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1  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Film-Noir Discussion/DVD Review Thread on: February 04, 2018, 09:25:46 AM
This arrived here while I was AWOL for 2 weeks...



Thanks for the great pic XHC.I was hoping to pick the set up this Easter,but it has suddenly gone oop, (it is not even on Arrow's site anymore)with the cheapest on Amazon being £90. Looking on eBay,I've been very lucky & have just picked it up for £45 (with free post!)
2  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Brit Noir: Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958) on: February 03, 2018, 05:18:56 PM

DVD. 8/10

Spoilers.

Going to town after New Years day,I found out that a new DVD shop had opened. Along with the usual US blockbusters,I was surprised to find a shelf dedicated to British DVD labels Network and Optimum Releasing,which led to me chasing after the shadow.

The plot:

After the suicide of her dad, (and also the death of her brother recently) diamond company heiress Kimberley Prescott goes to grieve on the family villa in Spain. Trying to make sense over the loss of two family members, Prescott is shaken from her grief by the arrival of a man,who claims to be her dead brother Ward McKenzie Prescott Jr. Running to police and family,Kimberley is horrified to find everyone disbelieve her that a stranger has stolen Ward's crooked shadow.


View on the film:

Unlike their spotless transfers for Ealing Studios and Jacques Becker's work, Optimum Releasing bring out a transfer which features some big lines of dirt,that become distracting when they appear during the close-ups. Following the slithering shadow of Hammer Horror's Psycho-Thriller era and the pre-black gloves psychological bloodless Giallo era, the screenplay by David D. Osborn & Charles Sinclair display a sharp taste for Film Noir fear,via the family villa being turned into a crypt,where Kimberly is left to crack from the ghostly "return" of Ward,who as a Noir loner brings with him unfinished family business.

Along with the Psycho-Thriller edge,the writers drive into the jet-set sunset Neo-Noir genre,where Kimberly finds the glittering sun of Spain to brighten up the mind games and suspicions between her and Ward.  Before he would count down time with Logan’s Run, director Michael Anderson and cinematographer Erwin Hillier keep the timer running with psychological chills, as highly stylised Film Noir shadows surround the villa and hide the family secrets from light. Largely taking place in the Prescott villa, Anderson brings a noose of claustrophobic tension in restrained tracking shots capturing the limited space Kimberly has to uncover the motive behind Ward’s “return.”  Coming in as an outsider with a great, stern Herbert Lom as local cop Vargas, Richard Todd layers on the unsettling, psychopathic, devilish charm as Ward,whilst  Anne Baxter brilliantly follows Kimberley slowly cracking under pressure,as Kimberley digs her nails into the crooked shadow.
3  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Ed McBain's Cop Hater (1958) on: February 03, 2018, 11:25:41 AM
Seen on DVD. 7

Spoilers:

Recently picking up the 1958 British Film Noir Chase a Crooked Shadow,I began looking for another Noir from '58 that I could watch it in a double bill with. Knowing Ed McBain for his classic novels and work with Hitchcock,I was intrigued to find a McBain Film Noir adaptation,which led to me hating cops!

The plot:

As the streets of New York get dried out during a long Summer,a stranger kills two police officers. Taking the murders personally, the 87th Precinct put two of their best cops on the case: Steve Carelli and Mike Maguire. Whilst the police officers struggle to pick up a lead, news reporter Hank Miller begins to hear gangs full of cop haters.

View on the film:

Set during long hot Summer nights, director William Berke & cinematographer J. Burgi Contner give their cop killer an evil under the sun atmosphere,with scorching hot white lights and dirty clothes signalling the burning hot Film Noir desire the cops have to grab the killer. While keep things strictly by the room, Berke finds side-streets for stylish quirks,from a deaf girlfriend to a gang of hip juvenile delinquency.

Taking notes from McBain’s first 87th  Precinct novel,the screenplay by Henry Kane aims for the three cop killings to fire up the passions of their fellow officers. Killing the officers before they have been given any real depth, Kane’s attempt to build a feeling of Film Noir urgency runs dry,due to it lacking any sign of the novel characterization/depth that was on offer to the police and the gangs. Oddly being named Steve Carelli instead of Carella, Robert Loggia gives a very good performance as the tough-talking Carelli,who wants to stop the hate on cops.

