Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

The Ultimate Film Noir Thread


speedracer5
 Share

Recommended Posts

"I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me."

 

. . . as stated by screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey Bogart).

 

Those lines beautifully encapsulate the yearning romantic fatalism of that memorable Hollywood-set drama.

 

Romantic Fatalism:

 

The longing for a destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life. All too often, forced to share a bed with those who cannot fathom our soul, can we not be excused for believing (contrary to all the rules of our enlightened age) that we are fated one day to run into the man or woman of our dreams?

This is a fabulous film which I must not watch right before I try to sleep.

 

I think that Romantic Fatalism would be a wonderful Spotlight theme .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love all the comments Tom and Eugenia have made about THE FURIES. What I'd love is a version where Richard Widmark or Glenn Ford replaced Wendell Corey, but the rest of the movie is great. If it has a noirish feel, that's probably because Anthony Mann had been making some of the best noirs (RAW DEAL, for instance) just before he turned to westerns. TCM has shown THE FURIES, but not in the last five years or so.

 

There are westerns that have a distinctly noirish feel, most of all PURSUED, but also BLOOD ON THE MOON and DAY OF THE OUTLAW.

 

On another topic: CRIME IN THE STREETS, despite the title, is not very noirish. It's essentially a socially conscious play where a kindly social worker (James Whitmore) tries to reform a young hoodlum (John Cassavetes, who's a tad older than the character he plays). There's a gang fight that opens the movie, but the most noirish element is the character played by Mark Rydell, who has a huge crush on Cassavetes and is excited by the thought of committing a murder with him.

 

To some viewers, no Hitchcock film is really noir, because Hitchcock more or less creates his own genre.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

On another topic: CRIME IN THE STREETS, despite the title, is not very noirish. It's essentially a socially conscious play where a kindly social worker (James Whitmore) tries to reform a young hoodlum (John Cassavetes, who's a tad older than the character he plays). There's a gang fight that opens the movie, but the most noirish element is the character played by Mark Rydell, who has a huge crush on Cassavetes and is excited by the thought of committing a murder with him.

 

 

 

I agree completely with this. I don't really think Crime in the Streets belongs on a noir set. I think they just put it on the set I have to fill out the discs. It's not a bad movie, really, but not exceptional, either. That's also why I asked about the other titles on the set that I haven't seen. I was wondering how many of them are not really noir.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love all the comments Tom and Eugenia have made about THE FURIES. What I'd love is a version where Richard Widmark or Glenn Ford replaced Wendell Corey, but the rest of the movie is great. If it has a noirish feel, that's probably because Anthony Mann had been making some of the best noirs (RAW DEAL, for instance) just before he turned to westerns. TCM has shown THE FURIES, but not in the last five years or so.

 

There are westerns that have a distinctly noirish feel, most of all PURSUED, but also BLOOD ON THE MOON and DAY OF THE OUTLAW.

 

 

To some viewers, no Hitchcock film is really noir, because Hitchcock more or less creates his own genre.

There are a lot of westerns with noir aspects.  I have not seen The Furies but with all the talk I have become interested.  Hitchcock does have his own genre, but I allowed myself to include Shadow of a Doubt because it was his favourite of his movies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to the IMDb classifications, I have only seen 234 films considered film-noir. Some of the films they list as noir are dubiously so, at best.

 

Those that I gave an 8 (B+) or higher to, but were not on my previous list:

 

The Roaring Twenties

Detective Story

The Asphalt Jungle

The Big Heat

Strangers on a Train

The Night of the Hunter

Notorious

Sunset Blvd.

They Live By Night

The Reckless Moment

Ministry of Fear

The Phenix City Story

Fury

I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

Night and the City

The Uninvited

The Letter

Gun Crazy

Angels with Dirty Faces

In a Lonely Place

White Heat

Sweet Smell of Success

Only Angels Have Wings

Kiss Me Deadly

Gilda

Key Largo

Ace in the Hole

A Place in the Sun

Mildred Pierce

The Killing

Scarface

5 Fingers

The Third Man

 

There are some really odd films that they consider noir.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to the IMDb classifications, I have only seen 234 films considered film-noir. Some of the films they list as noir are dubiously so, at best.

