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Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose of Darkness #27: A Handy Man (Opening Scene of Beware, My Lovely)

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Yikes...more trouble!

 

We have no hint that it's a noir initially, although there's that midwestern small town thing again.  The Salvation Army band is playing on the corner, what could be more normal?

 

We see that it's 1918 and all seems quiet...or does it?

 

Howard seems to be an orderly man - we see the To-Do List which he so diligently checks off.  He puts away the tools and is straightening up.  He takes the $5 after seeing the note.  There's no hint that anything's wrong in fact, I thought it was his house.  We're lead to assume that he's killed this woman although to confuse us, he's shocked.  I was worried that he left the water running!

 

Enter train tracks and the seeming-to-be ever-present train.

 

While he's running across the train tracks, the scene is wide open, giving the appearance and impression that there is no where for poor Howard to hide. 

 

He's on the move, where will he strike next?

 

 

 

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Another gripping opening, and another film I haven't seen to put on the "watch" list. I agree that without the calendar, I wouldn't have immediately placed it in 1918, or in December (all those films shot in California have such a dreadful time with the seasons!). 1950s, yes. We're getting in Ryan the markers of post-war trauma and the kind of careful attention to chores that you would expect of an ex-G.I. Those overhead shots of the trainyard are the kind of thing I expect from the 1950s survey photography that the government was sponsoring everywhere. Salvation Army band not only sets us up for Christmas, but it's a signal that there is poverty - homelessness, etc. in the community. We're not in the mean streets, but in small town - suburbia, another marker of 1950s films.

 

I sympathize with the earlier comment about why we're always being asked to identify "noir elements of style and substance" for every film. I don't always answer that question, either, but I think it's important to set out for every film we discuss just why we think it's "noir" in the first place. As I work out my own definition, style has come to assume an important role. In these 50s films examples, when we lose the expressionistic film techniques, shadows and angles of the classic 40s films, I start to question whether it's still useful to talk about it in the genre of "films noir" at all. It wasn't much of a print, but I missed that deep focus and sharp view that might have given a kind of intensity and hyper-awareness to the viewing, for example in the scene where we see Ryan's face framed by the calendar and the chore list. The film style was too "soft" for me. ...the blink of the "corpse" also unfortunate. I hope it means she wasn't fully dead, but I fear that it was just bad film-making. Murder is noir, and so is the disoriented non-heroic protagonist, and that angular door swinging open. But this film is starting to feel like something else, not-so-noir. What would be the category: "psychological thriller"?

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From this scene in Beware, My Lovely a few of the noir elements we experience are the deep focus shots where Howard Wilton (Robert Ryan) is on the outside of the house and we clearly see a calendar and "to do list" framed within the shot as he cleans the window screen.  The music that heightens the tension upon Howard's "discovery" of the body.  Up until this point in the clip all the scenes were well balanced and level compositions.  Once Howard takes flight we get angled shots of him running away from the scene down an alley, entering the railroad yard, inter cut with medium close-up of his panic stricken face, high angled shots from above minimizing him within a industrial landscape and finally an extreme long shot dwarfing him in a frame of vertical rail lines and freight cars.  When he makes it to a moving freight (another angled shot) he disappears into a cloud of steam and into an open boxcar, followed with some well done multiple film dissolves (close-up of Howard's face, close up moving train wheel and long shot of an oncoming train image) all accompanied by a fast paced music score. 

 

Not having seen this particular film before I am guessing that the "Keep the Pot Boiling From The Kindness Of Your Heart" sign expressing "goodness & Christmas cheer" is setting us up to experience the complete opposite, or downside of such an ideal.  Possibly to start the audience off relating to being in an "every town USA" where good-hearted people are doing good- hearted things.  It's Mayberry!  What a wonderful environment to live in, if you don't hire a psychopath to do your yard work!  But maybe he's innocent, I'm just spit-balling here!

