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Dr. Rich Edwards

July 31 Film Discussion for #NoirSummer for all 13 Films

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You made some interesting points. The one that really struck me was the one I highlighted below. When I saw The Killers, and the insurance investigator played by Edmond O'Brien meets Ava Gardner at a club called The Green Cat, I could have sworn the statue at the front of the shot was . . . green! But, of course, it could have been any color. Maybe watching black and white film is few steps away from reading: We get to picture what we want when we read, and we get to color a movie the way we want when we see it in black and white.

 

 

From a post by VanHazard (for some reason the "Quote" function didn't work): I think not.   In ways, I think color makes many of the cornerstone devices and techniques associated with noir more difficult to achieve and sustain.   When we see a black & white film, do we really see it in black & white, or do we 'see' color...impose our own palette...on a world that has none...much as I suspect we interject sound in our minds when watching silent films.  

 

 

Your's is an excellent example of what I was trying to say...yes...when we read Green Cat and see a statue of a cat in the shot in The Killers it's very likely we imagine the cat is actually green.   Simply put, our eyes 'see' in color but perhaps our minds find it easier to 'think' in black & white.   

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I Died a Thousand Times

 

It's a strange movie this: a scene-by-scene remake of 1941's High Sierra, starring Jack Palance in the Bogart role and Shelley Winters in Ida Lupino's shoes. I don't really understand the need for the film, or the point of making it. I mean, Psycho was remade 38 years after the original, and I could just about understand it: updating it for a modern day audience but changing very little else, but why this film was remade, I have no clue...the Pa character's family (and old jalopy) must have made some sense in 1941 as people heading west after the depression, but in 1955 they must have seen as hick anachronisms to the audience.

 

And where on earth did they get that title from, it had nothing to do with the movie as far as I could tell?

 

But in the end I kinda enjoyed it, just as I kinda enjoyed High Sierra, and it was terrific to see the 1950s brought into glorious Technicolor life: I loved the teale-blue of Jack Palance's car (I never knew that such colors were available in automobiles back in the day!) and the vivid blood-red of Velma's dress as she danced on her newly fixed pins. Actually, that begs a question about both films: just how long were that crew holed up in the hills for Velma to have her operation, recuperate and then get to dancing so well??

While I was watching this film, why this unnecessary remake. HIGH SIERRRA 1941 was wonderful, who cares that the film was in black and white. Bogie, Ida, and the supporting cast were fine. Two positive things I can say for the remake are Shelley Winters and Pard the dog.

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While I was watching this film, why this unnecessary remake. HIGH SIERRRA 1941 was wonderful, who cares that the film was in black and white. Bogie, Ida, and the supporting cast were fine. Two positive things I can say for the remake are Shelley Winters and Pard the dog.

Ah, but the original dog had the singular status of being Bogart's dog in real life too: you could see Bogart light up every time he had the dog in a scene with him! 

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WEEK 9

 

BIG HEAT, THE (1953): Put The Lame To Shame, Mame.

One man alone can't beat a mob but if he stands up to them he may spark others to join him. 

"It attracts mosquitoes and repels men." "Doesn't repel me." "It's not suppose to."

 

SUDDENLY (1954): Every Town Eventually.

Sinatra plays a cousin to Bart Tare (Gun Crazy) and reminds us that we're all potentially responsible for national security.

"When a house is on fire, everyone has to help put it out because the next time it might be yours."

 

I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES (1955): A Brave Man Will See This Movie Only Once.

Since Bogie was alive when this was released, he probably just rolled over in his bed.

 

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956): Tangled Web.

So capital punishment is good because even if someone is falsely convicted they probably did it anyway.  

 

HARDER THEY FALL, THE (1956): Paid With Slugs.

How a syndicate exploits and legally grossly underpays a boxers. The script's working title was, "The Scriptwriter"

 

WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956): Deep Focus.

A house divided by monomaniacs will lose sight of the big picture.

"Every business needs a good conniver."

