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Dr. Rich Edwards

July 31 Film Discussion for #NoirSummer for all 13 Films

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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.

 

Yes, Warren Beatty did use color to paint Dick Tracy into a cartoonish-like film.  I believe the cinematographer was Vittorio Storaro, and he deliberately chose a palette of primary colors throughout to achieve the desired effect.   The Troika of directors for the original Sin City, Miller, Rodriguez and Tarentino put both color and B & W to graphic novel-like use for a similar effect.  

 

Closer to noir home, there are numerous examples of how vibrant color (and fashion) is used to evoke a particular period: Chinatown and L.A. Confidential come first to mind, how a much darker, more mute palette can be used to mimic the chiaroscuro of B&W noirs in films like Se7en and Dark City, or even Point Blank, and one could make an argument that Ridley Scott painted a marvelous (and dystopian) color noir tapestry yet in Blade Runner.  

 

In each instance, color was used for more than mere eye candy or to evoke realism; it was an integral element in the story, 'coloring' the characters and their interactions and forces shaping both the plotline and the environment which helps drive it.        

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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.

The only positive thing is the attempted getaway is more satisfying in I Died a Thousand Times, the mountain road that Earl tries to escape on gets blocked by bigger and bigger snowdrifts until his car spins out.

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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? 

 

 

Wasn't the cover story supposed to be Slim going away on vacation and they would give Anna the money to hold?

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Wasn't the cover story supposed to be Slim going away on vacation and they would give Anna the money to hold?

 

Yes,  this is what they talked about before the hold-up.   But after the thing went wrong which one of the crooks gave Anna the money?    It is doubtful Slim would have since he didn't trust Anna after the hold-up went sour.   

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Yes,  this is what they talked about before the hold-up.   But after the thing went wrong which one of the crooks gave Anna the money?    It is doubtful Slim would have since he didn't trust Anna after the hold-up went sour.   

Not only that but Slim hired someone to get Steve to lead him to Anna, which he wouldn't have needed to do if he gave her the money in the first place. Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure I only saw two people with money bags at the time of the robbery: Steve (who put his back in the truck and they later said he saved half of the money) and Slim (who picked up Pop's)!  

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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 ****, 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.

 

At second blush you may well be reading the character of Harry Prebble better than I am.   There may have been a more predatory danger to Prebble's character than I originally thought.   That seems especially so in light of the recent revelations about Bill Cosby, etc.   

 

So, while I never got the impression that Harry was a serial killer, which is what I initially meant when calling him 'harmless', you're right, he may well have been a serial rapist; who liked to get his dates 'tight', as the expression goes, before he took advantage of their inability or alcohol-induced unwillingness, to say 'No!'.  (Yes, he did tell the guy at the restaurant not to spare the alcohol in the drinks he was serving Norah, but I never got the impression drugs were involved.   In the end, of course, it's a moot point.)   

 

You're probably also right about the record store clerk being pregnant, though I don't recall an overt mention or allusion to that being the case.   Ity would make sense, however, and explain her desperation and anger and why she ultimately killed Harry.       

 

Thanks for the different insight.   This is what's great about these message boards!   Considered in this new light, maybe The Blue Gardenia wasn't quite so badly written as I first thought.        

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The Harder They Fall

 

 

A tough little social realist film, with a strong anti-boxing viewpoint.

 

Bogie's last film and it was a typically strong performance from him: I didn't notice but apparently they had to dub some of the lines in post production as he was sometimes virtually inaudible on set. Such a shame. Rod Steiger was excellent too as the corrupt boxing promoter, alternatively threatening and wheedling people into doing his bidding, for me his scenes were the standout of the movie. And as for Toro (did anyone else think he looked just like an over-sized young Raymond Burr?) well, he did make an impressive...something...though I think I snorted when Bogie described him as muscle-bound! 

 

Considering it was movie concerning boxing though, I thought the fights themselves were the weakest thing about the film. (Just how old were the boxers Dundee and Brannan? They said Brannan was 33 but if that was the case then I'm a monkey's aunt!) Sadly the movie was almost let down by the shoddy fight scenes, but the off-ring drama was the real draw here and that was good enough to hold up the rest of the film. 

