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Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose of Darkness #14: Warner Bros. Noir (Scene from The Mask of Dimitrios)

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don't know if you've seen these warner brother's films: Bullets or Ballots, Little Ceaser, Each Dawn I Die, Lady Killer,

The Roaring Twenties, and Br. Orchid. These are just few examples. But after watching these Warner Films, you can tell they had a "brand" or formula they were following on purpose. 

Kinda like the movie Charade with Cary Grant, it's called the movie Hitchcock never because it had  certain touches.

The point being it gets to a point, you can tell it's a Warner Brother movie.

To be more specific, what these films have in Coomon all about gansters, they way the act, the way they speak, certain parts of the story-line gets like, this is familar, i've seen something like it another movie. i'm like that you have the variety of films but warner brothers comedies have a differnet feel from paramount comedies...

 

 

Okay, perhaps I’m flaunting my ignorance but I’m not sure I truly see the “house style” thing. Yes, I see similarities in “Mask of Dimitrios,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “To Have and Have Not,” “They Made Me a Criminal,” “White Heat,” and so on. But the same year that Warner Brothers made “Mask of Dimitrios,” they made “Shine on Harvest Moon,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,”  “The Adventures of Mark Twain,” “The Desert Song,” and “Hollywood Canteen.” So perhaps we’re only seeing a studio style in retrospect.

On the other hand, I have to admit that Warner Brothers made a LOT of noir crime dramas. But I still think it is a leap to say that the Brother’s or their minions were necessarily controlling the style of the films. Instead, I think this gives more credence to the idea of noir as a movement.

Movie making on this scale is more business than art. When something works – is profitable - you stick with it. That’s why the movies are similar. Put an enormous elegant guy in a scene with a little weasel with big eyes, and the audience will lap it up. Of course they’re going to us the same actors and directors and writers and designers again and again.

So fine, call it a “house style” if you want; I know what you mean. On the other hand, I think this is more about commerce than art.

I suspect I will be in the minority with this opinion.

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don't know if you've seen these warner brother's films: Bullets or Ballots, Little Ceaser, Each Dawn I Die, Lady Killer,

The Roaring Twenties, and Br. Orchid. These are just few examples. But after watching these Warner Films, you can tell they had a "brand" or formula they were following on purpose. 

Kinda like the movie Charade with Cary Grant, it's called the movie Hitchcock never because it had  certain touches.

The point being it gets to a point, you can tell it's a Warner Brother movie.

To be more specific, what these films have in Coomon all about gansters, they way the act, the way they speak, certain parts of the story-line gets like, this is familar, i've seen something like it another movie. i'm like that you have the variety of films but warner brothers comedies have a differnet feel from paramount comedies...

 

The WB films for the 30s and early 40s clearly followed a pattern.   All of the major stars were male stars (Cagney,  E.G. Robinson,  Flynn, Raft,  Muni, and later Garfield and Bogie),  expect one,  Bette Davis.   While WB did try to add major female stars to their roster like Kay Francis or build up others like Oomph girl Ann Sheridan,  most of their films were male driven films expect for the 'women pictures' staring Davis.

 

While WB had some fine actresses under contract like Olivia De Havilland and later Ida Lupino, Jack Warner didn't utilize them very well and they were mostly used as secondary characters paired with the males stars.   The best work from both of these actresses was either on loan out or after they left WB (Ida even as a director).      MGM was the studio to work for if one was an actress, not WB.

 

WB did have a fine group of character \ supporting players as well as directors like Curtiz and they were able to crank out films that IMO have stood the test of time.    But post WWII saw the studio undergo some changes.   One change was Davis being slowly phased out and the signing of Joan Crawford with some of her best work done while at WB.     

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Peter Lorre's entrance from a  well lit hallway seems relaxed (playing with his hat) and comical (talking to himself) until he walks to his door. The doorway is suddenly dark and he casts a shadow on the door. he finds that his room has been turned upside down, but he doesn't seem too surprised. Greenstreet steps out of the shadow in the most menacing manner, pointing a gun. Lorre doesn't seem to be too threatened by this action and asks why Greenstreet is "waving that silly pistol". Great dialogue.Lore even asks him if he is drunk. The camera follows Greenstreet as he gently sits and cynically discharges orders and questions making him seem even larger. Despite the threat, Lorre defiantly relaxes in a lounging position and lights a cigarette. The quick banter back and forth is so fascinating and so noir,

   Lorre and Greenstreet's characters in the Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and this movie have similar qualities. Lorre remains nervous, whiny and humorous.Greenstreet is always quick witted, verbal,overly confident and menacing with a touch of class.