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As much as I love watching Robert Ryan, this is the first Daily Dose that's hard to swallow. The story is so set on setting up noir conventions - finding a body, the overflowing water, running from the law, hopping a train - that it overlooks some obvious holes. 

 

First, Ryan opens the closet to get his coat - but doesn't see the body. I presume that's so he can discover it with his coat on, enabling him to run.

 

Second, he puts his coat on before filling the bucket of water, so that when he runs we can see the bucket overflowing, symbolically hammering home that something is awry. (Who puts on their coat before cleaning a bucket and putting away a mop??)

 

Third, he puts the mop away and NOW he sees the body?? And, um, she blinks. (Thankfully Hitchcock had his wife, Alma, to spot Janet Leigh's blink in Psycho before it was released.) 

 

I'll put aside the obvious question about why he doesn't call 911, at least anonymously, since I haven't seen the film and don't know anything about the character. But the part where he runs across the train tracks is definitely noir on steroids - so many tracks, so little time! But a train just happens to be going by at the exact right moment, at a speed slow enough for him to hop on board and escape. Phew!

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I don't know why they went to such great lengths to establish 1918 - from the graphic in the credits to the calendar overtly placed in the forefront as Ryan replaces the screen - but I assume that will be revealed when I watch the film. But perhaps as postwar times, a serviceman is back in the US and has to accept more menial work to survive. It's daylight in a suburban area on a calm day, but the presence of the Salvation Army Band and the fund drive suggests that there are some people still having hard times (a noir theme for the era)...perhaps a subtle way to say that on the surface things look normal but there's something else going on beneath. Or perhaps it's to correlate the charity of the organization, the apparent goodness of the handyman, and the generosity of the woman whose sunny note and five dollars (remember - 1918 dollars) awaited him.

 

And talk about setting you up for a shocker - aside from the fact that he's wearing a tie, there's nothing odd about Ryan. He's performing chores which we find out soon are on a list in the kitchen, a place he seems familiar with since he knows where everything is and goes. There's a handwritten note for him and his payment. He's calling for the woman of the house to let her know he's done, so even though she apparently left the money in case she wouldn't be there, he's being polite enough to alert her that he's leaving.

 

And then...WOW! The camera has obscured our view with a door opening before (when he puts his coat on) but we see him in the mirror (a clue that he's not what he seems?) but this time we just see the door and then his head duck back with a completely different expression. Great shot of the door slowly pushing back open to reveal the (likely) lifeless body - probably our missing housewife - so initially we think he's as surprised and horrified as we are as he bolts out of the house without shutting off the water or closing the door. 

 

But does he go for the police or yell for help? No! He slinks along the buildings, and heads for the outskirts of town...symbolically we see him cross a bridge, cross several train tracks (great long wide shot showing him as small, like an insect) and dives headfirst into a freight car headed who-knows-where. He ran so fast and so far with such unbridled fear that it almost became comical - would he ever stop running? But even hidden in the train moving further away, he's still terrified, and the images of spinning wheels suggest confusion and paranoia...the shot of the train headed right at the viewer reinforces that helpless feeling.

 

Did he kill that person and forget that he had? Is he already on the lam or hiding out so that any attention drawn to him (like going to the police) would expose him or put him at risk? Is he disturbed, sick, insane? It's as if he was one person before he opened that door and became another when he recoiled.

 

Symbolically he was trying to put everything in its place before he left - retain normalcy - even the dumping of the dirty water to replace it with clean might symbolize something. But that was some pretty dark water - wonder what he mopped up?

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Describe the noir elements, in terms of style and substance, in this opening sequence.

 

There a range of high and low angles. There was a film noir theme of murder introduced. The protagonist (Robert Ryan) feeling he would be implicated immediately fled and the music under scored an emotional substance of heavy drama that film noir often delivered.

 

What do you make of the film opening with the Salvation Army band playing and the prominent Salvation Army sign in that first shot?