4  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Spanish Neo-Noir: I Know Who You Are (2017) (Mini-Series) on: January 04, 2018, 08:48:53 PM

Seen on TV. My top first time viewing of 2017.

10

Spoilers:

After the extraordinary Follow The Money ended earlier this year,I began to wonder if I would find any other series screened in 2017 that would match the quality of FTM. Whilst reading up about what UK DVD/Blu-Ray company Arrow were putting out later this year,I found a number of reviews highly praising a recently aired Spanish Neo-Noir "mini-series" that Arrow were to put out soon. Recently impressed with the Spanish Neo-Noir film The Body,I got set to see the genre presented in an extended format.

The plot:

On a road police are told of a man walking round who appears completely disorientated. Taking him to hospital,it is soon discovered that the man has lost his memory,and does not even know his name. Finding that he matches the description of mega-lawyer Juan Elías. Calling his family in, Elías looks at all of them like total strangers. Last seeing him in the final day of a college president election,the family ask him where he has been,but just get a blank look. As cops try to re-trace Juan's steps,they find out that Elías niece Ana Saura went missing on the same day,and has yet to be found.

View on the mini-series:

Planned as two 10 ep seasons but changed to one 16 ep "mini-series" due to differences with the network,the writers (led by co-director Pau Freixas & Pol Cortecans) incredibly build the themes of the series with a consistent tone that spans episodes with movie-worthy run times of 78-110 minutes. Finding Juan on the road as a Neo-Noir loner with no memory of the shadowy figures and events in his past, the writers display a sharp precession in placing together all of the fractured puzzle pieces in Juan's family and business activities. Threading Juan regaining his memory with the missing Saura,the writers give the mystery a Nordic Noir atmosphere, by Saura's disappearance being tangled with the murky dealings of Elías clan.

Striking at the heart of this Neo-Noir epic with a richly cynical,sun-kissed final, the writers give each Elías family member a jet-black line in ruthlessness,from son Pol's doubts over Juan's lost memory,to mother Alicia ruling the family with an iron fist.
The only figure Juan remembers, Aida Folch gives a splendid performance as Juan's former lover Eva Durán,whose lingering love for Juan is given seeds of doubt by Folch over the honesty of his missing memory. Whilst not having the look of a Femme Fatale, Blanca Portillo gives a thunderous performance as Alicia,with Portillo subtly changing the tone of her voice in each exchange,to pull the person Alicia is targeting tightly round her Femme Fatale fingers. In the middle of an outstanding ensemble cast, Francesc Garrido draws an incredibly complex Neo-Noir loner in Juan Elías, thanks to Garrido giving Juan a psychological depth with an enticing, simmering calmness,which keeps his true motives just out of sight from family and friends,as Juan Elías remembers who you are.
5  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Brit Noir: Stolen Assignment (1955) on: December 28, 2017, 08:03:31 PM
Hi XHC! I hope you had a good Christmas,and thanks for telling me about this being part of a series! Has the first movie come out on DVD? On a side note,Arrow have a sale on until the 12th (I've just picked up Diamond Guys 2,they have sadly stopped doing free post.)

6  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Brit Noir: Stolen Assignment (1955) on: December 25, 2017, 10:06:27 AM

Merry Christmas everyone!

Watched on Network DVD 6

Making plans for Christmas Eve,I started making plans to get a film to watch from UK DVD company Network to watch with my dad on the day. Reading old issues of UK film mag Empire,I found a review for a Film Noir/Caper from the label directed by future Hammer Horror legend Terence Fisher, which led to me taking the assignment.

The plot:


Focusing on his painting, artist Henry Crossley waves goodbye to his wife as she goes to catch a train to spend a week with her aunt. The next day Crossley gets a call,revealing his wife never arrived at the station, and is currently missing. Learning of the case, newspaper reporters Mike Billings and Jenny Drew grab an exclusive deal to report on the case. As the police report they have found a body,Billings and Drew start picking up the whispers in town about Crossley.

View on the film:

Treating the assignment with dignity, Network deliver a very good transfer,with the image only having a few specs of dirt,and the soundtrack being crisp. Made in the final phase of his pre Gothic Horror era, director Terence Fisher stylishly displays flourishes hinting at what was to come, from an elegant dame laid out across the screen in the opening and the low-lighting of Film Noir making a sequence of Drew creeping round the gardens of a house carry a menacing atmosphere.
 