 

Those that I gave an 8 (B+) or higher to, but were not on my previous list:

 

The Roaring Twenties

Detective Story

The Asphalt Jungle

The Big Heat

Strangers on a Train

The Night of the Hunter

Notorious

Sunset Blvd.

They Live By Night

The Reckless Moment

Ministry of Fear

The Phenix City Story

Fury

I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

Night and the City

The Uninvited

The Letter

Gun Crazy

Angels with Dirty Faces

In a Lonely Place

White Heat

Sweet Smell of Success

Only Angels Have Wings

Kiss Me Deadly

Gilda

Key Largo

Ace in the Hole

A Place in the Sun

Mildred Pierce

The Killing

Scarface

5 Fingers

The Third Man

 

 

I have seen 31 of these titles.  If I were to go to imdb and count every film they consider to be noir that I have seen I imagine that my count would be around 400 or 500.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Going through the whole list of films I've seen that the IMDb considers noir, the oldest film I've seen that they consider noir is The Racket from 1928. The very last, lowest rated film that's considered noir that I've seen is Jail Bait (3/10) from 1954, written and directed by Ed Wood. Good times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edit: I want to add to my "exceptional" list Sudden Fear, with Joan Crawford. :)

Sudden Fear is exceptional imo, it's a 1950's film or I would have put it on my list. It's never shown anywhere anymore. I took it out of my library years ago, it is available on Amazon. She's so great in Mildred but Sudden Fear is my favorite of Crawford's performances. The look of terror in her eyes....well, don't want to do a spoiler, Palance and Grahame are terrific in this one.

The Furies is another one that I've taken out of the library many times. Great film. Both Sudden Fear and the Furies are so TCM worthy and it's a shame they are not shown. We should all be requesting these 2 films.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I'd love is a version where Richard Widmark or Glenn Ford replaced Wendell Corey

 

Great alternatives, kingrat.  If only!  Fortunately, the clunker of Corey doesn't take away too much from the rest of this film.  Walter Huston is larger than life, Judith Anderson is wonderful - I think the dynamic between Huston, Stanwyck and Anderson is really most of the film for me. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sudden Fear is exceptional imo, it's a 1950's film or I would have put it on my list. It's never shown anywhere anymore. I took it out of my library years ago, it is available on Amazon. She's so great in Mildred but Sudden Fear is my favorite of Crawford's performances. The look of terror in her eyes....well, don't want to do a spoiler, Palance and Grahame are terrific in this one.

The Furies is another one that I've taken out of the library many times. Great film. Both Sudden Fear and the Furies are so TCM worthy and it's a shame they are not shown. We should all be requesting these 2 films.

 

Thanks to lav herself, I saw Sudden Fear and immediately deemed it my favorite Crawford film (and I'm not a big fan of Crawford!).

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to lav herself, I saw Sudden Fear and immediately deemed it my favorite Crawford film (and I'm not a big fan of Crawford!).

Thank You Genie  ;)  You and I have very similiar tastes in films, I knew you'd love Sudden Fear as much as I do. If we could just get TCM to show it and The Furies, wouldn't that be a little slice of heaven  :) 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

One color film that I would classify as a noir is Niagara starring Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters.  The film is very moody.  Peters is a newlywed and she, along with her husband, sense that something is amiss between Monroe and husband Cotten.  There is something very strange about them.  Monroe is a victim of Cotten's jealousy and temper, however, she's hardly a "good" character either.  She's having an affair with another man--Monroe and her lover even plot to have her husband murdered.

 

I'm not the biggest fan of Niagara but I can certainly see why someone would classify it as a colour noir. It's Monroe wearing that clinging red dress that I primarily remember from the film, plus the line spoken by pop eyed, ever smiling Casey Adams (Jean Peters' husband in the movie) when he sees her in it: "Someone get out the fire hose!"

 

However, Joseph Cotten, playing her obsessive husband, has a wonderful quiet moment in the film that I always find effective.

 

SPOILER ALERT:

 

It's in that scene in which Cotten lies on the Bell Tower floor beside Monroe's body after having just strangled her.

 

"Oh, Rose," he says to her quietly, "I loved you so."  The scene then fades to black.