 

There is a good chance the Salvation Army is brought into the mix but contradicting the seedy following discovery. A bending of truth to keep us unhinged from safe ground which film noir was the best at. No sure footed escapage from the darkness even when it's flaunted and you feel there is an out.

 

Even though it is set in 1918, how does this scene reveal some of the typical noir themes of the 1950s?

 

It appears to fit 50's conventions because Robert Ryan was a regular figure in film noir and other than the wardrobe the pace and feel of it plays like film noir from setting, music, and mis-en-scene. Hope I'm warm but it definitely feels more 1950 than 1918. My impression was some background performers did the pass-bys in the proper 1918 atire and everything else fit film noir except for Ryan's little tie which is weird.

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As much as I love watching Robert Ryan, this is the first Daily Dose that's hard to swallow. The story is so set on setting up noir conventions - finding a body, the overflowing water, running from the law, hopping a train - that it overlooks some obvious holes. 

 

First, Ryan opens the closet to get his coat - but doesn't see the body. I presume that's so he can discover it with his coat on, enabling him to run.

 

Second, he puts his coat on before filling the bucket of water, so that when he runs we can see the bucket overflowing, symbolically hammering home that something is awry. (Who puts on their coat before cleaning a bucket and putting away a mop??)

 

Third, he puts the mop away and NOW he sees the body?? And, um, she blinks. (Thankfully Hitchcock had his wife, Alma, to spot Janet Leigh's blink in Psycho before it was released.) 

 

I'll put aside the obvious question about why he doesn't call 911, at least anonymously, since I haven't seen the film and don't know anything about the character. But the part where he runs across the train tracks is definitely noir on steroids - so many tracks, so little time! But a train just happens to be going by at the exact right moment, at a speed slow enough for him to hop on board and escape. Phew!

Wow, missed the blink...good catch!

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First, Ryan opens the closet to get his coat - but doesn't see the body. I presume that's so he can discover it with his coat on, enabling him to run.

 

Third, he puts the mop away and NOW he sees the body??

 

The closet his coat was in was off the kitchen. The closet the body is in is in another room behind the kitchen. Two different closets.

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And talk about setting you up for a shocker - aside from the fact that he's wearing a tie, there's nothing odd about Ryan. 

 Well, I don't know about that. My great-grandfather, who died in 1952 at the age of 84, was raised in a small town in eastern Ohio. He always wore a suit and tie for chores, to garden, we even have a picture of him walking along the Florida beach collecting sea shells... in a suit and tie. This shows to me a certain kind of middle-class aspiration and self-respect on the part of Ryan. 

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As much as I love watching Robert Ryan, this is the first Daily Dose that's hard to swallow. The story is so set on setting up noir conventions - finding a body, the overflowing water, running from the law, hopping a train - that it overlooks some obvious holes. 

 

First, Ryan opens the closet to get his coat - but doesn't see the body. I presume that's so he can discover it with his coat on, enabling him to run.

 

Second, he puts his coat on before filling the bucket of water, so that when he runs we can see the bucket overflowing, symbolically hammering home that something is awry. (Who puts on their coat before cleaning a bucket and putting away a mop??)

 

Third, he puts the mop away and NOW he sees the body?? And, um, she blinks. (Thankfully Hitchcock had his wife, Alma, to spot Janet Leigh's blink in Psycho before it was released.) 

 

I'll put aside the obvious question about why he doesn't call 911, at least anonymously, since I haven't seen the film and don't know anything about the character. But the part where he runs across the train tracks is definitely noir on steroids - so many tracks, so little time! But a train just happens to be going by at the exact right moment, at a speed slow enough for him to hop on board and escape. Phew!

