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Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose of Darkness #25: Time for a Heist (Opening Scene of Kansas City Confidential)

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This week's Daily Dose theme is "Final Clues and Last Words." As we wrap up the course, we will be investigating films from the end of the noir cycle in the 1950s. This is a fitting theme as we start to wrap up our course investigation over the next two weeks.

 

As usual, this Daily Dose will be delivered by TCM by email on Monday, July 20.

 

It is also up at Canvas on our main Daily Dose page, where you will find all of the Daily Doses in a single place: https://learn.canvas.net/courses/748/pages/daily-doses-of-darkness-main-page

 

Let the discussions begin!

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Phil Karlson’s Kansas City Confidential (Associated Players and Producers, 1952) isn’t the first nor will it probably be the last heist film to depict meticulous planning, stopwatches, rehearsals and neatly diagrammed maps and diaries of the criminals casing the joint before knocking it over.  Asphalt Jungle, Rififi, The Street With No Name, Bob le Flambeur and Criss Cross come to mind.

 

Common to the heist movie is the notion that no amount of planning can predict the future and this lesson plays out time and time again.  There’s an almost mathematical formula between the degree of planning relative to the accidental slip up or minute, unintended action.

 

I’ll try not to wander to far from the clip, but in a general way, John Payne’s character will embody the uncontrollable and unpredictable “X” factor as the plot plays out.  Payne’s character is also remarkably close to various historical and society shifts seen in post 1950 America that writer Drew Caspar identifies in last week’s assigned reading (see Payne’s comment at the 18:50 mark of the film).

 

What I find interesting about heist movies, and this is a testament to the power of point of view in storytelling, is how sympathetic the viewer can become with the people setting out to rob the bank, jewelry store or armored car.  People will bond with criminals in a movie in ways they’d never do in real life.

 

Today’s clip establishes the meticulous, silent film planning at the opening of the film.  However, what is darker and even more sinister is accusation by the filmmakers that the crime, committed by an ex-cop, was completely concealed from the public in what was an attempt to shield the police force from embarrassment.

 

There are a number of nice, semi-documentary style shots of average citizens going about their business on the sidewalk outside the bank.  Payne carries the picture with admirable help from the talented trio of Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam.

 

-Mark

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I watched this clip several times and was impressed by the manner of the observer; so detail orientated with the map of the bank location on the street, the recording of several days of precise timing of both the armored car and the floral delivery truck.  Mature and dressed in a business suit, he did not strike me as a criminal and Mark in his post helps to clarify the mystery for me when he identifies the planner as an ex-cop.  I have not yet watched the movie but it appears that the coincidence of the floral truck arriving at the same time as the armored car with the buildings adjacent to each other will prove useful in pulling off the robbery. 

I have been relying on watching some of the complete films on you tube.  Perhaps someone can explain to me how and why some movies become part of the public domain while others are only available through purchase or by a commercial arrangement with a licensed provider.  Do all copyrights expire if the studio that made the films is no longer in business?

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The beginning of this noir begins not with a voiceover, but words appear on the screen. "Criminals are apprehended and brought to justice, and the purpose of this picture is to expose the man who executed the crime." The man is Timothy Foster a retired Kansas city police captain, who has become embittered with his stipend. Now he is a well dressed man in a above of the ground office who is very interested in the Southwest Savings and Loan Bank across the street. He checks the time on the bank clock four times and his watch once. Customers are beginning to gather by the bank doors in anticipation of the 10:00 am opening. The Brinks truck pulls up, and the bonded employee enters too. Joe Rolfe an ex con leaves the floral truck in uniform. He delivers three long boxes to a florist shop next to the bank shortly before 10:00 am. We do not know what the boxes contain. The timing is everything in a heist. The cutaways are quick between the bank clock and Timothy Foster. He is the mastermind, but will Joe be one of his cohorts. The famous heist films that I remember are GUN CRAZY, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, and CRISS CROSS. People may think that most criminals are knuckleheads, but it takes brains and meticulous planning to pull off a heist. The two New York prison escapees who escaped Clinton Correctional Prison in Dannamora planned their escape for a year. Three weeks of freedom and death for one solitary for the other.

