's very good also.

 

This is a Lewton film I haven't seen so thanks for the tip.   Looks interesting with Kim Hunter in her first film and Tom Conway playing the same character in played in Cat People  (I guess the good old doctor used some voodoo to survive that cat attack).

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For me, it was THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS, which I had watched with my aunt Jan in the late 80s/early 90s on AMC.

 

I kept trying to figure out why this movie captured my attention. Then I realized my aunt had a strange way of showing her love to everyone in our family. I think she wanted me to watch this film for a reason. It spooked me. But I was hooked, and I soon sought out more noir-- especially more noir with Barbara Stanwyck.

 

By the way, Aunt Jan is still an odd one.

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I got into Noir initially via Raymond Chandler novels and then getting by hooked by the imagery of Blade Runner...I didn't know anything about Noir at the time but this film led me to old re-runs of black and white where I saw similar motifs and cinematography. The rest, as they say, is history. 

 

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I can't say precisely when or what movie. I also grew up watching movies from the Fifties in black and white (Perry Mason, also). I suppose I got into film noir by way of my "Fab Four" -- Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Barbara Stanwyck. Especially Davis, Crawford and Stanwyck, since all three made many noir movies as their careers progressed throughout the late Forties and Fifties. So, maybe it was "Mildred Pierce", or, "The Letter," or "Double Indemnity". Who knows. Anyway, I grew up in So.Cal, in the L.A. area, and when more film noir movies became available through cable channels, I was hooked. I'm also an avid reader, and I've read Chandler, Hammett, Christie, and Elmore Leonard, among others.

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Really tough to say. I guess I would say seeing neo-noirs like Chinatown and LA Confidential sparked my interest in seeing more classical film noir than I'd already been exposed to.

 

And I'd say finally seeing Detour, after hearing Errol Morris sing it's praises, got me more interested in seeing more B Noir and exploring even more of the earlier noirs.

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