 

 

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At second blush you may well be reading the character of Harry Prebble better than I am.   There may have been a more predatory danger to Prebble's character than I originally thought.   That seems especially so in light of the recent revelations about Bill Cosby, etc.   

 

So, while I never got the impression that Harry was a serial killer, which is what I initially meant when calling him 'harmless', you're right, he may well have been a serial ****; who liked to get his dates 'tight', as the expression goes, before he took advantage of their inability or alcohol-induced unwillingness, to say 'No!'.  (Yes, he did tell the guy at the restaurant not to spare the alcohol in the drinks he was serving Norah, but I never got the impression drugs were involved.   In the end, of course, it's a moot point.)   

 

You're probably also right about the record store clerk being pregnant, though I don't recall an overt mention or allusion to that being the case.   Ity would make sense, however, and explain her desperation and anger and why she ultimately killed Harry.       

 

Thanks for the different insight.   This is what's great about these message boards!   Considered in this new light, maybe The Blue Gardenia wasn't quite so badly written as I first thought.        

 

I haven't yet seen The Blue Gardenia a second time, but when I do, I will definitely have to note the details even more carefully. I liked the story up until the ending. Considering what I thought Norah had gone through, it seemed to me that she deserved someone better than Casey Mayo. He lied to get her story: He tells her that he never intended to back up his claim that his newspaper would help with her defense if she came forward and gave him an exclusive (he believes she killed Harry Prebble; this is after he learns Norah wasn't talking about "a friend" killing Prebble and before the record store clerk comes forward). The only reason Norah isn't in big trouble is because the record store clerk tries to kill herself and then explains why she tried to kill herself in the hospital: She's the one who lets Norah off (because she's guilty), not Casey Mayo. I have to give Mayo some points: He really doesn't want to believe that Norah is guilty; I think that's why he buys her angle about speaking for a friend.

 

Maybe all of this makes the film even more noir and even more worthy of a second look. But, to be honest, I'm still catching up with the July 31 TCM list (and then all the weeks prior!). So the time between my first and second viewing of The Blue Gardenia may actually be a plus: I'll be able to look at it with more insight after more opinions are posted.

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All I know is I've been suffering Daily Dose withdrawal all week, and now it's Friday and I hit the remote and find there's no noir's on the menu!   I'm looking for Kathie from Out of the Past, but all TCM's peddling is Katie Hepburn, and I don't think there's a noir in her repertoire.  

 

I've got the shakes for chiaroscuro, and am starting to see spiders and smoke where they're not.   Shadows are creeping in on me from the corners of my living room, and the wood floor's beginning to waffle.  

 

Quick!   Somebody throw me a bone of a gumshoe or a 'B' femme fatale!  

 

There's no relief in sight in TV Guide, and my fingers are becoming banana's with no feel in them so typing-in a website's no good.   Beads of sweat begin to creep down my forehead, stinging my eyes as they plop into a puddle in my lap.   Gotta get right and fast!   

 

I take a deep breath, steel myself and stagger, stiff-legged, to the bookshelf with the DVD's. Can't see straight past smoke that swirls in the air like dragons loosed from Game of Thrones, but the dust cover to Narrow Margin sticks out because it's bright yellow with big black type.  

 

I fumble it all the way to the Blu-Ray and finally plop it in the tray after six failed attempts, then stagger back to my sofa, where I collapse, backwards, into the cushions.   I hit 'play' and then stare at the screen with pop eyes Peter Lorre would be proud of.        

 

I hear noises of a train engine and whistle, and through the veil of my stupor I ask my partner, Charles McGraw, what kind of witness we're picking up.  He responds in a voice made of gravel, "She's a dish....a sixty-cent special; cheap, flashy, strictly poison under the gravy," and just that quick all is right with the world.  

 

It's Friday, folks, and the Summer of Darkness, like the past, never truly goes away.  

 

Noir On!     