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Time is established as a major player within the thirty seconds of the film (after the intertitles conclude.) It is single handedly the most critical and defining factor in pulling off "the perfect crime." Our attention is guided to time via shots of clocks and watches.

 

Tim Preston lingers patiently in a window of adjacent building in one of its upper floors. He watches carefully as customers stand awaiting for the bank's doors to open. He clocks the florist delivery van, and two men in an armored vehicle. Tim seems clever, he's been staking out the place, and people's movements for at least a week now. He's aware of time and the importance of having everything notated by the minute. Arriving early or late could easily spell disaster and have a profound negative impact on his whole operation.

 

Time is crucial in and of itself. Phrases such as being in "the wrong place at the wrong time," or even "the right place at the right time," all deal with one thing and one thing alone: Time. The substance of this film noir shines the light directly on the intricacy of time, and how instrumental or detrimental it can be.

Sometimes its importance is down to the months, days, and sometimes even seconds. Time is a character involved in each of our everyday lives.

 

A heist is a great focus in a film noir because we all know when a film's plot revolves around something of this subject, so many things always go wrong. Kansas City Confidential immediately presents us with the crime that will be committed. We'll be able to watch the details of the heist unfold, making us complicit in the crime.

 

Centering the film on a "hero" who cleverly crafts a bank heist will draw more sympathy from an audience because said "hero" is in the protagonist role. We'll have more depth of his character revealed; who he is as a person, why he's leading a heist, etc. The more an audience learns about a character, the more likely they'll sympathize with them even if they are doing something wrong.

 

Film noir: The rise of the antihero.

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I agree with the foregoing observations on how precise timing is crucial in pulling off a bank heist. We see how the mastermind is being smart and thoughtful - he times every event that happens regularly around the bank's 10am opening, not only once but on multiple days. The movie intersperses shots from his birds-eye view with street-level shots so we can watch with him but also see more detail and get closer to the people who'll probably (unless they're accomplices) be sucked into the heist unwillingly - the bank customers, the florist van driver, bank employees, the money van drivers and guards, passers-by. It engrosses us completely and from all sides into what's to come.

 

Showing a heist from the beginning practically makes the viewer an accomplice. If I'm not mistaken, heist films didn't become common til the early 50s so such an intimate look at the planning and execution of a robbery would've been new and daring for audiences at the time. And it still thrills us today. Regardless of how we feel about the crime itself, being there step by step lets us admire the deep knowledge, skillful planning and split-second timing needed to carry it out - the same stuff that's required for staging, say, the Berlin Airlift or open-heart surgery. Seeing it on the screen, it's no longer something that's hidden and forbidden. We recognize it as a left-handed form of human endeavor. And since it's fictional we don't have to feel guilty about it. That also goes for prison breaks which started entering the movies around this time too, and as has been said below, we have to at least acknowledge the patience and resourcefulness of real-life escapees, past and recent.

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-- Discuss the role of time and timing in this scene.

 

Timing is everything, Preston Foster has been verifying his plan from the vantage point of a hotel across the street The Baker. For four sequences the timing of the armored car and the florist delivery panel truck arrivals at the Southwest Bank and the Yvonne's florist business next door have been previously checked off.

 

At 10AM the armored car arrives soon after the delivery truck, also noted on the plan but not shown is the passage of a police patrol car. John Payne's delivery of flowers has been checked by stopwatch and noted on a street plan. Such is the way of a professional well planed heist.

 

The final cut shows Forster flipping through a black book running down the alphabet and zeroing in on a name.

 

-- What are the film noir elements (style or substance) that you notice in the opening of this film?

 

While the opening scroll runs in the background we see the barred shadows does it  suggest the Venetian blind type or the barred shadows of a jail cell. We get a high angle POV looking down on a bank entrance. We see an emphasis on time we see clocks and wrist watch, and the stop watch function activated to time sequences. While Forster is observing events and moving around his hotel room he is crossed by barred shadows.

