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Topics - cigar joe

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Other Films / Roughshod (1949)
« on: October 18, 2018, 02:13:20 PM »
Director: Mark Robson, stars: Robert Sterling, Gloria Grahame

Three convicts Lednov (John Ireland) and two buddies break out of prison, shoot down three cowboys and steal their clothes. Ludnov wants revenge on Clay Phillips (Robert Sterling).

Clay Phillips hears about the escape. He and his young brother though have been planing on leaving town to take a herd of horses to Sonora to sell. Out on the road they come across four cat house girls Mary Wells (Gloria Grahame) and her friends, Elaine, Helen and Marcia, who were forced out of town by the reform element. They are heading the same way but have a broken wheel on their buggy. One of the girls boyfriends shows and Marcia leaves with him to get married. Clay takes the remaining girls on to the nearest ranch, where it turns out one of the girls Elaine is the homesteader's wayward daughter.

As Clay already knows that one of the cons is probably after him he is less than thrilled to have to take the remaining two girls Mary and Helen on with him. Mary meets a prospector and decides to stay with him. Then Clay flags down a stagecoach and puts Mary on it, just in time to have a showdown with Ludnov and crew. 6/10

Once Upon A Time In The West / MOVED: Another great Leone book on its way
« on: September 28, 2018, 08:30:17 AM »
More newsy [Sergio Leone News].

Off-Topic Discussion / Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
« on: September 20, 2018, 04:16:09 PM »

Wow! One of the first Black Neo Noir, a Soul Noir Masterpiece.

"This film is dedicated to all the brothers and sisters who've had enough of the man"

Directed by Melvin Van Peebles a black man exploiting being black, with a story set in the black community. It's been called the first Blaxploitation Film preceding Shaft by a few weeks. Though often lumped in with Blaxploitation Films both Shaft and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song are actually very good Neo Noirs in and of themselves, they just happen to have predominately black casts, and are just onerously included, in my opinion, solely for that superficial reason.

True Blaxploitaion Films to me, are more tongue in cheek in a way tending to, for me anyway, almost burlesque the black community. Sweetback, Across 110th Street, and Shaft are more serious fare. There may be others I'm not aware of. I'm not familiar with all of them (there are over 350 films) but I've heard good things about Superfly (1972), I'll definitely check it out.

Van Peebles not only directed, scripted, and edited the film, but also wrote the excellent composite R&B, soul, funk, and jazz, score performed by Earth, Wind, and Fire, this is juxtaposed at times by a sort of Gospel funk Greek chorus.

The film, was funded somewhere in the vicinity of $100,000 + (I've read different stories) which in the end grossed $10 million. A Hit.

I saw this once on a big screen in of all places Missoula, Montana over 40 years ago, in the early 70s and never seen it again until a few days ago.

Van Peebles and his Yeah Productions, crafted a roughed edged work of art. Its a gift for Neo Noir lovers, a healthy visual helping of a lot of the old Classic Film Noir locations in The City Of Angels before most of them disappeared for ever. It was also shot at arguably the most creative, exploitative and exploratory decade in American Film History.

Young Leroy aka Sweetback (Mario Van Peebles)


Its the simple tale of Sweetback (Melvin Van Peebles), who as a young black "orphan" named Leroy (Mario Van Peebles) ran away from his South Central L.A. neighborhood flop. He was taken in starving at a whorehouse and raised there by the ladies of the evening. Leroy earned his three hots and a cot as a towel boy, supplying the ladies with all their needs between customers. A few years later one of the girls takes a fancy to him and invites him in for a poke. He doesn't know what to do.

towel boy

Hooker: You ain’t at the photographer’s. You ain’t gettin’ your picture taken. Move!

At first Leroy is a bit shy but soon gets busy with it. The whole whole sequence starts against the electrical hums of a clothes washer and ending in her multiple "oh God!, Oh God!" hallelujahs climaxing to a Gospel choir. He's so good at "endurance screwing" that his first woman christens him "Sweet Sweetback."

"oh God!"

About say 10-12 years later. grown, Sweetback is now working as a live sex performer at the small shows the whorehouse puts on to inspire the customers to go "upstairs." This whole sequence is homage or reminiscent of the fight spectators in Robert Wise's The Set-Up (1949), and also of Delbert Mann's crap game participants in Mister Buddwing (1966). Another occurs during a poker game.

The Show

One night a couple of white LAPD detectives come by to ask a favor of Beetle. Beetle is the pimp who runs the house. A black man has been killed and the black community is putting pressure on the LAPD to do something. The detectives ask Beetle to let them arrest Sweetback to show that they are doing something, and they will then let him go in a few days for lack of evidence. This will appease their superiors. Beetle agrees and tells Sweetback the deal.

On the way to the station the detectives get a radio call to a disturbance. There they take into custody a young Black Panther named Mu-Mu (Hubert Scales). When Mu-Mu insults the detectives they stop the patrol car take his ass out of the car and viciously whoop on him. Sickened by the disrespecting of a brother, Sweetback attacks the detectives, Using his handcuffs like brass knuckles he beats them unconscious. He then gathers up Mu-Mu to his feet and splits.

Sweetback (Melvin Van Peebles)

Sweetback doubles back to the whorehouse where he asks Beetle for help. Beetle is scared himself of being arrested.

Beetle (Simon Chuckster)

Beetle: Like you gonna have to kinda lay out, stretch out a little while, be real cool. Kinda lay dead. Ol' Beetle'll let you know what's happenin', what's goin' down. You don't have to worry about nothin'. If you need anything, anything at all, brother, just keep the faith in Beetle, ol' Beetle goin' to bring you through, cause this is just a skirmish. You know how the game goes, baby. But you keep the faith in me and you my man. You my favorite man. Can you dig it, baby? Together, you know, maintain....


Sweetback heads out the door and down the stairs. As Sweetback leaves the whorehouse he is arrested by the cops waiting outside who figured he may head back there. Two cops in a patrol car haul him away to a deserted lot.

Sweetback is knocked around a bit, then taken back to the squad car.  He is about to be driven downtown when a Molotov cocktail hits the police car just as it starts to pull away. Sweetback escapes out a door into L.A. He hits up a black preacher.


Off-Topic Discussion / Touch Of Evil (1958)
« on: September 20, 2018, 11:24:17 AM »
Welles' Tail Fin Noir Masterpiece. I've watched this film many times over the years.

