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JULY 24 TCM FILM DISCUSSION FOR #NOIRSUMMER FOR ALL 13 FILMS


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I agree with your comments on this movie. I thought I would be the only one who disliked it. I saw spousal abuse written all over it; or would that be a subtext.? Anyhow, the only noir element I could get out of it was that of Robert Ryan's woman hating character. Just not into it with this one.

Thanks for your comments.  Yes, misogyny abounds in this one!  Add a little more whiskey and a little lower rent and this could be a remake of "Anna Christie!" One thing that was a little refreshing was a moment Keith Andes' character had.  Earlier in the film he said something really hateful to his "fiancee" as he appeared to be strangling her with a towel, but later he said something to her that was a-characteristic of a male at the time, in fact, it may have been something that a female character might've said:  He said something like "if you're just marrying me until something better comes along then get out now, 'cause I'm in it for keeps."  It was touching, in a neanderthal-ish sort of way.  Did I read it wrong?

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The Strip (1951)

MGM

 

Film opens as did Side Street (1951) with a documentary-like narration. Shortly thereafter, we get a story told in flashback by Stanley (Mickey Rooney). Rooney is one of my favorites because he has a way of making ordinary movies come to life with his high-energy bravado performances.

 

Not this time though because The Strip  does not know what it wants to be; a musical or a noir. If it had stayed with the drama only it would have been better crime noir.

 

Jazz and noir works best when the jazz compliments the film by creating mood and/or tone. When implementing it into the story- well then you have a musical in you hands.

 

Don’t get me wrong, the music is fabulous, Louis Armstrong is flawless and the soundtrack worthy of all the accolades. But it never enhances the noir.

 

Bottom line- standard drama with touches of noir and great score. 

 

Side note:

I think the film A Street Car Named Desire is an example on how to employ jazz effectively. When I saw the film the very first time it was like nothing I had heard before in films. It was years ahead of its time. The music gave the movie personality. It’s a different movie without that soundtrack.

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For anyone who hasn't yet watched The Narrow Margin, the following comments contain a SPOILER.

 

While watching The Narrow Margin and listening to Marie Windsor's character's dialogue, I began to think about Daily Dose of Darkness #26 and Foster Hirsch's assertion that her dialogue "sounds like a parody of the hard-boiled school; and the exaggeration is a tip-off that noir conventions are being burlesqued." Maybe my ear for hard-boiled dialogue isn't that sure, but I didn't think it sounded like a parody. If, on the other hand, other viewers agree with Hirsch, then might not exaggerated hard-boiled dialogue be appropriate for her character, as opposed to it being a burlesque of noir conventions? After all, her character isn't really a moll and might only be playing up to Detective Brown's and others' expectations of how the "kind of dame who would marry a hood" would speak, in order to keep her identity as an undercover police officer a secret.

I agree.  Miss Windsor's part was complex.  She was playing an "idea" of what her escorts (and the movie going public at large) thought the wife of a gangster might be like.  I loved her first moment.  She had her head kinda down.  Was she looking in a mirror, or at the record player?  Her hair was over one eye a la Veronica Lake.  I'll bet it was set up that way before the scene was shot.  The director yelled "Action," and with a flick of her head, the hair came out of her eyes and she was off and running.  It's all about entrances and exits!  Speaking of our "conventions," I'll take this a step further.  Technically she was UC as the "wife" of a gangster, not the mistress, not the "moll," even though they thought of her as such.  If the "Madonna Complex" were at play here, the wife actually wouldn't be harsh, she'd be squeaky clean, the mother of the gangster's children, and if a product of her time, wouldn't care what her husband had "on the side", as long as he came home to her at night.  That said, I like the casting of the wife. At first I wanted to see someone a little sweeter, like a Nancy Olsen, but then changed my mind.  Jacqueline White seemed just sweet enough and just sassy enough for you to believe could have fallen for a bad guy, but not so sassy as to go the distance and do anything bad.