 

-- Why is a heist a good subject for a film noir to tackle? Put another way, how or why might a film that involves a heist affect or change what we think about criminals and/or criminal behavior on screen?

 

When we see the planning phases of a well planned heist we realize the amount of observation that occurs to execute the plan. It also allows the introduction of the criminal personnel with their various areas of expertise that must be considered when carrying out the heist. Usually there is one leader and various experts and or competent soldiers in crime. This allows some character development for the individual gang members which in turn makes for interesting comparisons.

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A heist is a good subject for film noir because it is a situation that has built in tension, which clocks help to create.  Timing is everything.  Everyone has a job to do and when to do it.  It has to be planned to accommodate the actions of others unrelated to the heist.  And, if they are smart, unplanned events.  Of course things can still go wrong.  Then there is the exception in "Gun Crazy".  No clock involved in that bank robbery.  The actors were lucky to find a parking space.  Still, plenty of tension.

 

Clocks are used in other ways in film noir to build tension.  For example, at the beginning of "Ministry of Fear"  or to commit another type of crime in "Sudden Fear".

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The heist is a part of so many films, noir or otherwise.  It's human nature to think we can be smarter than the next guy or can beat the system.  Here, and in my favorite noir Double Indemnity, someone who's spent a career working in a certain field also collects details about how that job's particular process can be compromised for material gain.  Often that person has felt wronged or become disillusioned with the work so can justify his behavior.

 

Many heist films also involve a team, each with a particular skill. Every member has a particular job to do, and it's engaging to watch the planning among them, and of course how it often unravels in the doing. The Asphalt Jungle is a terrific example of both.

 

I'm excited to watch Kansas City Confidential again! Thanks for the focus on this film.

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Wk 8 Kansas City Confidential


-- Discuss the role of time and timing in this scene. Time is the most important thing when planning a heist: sequence of events, synchronization of watches—he kept checking his wristwatch against the bank’s clock. It’s crucial to the success or failure of the heist. Even the timing of the various pieces of the puzzle is crucial. It seems they are exact each day. There's a time sheet: there are five check marks, implying that he has been tracking this for five days and the times are exactly the same. He seems satisfied with his due diligence. He goes to his phone book. He’s ready to call his contact and set the job in motion. That map/time schedule of his is a big fat piece of evidence—he should’ve put it on the window shade, like William Talman did in “Armored Car Robbery.”


-- What are the film noir elements (style or substance) that you notice in the opening of this film? The words on the screen in the beginning alluding to real life events, no studio logo to remind you this isn't real, all of the cross cutting between the different elements that will go into this: the deliveryman, the armored car drivers, and the patrons of the bank. We are voyeurs.   We see most of it through his eyes. There are some cuts to street level.  We see the group of people waiting for the bank to open, the arrival of first, the flower truck, then the armored truck. We’re in on it.


-- Why is a heist a good subject for a film noir to tackle? Put another way, how or why might a film that involves a heist affect or change what we think about criminals and/or criminal behavior on screen? Being on the “inside,” we get a better idea of how and why a criminal does what he does. The heist's timeline so strictly adhered to makes for a taut, well-timed film timeline. Since we’re in on it, and know what the plan is, we want to see if the plan works or not. If it does or doesn’t, we’ll know why because we were in on it from the start.


 


Here’s another observation about these post WWII noirs: These films tend to present a more realistic criminal, one you can actually be afraid of in real life. That’s what makes these post-WWII films hit so close to home. The earlier Hollywood Studio style films noir (Laura, Maltese Falcon, Gilda) presented a fictional world where bad things happened. The viewer never left the theater afraid. These later, true film noirs let you know that this could happen to you, in the real world, as in the disclaimer at the opening of “The Hitch Hiker.” You leave the theatre after movies like these looking over your shoulder, afraid of what's following you in the dark. They illuminate the real threat that is in your real world, in your neighborhood, whether it be the big dirty city or the clean and neat suburbs.  No one is safe.  Creepy.