 

Good points!  I had to watch the scene again and I'm pretty sure after getting his coat from a closet he moved into another room, but you're right about the corpse that blinks.  And despite what Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) tried to teach us about "suspension of disbelief", that was a bit of a scene and/or suspense "killer".  Even in a masterpiece like John Ford's The Searchers (1956) which I can & have watched countless times, it still irks me when John Wayne, Ward Bond and the rangers are standing over the grave of a half berried Indian and you clearly see his stomach rise and fall, which a corpse shouldn't do. Love that movie but my "suspension" is truly tested. :o     

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It's 1918 and the end of WWI. It's seems like a quiet town with the Salvation Army bringing Christmas cheer. Everythings seem fine; no post-war angst. We meet Howard, a handy man, and now you know something isn't right when he can't find Mrs. Warren. The opening of the door and the look of sheer horror tells us he found her, laying face up in the light. All he can think of is to run, but why? Now we have a man full of anxiety and desparation and doesn't want to be found out. He runs to the bridge overlooking the criss cross of the tracks. Which path to choose? Last we see him hopping a train, with a look of guilt, fear, and paranoia. He smirks a bit, happy he got away, but he didn't do anything. He comes off as someone on the verge of a breakdown.

 

Howard reminds me a little of Mike Ward in "Stranger on the Third Floor," in that Mike was so afraid that everyone would think that he killed his neighbor, he started become paranoid. So, does Howard have a dark past that will make him guilty by association?

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The use of the Salvation Army Band serves to place the time of the year at Christmas, and also as a reminder of the American Christian values  of the time. We don't know that it's 1918 until we see the calendar, via a camera shot through a screened window through which we see a man's face. This is representative of the noir style, from influences such as the work of photographer Robert Frank. When the man comes into the house the somewhat low camera angle gives us the feeling that the room is small, the ceiling low, as if something were closing in on him. The director also employs the remote shot of allowing us to see some of the action as reflected in a mirror, a device we have seen in other noirs, such as Claire Trevor's face reflected in a clock in "Raw Deal". He keeps busy and seems organized, cleaning up and putting things in their place- the hammer is carefully placed into a drawer- while he calls out for Mrs. Warren. He even stops to empty the dirty water from the bucket after he has already put on his coat to leave. But when he opens the pantry door to put away a mop the music indicates that something is amiss, and as he backs away and out the door his facial expression and body language tell us that he is confused and disturbed. Then we get to peer through the door and we see what the trouble is- the body of an apparently dead or unconscious woman lying there. In the following sequence the director relies on some formalistic techniques- the obtuse camera angle in the alley, the shot of just his face with the front of the train superimposed as if something were coming at him- to give us the feel of his angst. We also get the somewhat documentary style overhead shots of the rather large railroad yard- is this a small Midwestern town or has he run all the way to Chicago? Also, we again get the rhythm and pace and almost taunting chug-a-chugga of the train wheels, also superimposed over the strife ridden face. Some of the 1950's themes that are present in this sequence include the lonely, disenfranchised man, reduced to menial work instead of a rewarding career, a man running away- possibly guilty of something- we don't know, wracked with fear and paranoia, a man forced to rely on his wits for survival. 

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A Handy Man (Opening Scene of Beware, My Lovely)

 

In my hometown, the only time we see the Salvation Army is around Christmas time.

Of course that custom may have been different in 1918 as the short clip shows no indications of decorations of such.

 

The handyman is going about his business when suddenly he his shocked by what he sees behind the door. The look of dread frozen on his gaze followed by his hasty exit and rush to the train plays like a melodrama in its exaggeration.

 

Why is he running away? Is he fearful of death or did seeing the body bring back a memory? His reactions do not seem normal and we wonder has he been traumatized by war or other event? Certainly intriguing story line a possibility here.

 

Seeing the handyman run across town reminds me of Levy’s running in Marathon Man (1976). Never having seen Beware, My Lovely- I wonder will it be a thriller as well.

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As soon as he poured out that black? water - I knew something had happened. With the music and mounting tension I assumed there was probably a db behind the door. I was surprised that he just ran. Will definitely be watching this one.