With each viewing the film reveals either something new. or displays an interesting detail just not noticed before. Or you subconsciously noticed but then were overwhelmed by the cornucopia of other sensory delights. Or you did not appreciated then but now through the lens of time gained some significance in pondering. Sometimes I'll just fixate on one of the principals or upon the various minor characters.

If any of you reading this have not seen the film the following may contain <spoilers>

This go round I was intrigued by something that I had not consciously noticed before. During the famous one take three minutes and 20 seconds opening sequence, where Vargas (Heston) and his wife (Leigh) are walking along the main drag sort of parallel and in the same direction to the 1956 Chrysler New Yorker with the dynamite time bomb in it's trunk, there are also two somewhat dueling leitmotifs.

One is diegetic and comes blaring out of the doomed cars radio, there is another for Vargas and his wife which is non diegetic and just seems to hover about them. As each grouping in turn comes into visual prominence, their associated leitmotifs overcomes the other and dominates. Its a sort of aural fencing match.

Tail Fins on a 1956 Chrysler New Yorker

The dueling leitmotifs opening sequence

Of course, later on in the film there is also the diegetic pianola leitmotif for Tana and it consequently serves also as the aural signature for the lost love affair between Tana (Dietrich) and Hank (Welles). There may be others I've yet to notice.

Fank Quinlan (Orson Welles) hears the tinkling of the pianola Tana's leitmotif 

Tana (Marlene Dietrich)

Another interest that again grabbed my visual attention was the excellent noir stylistic cinematography, the shadows, the Dutch angles, the high and low angles, the interesting transitions, and linked camera movements. I even spotted a faux pas, a shot where it looks as if some of the set that Welles built was accidentally captured in the background.

A timely thought that crossed my mind in this seemingly getting more ridiculous PC age was of the actors that were portraying various ethnicities. Of course you have Carlton Heston portraying a Mexican in sort of brown-face. He's not stereotyping though, he's actually giving a serious performance of a respectable man. He does look a bit ridiculous. But he's acting a part. Of course in hindsight Welles should have cast say an "A" list actor of Mexican or Latino heritage. Anthony Quinn, Ricardo Montalban, Jose Ferrer, Glibert Roland, etc., etc., were around but maybe not available or not interested. But back then though nobody was thinking PC.

Akim Tamiroff a Russian of Armenian descent plays Mexican American gang leader Uncle Joe Grandi, he does a great job aided by a pencil thin mustache and an often askew toupee, he's a professional actor who has played many ethnicities over his C.V., a Pole, a Chinese, Italians, Greeks, Egyptians. Orson Welles himself has played Irish, Italian, Moorish, Mexican. Joseph Calleia (a four classic Film Noir veteran) has played Italians, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Marlene Dietrich has played of course German, but also Eurasian and French.

If you say that an actor can only play his own ethnicity that's obviously going to limit what parts he can play. Anthony Quinn a Mexican played besides Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, White, a Greek in Zorba The Greek, Italians, Irish, Jewish, etc., etc. Frank Silvera a Black American has played Hispanics, an Italian Frank Rapallo in Killers Kiss, Polynesian and "white"/racially indeterminate parts. Eli Wallach a Polish Jew from Brooklyn portrayed Hispanics Calvera in The Magnificent Seven, and the Iconic Tuco a Mexican bandit in Sergio Leone's The Good The Bad And The Ugly. He also played an Italian Guido in The Misfits.

Actual Hispanics in the cast were Valentin de Vargas, Lalo Rios, Joe Basulto, Yolanda Bojorquez, Domenick Delgarde, Jennie Dias, Eleanor Dorado, and Ramón Rodríguez.

The tale that enfolds is quite prescient (with all the ongoing DNA exoneration's), that of a corrupt cop and his cronies who have planted evidence for years framing, convicting, and burning innocent men along with the guilty.

Finally I noticed all the tail fins on the vehicles......

Enjoy the visuals

Vargas: This isn't the real Mexico. You know that. All border towns bring out the worst in a country. I can just imagine your mother's face if she could see our honeymoon hotel.

Los Robles, It's actually filmed in Venice, Los Angeles, California and the Mojave Desert

Now you can strainrun him through a sieve

Dist. Atty. Adair: An hour ago, Rudy Linnekar had this town in his pocket.
Coroner: Now you could strain him through a sieve.

 Marcia Linnekar (Joanna Moore) ...

Uncle Joe Grande (Akin Tamiroff)

Susan Vargas (Janet Leigh) with Uncle Joe

Mike Vargas (Carlton Heston)

 Police Sergeant Pete Menzies (Joseph Calleia) and Frank .

Los Robles "The Paris Of The Border"

20 Sizzling Strippers 20 Frank - "I want to see all of them."

Susan: You know what's wrong with you, Mr Grandi? You've being seeing too many gangster movies. Mike may be spoiling some of your fun.
'Uncle' Joe Grandi: Mike?
Susan: My husband, yeah! And if you're trying to scare me into calling him off, let me tell you something Mr. Grandi. I may be scared, but he wont be.

possibly Eva Gabor

1956 De Soto Fireflite Convertible


Off-Topic Discussion / The Big Empty (1997)
« on: September 20, 2018, 10:37:53 AM »
 The Intangible Detective

Directed by Jack Perez. Written by James McManus and Jack Perez. Cinematography by Shawn Maurer, Music was by Jean-Michel Michenaud.

The film stars James McManus as Private Detective Lloyd Meadows, Ellen Goldwasser as Jane Danforth, Pablo Bryant as Peter Danforth, H.M. Wynant as J.W. McCreedy and Lee Holmes as Scott.

Never heard of this film and actually, it just sort of popped up on my Netflix list by mistake. I thought I ordered The Big Empty (2003). This film is an interesting take on Noir.

Lloyd (McManus) is a waiter at a diner somewhere in L.A. While shopping at a grocery store for motor oil he witnesses his friend Scott (Holmes), who once told him was going to do big things with his life drop dead. All he ever made it to was grocery store clerk.