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Kansas City Confidential (1952) Perfectly timed & orchestrated bank heist. The relationship to time here's crucial & we see it! I love the shots alternating between the man, his watch, the clock on the bank, and then we see his perfectly orchestrated schedule as he ticks off the list. I can't wait to watch this and see if his plan is successful. As is the case with so many noir films, the protagonist/antagonist seems to have concocted the perfect plan/heist and then it goes awry and we see the repercussions of that chaos.

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As has been discussed in this course, many films noir are set in Los Angeles and New York City, arguably the crime capitals of the world, hotbeds of corruption, misfortune, and scandal.

 

But other settings come with their own dark allure.

 

Like other mobbed-up Midwestern cities (Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland), just the mere mention of the city's name -- "Kansas City" -- can convey criminality. Mafia families for decades ruled Kansas City, snagging headlines with extortions, assassinations, and bombings. As depicted in the movie "Casino," those families also directed the illegal skim at several Las Vegas casinos. 

 

That's not all. Some of best tough-guy writers in American literature (Hemingway, James Ellroy) made their home in Kansas City at one time or another, and its scrappy newspaper, The Kansas City Star, was one of the most aggressive muckraking papers in the country at its height decades ago.

 

So, yeah, with the name "Kansas City" in the title, and all that it and "Confidential" imply, I'm eager to watch this movie.

 

The opening clip, showing the meticulous planning of a bank robbery, has done its job in pulling me in even more. How? Well, we've all heard the truism about the best-laid plans going awry.      

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The main character is obviously timing his caper down to the last minute.  Over several days, he's taken readings of each event involved in his plans.  Other than the music, I don't really see a lot of, what I consider, "noir" elements.  The music is relentless, marching forward to an inevitable conclusion.  Showing the events from the perspective of the "criminal", we become involved in the planning.  It becomes "our" crime.

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The beginning tells us a we are about to see something where "... the true solution which is not entered in any case history." Right here, in this movie, is the only place we will see it. That's a wonderful way to grab the audience's attention. I agree with the other posts, this clip does a fine job of showing meticulous planning. When our "mastermind" was checking the timeline he ran his pencil across the line the director wanted us to read - as opposed to moving the pencil directly to the area he wanted to check, which reality is what most people would do. This was a great trick to pull our eye to important information and not give it a chance to wander.

 

The "heist film" seem to play in the 1950's noir theme of acquisition and "keep it up with the Joneses" as mentioned in the reading. It allowed the audience to vicariously plan a robbery and anticipate great wealth from the safety and comfort of the theater.

 

I agree with Dubbed that film noir lead to the rise of the anti hero. Films such as this probably spoke to the audience in the same way Clint Eastwood's man with no name ( the Good the Bad and the Ugly) and Dirty Harry spoke to audiences in the 1960's and 1970's

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The checking and double checking, over days, of the timing of passing squad cars, arrivals of delivery and armored trucks, the duration of their stays at the florists and bank, the departure times of both trucks.  The plan is synchronized to the tee for the "perfect crime."  When will it occur?  How will the delivery man be involved?  Will it succeed?

 

We are part of this heist in the POV shots from the window with the architect of this heist.  All the shots of clocks and watches have shown themselves before in our noir studies.  The feeling that something is about to happen.  Sometimes it meant freedom and sometimes doom.  I think we know what is about to come.

 

I look at criminals a little differently in a heist film, in this particular scene, because we see a more calculating and calm criminal.  Other criminals came off as more crazed and impulsive, driven by passions or greed.  We don't read any of that from this scene.

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The use of the written dialog scrolling on the screen creates a style of voice over (at least for me) As it goes we see key words that clue us into what is going to happen in the film, The term perfect crime is used to grab attention and it does work and I get drawn in and want to see that happens next.

 

Also in this scene we see that time is going to be a major star of this picture, from the outside clock to the wrist-watch used - they get more screen time than any credited stars to this point. We "the viewer" are taken into the what looks like the planning phase of the heist and start to get the sense of what goes into the planning the perfect capper. However with this being a Noir, I can't help but want to see when Mr. Murphy and his law show up to put a wrench into the planning.

 

Can't wait to sit back and watch this movie.

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  • Discuss the role of time and timing in this scene.