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The camera moving in to Greenstreet, resting at a canted angle, makes Lorre's voice all the more prominent when he speaks off screen. Very effective and unexpected.

 

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When Peter Lorre made his entrance, he seemed like he was in his own little world. He was playing with his hat and talking to himself, but was abruptly brought back to earth when he entered his room and found it had been ransacked. Sydney Greenstreet entered the scene with a gun, yet seemed to be pretty relaxed, making a joke about not being able to clean his mess he made in the room. I liked Lorre in this scene because even though he is being greeted with a gun, he was pretty calm and relaxed as we can see when he lights his cigarette and gets comfortable. I haven't seen this film, but I am now looking forward to watching it this Friday.

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Lorre saunters out of an elevator, looking playful and swinging his hat, When he opens the door to his apartment, the first thing we notice is that lamp letting out rays like sunshine, and then we see the devastation. This is followed the silhouette coming out of the shadows, and you know it's Greenstreet the moment before the light hits his face. Greenstreet is steady and serious as opposed to the playful nature of Lorre. Also, Lorre enters with slow, softer music while Greenstreet make his entrance to more foreboding music. In previous movies, the two were always stark contrasts to one another, and here Negulesco enhances the differences using the lighting, the attitudes, the music, and the dialogue.

 

This scene uses some of the usual aspects of a noir film. Music is used to associate with the characters, and also to enhance the mood of the characters. Shadows are used to hide faces and to suggest something more sinister is about to happen. Light is used sparingly to illuminate the sinister things that have already happened. The dialogue is quick, sharp, and witty ("I had hoped to get things tidied up. Such vandalism.").

 

This scene puts me in mind of the argument between Bogart and Greenstreet in "Maltese Falcon." Not in the way the characters react, but how music, lighting, dialogue, and character placement was used to establish who they were.

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Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet do a wonderful job of playing off of each other in this scene. Lorre's entrance is relaxed, carefree. He's going about his business and talking to himself. It makes you smile. Then he opens the door to his room and the film shifts into a darker mode as he - and the audience - see the room has been ransacked. Greenstreet's appearance, then, is the opposite of when we first saw Lorre: Greenstreet menacingly walks in from another room brandishing a gun.

 

The two then begin a give-and-take verbally and in their movements. One sits, the other stands and so they keep moving as does the camera. It is interesting how Greenstreet has the gun, but he doesn't always appear to have control, as when Lorre stands above him, quizzing him in an almost innocent way and asking him "what are you doing here"? In one exceptional shot, the camera slowly pans in to Greenstreet until he is shot from below in extreme closeup, giving the effect of a powerful and dangerous man.

 

The scene has multiple elements of film noir including camera movements that help add to the story, the interplay and verbal sparring between the two characters, and some great dialogue that really keeps you interested in the scene.

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In The Mask Of Dimitrios, 1944, Leyden's (Peter Lorre) entrance from the elevator is in steady light and playfully (yet amusingly) swinging his hat as he talks to himself.  While Peters' (Sydney Greenstreet) entrance from the adjacent room (into the ransacked room that Leyden has just entered into) is mysterious, menacing and threatening.  Peter' identity is shrouded in mystery as he transitions from the shadows and into the light menacingly.  In the light, it is revealed that he is pointing a gun threateningly at Leyden.

 

At first, both Lyden and Peters are hostile towards each other (i.e. they are far apart and usually one is pictured diagonally taller than the other).  But, as the scene progresses, the Noir element (such as diagonal lines and skewed compositions) lessens as they become less adversarial and even relaxed or friendly with each other.  Also, Peters has a close-up shot from below his face looking upward which means some sort of change is coming upon him.  Lyden and Peters are shot at the same height and lighting when they are relaxed or friendly with each other.

 

The similarities of this scene of The Mask of Dimitrios with scenes from The Maltese Falcon or Nobody Lives Forever is that they all use:  Shooting scenes at night; Diagonal lines and skewed compositions; Actors and settings being given equal lighting emphasis; Compositional tension preferred to physical action; Complex narratives, often including flashbacks; all based on crime or thriller novels; and use of the two same actors in two of the movies.  Their differences are if they were an A movie (The Maltese Falcon) versus a B movie (The Mask of Dimitrios, Nobody Lives Forever), and use of different writers.