Then and there as Lloyd watches the EMT's wheel Scott to meat wagon he figures that it was Karma  that made him witness Scott's death and decides to change his life on the spot. He un-pins his "Hi my name is Lloyd" name tag from his polyester uniform and drops it on the sidewalk. We jump cut to him slipping a "Lloyd Meadows Private Detective" business card into his wallet. Hey it's Tinseltown. Its a riff on the old "go West young man/reinvent yourself" trope. Waiter to private dick. Hell what could go wrong?

Lloyd (James McManus)

Jane (Ellen Goldwasser)

Peter (Bryant)

Scott (Lee Holmes)

He seems to make an OK go of it until he get's personally involved with a client. Jane (Goldwasser) suspects her care giver husband Peter (Bryant) of having an affair. When Lloyd gets the unexpected goods on Peter it all goes Noirsville when he stalls on handing over the evidence to Jane in order to both inject himself into her life and to blackmail Peter.


It's watchable and will click mostly for noir fans who will get the references. 7/10

Off-Topic Discussion / Manhandled (1949)
« on: September 20, 2018, 10:25:15 AM »
Screwball Noir, another of the ensemble/quasi-comedy Noirs.

A small sub genre of  Noir, other films are Deadline at Dawn (1946), His Kind of Woman (1951), Shack Out On 101 (1955), and even Lady In The Lake (1946), has some of this quality, there are probably a few others lurking in the Classic Noirs. Neo Noir contenders are Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Seven Beauties (1977), The Late Show (1977) After Hours (1985), Down By Law (1986), Delicatessen (1991) and The Big Lebowski (1998).

Directed by Lewis R. Foster (Crashout (1955)).The screenplay was by Lewis R. Foster and Whitman Chambers and it is based on the 1945 novel The Man Who Stole a Dream by L. S. Goldsmith. The cinematography was by Ernest Laszlo (D.O.A. (1949), M (1951), The Steel Trap (1952), Kiss Me Deadly (1955))

There are two long running gags that go on throughout the film. The first is pretty much a sight gag concerning the brakes on police Detective Lt. Bill Dawson's (Art Smith) squad car. Every time they show up at various crime scenes they crash into different objects, the curb, a parked taxi, etc., etc. The second is the fact that insurance detective Joe Cooper (Sterling Hayden), is always one step ahead of the police detectives at every stage of the plot. These two jokes pretty much render the police into a bordering on Keystone Cops like looking force. Other lighthearted sequences are when Detective Lt. Bill Dawson (Art Smith) has phone conversations with his wife, a la Bob Newhart. It goes from a grocery list, to the topic of his daughter's piano lessons, where he tells the wife to "make sure she finishes" before he gets home. Another is where Dawson takes a sleeping pill, and then suddenly clues start popping and he's falling asleep. An example is in a Dry Cleaners where the clerk just assumes that Dawson is drunk, he's looking quite tipsy and she suggests to Cooper that he bring his friend home. It's dupe is a sequence at a Chinese laundry, and another with Dawson's underlings.

Alton Bennet (Alan Napier)

Karl Benson (Dan Duryea)

Irene Hervey (Ruth Bennett)

Merl Kramer (Dorothy Lamour) 

Dr. Redman (Harold Vermilyea) ...

Joe Cooper (Sterling Hayden)

Detective Lt. Bill Dawson (Art Smith) lt.

The story concerns a writer Alton Bennet (Alan Napier), who has a recurrent nightmare of killing his rich, wayward wife, by bludgeoning her repeatedly on the head with a quart bottle of perfume. He goes to a shrink Dr. Redmond (Harold Vermilyea) and relates all this to him and his secretary/transcriptionist Merl Kramer (Dorothy Lamour).

When Alton's wife is actually murdered in exactly the same way as described in the dream, of course Alton is immediately suspected. All her jewelry, insured for $100,000 also happens to be missing.

Karl Benson (Dan Duryea) is Merl's friendly downstairs neighbor.  It was Karl who got Merl the job with Dr. Redmond. Karl is an ex-cop who makes a living doing P.I. and collection work, bedroom dick type stuff, repos, bodyguard, small potato cases. Merl always fills Karl in on the crazy clients that show up for consultations with Dr. Redmond. Karl takes mental notes.

The rat and his rat

While cleaning up her apartment Merl finds a signet ring in a chair cushion. A remnant from a previous tenant? She pawns it, pays off the lay-away on a coat she wanted, and is soon visited by both Joe Cooper and Detective Lt. Dawson. The ring was listed as among the various pieces stolen from Ruth Bennet (Irene Hervey). When the authorities do some more investigating they find that Merl's references from L.A. were forged and it goes somewhat Noirsville.


Manhandled stars Dorothy Lamour (Johnny Apollo (1940)) and well known for the numerous "Road Movies" with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, as Merl Kramer, Sterling Hayden (seven Classic Film Noir) as Joe Cooper, Dan Duryea (nine Classic Film Noir) as Karl Benson, Art Smith (five Classic Film Noir) as Detective Lt. Bill Dawson, Irene Hervey (Chicago Deadline (1949)) as Ruth/Mrs. Alton Bennet, Phillip Reed (The Tattered Dress (1957)) as Guy Bayard, Harold Vermilyea (The Big Clock (1948), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), Alias Nick Beal (1949), Chicago Deadline (1949), Edge Of Doom (1950), Born To be Bad (1950) as Dr. Redmond, Alan Napier (five Classic Noir) as Alton Bennet, Keye Luke (three Classic Noir) as Chinese laundry man, Irene Hervey as Ruth Bennett, and Irving Bacon (three Classic Noir) as Sgt. Fayle.

This film isn't supposed to succeed very well as a hard core noir but more as light comedy. Manhandled swings a bit to far in the comedy direction for its own good. Deadline At Dawn handles the balance much better, it isn't quite as obvious. It does have some good moments though, and some twists.

Duryea is playing his expected sleazy, slimy, no account, and he does this well to perfection. It's worth a watch but not necessarily a purchase. Screen caps from a TCM presentation. Café au lait Noir 6/10

Off-Topic Discussion / The Locket (1946)
« on: September 02, 2018, 12:06:24 PM »
Needs a separate thread, was on Noir Alley today.

OP dave jenkins

Good news:,default,pd.html?cgid=ARCHIVENEW

The Film Noir Forum has this review of the film: Note Film Noir Forum went down.......