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All I know is I've been suffering Daily Dose withdrawal all week, and now it's Friday and I hit the remote and find there's no noir's on the menu!   I'm looking for Kathie from Out of the Past, but all TCM's peddling is Katie Hepburn, and I don't think there's a noir in her repertoire.  

 

I've got the shakes for chiaroscuro, and am starting to see spiders and smoke where they're not.   Shadows are creeping in on me from the corners of my living room, and the wood floor's beginning to waffle.  

 

Quick!   Somebody throw me a bone of a gumshoe or a 'B' femme fatale!  

 

There's no relief in sight in TV Guide, and my fingers are becoming banana's with no feel in them so typing-in a website's no good.   Beads of sweat begin to creep down my forehead, stinging my eyes as they plop into a puddle in my lap.   Gotta get right and fast!   

 

I take a deep breath, steel myself and stagger, stiff-legged, to the bookshelf with the DVD's. Can't see straight past smoke that swirls in the air like dragons loosed from Game of Thrones, but the dust cover to Narrow Margin sticks out because it's bright yellow will big black type.  

 

I fumble it all the way to the Blu-Ray and finally plop it in the tray after six failed attempts, then stagger back to my sofa, where I collapse, backwards, into the cushions.   I hit 'play' and then stare at the screen with pop eyes Peter Lorre would be proud of.        

 

I hear noises of a train engine and whistle, and through the veil of my stupor I ask my partner, Charles McGraw, what kind of witness we're picking up.  He responses in a voice made of gravel, "She's a dish....a sixty-cent special; cheap, flashy, strictly poison under the gravy," and just that quick all is right with the world.  

 

It's Friday, folks, and the Summer of Darkness, like the past, never truly goes away.  

 

Noir On!     

 

Kate is in one noir Undercurrent.   A 1946 MGM film with Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum.    Only a so-so film that TCM is showing tonight (well 4:am EDT).    

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Kate is in one noir Undercurrent.   A 1946 MGM film with Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum.    Only a so-so film that TCM is showing tonight (well 4:am EDT).    

Thanks for that...so-so or not, it'll be on the DVR!

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Thanks for that...so-so or not, it'll be on the DVR!

 

This being an early Mitchum picture producers still didn't know how to utilize his screen persona.  (similar to The Locket made the following year).     If Mitchum and Taylor had traded roles the film might have really been something  (of course this is a hindsight comment after seeing all those Mitchum noirs that followed).

 

Hey, I just couldn't get that Criss Cross question about how Anna got the money out of my mind.   I'm now thinking Slim gave the money to her (but at a different location than the beach house).   There really is no other option.   So Slim was still under her spell even after the mess up.   Yea, that really doesn't add up but Slim is the only one who left with some cash. 

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This being an early Mitchum picture producers still didn't know how to utilize his screen persona.  (similar to The Locket made the following year).     If Mitchum and Taylor had traded roles the film might have really been something  (of course this is a hindsight comment after seeing all those Mitchum noirs that followed).

 

Hey, I just couldn't get that Criss Cross question about how Anna got the money out of my mind.   I'm now thinking Slim gave the money to her (but at a different location than the beach house).   There really is no other option.   So Slim was still under her spell even after the mess up.   Yea, that really doesn't add up but Slim is the only one who left with some cash. 

Ha, you're clutching at straws now!  :)   Let's all just leave it as a mysteriously humongous glaring hole in the plot and enjoy the movie! 

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The Wrong Man

 

What a strange film...I've never seen this movie before and it somehow just doesn't seem like a Hitchcock. It was more like a prototype episode of Law and Order than something from the director of so many wonderful movies.

 

To me, it seemed curiously one-speed throughout, almost as if the gear was stuck on "sad": Henry Fonda seemed sad, his career was sad, his wife was sad, the crime was slight - and sad - and even the ending was sad (despite the card telling us that two years later all was peachy!). 

