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Author Topic: Noirvember 2020  (Read 4464 times)

colonel_mexico

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2020, 02:11:24 AM »
THE PUSHOVER (1954) - Having previously met Fred MacMurray in DOUBLE INDEMINITY (one of the few noirs I have seen), it was not a surprise to see him taking on a very similar role now as a cop falling for our femme fatale a gorgeous Kim Novak.  I'm not acquainted with Novak, but it is hard to deny the presence she brings, but where Barbara Stanwyck was dangerously beautiful, Kim is demure and seductively beautiful--perhaps a more dangerous combination since there is an innocence about her that could dull the senses even more.  I really enjoyed the opening bank robbery sequence, it has almost no dialogue and the credits play over such that it flings us into that noir feel of bad guys doing bad things.  However, this fell a bit short as the bad guys were sort of nobodies that were place holders for the bigger story which plays out pretty much how you'd expect.  There are some sizzling scenes between MacMurray and Novak, but the bland milquetoast partner-cum hero doesn't make for overly exciting filmmaking, but it is still a worthwhile film and a nice companion piece to DOUBLE INDEMNITY.
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1SO

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2020, 09:20:37 AM »
Those are two of my Top Five Noir.

The Killing is a gateway Noir for many, with some of the best examples of particular Noir elements Ė the lighting, the woman, the cynicism Ė while toning down the melodrama, score and theatricality of Noir that hasnít aged as well.

Interesting to come at Hayden starting near the end of his highlight reel. (His only noteworthy role after The Godfather is in the neo-noir The Long Goodbye.) I think most are introduced to him with Dr. Strangelove. If you want to see him shine in another Noir classic, check out John Hustonís heist classic The Asphalt Jungle (1950), and when youíre ready for a deeper cut, thereís Naked Alibi (1954) which will bring Gloria Grahame into your life. Marie Windsor never got as many showcase roles as she deserved, but she is unforgettable in The Narrow Margin (1952)


I like Pushover more than most because itís some of the most swiss watch plotting Iíve ever seen, and I envy how well the dialogue crackles. The most Ė the only Ė unnecessary scene has a guy at a bar hitting on Novak and I wouldnít want to lose a line. Thereís also Dorothy Malone as the nurse in the apartment next door. She can do wonders with small parts like this, and this one is right up there with the book shop owner in The Big Sleep.

Thatís a nice description of the difference between Novak here and Stanwyck in Indemnity. Because MacMurray is basically playing the same confident dope, this comes off like reheated leftovers to many. Indemnity and Maltese Falcon are the only Noir I rate higher. Kind of like how both versions of Cape Fear are in my Essentials.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 01:30:49 PM by 1SO »

colonel_mexico

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2020, 10:54:00 PM »
I would love to see THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, he has such an imposing frame and voice but has an awww shucks kinda face that makes him likeable.  I love the Johnny character quite a bit.  Gloria Grahame is a name I am completely unfamiliar with, but am intrigued.  Looking forward to watching and posting another tonight
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colonel_mexico

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2020, 03:03:05 AM »
NOTORIOUS (1946) - Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman are an incredibly spicy couple in this Hitchcock film that I am not quite sure actually is noir. The lighting and camera work sure gives that suspenseful feeling throughout (making it more of a spy thriller than a noir), there are some really amazing technical shots. I really love the opening before we meet Grant's character he's facing Bergman and she wonder who he is, but likes him anyway.  The camera work compliments the sparks that fly between the two, and even though Bergman's character is this tramp from Miami, she oozes that ladylike charm that would be hard for any man to resist.  The story revolves around Grant serving as agent contact to the spy Bergman who has to find her way back into an old flames arms by the order and dismay of Grant's character.  The blurred lines between spy and agent and love and hatred between the two really draw you in and sort of takes over the film, with our Nazi baddies looking sinister but not really doing much else.  Still there are some great intense moments and it is just a really fun picture overall, this has Top 100 potential. 
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1SO

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2020, 11:04:53 PM »
Boston Blackieís Rendezvous (1945) ★ ★
Marlowe (1969) ★ ★
The Drowning Pool (1975) ★ Ĺ

I made peace long ago with the fact that a deep dive into older movies will unearth what one streaming service calls ďoutdated cultural stereotypesĒ, but sometimes the level of racism or sexism is so toxic that it destroys the entire experience for me.