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Clash by Night

 

Don't like this film.  I've always been wary of movies pulled from very stylized literary authors, especially those produced in the 1950s.  Odets' language has very specific rhythms and can sound stilted when not delivered with complete conviction.  There's a lot of "stilt" goin' on in this one.  Stanwyck's got a great hold on the language. She burns the screen with each line, a good deal of the time in her full-slip.  Ryan is terrific, and brings the "wife beater" t-shirt to a whole new level of sexy.  Stanwyck putting her arms around Ryan's back and then not being able to resist slipping her hand under that shirt just to feel his skin right before the fadeout...these guys and gals don't apply any restraint to their sexual compunctions.  Keith Andes goes through most of the movie with his shirt off, while Marilyn Monroe, trying awfully hard to make her mark, has on basically what's a bra top with a peek-a-boo side in at least one scene .  What was Lang thinking?  Did he figure that the movie was so boring in its dialogue that he had to flash the flesh of both genders to keep the audience awake and interested?  I commend him for pushing the envelope in 1952 with the censors, but he should've paid equal attention to the acting.  Paul Douglas, who's usually really a good actor, played the first 3/4s of this film like he was Lenny from "Of Mice and Men."  Alright, he's a simple fella, shy around women, but he also owns what seems to be a state of the art fishing boat and a successful business, so he's not a moron.  Why did he play him like one.  He finally "comes to" in the last scene.  Too little, too late. The noir element of this is that people bring each other down.  Douglas brought himself down by accepting Stanwyck as his wife on her terms, Stanwyck brought Douglas and Ryan down by betraying them both, Douglas brought Stanwyck down by not listening to her when she told him she was no good.  Ryan brought Stanwyck down when he persisted after she tried multiple times to resist him.  J. Carol Naish brought Douglas down by inciting him to almost kill Ryan.  And the stereotypical Italian father (a really embarrassing portrayal) brought everybody down by just showing up.  Downer.  (Aaargh!)

You forgot Earl's imitation of the "Chinaman." It was bad, but then Mae knew it. Her reaction was priceless.

 

I'm curious: Did you expect other characters not to bring each other down in a film noir? I'm not trying to be facetious, but everything you cite in your post makes me think to myself, but this is noir!

 

If, on the other hand, you just didn't like the movie--fair enough. But it seems to me that the movie was supposed to make us feel uncomfortable. I'm still formulating and writing my thoughts about Clash by Night, but I feel more and more that the movie was supposed to make the viewer, in particular, uncomfortable. And Fritz Lang succeeded on this score, I believe. He did for me, that's for sure.

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Roadblock

 

RKO have consistently delivered the Noir goods for me and Roadblock was no different.

 

Short and taut and to the point with very little wasted in terms of narrative, it made for a very enjoyable B feature. Charles McGraw (did he ever play Dick Tracy? If not, he should have, his face is perfect for the role) as the good guy turned bad all to impress a chiseling bad girl - who ironically turns good as the film progresses - and a foolproof plan for a heist that it seems was all too easy for the cops to solve. Of course, no-one really comes out of this well. 

 

One thing I wondered. We get to see a car chase along the LA riverbed and it's such an oft used and iconic location: was this though, the first time it was used this way?

 

The film also had some very quotable lines:

 

"Can happiness buy you money?"

 

and,

 

Diane: "Some day you're going to want to have something nice and expensive that you can't afford"

 

Joe "Like what?"

 

Diane "Like me." 

 

 

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"Talk about a Stranger" = Lassie noir.

 

"Narrow Margin"  SPOILERS   Agree with the comments about the policewoman, who turns out to be one of the more interesting characters. She was definitely playing to type of gangster moll, and definitely playing to what the police officer Charles MacGraw would expect of her -- she has to fool him as much as anybody. Thinking about the plot, it was only after MacGraw revealed to her that attention was being drawn to Mrs. Neal instead that she started playing the phonograph loudly in her compartment, really drawing attention back to herself and away from the real one. Now that's downright heroic! Yet not a drop of sympathy. If anything marks "The Fifties" in this film it might be the attempt to reestablish that hard line between the two types of women. The good wives and mothers are the only winners here. And although the plot plays against our expectation that there should be a femme fatale in the story, there really was none. Playing with the genre, indeed.