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I found the decision of starting with the band in a small town or suburban area felt more like the 50's than the year it presents on the title card.  But what gave it strength once the body is introduced is that the film begins with images of comfort and tranquility.  Once the closet is opened, the shot of the body is from a high angle and every other shot after that is framed within the film noir style.  The character running to the train and catching a cart all falls under what we have viewed this summer.  While others on this board have presented the trouble with their suspension of disbelief with the body, choosing to start the film with scenes that comfort the audience member before revealing the body helps to emphasizes and heighten the discovery.  So the directorial or authorial choice of starting with the band and leading into the home only aided in the turning point or introduction of conflict.

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– Describe the noir elements, in terms of style and substance, in this opening sequence.

 

•  low-angle shots of Howard tidying up inside the house

•  Salvation Army band percussionist clashing cymbals directly over the image of Howard working on a screen in the background; deep focus

•  window shade pull and its echoing shadow first hanging then swinging like a symbolic noose in front of Howard’s head as he replaces a window screen after cleaning the windows and scrapes off some debris on the screen

•  use of mirror image to show Howard putting on his coat when direct view is obscured by closet door covering half the frame

•  use of non-diegetic musical soundtrack to signal alarm even before Howard backs out of the utility closet upon discovering Mrs. Warren’s body

•  first closet door filling the right side of the frame heightens the shock that occurs during the second; Howard mundanely removes his coat from the first closet, so we are expecting him to return the mop to the utility closet routinely, not to discover a dead body there

•  diagonal shadow pattern on wall as Howard leaves the house

•  low-angle shot of Howard fleeing down an alleyway

•  high-angle shots of Howard first fleeing diagonally down an embankment then running through the rail yard

•  formalistic superimposition of train wheels and locomotive approaching head-on over the choker close-up image of Howard’s frightened face as he escapes in a rolling boxcar

 

– What do you make of the film opening with the Salvation Army band playing and the prominent Salvation Army sign in that first shot?

 

From the calendar in Mrs. Warren’s window we know that the time is December 1919, just weeks after the armistice that ended World War I.  I think the phrase “keep the pot boiling” in the sign may be an attempt to get people to continue donating to fund the work of the Salvation Army and not to stop just because peace has come and the sacrifices of the war years should no longer be as critical.  The woman passing through the scene appears as if she may be going door to door and using a tambourine to collect donations.  Will the spirit of Christmas cheer extend to Howard in his time of need?

 

– Even though it is set in 1918, how does this scene reveal some of the typical noir themes of the 1950s?

 

Beware, My Lovely depicts a postwar situation that may share similarities with the public mood and societal developments that influenced the development of film noir in the years following World War II.  In this scene Howard gives the impression of being an honest, hard-working handyman who is surprised by the discovery that his employer is lying dead in the utility closet.  His anguished facial reaction and his immediate flight from the scene suggest he thinks blame for her death will fall wrongly on him.  Thus he chooses to flee and not to report her death to the authorities.  We do not have additional evidence in this scene to tell us why he reacts that way.  Could he have suffered shell shock during the war?  Does he have a history of unjust treatment by the authorities?  Does the image of Mrs. Warren lying dead in the closet trigger some sort of psychological association in Howard?  In any case, he appears to be an innocent man who has been dealt an unpredictable blow by fate and now finds himself on the run.  That is certainly a typical theme we are familiar with from film noir of the 1950s.

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She blinks.  The corpse I mean.  She blinks !!!  To be fair, my wife caught this before I did.  Check it out.  

 

What on earth were they doing when they edited this movie?  Could it be that RKO under Hughes was so cheap that they would have prevented a re-shoot?  