 

As a documentary style recreation of actual events, it was interesting to watch the legal process progress unsatisfactorily through it's paces and we can all be thankful that things have changed since the 1950s to protect our rights, but I cannot say I actually enjoyed the movie much. I suppose the message of the movie was that we are all just one short step away from being dumped on by fickle fate, but the fact that it was only a happy accident that Fonda got cleared in the end after the mistrial certainly didn't serve to give anyone much confidence in the Justice System! 

 

 

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This being an early Mitchum picture producers still didn't know how to utilize his screen persona.  (similar to The Locket made the following year).     If Mitchum and Taylor had traded roles the film might have really been something  (of course this is a hindsight comment after seeing all those Mitchum noirs that followed).

 

Hey, I just couldn't get that Criss Cross question about how Anna got the money out of my mind.   I'm now thinking Slim gave the money to her (but at a different location than the beach house).   There really is no other option.   So Slim was still under her spell even after the mess up.   Yea, that really doesn't add up but Slim is the only one who left with some cash. 

 

Think you're right, there really is no other solution...Slim had to have given Anna the money from the robbery to hold.   'Where' and 'how'? may be lesser questions then 'why'?    

 

Maybe Slim hadn't completely lost faith in her.  Anna didn't seem adverse to playing Slim and Steve off each other.  For all we know that was Anna's intent all along, either run-off with the survivor or, better yet, just the dough as the two guys literally canceled out one another.   Maybe Anna was the biggest Criss-Cross of all.  

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Think you're right, there really is no other solution...Slim had to have given Anna the money from the robbery to hold.   'Where' and 'how'? may be lesser questions then 'why'?    

 

Maybe Slim hadn't completely lost faith in her.  Anna didn't seem adverse to playing Slim and Steve off each other.  For all we know that was Anna's intent all along, either run-off with the survivor or, better yet, just the dough as the two guys literally canceled out one another.   Maybe Anna was the biggest Criss-Cross of all.  

See...that's my point: there is no "why"!

 

Anna was supposed to hold the money as Slim and Steve didn't trust each other (though why either would have trusted her, that's another big question!), but Steve messed up the heist - so no money there - and therefore there'd be absolutely no reason at all for Slim to give her anything when there was nothing to split with him! 

 

Well, it's Noir anyhow and they all got their just deserts in the end! 

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See...that's my point: there is no "why"!

 

Anna was supposed to hold the money as Slim and Steve didn't trust each other (though why either would have trusted her, that's another big question!), but Steve messed up the heist - so no money there - and therefore there'd be absolutely no reason at all for Slim to give her anything when there was nothing to split with him! 

 

Well, it's Noir anyhow and they all got their just deserts in the end! 

 

 

That they did.   I was struck by the very graceful, even artful way that Siodmak posed Steve and Anna after Slim shot them...almost 'Pieta'-like the way Anna was draped horizontally across the lap of the slumped-back, vertical Steve framed by the doorway.   They seemed so calm and serene given the abrupt violence of their death.   Really nice shot...(no pun intended).   

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That they did.   I was struck by the very graceful, even artful way that Siodmak posed Steve and Anna after Slim shot them...almost 'Pieta'-like the way Anna was draped horizontally across the lap of the slumped-back, vertical Steve framed by the doorway.   They seemed so calm and serene given the abrupt violence of their death.   Really nice shot...(no pun intended).   

 

You must have read my mind. Here's an excerpt from my earlier post about Criss Cross:

 

What an ending! Anna’s and Steve’s bodies were arranged like a sculpture and framed by the window, even in death. It reminded me a little bit of the Pietà by Michelangelo, but with both of the figures dead and the male and female positions in “reverse,” so to speak: Steve (the noir homme fatale) is the one “cradling” Anna (the noir femme fatale). Slim is likely being picked up by the police off screen, or maybe he has to go into hiding indefinitely. Either way, all the main characters—Slim, Steve, and Anna—are trapped by fate in Criss Cross.