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This film has been on my watch list for awhile can't wait to see it. The exchange between these two masters is wonderful. I enjoyed how the director changed the camera angles as the ro spared back and forth.

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Having watched a few more noir films now, I'm wondering if anyone is EVER actually frightened when a gun is pointed at them.  It just seems to bring out the sardonic dialogue. 

 

I didn't think this scene was overtly stylized, but the dialogue, lighting (especially the lamp in the corner), and camera angle on Greenstreet were definite elements of noir in this piece. 

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1.) Lorre enters scene casually from screen left.  Greenstreet enters suddenly from screen right.  As the two exchange dialogue,  they move close to each other thus closing the gap between them.

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  • The scene contains two dramatic entrances, one for each actor. How is each entrance different? What changes in the scene as they continue to interact after their entrances?

 

To me, both entrances for the actors were very dramatic. For example, Peter Lorre’s character seems carefree and intrigued about something. Only to be left in a state of shock and confusion when he enters his hotel room.

 

In regard to Sydney Greenstreet’s entrance, he has a more sinister entrance from the shadows of a ransacked hotel room. He steps into the light of the room holding a gun. His attitude is very serious and focused when compared to Peter Lorre’s confusion.

 

To me, I believe that as the scene continues, their interaction with each other causes them to switch their demeanors.

 

Peter Lorre becomes carefree and calm again. He even relaxes as he smokes a cigarette. To me, Sydney Greenstreet becomes a little unsure of his actions and wonders if he will need to use his gun in self-defense.

 

  • What elements of the noir style did you notice in this scene, for example, in terms of camera movement or lighting?

 

To me, I believe that there were several elements of the noir style in this scene.

 

In terms of lighting, I noticed that the scene entrance for each actor was very different and based on film noir style elements.

 

For example, when Peter Lorre’s character enters the scene, he is in good lighting so that we (the audience) can see the expressions of his carefree attitude very clearly.

 

However, when he moves closer to hotel room door, we (the audience) notice that only is face is still in good lighting as he moves closer to the shadows that are near the door.

 

In regard to camera movement, the camera pans his ransacked hotel room to illustrate Peter Lorre’s character’s confusion at the state of his hotel room.

 

In regard to Sydney Greenstreet’s character, he is covered in shadows when he enters the room. Then he steps into the lighting of the room and reveals a gun.

 

I also noticed that the camera zooms in on Sydney Greenstreet as he reveals information about Dimitrios.

 

So much so until the camera expresses a moment of formalism with a low level view of him as he asks Peter Lorre “What Is Your Game?”

 

-- Compare this scene in The Mask of Dimitrios with scenes from The Maltese Falcon or Nobody Lives Forever. What are the similarities? What are the differences?

 

To me, I think the scenes from all three films are very similar in regard to the quick-witted dialogue and verbal sparring.

 

For example, in this scene Peter Lorre says, “I can only conclude that you’re a thief or you’re drunk… Are you drunk, Sir?”

 

However, I think that the entrance for Peter Lorre’s character in The Maltese Falcon was a little different because he didn’t have the same demeanor. I also think that the lighting and camera movement for each film was different in regard to each film’s story line and pacing.

 

 

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Okay, perhaps I’m flaunting my ignorance but I’m not sure I truly see the “house style” thing. Yes, I see similarities in “Mask of Dimitrios,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “To Have and Have Not,” “They Made Me a Criminal,” “White Heat,” and so on. But the same year that Warner Brothers made “Mask of Dimitrios,” they made “Shine on Harvest Moon,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,”  “The Adventures of Mark Twain,” “The Desert Song,” and “Hollywood Canteen.” So perhaps we’re only seeing a studio style in retrospect.

On the other hand, I have to admit that Warner Brothers made a LOT of noir crime dramas. But I still think it is a leap to say that the Brother’s or their minions were necessarily controlling the style of the films. Instead, I think this gives more credence to the idea of noir as a movement.

Movie making on this scale is more business than art. When something works – is profitable - you stick with it. That’s why the movies are similar. Put an enormous elegant guy in a scene with a little weasel with big eyes, and the audience will lap it up. Of course they’re going to us the same actors and directors and writers and designers again and again.