 

The other alternative, that she just fainted, would mean that both the handy man and we are over reacting :-) 

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There were many examples of the style and substance of noir in opening of this film.  First the band playing even though it was more of a an upbeat tune music was still used to convey what is going on around our handyman.  Second, we first meet our handyman by seeing his face through the window screen and we also see some of what he is doing through his reflection in the mirror and shadows on the wall. The eerie music when he opens the door and sees what we can only imagine to be the body of Mrs. Morris.  Last but not least we have him running away down alleys and streets and once again a train with wonderful shots of the wheels speeding down the tracks.

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There is absolutely nothing in this clip (other than the year showing up on the screen) to indicate this scene is taking place in 1918.  If one did not know otherwise, all the action could be taking place in the early 1950s, or most any other time.  What we see does not give us any indication of a "period" look.  Robert Ryan's character could be seen as an "everyman" and the setting could be viewed as an "anytime".  

 

Agreed.  If we didn't have "1918" plastered across the screen and followed up with a 1918 calendar close-up we wouldn't know what our time frame was.  Hopefully (I haven't seen this one) it will become meaningful later on in the film.  And if Robert Ryan is an "everyman" then Anthony Perkins is probably my next door neighbor! 

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The opening shot of the "pot boiling" Salvation Army sign shows the words "The Salvation Army Christmas Cheer," and soon after that we see a calendar displaying December 1918. So, it seems it must be important to establish that this film starts sometime in the two weeks prior to Christmas (the traditional time when the Salvation Army bands would hit the streets to raise money).

 

So, this would be about one month after the official end of World War I, and I am wondering if that is somehow important to the story. Perhaps Robert Ryan is a returning WW I veteran who is doing odd jobs for a living? From my genealogy research, I know "odd jobs" and "day laborer" were common occupations for men then. Ryan's short tie, which seems comical today, was in fashion in 1918 (and for the next two decades), but the $5 wage seems excessive for the time.

 

When we first see him, he is finishing the last unchecked job on his to-do list (screens). He is scraping dirt off the window screen. Then he enters the house and checks that item off his list. He is finished. He tries unsuccessfully to find his employer, then spies his $5 payment and pockets it. He puts away a hammer (which would not have been needed to do any of the chores on his to-do list) and goes into another room (ostensibly to exit by the side door instead of the front door, which he had used when he cleaned the window screen). He sees a bucket of very dirty water (why was that there? mopping was not on his list) pours it out and starts filling the bucket with a torrent of water, then he goes to the utility closet to put away the mop (which he would not have used, ha ha).

 

Uh oh, dead woman! Better run out of the house and hop a passing box car, right? Is that a normal reaction? I did not notice her blink (some of my more-eagle-eyed classmates have pointed this out in previous posts), but she blinked after he had run out, so presumably he did not see it either. Oddly, my first thought was that she had dropped dead from the Spanish Influenza plague, which was killing millions in December of 1918 (that would explain why it was so important that we know when this happened), but my second thought was "no, maybe he had killed her and he had some kind of mental issue that had prevented him from remembering it until he saw her body again." But neither of these ideas seem very plausible to me, so I guess I will just have to watch the movie to find out why he reacted the way he did. Personally, if it were me, I would have at least turned off the water before hightailing it out of there, but I suppose that leaving it on added to the tension of the scene.    

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As much as I love watching Robert Ryan, this is the first Daily Dose that's hard to swallow. The story is so set on setting up noir conventions - finding a body, the overflowing water, running from the law, hopping a train - that it overlooks some obvious holes. 

 

First, Ryan opens the closet to get his coat - but doesn't see the body. I presume that's so he can discover it with his coat on, enabling him to run.

 

Second, he puts his coat on before filling the bucket of water, so that when he runs we can see the bucket overflowing, symbolically hammering home that something is awry. (Who puts on their coat before cleaning a bucket and putting away a mop??)

 

Third, he puts the mop away and NOW he sees the body?? And, um, she blinks. (Thankfully Hitchcock had his wife, Alma, to spot Janet Leigh's blink in Psycho before it was released.) 