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You must have read my mind. Here's an excerpt from my earlier post about Criss Cross:

 

What an ending! Anna’s and Steve’s bodies were arranged like a sculpture and framed by the window, even in death. It reminded me a little bit of the Pietà by Michelangelo, but with both of the figures dead and the male and female positions in “reverse,” so to speak: Steve (the noir homme fatale) is the one “cradling” Anna (the noir femme fatale). Slim is likely being picked up by the police off screen, or maybe he has to go into hiding indefinitely. Either way, all the main characters—Slim, Steve, and Anna—are trapped by fate in Criss Cross.

 

 

Hadn't seen your earlier post, but yes, we obviously saw the same stylized grace in the way Anna was draped across Steve after Slim shot them.   The police sirens in the background seemed very close, so my take is that Slim either got picked-up by the police as he was leaving the house or was killed in shoot-out with them.  Either way, all three fell victim to fate...or perhaps more to their own imperfections.

 

In ways, the ending of Criss-Cross reminded me a little of Michael Mann's Heat, both in the way Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) ultimately revenged himself against Waingro (Kevin Gage) in the hotel room...another violent but nicely posed death scene...and the fact that this compulsion to settle a score was the reason both McCauley and Slim ultimately met their demise.  

 

Had either passed on the temptation to 'get even' and exact revenge for betrayal they might easily have gotten away; but they couldn't resist, and paid for it with their lives.   Such is noir, I guess: everyone's doomed by their own imperfections.     

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The Asphalt Jungle

 

A very powerful movie, I tend to prefer this to the other two (perhaps more famous) John Huston movies featured in the course: Key Largo and The Maltese Falcon. It's more of a Realist movie, more natural and definitely invests more in the characters as real people rather than the slightly stereotypical characters of the other two movies. (Such a shame though that Sterling Hayden is such a wooden actor!)

 

It was unusual in it's day that it was fairly sympathetic in it's portrayal of the criminals at the heart of the story. Also that there wasn't a lot of difference between them and some of the police (witness Lt. Ditrich trying to brow-beat a witness at the line-up and then beating a confession out of the bookie, Cobby) and also the lawyer who stands the gang the money for the heist. 

 

One thing I noticed was that, although there is no femme fatale, a lot of the character's problems are as a direct result of their relationships with women. The lawyer, Emerich, is broke and we are given to understand that this is in large because of the expense of keeping his mistress in luxury. "Doc", who otherwise is clear thinking and determined in his actions, is eventually undone by his lust for young girls...if only he hadn't spent that last three minutes watching a teenage girl dance he would have been free! Dix is seemingly the only person who isn't concerned about the female of the species - though he does have Doll in his life who obviously loves him - but he is a "hooligan" and, as we're told, they have all have screws loose!! 

 

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The Asphalt Jungle

 

A very powerful movie, I tend to prefer this to the other two (perhaps more famous) John Huston movies featured in the course: Key Largo and The Maltese Falcon. It's more of a Realist movie, more natural and definitely invests more in the characters as real people rather than the slightly stereotypical characters of the other two movies. (Such a shame though that Sterling Hayden is such a wooden actor!)

 

It was unusual in it's day that it was fairly sympathetic in it's portrayal of the criminals at the heart of the story. Also that there wasn't a lot of difference between them and some of the police (witness Lt. Ditrich trying to brow-beat a witness at the line-up and then beating a confession out of the bookie, Cobby) and also the lawyer who stands the gang the money for the heist. 

 

One thing I noticed was that, although there is no femme fatale, a lot of the character's problems are as a direct result of their relationships with women. The lawyer, Emerich, is broke and we are given to understand that this is in large because of the expense of keeping his mistress in luxury. "Doc", who otherwise is clear thinking and determined in his actions, is eventually undone by his lust for young girls...if only he hadn't spent that last three minutes watching a teenage girl dance he would have been free! Dix is seemingly the only person who isn't concerned about the female of the species - though he does have Doll in his life who obviously loves him - but he is a "hooligan" and, as we're told, they have all have screws loose!! 

 

Some excellent points...prompting some follow-up thoughts.  