Time is crucial when planning a heist: we see Preston Foster observing the comings and goings of the customers, but in particular the flower delivery truck driver and the two armored car drivers. He keeps looking at his watch and at the second hand, showing us this heist is not a matter of minutes but of seconds. Foster has been observing carefully the armored car drivers and the man who delivers flowers for several days as we understand in the last moments of this sequence and he seems quite happy with himself but this is a film noir, we can guess this heist won't proceed like clockwork (no pun intended). His self-confidence will vanish at some point.

  • What are the film noir elements (style or substance) that you notice in the opening of this film?

The theme itself (a heist) is not uncommon in film noir ('Gun Crazy' comes to mind). The intertitle and the documentary style reminded me of the opening of 'Border Incident'. The music creating a tense atmosphere and the absence of dialogue are also something one can find in film noir. The camera shows us alternatively the observer (Preston), his target (the bank), the innocent people who will be involved at some point (the flower delivery truck driver and the two armored car drivers): the cutaways between these elements and the low angle when Preston looks at the bank scream 'film noir'.

  • Why is a heist a good subject for a film noir to tackle? Put another way, how or why might a film that involves a heist affect or change what we think about criminals and/or criminal behavior on screen?

By showing the heist from the inside, the film director puts the audience in the shoes of the criminals and that kind of transgression is typical of film noir. Preston doesn't seem very nice in this sequence but as we see lots of things from his POV, our opinion might change. There's of course the theme of fate that keeps coming back in film noir: here, Preston plans this heist very carefully to avoid any unnecessary risk, but the audience knows something bad will happen. We know it from the moment we read the intertitle: this heist will fail at some point (it wouldn't be in the annals of Kansas City police otherwise). The carefully planned heist/murder that fails is something common in film noir ('Gun Crazy', 'Double Indemnity', 'The Postman Always Rings Twice').

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  Timing in this movie starts with the narrative running, and then the planning of the heist.  The music gives beat to the each stroke of the clock in the beginning scenes of the planning of the heist.  We feel like we are "in" it from the start. 

 

  The planning is verified many times as noted in the checklist we see.  The substance of noir, even the best planning can go wrong.....

The style the clock over the bank, when the guards comes out with the money, shows us a tick by tick countdown of life/money or both running out, every telling visual.

 

  We can always root for a heist, we Noir ee's.  We can see life is just not equal in someway and hope that it get's balanced somehow.

Our alter ego, is right there with them, planning clocking and trying to get the balance back in our lives.  But, as the darkness of the movie house surrounds us, we can live our daydreams and nightdreams without ever being caught, or have we just been??

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-- What are the film noir elements (style or substance) that you notice in the opening of this film?

 

According to the intertitle, we are about to see how the perfect crime is executed. For any event or project to turn out perfect, a lot of planning and preparation is required.

 

The setting is the urban city of Kansas City. A man is standing by a window looking down across the street at the front door of the Southwest Bank. He seems to be observing the commings and goings as his facial expression indicates absolute concentration.

 

The observer records everything he sees, with particular attention to the time: a florists delivering flowers, an armored truck parking in front of the bank, the guards exiting and entering the bank, and finally the florist returning to his car and driving away.

 

In gangster jargon he is “casing the joint”. We see that he has a list of these events with 5 checks next to each indicating perhaps his observations over the course of 5 days. We can conclude he’s looking for a pattern to determine when to best rob the bank.

 

His beast of prey behavior of sneakily studying and preparing for this heist, reminds me of how much I enjoy hard crime noirs.

 

The promise of the perfect crime is an exciting motif in noir, particularly if the mastermind promises a perfect plan to get away with it. Therefore, my interest in watching “Kansas City Confidential” is to learn if this architect succeeds when so many have failed. Will his success be complete as it was for (Gondorff and Hooker) or will it fall short at the very end as it did for Johnny Clay and Fay. (The Sting and The Killing)

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– Discuss the role of time and timing in this scene.