Made in the stark "film noir" style that was popular for crime dramas in the forties and fifties, "The Locket" deals with a similar theme to Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie", that of a beautiful but psychologically disturbed young woman whose disturbance manifests itself as kleptomania, an uncontrollable impulse to steal. The main character, Nancy Monks, is a working-class girl who as a child was wrongly accused by her mother's wealthy employer of stealing a valuable locket and harshly beaten. The memory of this injustice has scarred Nancy ever since, and in adult life she tries to revenge herself on the world by stealing jewelery. Her compulsion to steal wrecks first her relationship with Norman Clyde, a young artist, and then her marriage to Harry Blair, a psychiatrist. Nancy's crimes may, indeed, go beyond mere theft; there is a suggestion that she may have committed a murder in the course of one robbery, a murder for which an innocent man suffers the death penalty.

Much of the comment on this film has centred on its unusually baroque structure, complex even by today's standards and even more so by those of the forties. It has been described as a "flashback within a flashback within a flashback". (The main action takes place on the morning of Nancy's second wedding. The story of her marriage to Blair is told in the first flashback, which contains a second flashback telling Clyde's story as told to Blair, which in turn contains a flashback narrating the story of her childhood). Despite this intricate construction, however, the plot line is never difficult to follow.

The film's links to Hitchcock's works go beyond a thematic resemblance to "Marnie". The set used for the house of Nancy's mother's employer is the same one used for the house of Alex Sebastian in "Notorious"; in both cases it serves to suggest opulent wealth combined with coldness. More importantly, the film-makers clearly shared the fascination with psychology that was obvious in such Hitchcock films as "Spellbound" or "Psycho". Such a fascination, particularly with the theories of Freud, was, in fact, quite common in the cinema around this period, although these theories were often somewhat bowdlerised. The censors were clearly uncomfortable with Freud's insistence on the particular importance of sexual experiences in influencing the human psyche. (I was interested to read the comments of the reviewer who pointed out the use of the locket of the title as a symbol of repressed memory).

Despite these thematic links it is not really accurate to describe the film as "minor league Hitchcock" as one reviewer did. I have not seen any of John Brahm's other films, but "The Locket" is the work of a major-league player. It is not a suspense film in the normal Hitchcock style but rather a melodrama. Brahm is able to get good performances out of his actors, particularly from Robert Mitchum as Clyde and Laraine Day, an actress with whom I was not previously familiar, as Nancy. The melodramatic style requires a non-naturalistic heightening of emotion; in some films this might have come across as over-acting, but here it is quite deliberate, done for increased dramatic effect and in line with the dark, neo-Gothic tone of the film. This is not a well-known film today, but I was lucky enough to catch it when it was recently shown on British television, and was not disappointed.

old discussion continued here..........:

"She's a railroad lady
Just a little bit shady
Spending her days on a train
She's the semi good looker
But the fast rails they took her
Now she's trying just trying
To get home again"(Willie Nelson)

Directed by Bob Ellis and also written by him along with Patric Juillet, and Denny Lawrence. The interesting cinematography was by Yuri Sokol, music was by Peter Sullivan. The film was shot around Goulburn, and Sydney in New South Wales, and in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It reminded me a lot of The Narrow Margin.

The film stars Wendy Hughes (My Brilliant Career (1979)) as Jenny Nicholson aka. The Girl, Colin Friels (Dark City (1998) as The Man, Norman Kaye as The Salesman, John Clayton as The Football Coach, Rod Zuanic as The Young Soldier, Lewis Fitz-Gerald as Jenny's brother Brian, Peter Whitford as The Steward.

The tale of a "railroad lady" a woman who, on the weekends, moonlights as a professional prostitute. She trolls the lounge car and spreads her legs for lonely men on the overnight train, the Sydney/Melbourne/Sydney Express. Called the "Sex" or "Mex express. It's a seventeen car train and a twelve hour journey in each direction.

Jenny (Wendy Hughes)

During the week she's a demure Catholic girls school art teacher. She is justifying her seedy second occupation by using the jack to buy her paraplegic junkie brother the morphine he needs for his habit. He is sort of a latent de facto pimp.

All her encounters are juxtaposed with haunting shots of the train stabbing through the lonely darkness. A metaphor for lost souls searching the dark eternity for fleeting moments of intimacy.

She enters the lounge car like a shark looking for tricks she knows how to scope out the troubled  lonely ones, and how to maneuver in close, and how to make them desire her.

Jenny's a good listener, and instinctively knows what to say to encourage and comfort. Before she was a teacher she was for a brief period a nurse and that experience informs her almost therapeutic effect on her johns.

She has the Judy Garland Suite reserved for her assignations. Chameleon like she changes her looks  with different clothes, various wigs, and makeup, and accessories.

"I do this for money"

First customer is a famous football coach. He writes a newspaper column, but he has just gotten fired. He has some low self esteem and a persecution complex. They chat in the lounge until Jenny suggests that they go to her suite. The coach agrees eagerly. In the dark corridor she stops and matter of fact-ly whispers that this is going to cost him. She charges him $250, they do the horizontal mamba, and when his time is up she drops the friendly facade and kicks him out. The next morning in the dining car she ignores him and his attempts to make conversation. It was just business.

On the return trip she has a different look, that of a much younger woman. A real flirtatious cutie. She picks up a young soldier. He's smitten with her, wants to marry her. When he tries to stay past her 3AM cut off time she demands that he leave. He does, but after some difficulty. He again tries to talk with her at breakfast, and to accost her on the platform. She calls the authorities.

"It's gonna cost you"

Another weekend. Her next client is a retired salesman. She is a redhead on this rail trip. He comes on to her when he approaches her in the club car.

Salesman: Are you going all the way?
Jenny: I usually do.

"Two hundred dollars."

On her next tip there is a Christmas Party and her client that night is a preacher. Throughout all these encounters we have seen in short glimpses a handsome man giving Jenny the eye, watching her in sort of peek-a-boo sequences.  After the second incident we get the first impression that he may be a railroad detective or some other type of cop. She appears to break with her usual cold professionalism, and seems excited by his attentions. Jenny is inside a woman with needs after all. Jenny begins to look for him.


Another pleasant surprize!