Reported on in just under an hour run time, Kenneth R. Hayles adaptation of Maurice Harrison & Sidney Nelson's short story Involuntary Confession shakes Film Noir with a Caper tale,with the mutterings from the locals on the murder unveiling a town with hidden secrets, uncovered by the breezy exchanges between Drew and Billings. Snapping at each other to be the first at the typewriter, John Bentley and Hy Hazell give sparkling performances as Billings and Drew,thanks to them each giving the duo a slippery vibe in their sharp one liners exchanges on the stolen assignment.
7  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Korean Noir:The Age of Shadows (2016) on: November 20, 2017, 08:29:19 PM
R2 DVD from Amazon UK. 10

"The early bird gets caught."

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Getting the chance to host the ICM film festival for the second time,I took a look at the titles set for festival viewing. Recently watching his magnificent 2003 Horror A Tale of Two Sisters,I was absolutely thrilled to see Kim Jee-woon's latest in the listings,which led to me stepping into the shadows.

The plot-

1920's Korea:

Under Occupation from the Japanese,a Resistance movement starts building underground to overthrow the invaders from Korea. Wanting to root out troublemakers, the Japanese order Korean police captain Lee Jung-chool to track down members of the Resistance. Known for doing deals to stay on the safe side of the Occupiers,Chool is hit by the death of Resistance member Kim Jan-OK,who used to be a school friend. Learning of Jan-OK's murder weighing heavy on Chool, Resistance leader Che-san begins attempting to turn Chool to their side,as the Resistance start planning a major fightback,by making bombs in the shadows.

View on the film:

Unleashing his first period piece, co-writer/(with Ji-min Lee/ Jong- dae Park and Kathy Pilon) director Kim Jee-woon & cinematographer Kim Ji-yong create an immaculate presentation,with dazzling crane shots gliding along the rich primary colours covering the corridors of the ruling Japanese,Jee-woon sends coiled shots down the drenched in fog streets,where Resistance fighters are attempting to walk down unnoticed. Retaining the eye he had in examining the psychological horror in A Tale of Two Sisters, (with the torture that the Resistance fighters suffer being bloody and blunt,as tightly-held close-ups reveal their resistance to giving secrets away) Jee-woon brilliantly expands his psychological examination into Neo-Noir, where this age of shadows is lit with beautiful panel shots and elegant low-lighting capturing the anxiety of being caught,that the Resistance is under.

Following the Resistance's plan of attack at every stage of inception, Jee-Woon and Ji-Yong uncover griping Neo- Noir set-pieces such as a 20 minute train journey,set alight by Jee- Woon's ultra-stylised tracking weaving between Resistance fighters hiding with the passengers,and the mighty fist of the police walking down each carriage in long takes of them trying to sniff out the rebels.Giving them not only the Occupiers,but fears of betrayal within their own group to fight against, the screenplay by Jee-woon/Ji- Min / Jong-dae and Kathy Pilon sharply turn the screws of Noir pressure on the gang, via every move to bring Chool closer to the group being drenched in anxiety. Making the 2 and a half run time feel like nothing, the writers bravely show little concern over Chool (played by a superb Song Kang-ho) being likable,as any help he offers to the Resistance is balanced with sudden outbursts of brutality that explode into a pitch-black ending of deep Film Noir pessimism,where Chool sets alight the age of shadows.
8  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / French Neo-Noir/Marion Cotillard: A Private Affair (2002) on: November 18, 2017, 09:59:43 PM

DVD:

https://www.amazon.ca/UNE-AFFAIRE-PRIVEE-Version-fran%C3%A7aise/dp/B0019F342G/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1511067236&sr=1-1&keywords=Une+affaire+priv%C3%A9e

8

“I never forget a face,even battered ones.”

** This review may contain spoilers ***

September 2016:

Searching for movies online that a family friend was after,I got told about a Neo-Noir he had been interested in seeing for years, that was an early credit for Marion Cotillard. Checking various sites,the only think I could find was a French DVD,with no English Subtitles.