So fine, call it a “house style” if you want; I know what you mean. On the other hand, I think this is more about commerce than art.

I suspect I will be in the minority with this opinion.

Well said and thank you. Clearly (at least to me), the re-pairing of Greenstreet and Lorre was an economic decision based on previous success. Just as obviously, the studio wouldn't repeat a formula that didn't work. I commented earlier that while I enjoy the formula, the novelty is gone and I am woefully aware of being marketed a product. Sans originality, it is merely a period piece; nothing groundbreaking and so, uninteresting.

I refer again, the theme of our course being a "heist," to the phenomenon of an underground coup by a group of artists that grab the public's attention (and money) from under the control of the studios, e.g. the punk movement of the early to mid-1970's. Again, not the already too late McClaren Sex Pistols, but the years earlier NY scene of the New York Dolls, Television, Richard Hell, Patti Smith, and the sainted Ramones (of blessed memory). For a brief time, tapes and records were being made independently and fashion was created by rips and tears in anti-fashion reaction to the pretty boy period of the late 60's early 70's. Grunge and Cobain did the same thing a decade later, God bless 'em.

By the time the studio execs recognized the marketability and reduced it to a formula, what I think we're supposed to be studying had long since left the barn.

Your observation isn't a minority; just more critical and appreciated. Thanks. 

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2.)   As Greenstreet and Lorre exchange dialogue, the camera tracks closer to Greenstreet and stops at an extreme low angle. The extreme low angle makes him appear powerful and ominous.

 

3.)  Like Maltese Falcon, The Mask of Dimitrios uses sparring of dialogue, but Dimitrios utilizes more stylistic camerawork.

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I haven't actually given a lot of thought to the different house styles of major studios, which is weird, because I kinda understood they all had differences. While my favorite films may be darker or grittier, I think nothing really beats Warner Bros. for pure entertainment. There's a crispness to the dialogue, editing and camerawork that seems to be consistent throughout their films.

 

Now, I haven't seen Mask of Dimitrios yet. I haven't been able to find a copy and will probably just be buying a cheap used copy on amazon, so it'll be fun for people who have seen the film to pick apart what incorrect assumptions I make.

 

Peter Lorre stumbles out of the elevator talking to himself, fumbles with his keys while talking to himself, gapes at his ransacked room while talking to himself. He is clearly a man who is continually flustered and bemused with the world. He's so used to this state of affairs that when a gun is pointed at him he reacts with confused anger and nonchalant resignation in equal measures. He's angry, then he wants to go to bed, then he asks what it's all about.  Sydney Greenstreet, on the other hand, glides gracefully in from another room, holding the gun steady and speaking in measured tones. He is clearly a man accustomed to dominating his situations. 

 

I was about confused about the nature of Dimitrios, since i haven't seen the film and won't read anything about it beforehand. I thought at first it was a book, or a sculpture, or some form of artifact, especially when taking into account all the talk of books. But then it sounds like Dimitrios is an actual person they are looking for. Or maybe they're looking for something of his. Argh, this is torture. I just want to watch the movie.

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I have never seen this movie before, and know nothing of the plot. So my analysis of the camera movement and what it implies may be a reach -- over-analysis -- but it was  fun nonetheless. I look forward to watching this one Friday!

 

I haven't seen the film either, but i think it's safe to say everything you mentioned(in the part I didn't quote) is pretty intuitive and probably very apt. I hadn't really considered the camera angles, I was too taken in by Lorre's wild mood swings throughout the scene. A gun is pulled on him, and he says he's going to bed before turning on the guy and demanding to know what's going on. He seems more aggrieved than scared. It's a part he always plays so well.

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I haven't seen the film either, but i think it's safe to say everything you mentioned(in the part I didn't quote) is pretty intuitive and probably very apt. I hadn't really considered the camera angles, I was too taken in by Lorre's wild mood swings throughout the scene. A gun is pulled on him, and he says he's going to bed before turning on the guy and demanding to know what's going on. He seems more aggrieved than scared. It's a part he always plays so well.