 

BLUE GARDENIA (1953): Noir Sitcom ("No means noir.")

There's always room for Polynesian Pearl Divers.

 

PARTY GIRL (1958): Song And Dance.

Like a mob lawyer, we defend our flawed friends but get scared straight when faced with a psychopath.

"When you sell your pride, it's tough to put a price on it: $400 isn't very high." 

 

CRISS CROSS (1949): Honor Among Dishonorables.

If your femme fatale crosses you, you're all right. 

 

BRUTE FORCE (1947): Sturm Und Drang.

Wagnerian epic prison riot which is a metaphor for fascism, bureaucracy and a prison.

"Nobody ever really escapes."

 

DESPERATE (1947): Married Times Call For Middle-Class Measures. 

Middle class newlywed man moonlights. Burr plays a convincing heavy.

 

ASPHALT JUNGLE, THE (1950): Cincinnati? So Nice They Named It Twice.

When resources are scarce in the jungle the food goes to the strongest, stealthiest and/or smartest.

"Home is where the money is."

 

THE WRONG MAN (1956): The Trial Of Manny B.

Whether you try to get money from the bank legally or not you'll be treated like a criminal.
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The Blue Gardenia

 

Boy #1 gets girl (he’s so sure of it!). So Boy #1 tosses his black book of women’s names to Boy #2. Boy #2 hasn’t even met any of these girls, but he doesn’t care (and who cares what the girls think?). Boy #1 and Boy #2 go off into two separate sunsets. Puh-leeze.

 

 

 

Maybe those two separate sunsets was something Luke Skywalker might have witnessed in a Galaxy far far away from planet Noir, but I don't think so.  It was out of place!  Maybe the scriptwriter's 50s fantasy or he had a serious case of writer's block.  Puh-leeze, good point!!!! 

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The Big Heat

 

I loved this movie. I've had some doubts about Fritz Lang movies being seemingly inevitably labelled as "Noir", irrespective of what he made, but not this one: you'll not hear any quibbles from me! 

 

The cast was terrific throughout. I'm generally not a fan of Glenn Ford, I find his chipmonk-like everyman face never convinces when it comes to hard man roles, but I liked his character and growling demeanor here. I liked too that they gave him a fairly convincingly normal home and family life, which made his single-minded drive for revenge even more believable. That steak his wife prepared made my stomach growl! 

 

Gloria Grahame was terrific in her scenes and the scene when she takes her revenge on Lee Marvin's character is, for me, the best moment in the entire movie. I find it hard to believe that (as someone on the TCM forum pointed out) she was only a femme fatale in one movie, she is such a terrific Noir actress. 

 

If I had time I could write a lot more but I'll end with something I noted with surprise: Grahame's character says she takes no notice when her man talks business but instead goes and gets her legs waxed. Nothing wrong with that, I was just surprised such things happened in 1953! Well, perhaps in Hollywoodland, but I'm 100% certain that nothing ever as fancy (decadent?) as waxing ever happened in England, my homeland!! 

 

Excellent!  And I think we can all agree that no one in cinema history (much less Noir history) can serve coffee better than Gloria Grahame!!! What a babe!

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Desperate

 

I had to see Desperate after that great clip in the Daily Dose, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a great film noir—and it doesn’t have a femme fatale! The opening credits were a bit of a surprise with the almost cartoonish shadows cast on a sidewalk and the wall. But the opening music is anything but cartoonish.

 

Steve Brodie is a great actor. The sounds he makes during the beating he receives at Walt’s are just as terrifying a second time (the first time for me being the clip from the Daily Dose). In a way, the beating is even more frightening because the beginning of the movie shows Steve at home, happy with his wife. Walt’s threat to hurt Anne is also more terrifying because the viewer is now invested in Steve’s and Anne’s story. The makeup is effective, too: Steve really looks bloody and swollen.