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Thanks for your comments.  Yes, misogyny abounds in this one!  Add a little more whiskey and a little lower rent and this could be a remake of "Anna Christie!" One thing that was a little refreshing was a moment Keith Andes' character had.  Earlier in the film he said something really hateful to his "fiancee" as he appeared to be strangling her with a towel, but later he said something to her that was a-characteristic of a male at the time, in fact, it may have been something that a female character might've said:  He said something like "if you're just marrying me until something better comes along then get out now, 'cause I'm in it for keeps."  It was touching, in a neanderthal-ish sort of way.  Did I read it wrong?

I recall that scene with Monroe and Andes. I feel that by "strangling" Monroe, Andes's character was exerting his dominance and control over her. She obviously didn't like it or think it humorous. She tried to ply herself away and said that he was hurting her (as I remember).  I understand how you would interpret his comment about marrying her. However, I thought the comment a veiled threat.  He gives her the opportunity to leave now, but would he let her go? I felt she might be cowed by this. If she married him, and eventually wanted out of the marriage, for whatever reason, there would be trouble for her because she wasn't in it for keeps. Then, he would no longer have control.  Anyway, this is a woman's perspective and from today's standards, as well. I enjoy your posts. Please let me know your thoughts.

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So, after watching The Narrow Margin, I take back what I said about it being either a parody or poorly written. While that initial dame/dish exchange seemed to support such a contention taken by itself, now that I saw the whole movie, I feel like the dialogue (well, the entire movie, really) is more of an homage to noir. I really loved it, especially the twist about the cop and the real wife. I did not see that coming. But from both stylistic and substantive angles, I wonder if The Narrow Margin was conceived executed as a (fairly successful) attempt to make the ultimate noir flick. My bad.....

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You forgot Earl's imitation of the "Chinaman." It was bad, but then Mae knew it. Her reaction was priceless.

 

I'm curious: Did you expect other characters not to bring each other down in a film noir? I'm not trying to be facetious, but everything you cite in your post makes me think to myself, but this is noir!

 

If, on the other hand, you just didn't like the movie--fair enough. But it seems to me that the movie was supposed to make us feel uncomfortable. I'm still formulating and writing my thoughts about Clash by Night, but I feel more and more that the movie was supposed to make the viewer, in particular, uncomfortable. And Fritz Lang succeeded on this score, I believe. He did for me, that's for sure.

 

I agree with you.  This is noir, in essence, not trappings, and the whole thing about people bringing  other people down, I was pointing that out as being about the only noir thing about the film.   Perhaps my attempt at being witty got in the way of projecting my thought.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.  Each of the statements I made that had the word "down" in the phrase was an additional support of those things making it noir.  As far as the "uncomfortable" issue: It seems like in these kinds of "literary" pieces, everyone is a loser.  In standard noir there's usually someone to root for.  In this piece...not so much. In both "The Hitch Hiker" and "Beware, My Lovely" I felt very uncomfortable because I was engaged with the characters and cared about what might happen to them.   I liked those films very much.  In "Clash by Night" there was this disconnect. I don't what it was with this one.  I didn't like it because it made me feel uncomfortable.  I wish it made me feel uncomfortable, but it just didn't engage me enough to make that happen.  

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Clash at Night (1952)

RKO

 

The film opens with a wonderful montage lasting five minutes or so. Nicholas Musuraca starts of with a skyward view of low cloud and high cumulus clouds then dissolves into storm clouds at a distance with rough seas below. There’s a sense of turmoil as rousing music plays and he continues with the editor to mix different views of sweeping waves of all size, hit rocks at times or rushing onto the sands of beaches.

 

The dominating motif in this film is moral nihilism. Mae D’Amato (Barbara Stanwyck) knows what she wants, “I want a man to give me confidence, somebody to fight off the blizzards and the floods, somebody to beat off the world when it tries to swallow you up.” She also knows what she doesn’t want: men like Jerry (Paul Douglas) who are “little and nervous like sparrows” or like Earl (Robert Ryan) “big and worried like sick bears.”

She’s not happy with her suitors, but instead of leaving them alone, she hasty marries Jerry who she doesn’t love for fear that Earl, whom she doesn’t want, will win her over.

 

Her choice comes with complications and her change of heart (twice) plays melodramatic.