I always admired Cavalcanti's I Became a Criminal (1947) They Made Me a Fugitive (original title) and did not realize that he made another Film Noir. There may be more. Cavalcanti was a Brazilian-born film director and producer who worked in  France, England, and Brazil. The story was based on the Ernest Raymond novel, the screenplay was by J. Lee Thompson who later directed U.K. Noirs (Murder Without Crime (1950), The Yellow Balloon (1953), Young and Willing, aka Weak and the Wicked (1954), Blonde Sinner, aka Yield to the Night (1956),  and Tiger Bay (1959)), and in the US he directed Cape Fear (1962). Additional dialog is credited to William Douglas-Home.

The Cinematography was by Derick Williams, and the Music was by Philip Green. The film stars Richard Todd (The Interrupted Journey (1949), Stage Fright (1950), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951), Intent to Kill (1958), Never Let Go (1960), The Longest Day (1962)) as Herbert Edward Logan, Patricia Plunkett as Rosie, Stephen Murray (Silent Dust (1949) as Christopher Drew, Michael Laurence as Jim Heal, Vida Hope as Olive Mockson, Rosalyn Boulter as Frankie Ketchen, George Hayes as the Artist.

Christopher Drew (Murray) lt.

A fledgling writer Christopher Drew (Murray) gets a poem published in a London newspaper, and decides to start a novel, but soon discovers that his posh and sheltered life has left him deprived of  true hardscrabble life experiences upon which to base his characters.

Frankie (Rosalyn Boulter)

He figures that if he goes out and experiences himself, the darker side of life, he will be able to get over his writers block and write his manuscript. He heads out into the seedier sections of London.  Changing his identity to Kip Marlowe he begins to infiltrate the pubs and wine bars. He becomes attracted to a B-Girl named Frankie (Boulter). Frankie is a pretty active twist. She has a physically abusive boyfriend Jim Heal (Laurence) who is a fireman on the steam locomotive of a long distance train route.

Jim is away enough nights that Frankie has a pinch hitter named Herbert Logan (Todd) a professional burglar, go to bat while Jim is away. Herbert trusts Frankie enough to stash his wad of dough with her. She hides it behind a heater grate in a wall.

After Frankie meets Kip she makes room on her personal scorecard to shoehorn him in between Jim and Herbert. Kip is soon enjoying Frankies charms on a regular basis.

Herbert Logan (Richard Todd)

Jim begins to hear rumours and is anxious to get back from work to see if he can catch Frankie in flagrante delicto, i.e. playing hide the sausage with another man. On this particular night Herbert and Frankie have a loud spat in the pub in front of witnesses. Herbert stops at Frankie's flat to apologize before heading off to Glasgow to do a burglary job there, with his regular partner in crime John Craigie 'Jocko' Glenn (James Hayter).

Jim Heal (Michael Laurence)

Soon after Herbert leaves, Kip arrives on schedule to slip the bone to Frankie for a few hours. Jim arrives just as Kip was about to leave Frankie's flat. Frankie hears him calling and quickly locks her door just in time. She runs to her window and flings it open so that Kip can escape, while Jim is still pounding on her door.

Jim breaks through her door breaking the lock, and finds the room empty, but quickly deduces correctly, that Frankie, who is disheveled and partially dressed, has just finish screwing. Jim runs to the window and just barely glimpses Kip hopping over a fence. Turning back to Frankie, Jim enraged strangles her to death.

Jim quickly leaves the flat and goes to shack up with Frankie's rival B-Girl, Olive Mockson (Vida Hope), who always had the hots for Jim. Jim turns back Olive's clock to establish an alibi. Kip/Christopher reads about Frankie's murder in the paper, The police suspect Herbert as the main suspect, because of the public row he and Frankie had at the pub. Herbert suspects she was killed by Kip Marlowe since she told Herbert that he was coming by later.

Kip/Christopher, decides to stay quiet and not reveal to the police that he was the last man to see Frankie alive and that it was Jim who was trying to break in while he was still with her. Christopher now completely doing away with his Kip persona, figures the police will figure out who the real murderer is.

Rosie (Patricia Plunkett)

Herbert meanwhile getting back from Glasgow, reads in the paper that he is a wanted man. He skips back out of London going on the lamb. He meets and falls in love with Rosie (Patricia Plunkett). Herbert is soon caught, tried, and convicted, of murder. His alibi was that he was out that night pulling a burglary with his partner in crime 'Jocko' Glenn, the jury didn't believe his witness. His sentence is commuted to fifteen years however based on a letter written to the prosecutor from Christofer signing it Kip Marlowe. He says that he was with her rather than Herbert, and it gives enough details of Frankie and her flat to be believed.


Off-Topic Discussion / 20,000 Eyes (1961) Jewel Caper/Tail Fin Noir
« on: July 30, 2018, 04:10:01 AM »

Never heard of this film before. A definite "C" Noir.

"The lights of the City are its eyes... Ever watchful... Ever curious... Ever ready to betray the secrets of the night."

There are probably a few more of them out there because one, they don't fit into the established, though quite arbitrary, parameters, and two, they are invisible, never shown anywhere anymore. Noir for Neophytes or for those that learn subjects by rote usually shoehorn Film Noir into a roughly 1940 to 1959 time frame. Visual evidence points to a much larger interval(s).

On one hand you can define Film Noir as dealing in dark subject matter, being shot in Black & White, filmed in a certain visual style that emphasized claustrophobia, entrapment, with a world spiraling under control with characters that are usually alienated and obsessed. This would stretch the Noir time frame from the French Poetic Realist films of the mid 1930s to the end of Black & White film production in 1967-8.  A time stretch of over thirty years.

On the other hand you can say Film Noir includes all of the above plus the Color Film Noirs starting with Leaver Her To Heaven (1945), with virtually no difference between the two aside from being shot in color, no difference that is until the demise of the Motion Picture Production Code, when formerly taboo subject matter and story lines could be exploited and began to slowly change Classic Film Noir into what we now call Neo Noir, which are continuing to be made to the present. A time stretch of eighty plus years and counting.

Directed, in supposedly six days, by Jack Leewood who is mainly known for producing films (27 credits). The film was written by Jack W. Thomas (Lone Texan (1959)) whose last credit was for Embryo (1976). The cinematography was by Brydon Baker who lensed a few low budget Crime and Noirs (Walk the Dark Street (1956), Wetbacks (1956), Scandal Incorporated (1956), a lot of Oaters, some SyFy (Return of the Fly (1959)), Horror and TV). The music was by Albert Glasser.