 

When Walt Radak finally catches up to Steve, he and his accomplice hide out in Steve’s apartment, surprise him, and hold him hostage. He wants to kill Steve at midnight, the same time that his brother Al will be executed. While Walt and his accomplice wait to kill Steve, the tension mounts: with the ticking clock, then the echoing sound it takes; with the close-ups, then the choker close-ups. And then the tension breaks with the knock at the door from a neighbor.

 

Walt doesn’t want any more interruptions from any more neighbors, so he and his accomplice take Steve outside, but the police are waiting. Detective Lieutenant Ferrari is injured slightly in the ensuing mélée, and Walt retreats into the apartment building. Steve takes Ferrari’s gun and follows Walt. The shot of the staircase, the dark lighting, the shadows where Steve and Walt hide to avoid being shot: All are great details.

 

The shots of different neighbors peeking into the hallway to see what’s going on add some comic relief. After Walt’s body falls all the flights down between the banisters, all of the neighbors in the apartment building come out into the hallway (don’t shoot anyone in an apartment building if you don’t want any witnesses!). I especially liked the police officer who tells them that they should go back into their apartments because there’s nothing to see—except Walt’s dead body on the first floor, that is!

 

Desperate is a very satisfying movie. It’s filled with tension, and it has one of the most evil crime bosses in all of film noir (Raymond Burr as Walt Radak), but justice and even a little bit of humor still prevail.

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BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956): Tangled Web.
So capital punishment is good because even if someone is falsely convicted they probably did it anyway.  
 

 

Perfect summation of the movie! 

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The Blue Gardenia (1953) and While the City Sleeps (1956)

 

Accidentally, I appear to have picked all the Fritz Lang films to watch from this past weekend's schedule and, depending on your viewpoint, that's either a good or a bad thing. For me, it's a little frustrating as I seem to end up banging on the same old drum as to whether such-and-such should even be included as Noir and whether they are included just because of the Director's name and reputation. 

 

So, after watching Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956 no-Noir) and The Big Heat (1953 yes-Noir), I'm still struggling with Fritz Lang and thinking of these two. Both are similar in that they feature successful male reporters who are trying to solve killings upon which they are reporting and both at one stage reach out to the killer in the media in the hope of eliciting a response from the murderer (though one to coax and one to taunt). And both are similar in that I'd say neither is what I'd call Noir. Surely, murder in black and white alone is not enough to have a film included?

 

(Was going to write more but duty calls!)

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The Blue Gardenia (1953) and While the City Sleeps (1956)

 

Accidentally, I appear to have picked all the Fritz Lang films to watch from this past weekend's schedule and, depending on your viewpoint, that's either a good or a bad thing. For me, it's a little frustrating as I seem to end up banging on the same old drum as to whether such-and-such should even be included as Noir and whether they are included just because of the Director's name and reputation. 

 

So, after watching Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956 no-Noir) and The Big Heat (1953 yes-Noir), I'm still struggling with Fritz Lang and thinking of these two. Both are similar in that they feature successful male reporters who are trying to solve killings upon which they are reporting and both at one stage reach out to the killer in the media in the hope of eliciting a response from the murderer (though one to coax and one to taunt). And both are similar in that I'd say neither is what I'd call Noir. Surely, murder in black and white alone is not enough to have a film included?

 

I saw only The Blue Gardenia of the two Fritz Lang movies that you mention, and I definitely classify it as film noir. It has many characteristics that make it a film noir for me: the spurned pregnant lover, Norah’s loss of consciousness and loss of memory and the way it was portrayed, the camera work showing Norah’s confusion and her fear—all of this made the movie so strong. But I definitely didn't like the cheesy ending. If the film had ended a few minutes earlier, perhaps with all three roommates walking out of the police station, I would have enjoyed it that much more.

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I saw only The Blue Gardenia of the two Fritz Lang movies that you mention, and I definitely classify it as film noir. It has many characteristics that make it a film noir for me: the spurned pregnant lover, Norah’s loss of consciousness and loss of memory and the way it was portrayed, the camera work showing Norah’s confusion and her fear—all of this made the movie so strong. But I definitely didn't like the cheesy ending. If the film had ended a few minutes earlier, perhaps with all three roommates walking out of the police station, I would have enjoyed it that much more.