October 2017:

Whilst getting to place an order with a DVD seller,I decided to have another go at finding the movie,and stumbled on a DVD with English Subtitles…Only on Amazon Canada. Hoping to get the flick right away,I found no seller who would send it to the UK. Mentioning this in passing to the DVD seller,I was happily caught by surprise,when they said that they could order it from Canada,and then send it to me, (shame the DVD could not claim for flyer miles!)which led to me at last discovering the private affair.

The plot:

After being missing for over six months, Rachel Siprien's mum hires private detective François Manéri as a last roll of the dice in finding her daughter. Learning from the cops that they have hardly any clues over what has happened to her, Manéri begins visiting the clubs she went to and the friends Siprien,which leads to two thugs breaking his knuckles,and telling Manéri to stop checking Siprien's friends list. Catching the eye of Siprien's friend Clarisse Entoven, (who he starts sleeping with) Manéri opens the box to Siprien's private affairs.

View on the film:

Linking Manéri and Siprien together,the alluring Marion Cotillard (who appears naked a number of times) gives a excellent performance as Entoven, whose free-spirit personality allows Cotillard to give the title a mischievous Femme Fatale glint in the eye. Given the challenge of holding the big twist together, Cotillard does incredibly well in one of her first film credits of bringing the revelation across smoothly, via calmly giving Entoven's free-spirit nature a frosty sting. Rolling Manéri into the case looking like a total mess, Thierry Lhermitte gives a great, rugged performance as Film Noir loner Manéri.

Unwrapping the hidden seedy underbelly of the city, Lhermitte strikes Manéri with a grit that bleeds out in every attempt made to stop him,as he tightens his focus on finding Spirien,whilst allowing his attention to drift away,as Manéri becomes more entangled with Entoven. Keeping the private affairs of Entoven and her family closely guarded,the screenplay by writer/director Guillaume Nicloux tugs at the anxieties of Manéri, which are laid to bare in wonderfully odd sex dungeons and the clipped mutterings Manéri catches from each family member.

Shooting an arrow into Manéri's view on the case, Nicloux cuts a deeply cynical wound into Manéri with a crystallising ending,that sends Manéri off to drive back into his Neo-Noir pessimism. Cracking Manéri's hands against the red lights of the city, director Guillaume Nicloux & cinematographer Olivier Cocaul rub up a stylised Neo-Noir covered in grime, as Nicloux covers Manéri's investigation with saturated green,blue and yellow tints,that reflect the murky details Manéri uncovers of a private affair.
9  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Seijun Suzuki's Voice Without A Shadow (1958) on: November 17, 2017, 07:15:45 PM
Hi XHC,thank you for the kind words (and the tick!) and looking at her creditsI've found that the actress is in a highly-praised Comedy that Masters of Cinema have put out:

A Sun-Tribe Myth from the Bakumatsu Era:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/BAKUMATSU-TAIY%C3%94-DEN-Masters-Cinema-Blu-ray/dp/B06XT3SMH2/ref=tmm_blu_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Being the first movie I've seen by him,I was wondering what Suzuki's other movies are like?

At the moment,I'm putting a bit aside each week for this Suzuki set Arrow are bringing out in Jan:

https://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1025

10  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Seijun Suzuki's Voice Without A Shadow (1958) on: November 16, 2017, 09:07:03 PM

Blu-Ray 8

** This review may contain spoilers ***

After seeing Nobuo Nakagawa's outstanding Film Noir Onna shikeishû no datsugoku,I started trying to think up of a second title to watch for a Asia Noir double bill. Despite hearing about him for years,I have somehow missed out on catching a glimpse of auteur Seijun Suzuki. Buying Arrow's Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol 1 recently,I was thrilled to discover that one of the diamonds in the set is a Suzuki creation.

The plot:

Working at a call centre, Asako Takahashi helps to connect each call at lightning fast speed. Preparing to connect a call, Asako hears that she is trying to connect to the wrong line,when she hears a murder taking place. The only person to hear the voice of whoever did the killing, Asako is asked by the cops to listen to 100's of voices,but fails to catch a match.