Dan Warren (Gene Nelson)

The film stars Gene Nelson (who has a great role playing ex con Steve Lacey in Crime Wave (1953), The Atomic Man (1955), Oklahoma! (1955)) as Dan Warren, the mostly TV actress Merry Anders (The Night Runner (1957), Death in Small Doses (1957), The Hypnotic Eye (1960)) as Karen Walker, James Brown who did a lot of Westerns, War films, and Noirs (The Big Fix (1947), Missing Women (1951))  along with a long career in TV,  as Jerry Manning, Austrian born John Banner (The Fallen Sparrow (1943), and for his memorable portrayal as Sergeant Schultz in Hogan's Heroes TV Series (1965–1971)) as Kurt Novak. Paul Maxey (Shed No Tears (1948), All the King's Men (1949), Highway 301 (1950), The Narrow Margin (1952), The Big Heat (1953), City of Shadows (1955)) "nobody loves a fat man," plays an insurer.

Karen Walker (Merry Anders) and Dan

Kurt Novak (John Banner)

Jerry Manning (James Brown) and Dan

Insurance Man (Paul Maxey) lt.

Dan (Nelson) is a sort of investment advisor/mine promoter. He's been pushing a South American diamond mine he's partners in with Jerry Manning (Brown) an old fellow Korean War pilot buddy of his. He's been funneling a lot of other people's money into the venture. One of them is mobster Kurt Novak (Banner). Novak wants his money $100,000. Dan figures he can promote the mine with samples that Jerry brings back and raise the money to pay back Novak. But Novak wants his money out immediately. Dan stalls him. Novak is pissed off but gives him five days to get his money. For collateral Novak makes Dan take out a life insurance policy with the beneficiary being Novak in case of death, this way Novak will get his money even if he has to kill Dan to get it.

Meanwhile Dan has been two timing Jerry. Dan and his secretary Karen (Walker), Jerry's girlfriend,  have become an item since Jerry has been away in South America.

1961 Chrysler New Yorker convertible

Scrambling for money, Dan come up with an ingenious idea to steal some uncut diamonds, in an overnight burglary, out of The Los Angeles County Historical and Art Museum, replace them temporarily with the low grade but similar looking sample from his and Jerry's mine. Which he has stored in a safety deposit box at his bank. He then arranges with the bank manager and an insurance company to have the museum display diamond sample appraised at the bank before opening hours, and insured as the mining sample from his and Jerry's mine.

Just after the insurance papers are signed. Jerry, with a stocking covering his face and brandishing a revolver, forces his way into the bank behind Karen, let in by the bank manager. She, as preplanned,  is coming to meet Dan. Jerry pulls out a pillow case and  makes a show of having the bank manager filling it up with money from the vault. Jerry then notices the diamond sample on the table and also grabs them. Dan, as preplanned, makes a lunge at Jerry, grabs the pillowcase full of money, and a shot goes off grazing Dan's arm. Jerry runs out of the bank with the museum diamonds. Dan looks like a hero. After Jerry and Karen are done with questioning by the police they head to a rendezvous with Jerry who passes the museum diamonds back to Dan. Dan then goes back to the museum right after it opens and it is relatively empty, and he quickly replaces the mining sample with the real museum display before it gets too crowded.

Everything goes Noirsville when Dan finds out that the insurance won't pay off for sixty days.


Tail Fins

Low budget "tail finner" lots of cool shots of Dan's 1961 Chrysler New Yorker zooming around Los Angeles like a small jet plane.

The film moves along at a good pace and is entertaining enough. It's nice to see Nelson in another Noir, Banner in a villain role and Maxey is a bonus. Screen caps are from a streaming site, could use a restoration somewhere down the line. 6/10

Off-Topic Discussion / Republic Noirs
« on: July 11, 2018, 07:59:39 PM »
Moma show

Noir highlights:

--MOONRISE (but, oddly, just one late afternoon screening)
--HELL's HALF ACRE (reasonably well-known already--"Honolulu noir" with Wendell Corey & Evelyn Keyes
--I, JANE DOE (memorialized by Gary Deane at his sadly dormant's the link to his comments:
--STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT (early Anthony Mann, screened previously by FNF)
--MAKE HASTE TO LIVE (one of the last women-in-distress films during the classic American cycle, with Stephen McNally up to his usual no good...)

Off-Topic Discussion / The Letter (1940)
« on: June 07, 2018, 04:14:31 AM »
Eddie Muller's intro to "The Letter"

Eddie Muller's afterword to "The Letter"

Off-Topic Discussion / Down By Law (1986) Neo Orleans Noir Fantasy
« on: June 03, 2018, 07:29:46 PM »

In reality, New Orleans is the main drain, sittin' there right on the bottom. The gritty sewer of practically everything Southern.

A strange gem from the imagination of Jim Jarmusch, the magic talents of an amazing cast, and the crumbling beauty of New Orleans and Louisiana.

It's an entertaining, low budget, picaresque film that's part Neo Noir, part Prison Film/Prison Noir with a lighthearted rift on the drama of (Brute Force (1947), Canon City (1948), Caged (1950), Convicted (1950) Crashout (1955), and Cool Hand Luke (1967)) but without the detailing or planing part of a prison break out. Part Dogpatch, Hillbilly, Cajun, Swamp Noir (Moonrise (1948), Swamp Women (1956) Bayou (1957)), and add a sprinkle of sewer from He Walked By Night (1948) and The Third Man (1949) and a pinch of pixie dust Fairy Tale.

The film stars John Lurie (Subway Riders (1981), Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Paris, Texas (1984), Wild at Heart (1990)), an actor and a jazz musician and founder of the The Lounge Lizards, Tom Waits (Paradise Alley (1978), The Cotton Club (1984)) , a musician and master artist of what I like to call "Songs From the Twilight Zone" or more simply Aural Noir. Roberto Benigni,  an actor director, and writer, who won an Oscar for Life Is Beautiful (1997). Ellen Barkin (The Big Easy (1986), Siesta (1987), Sea of Love (1989)), Bille Neal (Jacob's Ladder (1990), A Kiss Before Dying (1991)), and  Nicoletta Braschi (Johnny Stecchino (1991), The Monster (1994)) and Life Is Beautiful (1997)). Rounding out the cast are Rockets Redglare (After Hours (1985), Talk Radio (1988), Trees Lounge (1996)), Vernel Bagneris (Pennies from Heaven (1981)), Timothea, and Joy N. Houck Jr. (Tightrope (1984), The Big Easy (1986)).