 

You're absolutely right that, in the noirs of the Fifties, you sense a growing lack of sharp distinction between characters on either side of the law; 'criminals' are more human, more sympathetic, and the 'authorities' are more sinister, sadistic and corrupt.   Noir in general foreshadows this growing 'grayscale', where the distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil, criminal and cop lose meaningful contrast.  

 

This trend continues through the Fifties...consider Kiss Me Deadly and Touch of Evil as prime examples, then into the Sixties and Seventies when authorities of any kind became the enemy; part of 'the system' and the 'establishment' that was not to be trusted because it was entrenched, corrupt, omnipotent and capable of crimes infinitely more unspeakable than those any street hood could conceive.

 

That trend continues unabated today, where, in both literature and cinema, it's usually governments, cartels, lobbyists, secret ruling cabals and their proxies...corrupt or twisted lawyers, police and private mercs, that are behind every conspiracy, outbreak, sellout, break-in, assassination and double-cross under the sun.  

 

Today, the real distinction is the ability to get away with whatever crime you commit..."by any means necessary".   Those that do are heroes and winners, those who don't become villains or losers, and it's a zero-sum game.  The old code cautioned us that "crime doesn't pay", but we now know better.  We now realize that crime has always paid, it's getting caught that hasn't.   It's personal prowess, now, and unflinching expertise or one's pervasive 'connections' that's become the new code, alas, the only code, and the only value.      

 

Which might tie-in to your second point of insight, that, while The Asphalt Jungle doesn't have femme fatales, many of its leading characters do have 'women problems' of various sorts.   You've detailed them nicely, no need for me to do more, but when you get down to it...be it femme fatales or hardboiled tarnished heroes...maybe most leading characters in the noir universe are, at their core, rogues.  

 

There's a certain dysfunction, in a conventional sense, about almost all of them.   They don't seem to fit-in.   They're outcasts, rebels, loners --- people who Nietzsche might say are too much one thing at the expense of everything else.   They've sacrificed everything and everyone around them to be better than good at one thing.   Such men and women don't want what most other people want, aren't satisfied with the 'normal' and 'average' concept of home, family, wife, kids, a nice 9-5 and the prospects of a good pension when they retire.  These are not things such people prize and covet.   

 

That said, is it any wonder then that such individuals, regardless of gender or age, are left feeling unfulfilled and empty having attained the conventional goals in life, or resist pursuing those carrots altogether?   Emmerich is a successful man with a sick wife his own age, but he's driven to keep Marilyn Monroe on the side; Doc is a brilliant criminal mastermind whose fatal flaw is that he has as much fondness for very young girls as Humbert Humbert of Lolita fame; and Dix is the quintessential loner and rogue so walled-off and removed from 'normal' human interaction that he kills himself pursuing his Rosebud of a dream of returning to the Bluegrass horse farm of his lost, innocent' youth.   He and Doll have virtually nothing in common save some vague, desperate need, but in the end she's just along for the ride.   

 

Almost none of the characters who people the noir universe can possibly fit-in anywhere else.   There's a desperate disconnect to them, their surroundings, and to each other.   They're sharks who can never stop swimming.   The goal is always precision if not perfection, and neither is the stuff that enduring relationships are made of.    In the end, matches made in heaven are as futile as those made in hell, because either the intimacy or the distance ultimately proves too great, too painful, too disruptive.  

 

It's all about the next job, the next heist, the next case, the next partner...that ephemeral but ultimately ever-elusive quest for the great 'whatsit'.   For femme fatale and hardboiled hero alike, unattainable perfection is "what's in the box?"   But, like Gabrielle in Kiss Me Deadly, Mills in Se7en, or Pandora of classical myth, etc., they can't help themselves; they're driven to open the box in their insatiable pursuit of 'more'.                  

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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

 

I've decided that I probably fall into the camp that would define Noir in a rather more narrow way than some of the TCM programmers who set out the 120 films included in the course. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt was an entertaining film, for sure, but in my humble opinion not a Noir. There were few of the signs we've come to expect to tell us that that's what we're watching. The lighting was even, the composition traditional, there were very few night scenes, no narrative voice-over, no flashback, no femme fatale, no private dick, no existential angst, no greed, and the good guy it transpires wasn't even good and therefore got what he deserves. So, if there is no evidence of Noir, then what makes others say it is one? 