 

I would classify The Blue Gardenia as noir, as well.   It's not as compellingly so as Lang's The Big Heat, but I think you're right that the lighting, camera work and especially Norah's confusion and lack of clear memory of what she did and didn't do are all indicative of noir.  

 

For me, it was the Casey Mayo character and his interaction with both the case itself and Norah in particular that seemed oddly out of place; straddling the role of detective and reporter on one hand while also muddling the distinction between being a guy on a case/story and a guy on the make, that was the problem.  

 

I can't help but think of the difference between Conte's portrayal of Mayo in The Blue Gardenia and Dana Andrews' portrayal of Lt. McPherson in Laura as an illustration of why one works where the other maybe doesn't work quite so well.    McPherson was more serious, haunted, driven, by the case and by Laura herself, whereas Mayo came across as just another reporter flippantly dividing his time between a big story and his little black book.   

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I would classify The Blue Gardenia as noir, as well.   It's not as compellingly so as Lang's The Big Heat, but I think you're right that the lighting, camera work and especially Norah's confusion and lack of clear memory of what she did and didn't do are all indicative of noir.  

 

For me, it was the Casey Mayo character and his interaction with both the case itself and Norah in particular that seemed oddly out of place; straddling the role of detective and reporter on one hand while also muddling the distinction between being a guy on a case/story and a guy on the make, that was the problem.  

 

I can't help but think of the difference between Conte's portrayal of Mayo in The Blue Gardenia and Dana Andrews' portrayal of Lt. McPherson in Laura as an illustration of why one works where the other maybe doesn't work quite so well.    McPherson was more serious, haunted, driven, by the case and by Laura herself, whereas Mayo came across as just another reporter flippantly dividing his time between a big story and his little black book.   

 

You list some great points. I especially like your comparison of the two detectives from Laura (Lt. McPherson) and The Blue Gardenia (Casey Mayo). In fact, I’ve been thinking about it since I first read your post. The Casey Mayo character was bit off for me, too. And I think what you pointed out clarified it, at least a little bit, for me.

 

Lt. McPherson seems to have really fallen for Laura. The viewer feels that he cares about her and about the murder case. But I was unsure about Casey Mayo from the start.

 

When Norah first meets him, during that fabulous sequence when she goes to the Chronicle office, Mayo comes across as a man without a stable motive. The camerawork “sets him up” (I described some of this in an earlier post about The Blue Gardenia): First, there is the long shot of Norah stepping out of the elevator and coming into the newspaper office. Then there is the medium shot of her walking through the desks in the dark and the camera panning to follow (stalk?) her. And why do we have the feeling that she is being stalked? And by whom? The flashing “CHRONICLE” sign alternately lights the way and leaves her in darkness. Casey Mayo calls out to her and scares her. He says that he didn’t mean to scare her, but why this type of camerawork during this sequence while he watches her enter the office?

 

Another detail about the ending bothered me: The whole business about the phone numbers harked back to Harry Prebble and his predatory search for women’s phone numbers. (Did Harry Prebble have a little black book, too? Another movie I’ll have to see again!) Was Fritz Lang comparing Casey Mayo to Harry Prebble?

 

Any thoughts?

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Didn't 'everybody' have a little black book? Seems like that was the thing to do, so I imagine Preble might have had one.

 

I think Nora coming into the office might have been showing her apprehension in even coming to the press - she's seemed scared and anxious not remembering exactly what happened and thinking she was responsible for Harry getting whacked. (Well, she did whack him a good one but didn't bump him off!) So the scene seems to portray her being so on edge.

 

And I think Raymond Burr was great playing a slimeball, he's so good at it!

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Ugh, I already miss this class! I'm watching The Harder They Fall and wishing somebody would ask me a question about it. :) But without prompts, what I have to say is that it's too bad Rod Steiger didn't come along sooner, because he doubtless would have been a noir staple had that been the case. Few actors play (or have played) a snarling, **** bad guy better than him.