 

The ending reminds me of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism where an individual’s happiness is the moral purpose of their life. Mae settles in her heart for less, in order to be happy with her infant baby. She chose responsibility over selflessness at the end.

 

All three lead actors displayed raw emotions rarely seen then and now. Bravo.

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I recall that scene with Monroe and Andes. I feel that by "strangling" Monroe, Andes's character was exerting his dominance and control over her. She obviously didn't like it or think it humorous. She tried to ply herself away and said that he was hurting her (as I remember).  I understand how you would interpret his comment about marrying her. However, I thought the comment a veiled threat.  He gives her the opportunity to leave now, but would he let her go? I felt she might be cowed by this. If she married him, and eventually wanted out of the marriage, for whatever reason, there would be trouble for her because she wasn't in it for keeps. Then, he would no longer have control.  Anyway, this is a woman's perspective and from today's standards, as well. I enjoy your posts. Please let me know your thoughts.

Sorry, I was looking for a light moment in this otherwise dreary enterprise.  Not there, was it?  I went a little soft-hearted for a second.  It was a threat, or at the very least a warning, and now that my head is clear I see that!  So that informs her response of a pause and then hugging him.  Again, when I had my sappy pants on, I thought she was warmed by that.  But looking at it more realistically, perhaps in that pause she accessed the response that would get her optimum results, the way a battered woman might choose the response that's the least likely to set the abuser off.  Sadly, this could be setting the tone for what their marriage might be like.

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I agree with you.  This is noir, in essence, not trappings, and the whole thing about people bringing  other people down, I was pointing that out as being about the only noir thing about the film.   Perhaps my attempt at being witty got in the way of projecting my thought.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.  Each of the statements I made that had the word "down" in the phrase was an additional support of those things making it noir.  As far as the "uncomfortable" issue: It seems like in these kinds of "literary" pieces, everyone is a loser.  In standard noir there's usually someone to root for.  In this piece...not so much. In both "The Hitch Hiker" and "Beware, My Lovely" I felt very uncomfortable because I was engaged with the characters and cared about what might happen to them.   I liked those films very much.  In "Clash by Night" there was this disconnect. I don't what it was with this one.  I didn't like it because it made me feel uncomfortable.  I wish it made me feel uncomfortable, but it just didn't engage me enough to make that happen.  

 

Let me see if I have your post down correctly: You weren't engaged enough with the story in Clash by Night to feel uncomfortable, and the lack of any engagement was the problem.

 

If I have this right, I would have to agree: Any movie that didn't engage me at all would be . . . boring, I guess. And that's not good for just about any movie!

 

So if I have it right, I definitely see your point. I agree that it was very hard to identify with almost all the characters. They ran the gamut: I wouldn't have wanted to spend any time with Earl, but I did grow to appreciate Mae. She may have picked a winner of a life, but I suspect she would fight for her daughter no matter what. She goes back to Jerry because she just cannot abandon her child. That was a redeeming quality for her. And the redeeming quality for Jerry is that he is not accepting her back without some limits. He tells her he will trust her again because life isn't worth living without trust, but it's not necessarily because she has inspired any trust in him. She'll have to earn that back again, and I suspect that will take a long time, even for someone like Jerry. I guess I saw some realistic optimism here, and I found that encouraging in an otherwise bleak film.

 

Thanks!!!

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Sorry, I was looking for a light moment in this otherwise dreary enterprise.  Not there, was it?  I went a little soft-hearted for a second.  It was a threat, or at the very least a warning, and now that my head is clear I see that!  So that informs her response of a pause and then hugging him.  Again, when I had my sappy pants on, I thought she was warmed by that.  But looking at it more realistically, perhaps in that pause she accessed the response that would get her optimum results, the way a battered woman might choose the response that's the least likely to set the abuser off.  Sadly, this could be setting the tone for what their marriage might be like.

Sorry I wasn't more upbeat. I completely understand your thoughts and I get it for sure. I thought she was a little dense about their relationship or at least she was able and willing to shrug things off.... a little too quickly. There is no sunshine with this one.

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"Talk About a Stranger" -

 

A film noir?  I think by a stretch this was a noir.

 

A boy running around the entire movie angry about the death of his dog and trying to turn anyone who'd listen against the "stranger in the big house", no.