3 years later:

Keen to build on their working relationships, Asako's husband Shigeo Kotani invites work mates Kawai, Hamazaki, and Muraoka to play some late night gambling. Seeing them play late into the night,Asako starts sitting in the next room waiting for Kotani to return. Listening in on them one night, Asako's hears a voice that sounds chillingly familiar…

View on the film:

Pulling diamonds from Nikkatsu studios long history, Arrow Video present a crystal clear Blu-Ray transfer,with the picture transfer being sharp,but retaining the Film Noir grit,and the soundtrack being perfectly clean.Working as an "in-house" studio director for his 10th movie, director Seijun Suzuki & cinematographer Kazue Nagatsuka transmit peculiar, off-the-wall surrealism into the Film Noir reception,from a murderer re-naming the location of the killing "The funeral centre",to an ominous omen of a chicken being plucked.

Listening in on Asako's calls,Suzuki and Nagatsuka pick up the phone to stylish Film Noir,with superb,ultra-stylised tracking and crane shots gliding round the house as Asako attempts to stay out of sight,being crossed with clipped camera moves round the side streets of Japan going up the youth coffee shops,and down into the Film Noir coal of the underworld. Calling up Seichô Matsumoto's novel Koe,the screenplay by Ryuta Akimoto and Susumu Saji crosses the wires of Film Noir with the first major wave of Giallo that was still a few years away (!),where Asako forming a team with a journalist leads to a gripping desire to finally close the cold case,as recurring fragments of the call haunt Asako in her dreams.

Solving the case with a marvellous Agatha Christie/Giallo-style final flashback, the writers cover the mystery in glittering Film Noir grit, via the constant invitations Kotani gives to his work pals to come round leading to an excellent groove of pessimism to be cast between Kotani and Asako,who expresses her frustrations in snappy asides that Kotani fails to pick up on,but those with deadly intentions do not miss. One of the few ladies to get top billing in this era of Japanese "genre" cinema, Yôko Minamida gives a brilliant performance as Asako,thanks to Minamida highlighting the Noir isolation that Asako is trapped in,not only from the chilling awareness of hearing an unsolved murder,but also seeing Kotani fade into the darkness of the underworld,as the shadow finds a voice.
11  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Asia Noir: Death Row Woman. on: November 15, 2017, 05:59:39 PM

Torrent 10

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Sharing my top viewings of Oct 2017,I started talking to fellow IMDber ManFromPlanetX about the highlights from their month of Asia viewings. Taking part in an ICM Film Noir challenge,I asked Planet X about their favourite Noir's from Asia,and got told about a great- sounding title,which led to me visiting woman's death row.

The plot:

Wanting to keep pride and money in the family business, Mr. Imai wants to get his daughter Kyoko married to. Unknown to her dad,Kyoko secretly loves the less well-off Soichi,who has gotten her pregnant. Eventually revealing this to him,Kyoko and her dad have a huge row,as Kyoko's sister Minako and mother Midori listen in. Finishing the argument,Mr. Imai has a glass of whisky,and dies. Learning that the whisky was poisoned,the police charge Kyoko with his murder. Going to trial,Kyoko is found guilty and sent to death row. Horrified that she has been set-up, (and is unable to see her new- born son or Soichi) Kyoko starts making plans to crack open a whisky bottle to freedom.

View on the film:

Pulling all of Kyoko's hopes and dreams out onto the screen into a bloody mess, director Nobuo Nakagawa & cinematographer Jûgyô Yoshida drill down into an incredibly intense Film Noir atmosphere,with the anxiety in an attempted prison escape sequence being heightened by Nakagawa with ultra-stylised shots above the ceiling,looking down as night guards cross the escape lines of Kyoko,and a nail-biting set- piece on a train,has Nakasawa and Yoshida weaving the camera between the lines of passengers. Following the Imai family on a hunt where the rules of the game are established,Nakasawa enters the Noir gloom at the heart of the family with elegant,backwards tracking shots that allow the tension between Kyoko (played by a magnificent Miyuki Takakura) and her family to be spread across the cell.

Chaining Kyoko up on death row, the screenplay by Yoshihiro Ishikawa sentences her to impressively taking on mental breakdown and rape committed by a woman in a delicate manner,that is focused on these being extensions of the miscarriage of justice that Kyoko is suffering. Giving Kyoko's family venomous dialogue, Ishikawa superbly crosses WIP,taboo-pushing Drama, frantic murder- mystery investigating, with white-knuckle Film Noir,as Ishikawa makes Kyoko's time on death row one where tragedy and family backstabbing take place in the outside world,and Kyoko can only look out from her Film Noir loner prison cell,on woman's death row.