 

In the opening scene from Kansas City Confidential we see a man observing street activities surrounding the daily opening of the Southwest Bank.  The key to understanding what we are watching comes at 2:22 when the observer records his observations on an annotated and detailed map of the immediate area.  From this and from the angle of the shots looking down on the street scene we can tell that the observer has been looking out the window of a hotel across the street from the bank.  Three activities are being correlated in the notes below the map:  the times when squad car 11 passes, the times when the Western Florist delivery truck arrives and departs from the Yvonne Florist on the corner next to the bank, and length of time the armored car remains in front of the bank entrance after it arrives at 10:00 a.m. sharp.  The number of check marks after each event being correlated on the map indicates that this is the fifth day (i.e., fifth time) the man in the hotel has observed this daily routine and its consistency.  The man uses the stopwatch function on his Mido Multi-Centerchrono watch to determine how much time elapses between the time the armored car guards enter the bank and the time the florist delivery truck drives away from the curb and past the entrance to the bank.  We see the starting and stopping of the stopwatch as it measures 60 seconds, but this takes only 11 seconds in the film, meaning that however “documentary” the film may appear, it does not take place in real time.  The implication of the whole scene is that we are watching the casing that proceeds the “perfect crime” mentioned in the opening intertitles and that the heist being planned will probably hinge on the one-minute interval between the guards’ entry into the bank and the delivery truck’s daily departure from the florist shop.

 

– What are the film noir elements (style or substance) that you notice in the opening of this film?

 

The scene takes place at 10 a.m. on a sunny day, and there are no noirish chiaroscuro effects in the cinematography here.  There are some high-angle shots looking down from the hotel window and some low-angle shots such as the bumper-level view of the guards entering the bank.  I think the main film noir element in this opening is the contrast between the everyday innocent activities of normal people in Kansas City going about their business in broad daylight and the knowledge that an evil crime is being planned right in their midst.  The people waiting on the sidewalk for the bank to open have no idea that a man in a hotel window looking down on them is plotting to steal their money.  The score by Paul Sawtell gives an ominous feeling to the images of the morning routine with a Dragnet-like theme.  And the score underlines the timing theme with a rhythmic, ticking motif during some shots of the bank clock and the stopwatch.

 

– Why is a heist a good subject for a film noir to tackle? Put another way, how or why might a film that involves a heist affect or change what we think about criminals and/or criminal behavior on screen?

 

A heist is a good topic for film noir because it can create a certain sympathy in the viewer for the intelligence and craft that go into the planning and execution of the heist.  Even though we know that crime is bad and needs to be punished in the end, we become involved with the cleverness of the plan and enjoy seeing it be carried out successfully, or almost successfully.  Through watching the film we can participate vicariously in the thrill and suspense of pulling off an ingenious crime that we would not actually commit in real life.  The perpetrators of the heist thus become classic film noir antiheroes, people we can understand and relate to fictionally despite their flaws.  I think this even comes out in the use of the word “amazing” in the prologue to our clip today:

 

But it is the purpose of this picture to expose the amazing operations of a man who conceived and executed a “perfect crime,” the true solution of which is not entered in any case history and could well be entitled “Kansas City Confidential.”

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By calling attention to questions of time and timing in the staging and editing of this scene, Phil Karlson makes time the main subject of the opening of his film, Kansas City Confidential. We've been able to observe how in other noir films time is always a major player: no matter how mathematical we are when planning our lives, our actions, our moves, in the fatalistic universe ruled by randomness typical of film noir, it only takes one second to change the course of everything, to ruin the characters' lives, to put a common citizen in a extreme situation that can make him a whole different person, maybe even become criminal.

However, in this scene, time is shown on the service of evil: it is by rigorously controlling, observing and calculating time to the second, that the character of Tim Foster will carry out his "perfect crime".
Other film noir elements besides the treatment of time are present in the opening of the film: themes such as crime, fate and daily life in a American town, as well as the documentary realist style used to represent the actions in the film, and particularly the POV shot device through which the character observes through the window the temporal accuracy of the actions taking place in the street in front of the bank at 10 hours sharp, to name a few.
Of course, a heist is a good subject for a crime film to tackle, but when fate gets involved it becomes a matter of the noir universe. Besides, in Kansas City Confidential, the "mastermind" behind the criminal operation is even more perverse than the men that actually commit the robbery. Corruption, abuse of power and vengeance are the real motives behind the crime from which the other men will be accused and framed for, and the legal authorities are incompetent, unable to distinguish the innocent from the guilty ones.