 

Billy Gray, had way too much power, freedom, say for my money.  His parents just sat there and laughed or smiled and had the general "isn't he wonderful" attitude.

 

Nancy Davis, aka Mrs. You-Know-Who, bad actress in my opinion.  I'll probably have the Secret Service knocking on my door but bad actress.

 

The two times I've seen her she's wearing what I'm calling a smock buttoned all the way up to the neck.  She has his plastic, pasty, non-emotional expressions.  She's stiff and the movie would proceed just as well if her character wasn't even in it.  Some would probably say she played her characters well if I don't like them.  I think she found her true calling later when she helped run The White House.

 

George Murphy looked tired and like he was on his way out and also on to bigger and better jobs, in politics as well,  You think he and Nancy discussed their futures during this movie - HAHA!

 

I learned that Nancy's name had appeared on one of those blacklists erroneously?  She went to the President of the Screen Actors Guild to ask for help clearing her name.  Guess who that was?  Yep, Ronnie...history began!

 

I was reminded of how much free time kids actually had years ago...running around, no TV, playing outside, getting into mischief.  Perhaps because of where they lived, but he was all over the place and didn't really seem to have any kind of curfew.  He caused a lot of trouble and everyone basically let him slide.

 

Interesting role for Lewis Stone, almost seemed like an extension of Judge Hardy, but a little darker.

 

I didn't like this movie.

I agree that Billy Gray's character had too much power, to much say, too much free time.  I can't believe that he wouldn't have had to spend a lot more time helping his father in the citrus grove than was apparent in the film.  And none of the adults, especially his parents, seemed to try to teach him that one can't just go around smearing their neighbor's name because of the unfounded assumption that the neighbor had poisoned the dog.  Even Lewis Stone's character encouraged Gray to actually go out in search of proof!!  And that's exactly what Gray did, badmouthing his neighbor every step of the way!  Then there was all that hitchhiking Gray was doing.  Was that really acceptable at that time?  None of the adults giving him rides seemed to question why he was out there all by himself.  No one seemed to be concerned that maybe he was running away.  Finally, no matter how bad his behavior was, he didn't seem to have to accept any consequnces.  I really can't believe that there wouldn't have been any punishment for his deliberately damaging the tap so that all of that fuel was lost.  It wasn't just the question of money but of  deliberately, spitefully damaging someone else's property to that extent, plus depriving all of the men with fuel that could have saved their crops.  So the whole film just didn't come together well because so much of it seemed so unrealistic.  The dogs were cute, though...

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The Locket (1946)

 

To me, this movie was a cinematic feast for the eyes.

 

It is loaded with low-key lighting, chiaroscuro, choker shots and what I believe to be a hint of German Expressionism. Dark shadows and lights played off each other so well. I loved it. Total noir.

 

A flashback within a flashback within a flashback is something I haven't experienced in a film prior to this one. The plot  was not as complicated to follow as I thought it might be.

 

Laraine Day did a superb job portraying her character, Nancy. Nancy is a complex character at best and Day had the range to take us from one persona to the next with ease. She could be naive, innocent, manipulative and quietly hard edged.

 

Without reiterating the whole film, suffice it to say, it was replete with subject matters ranging from tattling and betrayal to false accusations.

 

It addresses the power of the mind to repress memories and how impressionable children are. As a child, Nancy is wrongly accused of stealing a locket. That accusation had a profound effect upon her. As an adult, she becomes a kleptomanic and goes into a downspiral where she winds up being accused of murder.

 

We are taken on a psycological ride into Nancy's past and are kept in suspense as to her guilt or innocence in the murder.  And, did she willingly steal from others?

 

Only after the locket resurfaces do we know the truth.

 

Admittedly, I will need to see The Locket again for I know I have missed so much.

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Let me see if I have your post down correctly: You weren't engaged enough with the story in Clash by Night to feel uncomfortable, and the lack of any engagement was the problem.

 

If I have this right, I would have to agree: Any movie that didn't engage me at all would be . . . boring, I guess. And that's not good for just about any movie!