It has three of the best weasels in Noir, Lorre, Greenstreet, Zachary Scott, if it only had Dan Duryea too. :)

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Double Entrances Times Two

 

When Peter Lorre enters this scene of The Mask of Dimitrios he comes through two doorways--first the elevator door and then the door of his apartment.  He is talking to himself and musing about a comment of something that is "completely immoral but fascinating" while tossing his hat in a leisurely saunter.  He is suddenly shocked by the reality of his ransacked apartment.  Similarly, Greenstreet makes a double entrance as well, first through the reflection of the mirror in the far alcove, and then with his large body.  He also saunters into the main part of the apartment in an equally confident mode that his appearance is almost expected and he apologizes for not being able to clean up the mess.  As they talk and question each other, both Lorre and Greenstreet become more comfortable with each other's presence, with Greenstreet settling back into the high back chair and Lorre lighting a cigarette and leaning back on the ottoman at the end of the bed.

 

The elements of noir style are apparent: the mirror, the contrast of light and shadows, the suddent appearance of a person not expected.  As Greenstreet sits in the chair and he begins to questions Lorre, the camera angle is sharply low angle which makes Greenstreet appear even more imposing for all his bodily heft; the viewer feels like Lorre--intimidated by his presence.

 

This scene of The Mask of Dimitrios is similar to one with Lorre in The Maltese Falcon with Bogart and Mary Aster in that Lorre askes many probing questions to feel out the other persons.  The viewer also sees a similar timid stance of Lorre's hands folded at this chest in both scenes.  One main difference in the two scenes is that in The Maltese Falcon Lorre does physically fight back with Bogart when he is slapped in the face; Lorre shows more guts to a trimmer framed Bogart who could easily take him down while Lorre does not even attempt to wrestle or kick the gun out of Greenstreet's hand.  A viewer would think that Lorre could easily subdue the rotund Greenstreet and thus get the upper hand.

 

Overall, Lorre is both The Mask of Dimitrios and The Maltese Falcon is not seen as much of a threat while his presence in M by Fritz Lang is very menacing and demented.

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In the Mask of Dimitrios, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, two superb actors, occupy a much more important role than in other films. In this scene we see a brilliant dialogue between them. The role of Sidney Grenstreet looks very similar to The maltese falcon´s Casper Gutman.

The camera begins showing a tired Peter Lorre arriving at your room. Then, a change in music and a view of the cluttered room, and, ultimately, the figure of the "fat man" pointing. The camera displays one and other planes while dialogue, giving greater force to the confrontation of characters.

I don´t think that we can talk about a typical film noir, but the Warner´s  films have been an inexhaustible source of technical resources, directors, stories and actors who nurtured and were an important part of the noir.

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I liked the low angle zoom to a close-up on Greenstreet, becoming a monstrous form dominating the screen. Greenstreet clearly dominates this scene. Or at least he thinks he does, in his mind. Lorre's character however shows little regard for Greenstreet's imposing presence, invasion of space or his weapon; he casually says he's going to go to bed, and then nonchalantly lays back chaise-style, showing Greenstreet he's totally unflapped by the intrusion.

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The scene contains two dramatic entrances, one for each actor. How is each entrance different? What changes in the scene as they continue to interact after their entrances? 

 

We see Sidney Greenstreet's back in the reflection in the mirror in the room he is coming from. We see Peter Lorre's back as he enters his room. However, one is coming into the room from outside, and one is coming into the room from the inside of the hotel room.

 

The change in the scene is the POV that changes. First we see Greenstreet from the front as he points the gun at Lorre. We are seeing him from the point of view of Lorre. Then the scene changes, and we see the back of Greenstreet, now looking at him through Lorre's' point of view.

 

I can see similarities between the Mask of Dimitrios and the Maltese Falcon by the dialogue, the way the actors are set in place. When I first watched the clip I thought what a strange film noir, but then realized that this must have been the Warner Brothers technique, unlike other studios, say, RKO. Plus I watched another clip when Greenstreet and Lorre get the bundle of francs, and the way Greenstreet unwraps the package reminded me of his unwrapping the package which all believe to be the falcon in The Maltese Falcon.