Rod Steiger was a very good actor.  If you really want to see something, though, watch  him in The Loved One....

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I saw only The Blue Gardenia of the two Fritz Lang movies that you mention, and I definitely classify it as film noir. It has many characteristics that make it a film noir for me: the spurned pregnant lover, Norah’s loss of consciousness and loss of memory and the way it was portrayed, the camera work showing Norah’s confusion and her fear—all of this made the movie so strong. But I definitely didn't like the cheesy ending. If the film had ended a few minutes earlier, perhaps with all three roommates walking out of the police station, I would have enjoyed it that much more.

I guess I could go along with your points about the Blue Gardenia, though personally I think things have to be a lot darker than that for it to hit the Noir mark!

 

But While The City Sleeps didn't have even these moments of disconnection: it seemed more like a soap opera about the Newspaper business than anything else! And worst of all, they wasted the incredibly creepy talents of Vincent Price along the way.

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Didn't 'everybody' have a little black book? Seems like that was the thing to do, so I imagine Preble might have had one.

The little black book is another icon in film that has been eliminated by modern technology: all you need need is your little black cell phone.  And not only can you get phone numbers, but add apps for hook-ups with complete strangers!  At least with the little black book, a person knew the other person they were going to call!   Hmmm...maybe there's a place in neo-noir for the little black cell phone!

 

DCR

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I guess I could go along with your points about the Blue Gardenia, though personally I think things have to be a lot darker than that for it to hit the Noir mark!

 

But While The City Sleeps didn't have even these moments of disconnection: it seemed more like a soap opera about the Newspaper business than anything else! And worst of all, they wasted the incredibly creepy talents of Vincent Price along the way.

 

The Blue Gardenia is Lang's weakest noir film and Lang and photographer Musuraca used mostly flat, neutral gray images most representative of 50s T.V. with its overhead lighting .    Musuraca, whose presence helped define noir style at RKO only contributes a few expressionistic moments in the film.    Paraphrased from Film Noir (Silver \ Ward).  

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You list some great points. I especially like your comparison of the two detectives from Laura (Lt. McPherson) and The Blue Gardenia (Casey Mayo). In fact, I’ve been thinking about it since I first read your post. The Casey Mayo character was bit off for me, too. And I think what you pointed out clarified it, at least a little bit, for me.

 

Lt. McPherson seems to have really fallen for Laura. The viewer feels that he cares about her and about the murder case. But I was unsure about Casey Mayo from the start.

 

When Norah first meets him, during that fabulous sequence when she goes to the Chronicle office, Mayo comes across as a man without a stable motive. The camerawork “sets him up” (I described some of this in an earlier post about The Blue Gardenia): First, there is the long shot of Norah stepping out of the elevator and coming into the newspaper office. Then there is the medium shot of her walking through the desks in the dark and the camera panning to follow (stalk?) her. And why do we have the feeling that she is being stalked? And by whom? The flashing “CHRONICLE” sign alternately lights the way and leaves her in darkness. Casey Mayo calls out to her and scares her. He says that he didn’t mean to scare her, but why this type of camerawork during this sequence while he watches her enter the office?

 

Another detail about the ending bothered me: The whole business about the phone numbers harked back to Harry Prebble and his predatory search for women’s phone numbers. (Did Harry Prebble have a little black book, too? Another movie I’ll have to see again!) Was Fritz Lang comparing Casey Mayo to Harry Prebble?

 

Any thoughts?

 

I think the oddity of the scene you describe...Norah's arrival at the Chronicle darkened office, with Casey Mayo lurking in the shadows...is indicative of what's wrong with The Blue Gardenia in general: all sizzle, no steak.  It poses as noir on the surface, but doesn't deliver the goods in the end.    

 

Lang went to considerable length to create a very noir setting and atmosphere in the above scene...but to what purpose?    Casey's not a bad guy, he's not even creepy.  And Norah was too confused, too sympathetic and too harmless in her own right to actually be the murderer.  So what was the scene supposed to accomplish?   