 

So if I have it right, I definitely see your point. I agree that it was very hard to identify with almost all the characters. They ran the gamut: I wouldn't have wanted to spend any time with Earl, but I did grow to appreciate Mae. She may have picked a winner of a life, but I suspect she would fight for her daughter no matter what. She goes back to Jerry because she just cannot abandon her child. That was a redeeming quality for her. And the redeeming quality for Jerry is that he is not accepting her back without some limits. He tells her he will trust her again because life isn't worth living without trust, but it's not necessarily because she has inspired any trust in him. She'll have to earn that back again, and I suspect that will take a long time, even for someone like Jerry. I guess I saw some realistic optimism here, and I found that encouraging in an otherwise bleak film.

 

Thanks!!!

Thanks!  You definitely have it right!

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Sir David

 

 

One thing I wondered. We get to see a car chase along the LA riverbed and it's such an oft used and iconic location: was this though, the first time it was used this way?

 

 

I wondered that too.

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Sir David

 

 

One thing I wondered. We get to see a car chase along the LA riverbed and it's such an oft used and iconic location: was this though, the first time it was used this way?

 

 

I wondered that too.

I believe I saw the riverbed in "Point Blank".

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I'm surprised there hasn't been mention of Elevator to the Gallows. I just watched this morning (it's On Demand for those who have Comcast). This was a well made film with an interesting plot twist at the end. Actually, there were a lot of twists throughout the film. Considering that the latest Daily Dose was about the jazz, it was used during moments of solitude as our female lead, Florence, walked the rain soaked streets at night. Very well orchestrated. It reminded me of another French film noir Two Men in Manhattan also filmed in the middle of the night along empty streets.

 

I also liked the interrogation scenes; it was pure chiaroscuro with only the actors lit against a black background. There was no room, no table, just three men floating across the screen.

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The films introduced by Eddie Muller (Narrow Margin, His Kind of Woman, The Locket, Angel Face) and the French Film Elevator to the Gallows, were all noir, lighting and shadows, well done and presented, even if at time parody, they were respectful parody.

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We watched part of Angel Face, and all of The Locket as well as many others this last Friday. I'd like to say that I prefer femme fatales to femme mentals. A femme fatale makes the choice to be wicked and that's interesting. Femme mentals just need therapy and it's just kind of sad.

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I was going to post tonight with the same comment about Charles McGraw. He would be the perfect Dick Tracy. When he is wearing a hat and seen in profile he is the spitting image of Dick Tracy. I would almost think that Chester Gould used McGraw as his model, except that the Dick Tracy character predates McGraws first screen role (I checked). Glad to know it isn't just me who is reminded of Tracy by this excellent actor.

Roadblock

 

RKO have consistently delivered the Noir goods for me and Roadblock was no different.

 

Short and taut and to the point with very little wasted in terms of narrative, it made for a very enjoyable B feature. Charles McGraw (did he ever play Dick Tracy? If not, he should have, his face is perfect for the role) as the good guy turned bad all to impress a chiseling bad girl - who ironically turns good as the film progresses - and a foolproof plan for a heist that it seems was all too easy for the cops to solve. Of course, no-one really comes out of this well. 

 

One thing I wondered. We get to see a car chase along the LA riverbed and it's such an oft used and iconic location: was this though, the first time it was used this way?

 

The film also had some very quotable lines:

 

"Can happiness buy you money?"

 

and,

 

Diane: "Some day you're going to want to have something nice and expensive that you can't afford"

 

Joe "Like what?"

 

Diane "Like me." 

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The Narrow Margin is high parody, it isn't set up as slapstick but, if you know the style of noir, then you are in on the joke.  The claustrophobic aspect of the train for all the action.  The quick, hard boiled dialog, the constant train sounds throughout, when going over cross tracks, having it sound and look like gunfire.  The fat railroad detective, "...nobody likes a fat man but his grocer and his tailor..."  It was fun and exciting and kept you on your toes, unlike Kansas City Confidential.  We also see gangsters and mobsters as businessmen, never carrying guns, it makes them squeamish.  They would  prefer to do it with the pay off, even to take care of Gus's family.  

 

I enjoyed today's movie showing Raymond Burr at his Perry Mason weight, as in His Kind of Woman, instead of his usual fat man bad guy.  Lots of darkness and shadows and chiaroscuro lighting.  Vincent Price campy in playing the actor, finally really being heroric:

"Drinks are on me bucko".