12  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Diana Dors/Rod Steiger/John Farrow's The Unholy Wife (1957) on: November 13, 2017, 06:32:37 PM

9 Seen on Video

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Talking to a fellow IMDber a few years ago on the IMDb Film Noir board (RIP!) I got told about a great-sounding Noir starring Diana Dors and Rod Steiger. Hoping to find the title,I was surprised to not being able to find it on DVD or Video in the UK. Keeping a note of the movie over the years,I decided whilst doing some online X-Mas shopping,to have another go at finding it,and stumbled on the US Video version! Despite the postage price tag being a bit hefty,I decided it was time to at last meet the unholy wife.

The plot:

Moving to the US from London, Phyllis gets married to former pilot/now vineyard owner Paul,and has a son Michael with him. Over the next six years,vines grow on their marriage,which leads to Phyllis falling out of love with Paul. Looking for a spark in life,Phyllis becomes tangled in an affair with rodeo San Sanders. Desiring a fresh start in life,Phyllis makes a plan with San to kill Paul. Going out with a gun one night,Phyllis aims to kill Paul,but in the dark accidentally kills his pal Gino Verdugo. Running back into the house,Phyllis starts changing her plan to manipulate Paul,so he can fade into the darkness of the night for her.

View on the film:

Gliding across the screen, the alluring Diana Dors gives an incredible performance as Phyllis, whose seductive innocence Dors threads into a Femme Fatale ruthlessness of Phyllis manipulating Paul and San to play her tune. Looking back on her games in flashbacks, Dors digs her nails deep into Phyllis Femme Fatale state of mind,that Dors transforms from being devilishly mischievous,to life completely from Phyllis's face. Riding a wave of passion with Phyllis, Tom Tryon gives a swaggering performance as drifting Noir loner San. Setting off Paul's concerns about Phyllis's faithfulness, Tryon gives San an arrogance dripping with menace. Caught between Tryon and Phyllis, Rod Steiger gives a brittle performance as Paul. Worn down by the years of a loveless marriage, Steiger's brings out Paul's attempts to grasp of what little remains of the Phyllis he knew.

Introducing the leading lady in a washed-out close-up,director John Farrow & cinematographer Lucien Ballard bravely contrast the glamour of the Film Noir with raw present-set scenes splashed with murky colours that subtly bring the bad times to Phyllis and her guys. Hearing Phyllis and San's plans on the grapevine, Farrow and Ballard give the flashbacks a ruby red appearance which brims a fantastic atmosphere of a "Woman's Picture" that has gone off the tracks into Film Noir,as scattered close-ups uncover the rot eating away in the vineyard.

Mapping out the state of Paul and Phyllis's romance as she makes a plot with San, the screenplay by Jonathan Latimer and William Durkee pour a glass of cracking Film Noir dialogue,that is shaken with a harsh pessimism and jet-black comedic one-liners. Whilst having to go for a "spiritual" ending that the Hays Code would accept, the writers make Phyllis's journey to the spirit world be one that takes a wrong turn to merciless desire for murder,and a calculating Femme Fatale knife edge,where the unholy wife stands.

13  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / The Man with My Face (1951) on: November 12, 2017, 06:15:57 PM

Thanks to XHC for rec. YouTube 7

** This review may contain spoilers ***

Taking part in a Film Noir challenge on ICM,I started trying to decide which two US Noir's I could watch as a double bill. Checking up titles on IMDb,I remembered a Noir fellow IMDber XhcNoirX had told me about,which led to me meeting a guy,whose face looked oddly similar.

The plot:

Arriving home, Charles "Chick" Graham is faced with his wife Cora Cox Graham saying she has never seen him before,and a lookalike of Chick's called Albert "Bert" Rand,who is pretending to be him. Failing to get the police on his side,Chick goes undercover,when he finds out that Bert has linked him to a bank robbery. Surviving an attempt on his life,Chick sets his sights on unmasking his fake self.

View on the film:

Shot on location in Puerto Rico, director Edward Montagne & cinematographer Fred Jackman Jr. give the Noir face off a sun-kiss elegance against rugged rocks and dusty tunnels underneath the welcoming sights of Puerto Rico. Made on a low budget,Montagne does give the place the feeling of being a small village,with the leads easily crossing paths with each other,and it looking like the island only has one cop.