 

The whole film is continually promises more than it delivers.  Harry Prebble was creepy only because Raymond Burr played him.   Sure, he's fond of women, likes to play around, exploits his profession to feed his sexual fantasies, but I never got the impression he was dangerous or threatening.   The worst you can probably say about Harry was that he had no problem taking advantage of women after getting them plastered, but he didn't come across, to me at least, as someone who would do them physical harm.

 

There wasn't anything menacing, or even all that serious, about Casey Mayo, either.   No edge to him at all, like there was with McPherson, in Laura, for example; he was a reporter looking for a scoop who apparently saw women in much the same way as Harry Prebble.  If there was supposed to be a cautionary tale somewhere in there I didn't catch it.    

     

In the end, I think it comes down to the fact that The Blue Gardenia wasn't especially well-written, and not even Fritz Lang could make this sow's ear into a silk purse.  

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I think the oddity of the scene you describe...Norah's arrival at the Chronicle darkened office, with Casey Mayo lurking in the shadows...is indicative of what's wrong with The Blue Gardenia in general: all sizzle, no steak.  It poses as noir on the surface, but doesn't deliver the goods in the end.    

 

Lang went to considerable length to create a very noir setting and atmosphere in the above scene...but to what purpose?    Casey's not a bad guy, he's not even creepy.  And Norah was too confused, too sympathetic and too harmless in her own right to actually be the murderer.  So what was the scene supposed to accomplish?   

 

The whole film is continually promises more than it delivers.  Harry Prebble was creepy only because Raymond Burr played him.   Sure, he's fond of women, likes to play around, exploits his profession to feed his sexual fantasies, but I never got the impression he was dangerous or threatening.   The worst you can probably say about Harry was that he had no problem taking advantage of women after getting them plastered, but he didn't come across, to me at least, as someone who would do them physical harm.

 

There wasn't anything menacing, or even all that serious, about Casey Mayo, either.   No edge to him at all, like there was with McPherson, in Laura, for example; he was a reporter looking for a scoop who apparently saw women in much the same way as Harry Prebble.  If there was supposed to be a cautionary tale somewhere in there I didn't catch it.    

     

In the end, I think it comes down to the fact that The Blue Gardenia wasn't especially well-written, and not even Fritz Lang could make this sow's ear into a silk purse.  

 

You really know The Blue Gardenia well and the points you are making are on target.    e.g. here is one thing the book Film Noir (Silver \ Ward), has to say about the film "Tied to a narrative that was rather unimaginative,,,',  as to why this Lang noir wasn't as special as some of his others.   This is very similar to your 'wasn't especially well-written,,,' comment.

 

Maybe if you would had written the script Lang would have had something better to work with.

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. . . Harry Prebble was creepy only because Raymond Burr played him.   Sure, he's fond of women, likes to play around, exploits his profession to feed his sexual fantasies, but I never got the impression he was dangerous or threatening.   The worst you can probably say about Harry was that he had no problem taking advantage of women after getting them plastered, but he didn't come across, to me at least, as someone who would do them physical harm. . . .

   

In the end, I think it comes down to the fact that The Blue Gardenia wasn't especially well-written, and not even Fritz Lang could make this sow's ear into a silk purse.  

 

You may be right that The Blue Gardenia wasn't especially well-written, but I thought the story implied that Harry Prebble put something in the coffee that he served to Norah after they go to his apartment. Norah drinks it all down, and then starts to confuse Harry with her ex-boyfriend. She starts to kiss Harry, then changes her mind when she realizes who he is. Of course, he doesn’t care what she thinks or who she thinks he is: He’s interested in only one thing.

 

The implication is that Harry Prebble is a serial rapist, someone who drugs women and then rapes them. The record store clerk is the one who calls him at the beginning of the movie. It can be assumed from her desperate plea that she is pregnant. She tracks him down during his date with Norah to beg him to marry her and set things right. He’s cold and indifferent toward her, and she is the one who kills him.