Hitting the concern of organized gangster leaders making their way back into America as in Key Largo and Rocko, but Nick is coming back to raid and destroy America just as Estes Kefauver had shown in his Senate investigation.

 

The Locket was completely dark in almost every scene, even more so in the flashbacks on flashbacks on flashbacks.  The pseudo-psychiatry that passed in Hollywood.  Nancy not understanding Norman being so upset, calmly admitting she took the bracelet:  "Because I wanted it".  Then Norman playing the amature shrink, getting the flashback story of the locket, and she's cured.  That guilt will get you, Norman throwing himself out the window, Dr. Blair having his nervous breakdown, being able to blame it on the war, and finally Nancy attaining the locket she always wanted, losing her mind at the end.

 

 Angel Face ws the most dark both in style and presentation.  The former race driver out of it because of the war and driving tanks, his jaded attitude towards women, that Kathy would always be his.  Diane pushing him towards murder, showing him the crumpled papers of financial opportunity, that she crumpled.  Then killing her step-mom and accidentally her father.  The jaded criminal attorney who got them off, and the just as jaded D.A. who tried them, there must have been a deal possible for Frank.  Then killing herself and Frank when he was going to leave her.  Almost every scene in darkness and shadows.  Her neurosis from childhood, "daddy's girl" and that no one gets out alive.  Otto may have been a sadistic task master, and we know Howard was crazy, soon he would be off to Las Vegas, never to be seen...germs.

 

The French film again no one gets out in Elevator to the Gallows, she proves her lover did not kill the Germans.  But in playing detective and getting the film developed, she proves he killed her husband, with her help.  At least she will never change, grow old, they always had each other at that time.  Just as Rick and Ilsa, "...always had Paris", in Casablanca.

 

After "Lassie" noir (as one person commented), and all other types of noir, the last five movies of the evening were "real" noir.

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The Strip

 

Just goes to show that Fluff was no Judge Hardy.  Just think if Andy had gone to the Judge for advise, no one would have died.  While Fluff tried, he couldn't do it.  Rooney on the drums did look just the way Andy did in any of the Hardy films, especially when they were putting on a play, the way he sat up straighter and tucked his chin in as he began to get into the music.  

 

As far as his playing was concerned:

 

One thing not so well known today were Rooney's musical skills, more substantial than many realized. He was skilled on drums, piano, vibes and vocals. Virtually all movies featuring actors as musicians had professionals record for the soundtrack, but Rooney was the rare one able to it himself. *

 

Read his obits and there are references to Clark Gable and Laurence Olivier referring to him as the greatest of actors.

 

http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/get-rhythm/item/37861-mickey-rooney-musician-and-blues-shouter

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Re: The Narrow Margin

 

You got to remember this was the very height and also the very brink of the end of the great "luxury name train" era and it was cheaper than flying, $100 Chicago to LA vs about $300 air see below
 
AIR TRAVEL IN THE 1950s
Coach Class
In the 1950s the American aviation industry grew dramatically. Airline companies had gradually adopted the technological improvements of World War II for their civilian planes, and commercial air travel became faster and more comfortable. It also became cheaper as new planes accommodating more people were introduced. Airlines began to offer "air coach class" seating, priced to compete with railroad's "coach" business. By paying coach fares, passengers could fly almost anywhere in the country for about one hundred dollars, one-third less than airfares of the late 1940s. "For the first time the ordinary man began to fly with us," observed Juan Trippe, longtime head of Pan American. By 1955 more Americans were traveling by air than by railroad.
 
Check out the accommodations on the "Train of the Stars" basically a rolling hotel:
 
 
On a side note next time you watch the film pay attention to the last sequence on the train just after Paul Maxey blocks the corridor so that McGraw and Jacqueline White can escape the reporters in the opposite direction, just as they leave the train, behind Maxey in a pouch against the wall sticking out is a brochure for TWA nice product placement Howard.

 

Also you hear a couple of McGraw's quips against the railroad during the course of the film:
 
Brown: This rattler hasn't stopped, they're still on it!
 
Brown: As soon as they pave this track accidents like this won't happen.
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