 

I'll put aside the obvious question about why he doesn't call 911, at least anonymously, since I haven't seen the film and don't know anything about the character. But the part where he runs across the train tracks is definitely noir on steroids - so many tracks, so little time! But a train just happens to be going by at the exact right moment, at a speed slow enough for him to hop on board and escape. Phew!

Congrats on spotting the blink and other anomalies !!!

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It appears from he prior posts that we have the Noir elements covered. I am approaching this scene as if we know absolutely nothing about the rest of the film.

 

I am intrigued by this opening due to Ryan's reaction to finding his employer in the closet. It was obvious that he was running from something from within him or trauma in his past as from the "blink" she was not dead. A typical reaction would be to call for help or to check her more closely but for him, it was sheer panic and flight. At this point in the film, she could have fallen, she may have regular seizures or fainting spells and that is why she hires a handyman for tasks that she would have typically performed herself. It is entirely possible he just ran from nothing at all. His reaction appears to be more than simply his desire to avoid explaining to authorities what happened. He is clearly terrified. What is this unknown fear coming from and how many times has he run before? Was there anything sinister or are we about to embark on an exploration of a psychotic mind reacting to ordinary life? We will have to watch the rest of the film to see whether the "blink" was material or simply lazy editing.

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The scene opens in 1918, with a Salvation Army Band playing and a sign that says “From the Kindness Of Your Heart” for Christmas. The two people walking is the tambourine player for the band and another man. Both walk by the band with little or no recognition.

 

The we move to looking out a screen, where a man's face Robert Ryan (Howard) comes into view. In the window is a paper with “Things To Do”, rake yard, clean swimming pool (?), rubbish, screens, and a calendar 1918 December. Howard cleans something off the screen, the shade pull looks like a noose hanging there, especially when it moves and you see it's shadow.

 

When Howard comes in he calls for Lauren a couple of times, puts things away, finds a note “For Howard” with $5.00, which he puts into his pocket. Calls for Lauren again then puts the mop he carried in away and dumps the pail into the sink, and runs water to clean it out.

 

He puts his coat on, then opens a door and pulls back, the horror written all over his face, a dead woman is in the closet. With the water still running he runs, down to the train yard across the tracks and jumps a freight train.

 

These are all thin one would expect for a noir film to have in a short time. It adds in the size of the country and ability to get around. Is Howard the killer? If not why is he running? Does he know he is the killer?

 

There are psychological issues at work here, the horror in his face and the montage of his face and the trains wheels, moving, going somewhere else, where he can get a new chance. Here in place of the World War II veteran, we have one of the First World War, yet, he is suffering from psychological problems just as the post World War II veteran did.  

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I didn't get much from watching this scene, but I guess this is because I haven't yet seen the whole film. It seemed a typical noir scene to me, with intense music, an expressive and panicked face of film noir veteran Robert Ryan, a body discovered by him in an apartment and, of course, trains. Train sound, train wheels, train moves and railroad tracks becoming the setting of an interesting noir scene for yet another time.

 

There aren't a lot of films noir set in a different period rather than the 40's or 50's, but I couldn't find any difference between these settings and those of the scene depicted in this Daily Dose, despite its being set in 1918. As for the Salvation Army sign and music, nothing else than a typical noir setting with high tempo music, bringing up the tension of what's about to follow.

 

The scene is another proof that Ryan's face is ideal for a noir protagonist (or antagonist). His face makes him look tough, nervous and fragile, depending on the expression he chooses to give it. It's like a theater mask; he can share with us his thoughts and emotions with his expressions without even making a move or saying a word.

 

I'm looking forward to see the entire film. Ryan and Lupino are a couple of my favorite film noir stars, and the plot seems interesting. But it's true that, after so many films noir made before this film, some of its techniques and plot themes seem to be rather predictable and unsurprising, while they would have been original and innovative a few years back.

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