Author Topic: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013  (Read 25198 times)

1SO

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #110 on: November 09, 2013, 12:06:34 AM »

Red Light

Continuing to watch whatever I can get a hold of. I can't believe anybody thought they were signing on to work on something special, yet so many familiar faces did sign onto this. George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Gene Lockhart, Raymond Burr, Harry Morgan, Barton MacLane and William Frawley. The story is a familiar revenge tale that hinges everything on a missing bible, even though there are so many other threads and suspects to consider. It then takes a loopy pause to let The Catholic Church come in and write the final Act. George Raft hardly knows what to do with himself.
RATING: * *, mainly for the cast

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #111 on: November 09, 2013, 01:40:48 AM »

The Unknown Man (1951) 8.5/10
I was surprised this was as good as it was. The cinematography is nothing special, and the dialogue doesn't sparkle, but that doesn't mean neither is good. Delivered by someone else Pidgeon's speeches might seem trite or overdone, but he pulls it off. He also pulls off his character's increasing melancholy and disillusionment with the world around him. It's a very noir type of story and it's very well told, every scene adding an angle and genuine uncertainty as to how the resolution will play out. The way the film contrasts the law and justice, especially with the way events unfold, is quite an interesting thing on its own, and takes on extra significance given the Hayes code and its influence on this film.

Jared

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #112 on: November 09, 2013, 01:54:20 PM »
Dark Waters

Really liked this one. Andre De Toth takes the film noir aesthetic away from the back alleys and dimly lit bars and brings it to a southern estate with a dangerous swamp.

Merle Oberon plays Leslie Calvin, a girl who loses her family in a boat sunk during World War II. Her family dead, she goes to live with an aunt and uncle. The estate is filled with suspicious characters played by wonderful character actors Thomas Mitchell and Elisha Cook Jr.

A really nice film noir with a fantastic climax.

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #113 on: November 09, 2013, 05:46:50 PM »

The Maltese Falcon (1941) 10/10
This one's a rewatch, though it's been almost a decade now. I didn't remember much beyond that I loved it and that it confused me. Today I watched it again and it was wonderful. I've seen some very good noirs this month, but this is a reminder of what greatness looks like. It helps that detective noirs are my favourite, and Bogart as Sam Spade is a notch above other detectives. Add in a very entertaining supporting cast, all of whom hold their own against each other, excellent dialogue, and great cinematography, and there's little to complain about. The narrative is nowhere near as confusing as I remember, one just has to accept not knowing certain things and go with the flow just like Bogart's Spade does, things will be revealed eventually one way or the other. The best noirs are the fun noirs, and this was a lot of fun to watch.

1SO

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #114 on: November 09, 2013, 08:54:46 PM »

I rewatched The Maltese Falcon after my discussion with Sandy earlier this month. It continues to rise in my Top 100, currently holding #86 and passing Double Indemnity. One of my favorite ensembles, especially now that I'm letting Mary Astor grow on me. She's a fine actress but looks more like my aunt then a femme fatale. I never believe her when she says she's been bad.

Even though I watch it about twice a year since buying the Blu-Ray, I keep forgetting that it opens with two murders, not just Spade's partner. I also forget how much Ward Bond is in it. The dynamic between him, Bogart and Barton MacLane is amazing. Favorite moment this time: Peter Lorre in the hotel, "I certainly wish you would have invented a more reasonable story. I felt distinctly like an idiot repeating it."

My one reluctance is in the ending. It's an audacious move to have the last scene play for 25 minutes. Even though there's a lot going on and the great cast is all in there, every time they gather I think "oh boy, here we go" not with excitement but with a need to mentally pace myself. For all the maneuvering around, it's a long time stuck in one place.

Afterwards my wife and I discovered this. It's the Christmas gift dreams are made of.

1SO

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #115 on: November 09, 2013, 11:15:58 PM »

A Colt is My Passport

Japanese Noir with Leone flair ruined by too much bad storytelling and Joe Shishido's very distracting artificially enlarged cheekbones. Some great Noir imagery and an incredible 50 seconds in the final battle can't offset the damage.
RATING: * *

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #116 on: November 09, 2013, 11:46:20 PM »

Nightmare (1956) 7/10
An unnecessary remake, not because the original was particularly great, or because this one was bad, but rather because it brings little to the table and doesn't address the original's biggest problem, the low budget and not so hot acting. From what I can tell, there's little difference between this and Fear in the Night in terms of structure, the lead is changed from banker to musician, and that does give us a couple of nice musical interludes, but otherwise the story is beat for beat identical. Like the original it has some nice cinematography that hasn't been preserved at all so that's still a shame. The story was fun the first time, and I still think the same. The lead actor is worse than in the original, but this has Edward G. Robinson so I guess they come out about even.


The House on 92nd Street (1945) 8/10
Another one of those "FBI files" noirs, but this one isn't about gangsters, and frankly isn't very noir. It's a spy thriller with a procedural perspective, so it comes with a lot of voice over and the requisite patriotic cheering. It's a good story, though. Complex but easy to follow, a bit tense but not too much since we know ultimately the FBI wins., solidly acted if nothing spectacular. I enjoyed it.


PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #117 on: November 10, 2013, 01:52:39 AM »

Southside 1-1000 (1950) 7.5/10
Another government agent story, this time it's about counterfeiters. It's pretty neatly split into two halves, the first a pretty straight story full of voiceover about following the trail and an informant, the second about an undercoverman trying to seal a deal. They're both good solid pieces with a fine performance from Don DeFore, but the second is the more interesting one. It brings out the danger and tension and has all of the films great moments.

Jared

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #118 on: November 10, 2013, 10:25:59 AM »
I cant find that one without buying the dvd  :-[

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Noir-vember Group Marathon 2013
« Reply #119 on: November 10, 2013, 06:27:39 PM »
Am I having a good day, or just feeling generous?

My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) 9/10
This is one of those short, "set up the story, build the tension and give us a resolution in just over an hour" noirs. It wastes little time, but that doesn't keep it from making an impression. I'm not sure I'd call Foch's performance great, but the camera loves her and she's given such a strong role that it's hard not to be wowed. As the title character, kidnapped and given a new identity for reasons unknown, she's very sympathetic and her alternating turns between bewildered, defiant and resigned are all perfectly believable. The mystery is revealed bit by bit and that raises the tension nicely to a wonderful ending. Upon reflection the premise makes no sense, but makes for a thrilling film regardless.


The Unsuspected (1947) 9/10
Claude Rains and Audrey Totter are the scene stealers here, with biting tongues and wonderful energy. For all the strong acting and some rather nice dialogue, this film is all about the mystery, one that unravels more than it is solved, but as the audience it's just as fun this way. About halfway through the question turns from who and why, to will they get away with it and how. It's entertaining no matter what questions it's asking and creative in a very 1940s way. It has some wonderful cinematography as well, something that adds to the menacing atmosphere. The resolution is a bit rushed and underwhelming, but not bad.