 

Cotten makes us feel the pain of this man who just killed the woman that he loved so much. Yes, he's psychopathic in his obsession over her but the actor makes us feel his character's torment. Clearly, with her death, Cotten has also just killed a large part of himself.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not the biggest fan of Niagara but I can certainly see why someone would classify it as a colour noir. It's Monroe wearing that clinging red dress that I primarily remember from the film, plus the line spoken by pop eyed, ever smiling Casey Adams (Jean Peters' husband in the movie) when he sees her in it: "Someone get out the fire hose!"

 

However, Joseph Cotten, playing her obsessive husband, has a wonderful quiet moment in the film that I always find effective.

 

SPOILER ALERT:

 

It's in that scene in which Cotten lies on the Bell Tower floor beside Monroe's body after having just strangled her.

 

"Oh, Rose," he says to her quietly, "I loved you so."  The scene then fades to black.

 

Cotten makes us feel the pain of this man who just killed the woman that he loved so much. Yes, he's psychopathic in his obsession over her but the actor makes us feel his character's torment. Clearly, with her death, Cotten has also just killed a large part of himself.

I completely agree with you about that moment with Cotten in the bell tower.

 

Does anyone aside from me wish that Cotten had made a mistake and killed Casey Adams instead? He was so annoying. He's even annoying as Molly Ringwald's grandfather in "Sixteen Candles."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I completely agree with you about that moment with Cotten in the bell tower.

 

Does anyone aside from me wish that Cotten had made a mistake and killed Casey Adams instead? He was so annoying. He's even annoying as Molly Ringwald's grandfather in "Sixteen Candles."

 

If I was subjected to Casey Adams' loud obnoxious YUCK-YUCK-YUCK laughter for five straight minutes or more, there isn't a military secret that I wouldn't reveal or confession to any crime (whether true or false) that I would not employ in order to be freed from his presence. Apparently Casey (also known as Max Showalter) was a nice guy, but, on screen, he kicks my annoyance geiger counter into overdrive.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm glad to see the love for The Lady From Shanghai.  When I first saw this film, I couldn't figure out what was going on.  It was so complicated.  However, for whatever reason, the confusing plot wasn't a turn off for me.  The film was interesting despite my not picking up on the plot right away. Every time it aired on TCM, I wanted to watch it again.  The more times that I've seen it, the more that the pieces of the plot come together.  Rita Hayworth, despite having cropped bleached blonde hair, is still gorgeous.  I am a big fan of Orson Welles and I really enjoyed this film.  My only complaint regarding Welles though is his very uneven Irish accent.  He seemed to have trouble maintaining it throughout the film.  The film's climax in the Hall of Mirrors is a standout and is truly one of the greatest moments in noir. 

 

Orson Welles also rented my love, Errol Flynn's yacht for use in this film.  Apparently, Flynn was at the helm of the captain wheel during the duration of the shoot, though he never appears on the yacht in the film.  Flynn also contributed the aerial photography for the film.  His dog portrays the dog in the film.  Supposedly Errol can be seen in the cantina during the film, but I have yet to locate him. 

 

I didn't know that about the yacht, speed racer.  I've seen the doc Flynn did on the yacht in the Robin Hood dvd extras.  

As for Welles' Irish accent I must admit I had a bit of a problem with that the first few times that I had seen The Lady From Shanghai, so much so that I paid particular attention to it when I watched it again about two months ago.

Welles actually began his professional acting career in Dublin and spent quite a bit of time there so I found it a bit hard to believe that he would get it wrong.  So now I tend to give him the benefit of any doubt and put it down to the mumbling style that he so likes to do when he is post-syncing his own role afterward.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never heard of Sudden Fear -- looking forward to that one!

 

I recently saw a sort of Brit Noir -- a film called The Astonished Heart (1950), based on a short play by Noel Coward. Coward plays a seemingly healthy psychiatrist (which to begin with is unusual for a British film of that period) who falls in love with his wife's friend, thus beginning a downward spiral. The wife is played by Celia Johnson, the friend by Margaret Leighton. The film is crisp black-and-white and very noirish in terms of look as well as content. Sir Noel has an extended scene in which he wanders around the streets of London at night -- pure noir, and very well done.  