Marlowe is an adaptation of Raymond Chandlerís ďThe Little SisterĒ. It stars James Garner as Chandlerís classic detective Philip Marlowe. Garner is a nice fit to take us through a typical thick-webbed Chandler story thatís more about the journey and the crazy characters Marlowe meets along the way. This includes an amusing cameo by Bruce Lee, and Garner remains delightfully unruffled throughout.

The story concludes at a strip club where Marlowe puts the pieces together while a character undresses onstage. The scene is long and the stripping just goes on so that we get our answer the moment the woman is nude. (Donít let the PG Rating fool you. This would never pass today.) The blasť female exploitation is shocking to watch today. Itís like I knew it was bad, but I didnít know it was that bad.

In The Drowning Pool, Paul Newman returns as Detective Lew Harper. Following a trail of blackmail he is set up by the sexual advances of Melanie Griffith, seventeen at the time and dressed and framed for the male gaze. Unlike Marlowe, this movie was pretty bad throughout, so the storyís pedophilia (again, Rated PG) wasnít ruining a good thing.

What got me to finally post about this is my viewing tonight of Boston Blackieís Rendezvous, my 8th Boston Blackie film and the most Noir of the bunch, with support from Nina Foch and Steve Cochran. These films are mostly harmless and itís common for Blackie and his pal Runt to wear disguises at some point. In this installment, they disguise themselves as two cleaning ladiesÖ two black cleaning ladies. What follows is some of the most offensive blackface Iíve seen in movies. (Made me realize how mild Holiday Inn plays it.) I could only think about how this played 75 years ago. Were audiences back then rolling in the aisles with laughter? I would love to see footage of an opening weekend audience because I just canít wrap my head around what an Ace up the sleeve this was back then.

Sandy

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2020, 12:36:27 AM »
The Man with the Golden Arm



On the heels of winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in From Here to Eternity, Sinatra takes on another difficult role, showcasing once again his acting chops. With trophy in hand and a new record label encouraging his creativity, the early 1950's mark Sinatra's renaissance. This is no small feat for one art form, but for film and music, it's pretty astounding.

Speaking of music, the jazz score from Elmer Bernstein carries a good half of this movie. It's precise and acerbic. Who knew a horn, or a drum riff could punctuate a person's downfall so pointedly. As for the theme song, it doesn't even need the rest of the film. It stands on its own and I hear inspiration for Bond, Perry Mason and Mancini in it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cWp4BM0SXU

For most of the movie, it feels much like a stage play, where the camera is mostly static and the actors dialog with each other. Later on, the camera loosens up and so do the actors. Things get more creative and experimental. It's worth the wait.

1SO

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2020, 12:24:28 AM »
Womenís Prison (1955)
★ Ĺ
I donít get too excited about prison films, a sub-genre with even more limited story options than submarine films. I was drawn to the triple whammy of Ida Lupino, Audrey Totter and Jan Sterling, but they couldnít save the unbelievable and familiar material. Totter wins the acting deathmatch thanks to having the more original character and less screen time. Iím most disappointed by Lupino, whose directing career shows she has a strong B.S. meter, but then holds her nose and plays the heck out of this terrible part. I found a surprising number of posts call this movie ďfunĒ but itís Roger Corman without the kicky sex or violence, which is no fun at all.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2020, 03:56:32 AM »
I thought this was the Iranian film of the same name and was about to rush to its defense.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2020, 01:32:32 PM by Sam the Cinema Snob »
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colonel_mexico

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2020, 01:31:39 PM »
NAKED ALIBI (1954) - I got to this one before ASPHALT JUNGLE (which I will check off soon), and while I still really enjoyed Sterling Hayden's performance in this one, this was a bit more subdued. Initially it felt like the movie was being setup to be a PRISONERS type persecution of an innocent man.  The film checks a lot of the noir boxes, great lighting, bad guys doing bad things, and our hero willing to go to any length to get his man, even breaking the law.  The real standout in this one is Gloria Grahame who is beautiful and unafraid as deals with bad men and falls for our hero.  It is a bit cliche and the ending was hardly a surprise, but still it was an interesting story with elements of tough guy films I like (such as Stallone's GET CARTER or Denzel Washington in MAN ON FIRE).  Gene Barry makes a good bad guy, always drunk and on the run and his suit is almost comical because it seems to always be perfectly oversized, he almost seemed like one of the characters from the live action DICK TRACY with Warren Beatty.  A fun watch, but not as strong entry as THE KILLING. Good.
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1SO

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Re: Noirvember 2020
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2020, 11:33:20 PM »
My Review. Pretty much in agreement.

 

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