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Wk 4 The Mask of Dimitrios

 

-- The scene contains two dramatic entrances, one for each actor. How is each entrance different? What changes in the scene as they continue to interact after their entrances? Lorre seems to be coming from somewhere, ruminating about what has just transpired in the previous scene.  He seems perplexed, but not frightened.  Greenstreet seems to have already arrived.  He has a gun in one hand and a tube of toothpaste in the other. There is nothing “stealth” about the way he enters from the bathroom.  He is the aggressor, since he has the gun, but by the sort of non-committal way he’s holding it, Lorre describes it as “waving that silly pistol in my face,” it’s not believable that he would use it or know how to use it.  They both are startled by each other’s respective entrance.  Lorre seems to ignore the gun, and remembers it only once in a while; Greenstreet sits down, they both physically relax.  Lorre doesn’t really believe Greenstreet would do him any harm, but there is the matter of the gun…Greenstreet needs information, and by the end of the scene, Lorre leans back in an almost reclining position, exhaling smoke as he smiles like the cat who ate the canary.  The “danger” suggested at the top of the scene dissipates after the two start to talk.

 

-- What elements of the noir style did you notice in this scene, for example, in terms of camera movement or lighting?  The slow pan of the camera, revealing a little of the room at a time, creating suspense and a prize at the end: Greenstreet. Also, as the camera pans, the music flutters in suspense.  At one point, the camera is over Greenstreet’s shoulder, making Lorre appear smaller, and Greenstreet tower over him in the foreground.  When Greenstreet gets to the meat of it, the camera dollies in and gets low, shooting from under his chin, creating that very noir angle to show stature or someone having the upper hand. It makes him “loom” more and more dangerous looking, larger than life. There’s nothing extraordinary about the lighting; lamplight and a good amount of fill.

 

 

-- Compare this scene in The Mask of Dimitrios with scenes from The Maltese Falcon or Nobody Lives Forever. What are the similarities? What are the differences?  There’s wordy witty repartee in The Maltese Falcon similar to this.  Spade can zing an insult with the intelligence of a Rhodes Scholar, and Bogart is so good at it that he never falls into the “neener neener,” “I’m funnier and wittier and smarter than you” trap. He’s never boorish when he does it.  When Greenstreet says “Since I can no longer meet you on the basis of disinterested friendship, etc., ” it seems that the writer may be showing how witty he is and not the character.  George Tobias, as con man John Garfield’s sidekick in Nobody Lives Forever has a similar banter waxing not so fantastic about how his buddy’s interest in a rich female mark has turned into love, and ruined their lives.  In that same film, George Coulouris is so terrific at being such a second-rate loser, and his banter with his lowlife cronies, “Shake” and “Windy” is also fun and fast.

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I liked the low angle zoom to a close-up on Greenstreet, becoming a monstrous form dominating the screen. Greenstreet clearly dominates this scene. Or at least he thinks he does, in his mind. Lorre's character however shows little regard for Greenstreet's imposing presence, invasion of space or his weapon; he casually says he's going to go to bed, and then nonchalantly lays back chaise-style, showing Greenstreet he's totally unflapped by the intrusion.

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Lorre’s entrance is relaxed and casual, while Greenstreet’s arrival is tense and wary.  He appears to have command of the situation, since he’s holding a gun, standing smack in the middle of Lorre’s room.  But the the fruits of his frantic search - the helter-skelter of objects strewn everywhere, indicates he’s not such a cool cucumber after all.  Their conversation may be light and sophisticated, but Greenstreet is rattled.  We notice, too that the lens is masked to create a silhouette, forcing our eyes to focus on the two men and also to highlight the importance of their initial exchange.  Lorre’s relaxed pose on his bed suggests that the power has shifted and that he now has the upper hand. 


This scene is a bit similar to The Maltese Falcon, when Greenstreet was grilling Bogart about “the bird” - and it’s just as enjoyable, too!


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Today's scene from "The Mask of Dimitrios" is utterly charming in the way it enjoys playing with the characters of Lorre and Greenstreet. This film could have been made with two other actors, but then it wouldn't have been written or shot this way, to play on our expectations of these two from their other pictures, especially "The Maltese Falcon" (notice the low trucking shot forward and up until Greenstreet fills the frame and try not to think of Gutmann). This was all as much a wink to the audience as the pair's overtly jokey appearance as "themselves" in "Hollywood Canteen"

 

In looking for the Warner Brother's house style, which was typified by the American urban locations of their gangster and social problem pictures, this European hotel room might first seem out of place. But if this same setting had been shot at MGM or Paramount, think how slick, tasteful and well lit everything would have looked. Instead, here everything is a little cramped and dark, not necessarily with the studied shadows we've seen in other Noirs (not yet) but just because at Warners the world was a little darker place.

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