It's the story of three men and three women.

The film starts with a traveling shot that begins with a close up of a hearse at a cemetery and ends in a second floor bedroom of a pimp named Jack the French Quarter in New Orleans. We see graves, shotgun shacks, decaying neighborhoods, bayou shanties, stilt houses, and the balconies of Vieux Carré.  Jack (Lurie) and his current prostitute main squeeze Bobbie (Neal) are lying on satin sheets. Jack is woken up by a creaking sound. Its Julie (Timothea) one of his other girls rocking on the porch. She's watching the light change. When Jack crawls back under the sheets Bobbie awakens.

Bobbie (Neal) and Jack (Lurie)

Back across town with another traveling shot going out away from the French Quarter back through  a couple of cops making a roadside arrest, industrial areas, brown fields, junk yards and roadside trailer parks scattered haphazardly around bill boards to Zack's (Waits) paint peeling crib. we see Zack sneaking in to his graffiti scribbled flop trying not to wake is girlfriend Laurette (Barkin). Zack has gotten fired from his DJ job and has been on a drunk. When he sits on the bed Laurette awakens.

A French Quarter welcone to New Orleans

Zack (Waits) sneaking in

Laurette (Barkin)

Laurett decides that she's throwing Zack out. We travel shot back from Zack's to the Quarter. Laurette is going through one of the great temper tantrums on celluloid. She is in her apartment, and is throwing all Zack's shit out into the street. Records, clothes, radio, right out through the second story windows.  She's screaming non stop, a women in meltdown. It's very entertaining.

In the time honored tradition of countless Southern potboilers, Barkin is the visually negative image. A wound up bond in the black slip. The yin, to say Elizabeth Taylor's cool and calm white slipped "Maggie The Cat." The yang in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. But its just an interesting visual juxtaposition. They both love their men but one chooses to stick the other to toss. Waits just sits there not saying a word and letting Barkin vent. Good move. Waits is sort of channeling noir icon Timothy Carey. He's all twitches and fidgety movements, like he's got an itch that won't stay scratched and Barkin as Laurett knows it. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but in this case its not another woman it's Zack's drinking problem. She apparently still loves him and tells him that he's digging his own grave, but she just can't mentally can't take it anymore.

Laurette: [to Zack] Because you... because you don't take care of me... ya don't want me... ya don't wanna make any fucking commitment to me... I'VE *FINISHED* WITH YOU, ZACK! I've completely *finished* with you! Why doncha just go find some other li'l girl... I mean... that shouldn't be too difficult for you! I'm FED UP with you and YOUR FUCKIN' STUPID RADIO SHOWS!

Laurette: You're digging your own grave.

out the window with his boots

Zack is still sitting there, head bobbing up and down, like he's putting her rant all to some internal jive beat only he can hear. He's taking all this in. Laurette continues her purge. She doesn't get any reaction out of him until she grabs his favorite pair of, well lets say they're a sort of cross between ankle high cowboy boots and pointy Puerto Rican Fence Climbers, with fancy shiny brass tip guards. When she flings those out the window he goes after them like a dog for a chew toy. Besides his drinking problem, he must have a hell of a shoe fetish.

The detritus of his high living DJ life with Laurette strewn in the gutter.

It takes some searching but he finally finds his boots. He tosses the shoes he has on his feet away and lovingly slips into his precious footwear.

Polishing the scuffs off his boots

Might be time for Zack to kill another bottle..... while he contemplates his next move.



Havana and The Everglades.

An MGM film by Director Joseph H. Lewis (My Name Is Julia Ross (1945), So Dark the Night (1946), The Undercover Man (1949), Gun Crazy (1950), The Big Combo (1955)), gives us a topic that is quite on the front burner these days. Written by Howard Dimsdale, adapted by Cyril Hume, from a story by Lawrence Taylor.

The cinematography was by Paul Vogel (Lady in the Lake (1946), High Wall (1947), Black Hand (1950), Dial 1119 (1950), The Tall Target (1951), The Sellout (1952), and The Money Trap (1965)). The music was by Hal Schaefer.

The film stars Hedy Lamarr (Crossroads (1942), Experiment Perilous (1944), The Strange Woman (1946)) as Marianne Lorress, John Hodiak (seven classic noir) as Peter Karczag, James Craig as Frank Westlake, George Macready (four classic noir) as Palinov, Steven Geray (six classic noir) as the Frenchman, Bruce Cowling as Archer Delby James, Nedrick Young as Harry Nordell, Steven Hill as Jack, Robert Osterloh as Lt. Lannahan, Trevor Bardette as Lt. Carfagno, and Charles Wagenheim as Ramon Santez.

The long immigration route to the U.S.A. in the immediate post WWII era often passed through Havana, Cuba. The final bottleneck was the U.S. Embassy where scores of potential immigrants would wait for their interviews to see whether or not they would be granted visas. As a result, a well organized illegal alien smuggling ring arose to alleviate the problems for those with enough money.

A dead man with no ID in New York is traced by N.Y.P.D. investigation of his pocket contents to a flight from Miami, the evidence collected from his shoes finds traces of sugarcane and red clay that is only found in Cuba. The potential that the man is an illegal alien triggers an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Pete (Hodiak)

An operative Pete Karczag is sent undercover to Havana to try and gather evidence against Palinov (Macready) a suspected human trafficker. Pete is to pose as a Hungarian who wants to enter the USA. Palinov has based his operations out of his Gulf Stream Cafe. As part of Pete's undercover infiltration he goes to the U.S. Embassy in Havana and makes a loud enough ruckus after a presumed denial of a visa that he is noticed by many of the people awaiting interviews. He is noticed by one of Palinov's touts played by Steven Geray, who follows Pete when he leaves the embassy. When he finally makes his move he directs Pete to Palinov's Gulf  Stream Cafe.

Pete and Palinov (Macready)

At the cafe Pete meets the beautiful Marianne Lorress (Hedy Lamarr) who is an Austrian refugee from the Buchenwald concentration camp. She is broke and illegally working in Cuba as a cigarette girl, among "other" things.  Palinov has been enchanted by her beauty.