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The scene is shot at 9:59 to 10:02 a.m.  You have the frame of the window as the criminal looks out at the bank across the street.  The camera moves in on the florist driver as he stops, unloads, and enters the shop.  Then you see a long shot of the armored car pull up at a diagonal to the curb (indicating it will be leaving quickly).  You next see the florist driver get back into his truck and drive past the armored car.  Then the two guards come out carrying sacks of money.  Their guns are drawn.  Next you see the man leave the window and go to a chart he has created.  He checks off the arrival of the florist driver and the armored car.  He has at least 5 checks.  He has been watching every day.  The music adds to the scene with no dialog.  It is sinister (like the music from Laura when the detective is in her apartment).  The timing in this film is critical so the perfect crime can be pulled off.  But with something like this, schedules can be suddenly changed.  Someone could arrive earlier or later than anticipated.  If this crime can only be accomplished with precision, watch out!

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The use of the written dialog scrolling on the screen creates a style of voice over (at least for me) As it goes we see key words that clue us into what is going to happen in the film, The term perfect crime is used to grab attention and it does work and I get drawn in and want to see that happens next.

 

Also in this scene we see that time is going to be a major star of this picture, from the outside clock to the wrist-watch used - they get more screen time than any credited stars to this point. We "the viewer" are taken into the what looks like the planning phase of the heist and start to get the sense of what goes into the planning the perfect capper. However with this being a Noir, I can't help but want to see when Mr. Murphy and his law show up to put a wrench into the planning.

 

Can't wait to sit back and watch this movie.

 

The scrolling of the dialog reminds me of the scrolling of the characters in Kiss Me Deadly.  It is odd that it should, but the scrolling makes me anticipate something big starting to happen.  The criminal checking the timing of the people he is observing shows something big will happen at his discretion.  In Kiss Me Deadly, it was not planned Mike Hammer would be there.

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What strikes me is the meticulous detail of the scene.  The map is carefully drawn and lettered.  The times listed on the map match with each and every action.  The man's watch measures each second.  The bank opens exactly at 10:00.  


 


This man also has patience.  He has watched this scene not for just a day or two, but for many.  First, enough days to realize that there is a pattern.  Then, enough days for that pattern to be established in a timeline.  And on the paper we see that for 5 more days, the man has checkmarked each action at the time it occurs.  When he does move away from the window, he moves almost casually, without rushing.


 


The man in the window is carefully checkmarking every action.  But notice:  The flower truck driver marks off the delivery before he goes into the shop.  Switch to the man in the window, who marks off the return of the bank truck drivers before they actually return.  He has established a pattern and expects no change.  We get the impression that he's controlling the action and the timing.  


 


This opening sets the tone for us to see that the action of the crime itself is not what we're to focus on.  We're supposed to see how careful, detailed planning, patience, and control contribute to a successful crime.  This man has time to pull this off, and he's going to use that time to his advantage. 

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Tick, tock, tick, tock goes the clock.  It's 10 a.m. in the midwestern community of Kansas City and here "the amazing operations of a man who conceived and executed a 'perfect crime'" is about to happen. Tim overlooks the morning activities of the bank and surrounding areas down to the second. Everything has been checked numerous times and everything calculated perfectly.  We get to go inside the mind of a criminal and see how everything is planned out.

 

Time is very important and every second counts.  Time can also signify impending doom or danger is around the corner.

 

"M" -- the clock struck noon and the children got out of school, but danger lurked around the corner.

 

"Ministry of Fear" -- the clock ticked away during the credits and Stephen watches the time tick away until he's free, but again something sinister is near. "You sat there watching the clock......The clock stood still. You killed me!" was said durning the seance.

 

"Laura" -- while time wasn't a factor, the clock itself was important, in that it held something dark.

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