 

So no, I don't think Harry Prebble is harmless. I think he is someone who causes physical and psychological harm.

 

But I'll have to see the movie again and take more careful note of the details.

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Rod Steiger was a very good actor.  If you really want to see something, though, watch  him in The Loved One....

 

Also The Pawnbroker (1964) and of course On The Waterfront (1954)! 

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Desperate

 

No doubting the Noir-ness of this one. Right from the start the Noir is on the screen in front of you and it lets up only a very little for the duration of this brisk little B-movie...although, even at 73 minutes, I felt the film was padded out a bit (honestly, what was all that hokey Czech wedding scene about?).

 

We already covered the brutal beating scene in a Daily Dose, but it was no less impressive watching it this time. The swinging light, the fist and broken-bottle close-ups: such excellent direction and cinematography here. 

 

As Eddie Muller pointed out, the plot wasn't one you particularly want to think too long and hard about but overall it was a pretty good movie for it's craft and limited budget, nice too to get to see an unambiguously Noir movie after having watched a bunch I really struggled to see as such.

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Criss Cross

 

First, a question: how did Anna (Yvonne De Carlo) get hold of the money at the end? If I remember rightly, she was supposed to be the person holding the money before splitting it later: Steve (Burt Lancaster) welched on the heist so it wasn't from him, and why would Slim (Dan Duryea) give her any when the heist went awry - let alone the fact he didn't know where she was? 

 

Anyway, a terrific movie, I thought. I'm not really a fan of Lancaster, I thought he was okay here, but Yvonne De Carlo was terrific as the double-triple-crossing Anna. Sometimes I wonder why Noir men go so overboard on the dame that they jeopardize everything including their lives, but I could see it in Anna. She was so cold though as she sashayed through the movie trailing either Steve or Slim, depending on which way the wind prevailed! 

 

Oh, and did you catch Tony Curtis dancing with Anna in the club.? I had to google it to make sure but you don't mistake that face and pompadour! 

 

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Today, color is everywhere, on every screen in a world inundated by them, but the way color's used is meant more to conceal than to reveal.  Color tricks, lures and hypnotizes us, it shocks and disgusts us, but does it tell us anything, really?    Color seems almost artificial now, there for it's own sake, brighter, bolder, more vibrant than anything found in nature; a tool there to both amuse us and distract us from what's really important.  Today color is used to obscure the absence of meaningful substance.      

 

Agreed, which is why when someone does utilize it for a purpose, it's worth complimenting. And I don't mean just the transition from black and white to color so spectacularly used in The Wizard Of Oz and Pleasantville, among others.

 

For example, Warren Beatty overtly used color to turn Dick Tracy into a human cartoon, while The Sixth Sense was so subtle that most people only pick up on it (like the major reveal) on the second viewing even though it was right in front of us the whole time.

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Criss Cross

 

First, a question: how did Anna (Yvonne De Carlo) get hold of the money at the end? If I remember rightly, she was supposed to be the person holding the money before splitting it later: Steve (Burt Lancaster) welched on the heist so it wasn't from him, and why would Slim (Dan Duryea) give her any when the heist went awry - let alone the fact he didn't know where she was? 

 

Anyway, a terrific movie, I thought. I'm not really a fan of Lancaster, I thought he was okay here, but Yvonne De Carlo was terrific as the double-triple-crossing Anna. Sometimes I wonder why Noir men go so overboard on the dame that they jeopardize everything including their lives, but I could see it in Anna. She was so cold though as she sashayed through the movie trailing either Steve or Slim, depending on which way the wind prevailed! 

 

Oh, and did you catch Tony Curtis dancing with Anna in the club.? I had to google it to make sure but you don't mistake that face and pompadour! 

 

I have always wondered how Anna got the loot.   The only logical answer is that one of the other crooks got away with some of the money and took it to Anna as he was instructed to do at the start  (but that does require Anna to leave the hideaway and meet this other crook).     Bottom line;  major plot hole,  but still a terrific movie.

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