Marianne (Lamar)

It's also implied very sub-textually (the film is after all made under the MPPC) that Marianne has been letting Palinov play hide the sausage with her for accommodations in the rooms above his cafe. Marianne also makes a remark that since she is not allowed to work under Cuban Law she must find her bread "on the streets." It's not hard to make the leap to streetwalker. It's all very quaint in hindsight.

Anyway Palinov is head over heels infatuated enough with Marianne that he breaks with his usual demand of a thousand dollars upfront. He agrees to accompany her himself to Savannah, Georgia where her father has previously immigrated to and where she assures him he will be paid by daddy. It's a not hard to figure out why Pete decides to use Marianne to find out the day and time of Palinov's next scheduled operation. As he gets close to her he also finds himself smitten by her allure, and he too is soon also in love. Soon Pete is thinking about quitting the service and telling Marianne that he is in love with her and that she should stay with him in Havana.

Palinov jealous, has Pete shadowed, and eventually his men discover that Pete is actually an immigration cop. It all goes Noirsville when Palinov exposes this information to Marianne, who decides to leave for the US on the next smuggling flight.


The films strengths lie in its on location Havana sequences, once the immigrants take flight to the US and crash land in the Everglades the film looses some of it's magic.

All of the cast do well and are believable. Watch for a fantastic Cuban dance sequence by Nita Bieber. An entertaining enough time waster. Screen caps are from a DVDr of a cablecast, there is a new release as of 2006. 7/10

Off-Topic Discussion / Inferno (1953) Mojave Desert Noir
« on: May 28, 2018, 01:27:25 PM »

It would be a good double bill with Bad Day At Black Rock (1955). It's one of those sun-baked Films Soleil Noirs set in The Desert, the polar opposite of the Noir City. These films are usually filmed either in the American West, Mexico, the Mediterranean, or in the Tropics. Here the emphasis is on agoraphobia and not claustrophobia. In a Film Noir it's usually what you can't see that can kill you, in a Film Soleil everything you see can kill you.

Inferno was directed by Roy Ward Baker (Don't Bother to Knock (1952)). It was shot not only in Technicolor but also in 3-D and with stereophonic sound. The story and screenplay was by Francis M. Cockrell (Alfred Hitchcock Presents Writer (1955-1959)). The cinematography was by classic noir cinematographer, Lucien Ballard (Moontide (1942), Laura (1944), Berlin Express (1948), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), Don't Bother to Knock (1952), The Killer Is Loose (1956), The Killing (1956), A Kiss Before Dying (1956), Murder by Contract (1958), and The Wild Bunch (1969)). The music was by Paul Satwell.

The Mojave Desert

The film stars Robert Ryan (over ten classic noir) as Donald Whitley Carson III, Rhonda Fleming (eight classic noir) as Geraldine "Gerry" Carson, William Lundigan (Follow Me Quietly (1949), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)) as Joseph Duncan, Larry Keating (Whirlpool (1950)) as Dave Emory, Henry Hull (High Sierra (1941)) as desert rat Sam Elby, Carl Betz (who was in the I wake Up Screaming remake Vicki (1953), and well known to the boomer generation as the dad on The Donna Reed Show TV Series (1958–1966)) as Lt. Mike Platt, Robert Burton as the county sheriff, and finally the impressive Mojave Desert.

Donald Whitley Carson III (Robert Ryan)

Millionaire Donald "Don" Carson III (Ryan), a gruff, spoiled, selfish man, falls off his horse while on an exploratory expedition, looking for manganese outcrops in the back county of the Mojave Desert. His guide Joe (Lundigan) a mining engineer, and his wife Gerry Carson (Fleming) leave him behind with a lean-to for shade, a gun, some overnight provisions, and water. They head back, the way they came in, to get a helicopter to fly him out.

Faking tracks

Gerry Carson (Rhonda Fleming)

Joe (William Lundigan)

Instead of riding to the rescue, Gerry and Joe, have other plans They have been playing hide the sausage every chance they got at the dude ranch whenever Don went to take care of business. They decide on an elaborate deception. Their story is to tell the authorities that Don wanted to leave the exploratory ride early. They make it look as if Don took the station wagon, got stuck, spun his wheels buried the rear wheel to the frame. Joe then takes an extra pair of Don's boots puts them on and walks backwards in the road dust to mark a false trail to make it look as if Don took off walking and got himself lost. The stuck sled is 20 plus miles from where Don is actually laid up. Any rescue squad is going to be searching a grid in the wrong place. By the time they find Don he will be a piece of desiccated, cooked, mummified critter chow.

Gerry will then inherit millions and Don will get Gerry to invest some money in opening his mining operation. They are quite the couple.

After a whole day goes by, Don realizes that they ain't a coming back. He must make do or die. Most of the film is his survival story. The tale concentrates on the things Don does, or figures out, to survive in the Mojave.

using two bolders to set his leg

Lowering himself with a self made rope

He sets his leg. He makes a splint. He finds a crutch. He makes an extended rope by tying the ropes he has available together, and then by cutting his lean-to into thing strips and braiding these strips into more rope. The money he has in his wallet he can use to start fires. He uses his gun to try and hunt for food, though when he shoots a small scrawny rabbit, a coyote snatches it away. Survival of the fittest. During these sequences the director cross cuts briefly to Joe and Jerry misdirecting the sheriffs squad, or a sequence to emphasize Gerry eating well at a sumptuous dinner. When Don runs out of water they cross cut to Joe and Gerry at the dude ranch. She's sunbathing, and Joe is swimming, both enjoying the water poolside.

Don eventually crawls to an abandoned mine. There he finds a patch of barrel cactus and from them he gets water and some nourishment. He sees a seasonal stream course a dry waterfall with a sand filled basin. He digs in the sand at the bottom of the basin and finds some remnants of water. With his last bullet he manages to shoot a deer. Now he knows that he can and will survive and he sets off out of the mountains and onto the flats, on his crutch, with a new determination.

Back at the dude ranch, a week has gone by. Relieved that it has rained and covered any of their errant tracks Gerry and Joe start to breath easier. However, the fact that the authorities have not found the body by now, worries Joe enough that he takes to his plane and flies over the area where Don should be. Joe spies a fresh fire that shouldn't be there, and he knows now that Don is still alive.


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