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If only this thread were around before last Sunday I would have recommended the TCM Imports double-feature to all here with confidence, even to those who avoid foreign films by course:

 

The Housemaid (1960) is about a family's downward spiral after they hire a deranged maid. The energy of this film is so high, and the plot so twisted, and the actress in the title role so insanely good that it's a must-see for all fans of psychological thrillers who want to see Kim Ki-young show Hitchcock how it's done, (with all due respect.)

 

Diabolique (1955) is about a woman who plots to kill her cruel husband with the help of his mistress, and the strange complications that ensue. Henry-Georges Clouzot is an expert at making an edge-of-your-seater, and I personally believe this film should be a priority for fans of thrillers, mysteries, horror films and noirs, as well, before the impact of it is diminished by the inferior work of copycats.

 

Sorry about all that must-see business, but seriously, both films are outstanding examples of their genre that I choose to believe many here on this very thread would appreciate greatly. I see that both films are available on Watch TCM, if you use that thing.

 

(P.S, I think Orson Welles' Irish accent made him sound a little like Vincent Price.)

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If only this thread were around before last Sunday I would have recommended the TCM Imports double-feature to all here with confidence, even to those who avoid foreign films by course:

 

The Housemaid (1960) is about a family's downward spiral after they hire a deranged maid. The energy of this film is so high, and the plot so twisted, and the actress in the title role so insanely good that it's a must-see for all fans of psychological thrillers who want to see Kim Ki-young show Hitchcock how it's done, (with all due respect.)

 

Diabolique (1955) is about a woman who plot's to kill her cruel husband with the help of his mistress, and the strange complications that ensue. Henry-Georges Clouzot is an expert at making an edge-of-your-seater, and I personally believe this film should be a priority for fans of thrillers, mysteries, horror films and noirs, as well, before the impact of it is diminished by the inferior work of copycats.

 

Sorry about all that must-see business, but seriously, both films are outstanding examples of their genre that I choose to believe many here on this very thread would appreciate greatly. I see that both films are available on Watch TCM, if you use that thing.

 

(P.S, I think Orson Welles' Irish accent made him sound a little like Vincent Price.)

I love Diabolique.  I'm a Simone Signoret fan, but I have not seen a lot of her movies  I have yet to see The Housemaid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

GregoryPeckfan, I also love Elisha Cook, Jr.. He seemed to have the best Hollywood career one could hope for, always getting the best roles in films; even the smallest roles he got were often the flashiest and most entertaining: the guy who gets it, the guy who did it, the spacegoat, the patsy, the gunsel (in more than one film!), and every manner of neurotic, unhinged, demented, cowering oddball that you can imagine with utmost naturalism and ease. The expressions he could come up with when he knows he's about to get it are so priceless; I really don't know how the guy could get around in public- if I ever saw him out on the street I don't think I could have resisted the urge to run him down with my car, just to see the look on his face!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I don't really think Crime in the Streets belongs on a noir set. I think they just put it on the set I have to fill out the discs. It's not a bad movie, really, but not exceptional, either. That's also why I asked about the other titles on the set that I haven't seen. I was wondering how many of them are not really noir.

One of my favorite movie quotes is Susan Sarandon's line from BULL DURHAM, "Men will do anything if they think it's foreplay."

 

Some of the people who put out DVDs clearly believe, "People will buy anything if they think it's noir." And sometimes we do!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't know that about the yacht, speed racer.  I've seen the doc Flynn did on the yacht in the Robin Hood dvd extras.  

As for Welles' Irish accent I must admit I had a bit of a problem with that the first few times that I had seen The Lady From Shanghai, so much so that I paid particular attention to it when I watched it again about two months ago.

Welles actually began his professional acting career in Dublin and spent quite a bit of time there so I found it a bit hard to believe that he would get it wrong.  So now I tend to give him the benefit of any doubt and put it down to the mumbling style that he so likes to do when he is post-syncing his own role afterward.

I didn't realize that Welles spent a lot of time in Dublin.  I tried reading a biography on him, Xanadu, but it was so boring, I couldn't get through it and it was only part one of two volumes about Welles! 

 

Regardless, I love Welles.  He made many great noir as well.  The Stranger is also an excellent film. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...