 

I've come to the conclusion that if it's a Fritz Lang movie made during a certain time then it's automatically seen as "Noir", but that seems restricting to Lang as a director as to me as a viewer: I wonder if Lang thought he was making a Noir or simply a Thriller? 

 

Anyway, saying all this, I did enjoy the film! 

At first, there were one or two films that did not seem like film noir to me, but I brushed it off as - who am I to disagree with the experts- and so I let it go.  But towards the end of the course, there were others that voices their disagreement on one or two of such designated films.

 In Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Jamesjazzguitar says it well, ". . .the dark aspect of the film is in the Andrews' character Tom; there is a coldness and sterility to his character."

In my post on Suddenly I said that the film did not feel like a noir- it was filmed too "brightly" it lacked dark hues.  Bogart's character certainly was "cold and sterile".

 

I wish I had posted this question for the Mueller interview- Are noir characters alone enough to designate a film "Noir?"

 

As you, I enjoyed the film and all its plot twists- but thought it was light on the "noir" side.

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All I know is I've been suffering Daily Dose withdrawal all week, and now it's Friday and I hit the remote and find there's no noir's on the menu!   I'm looking for Kathie from Out of the Past, but all TCM's peddling is Katie Hepburn, and I don't think there's a noir in her repertoire.  

 

I've got the shakes for chiaroscuro, and am starting to see spiders and smoke where they're not.   Shadows are creeping in on me from the corners of my living room, and the wood floor's beginning to waffle.  

 

Quick!   Somebody throw me a bone of a gumshoe or a 'B' femme fatale!  

 

There's no relief in sight in TV Guide, and my fingers are becoming banana's with no feel in them so typing-in a website's no good.   Beads of sweat begin to creep down my forehead, stinging my eyes as they plop into a puddle in my lap.   Gotta get right and fast!   

 

I take a deep breath, steel myself and stagger, stiff-legged, to the bookshelf with the DVD's. Can't see straight past smoke that swirls in the air like dragons loosed from Game of Thrones, but the dust cover to Narrow Margin sticks out because it's bright yellow with big black type.  

 

I fumble it all the way to the Blu-Ray and finally plop it in the tray after six failed attempts, then stagger back to my sofa, where I collapse, backwards, into the cushions.   I hit 'play' and then stare at the screen with pop eyes Peter Lorre would be proud of.        

 

I hear noises of a train engine and whistle, and through the veil of my stupor I ask my partner, Charles McGraw, what kind of witness we're picking up.  He responds in a voice made of gravel, "She's a dish....a sixty-cent special; cheap, flashy, strictly poison under the gravy," and just that quick all is right with the world.  

 

It's Friday, folks, and the Summer of Darkness, like the past, never truly goes away.  

 

Noir On!     

Monday night (08-10) on TCM Joan Crawford stars in

The Damned Don't Cry(1950)

As I have never seen it, I can not recommend it but it sounds like a noir-" Fed up with her small-town marriage, a woman goes after the big time and gets mixed up with the mob."

 

This comes late, I know- I was not available for a week. Hope this gets to you in time.

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Monday night (08-10) on TCM Joan Crawford stars in

The Damned Don't Cry(1950)

As I have never seen it, I can not recommend it but it sounds like a noir-" Fed up with her small-town marriage, a woman goes after the big time and gets mixed up with the mob."

 

This comes late, I know- I was not available for a week. Hope this gets to you in time.

 

Yes, caught that listing, too.  Might check it out.   Getting desperate.    Thanks.  Good looking out.  

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OKAY, SO WHO ELSE IS MISSING THE SUMMER OF DARKNESS COURSE? 

 

I feel lost.  I was really into watching the Daily Doses and then discussing them here. 

 

I wish there was something on-going to constantly be part of.

 

It was a great course and I learned quite a lot.

 

By the way, "The Damned Don't Cry"...excellent noir in my opinion!

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