Slowly sinking the realisation into Chick that he has been played, the writers give their adaptation of Samuel W. Taylor's book a Noir playfulness that covers some of the sketchy marks over how Bert was able to make everything perfectly fall into place,thanks to a murderous dog keeping the exchanges between Bert and Chick clouded in a mood of danger. Playing not one,but two roles, Barry Nelson gives terrific performances as Charles 'Chick' Graham / Albert 'Bert' Rand,thanks to Nelson balancing Chick being at his Noir wits end with Bert's abrupt wise-guy asides to the man whose face he's stolen.
14  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Stanley Baker/Peter Cushing Noir: The Man Who Finally Died (1963) on: November 11, 2017, 08:41:32 PM

DVD 8

** This review may contain spoilers ***

2012:

Allowing my copy of the delightfully bonkers Peter Cushing flick Corruption to play on after the credits,I caught an enticing 5 minutes from a TV showing of a Film Noir co-starring Cushing. Checking for the title online,I was disappointed to find no DVD,or even Video of it.

2017:

Finding out that UK DVD company Network were holding a flash sale,I rushed over to place an order. Preparing to order the enjoyable 1957 British Film Noir The Hypnotist,I was thrilled to see Cushing's Noir appear on the same page,which led to me finally seeing the man die.

The plot:

Receiving a mysterious call, London musician Joe Newman is told that the person speaking to him is his dad Kurt Deutsch,who died during WWII 20 years ago. Finding out that the call has come from a small Bavarian town,Newman leaves London for the town. Receiving a less than warm welcome, Deutsch is taken to the grave of Deutsch. Disbelieving what he sees, Newman goes to visit his mum Lisa Deutsch. Finding his mum to be living in the country home of Dr. Peter von Brecht,Newman begins to notice that Brecht and others in the town appear determined to keep Deutsch buried.

View on the film:

Finding the title from fuzzy TV showings,Network present a perfect transfer,with the soundtrack and the picture quality being pristine.

Shot in the UK, director Quentin Lawrence & cinematographer Stephen Dade send Newman to an excellent, disorientating Film Noir town,where razor-sharp black and light low-shadows fill the space of the small population. Unearthing the truth about Newman's family with a quirky, spidery score by Philip Green, Lawrence slants the paranoia on Newman with ultra-stylised pans across to strangers with an eye on his search,against a washed-out sky that rains an eerie atmosphere on Deutsch's grave.

Based on a 7-part British mini-series, (sadly not seen since airing in 1959)the screenplay by Lewis Greifer and Louis Marks adapt the show into a tightly coiled stranger in a strange land Film Noir,as Newman's determination to dig up the secrets of the town leads to brash confrontations with locals who want the truth kept six feet under. Whilst openly borrowing from The Third Man a number of times,the writers compose an excellent, distinctive tone that tracks the revelation of the ending to the post-WWII pessimism of Film Noir,with Newman's discovery crossing the WWII isolation that haunts the town, with the shivering terror of the Cold War.

Kicking the cobblestones lining the town to the side, Stanley Baker gives a terrific performance as Newman,who Baker gives a Film Noir loner thirst to uncovering the truth about his dad,while legendary character actors Eric Portman,Nigel Green and Brian Wilde listen in on his paranoid questions. Hovering above Mai Zetterling's withdrawn widow Lisa, Peter Cushing gives a great performance as Brecht,that Cushing brims with a horror ambiguity over what Brecht knows about the man who finally dies.
15  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Brit Noir: The Hypnotist (1957) on: November 10, 2017, 03:31:58 PM
 DVD 6

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Learning of a sale on UK DVD company Network's page,I quickly looked for titles to pick up. Previously seeing him in the very good British Film Noir The Dark Man,I was pleased to spot another Noir co- starring William Hartnell, which led to me getting hypnotised.

The plot:

Hurt doing a test run, pilot Valentine Neal becomes haunted by past events in his life. Wanting to help her boyfriend, Mary Foster arranges for Neal to meet psychiatrist Doctor Francis Pelham. Hypnotising Neal,Pelham begins to explore his dark childhood memories. Finding Neal easy to hypnotise,Pelham decides to put Neal in a trance for his own use.

View on the film:

Bringing the title out of a trance,Network deliver an excellent transfer,with pristine sound and picture quality. Adapting Falkland L. Cary's play,the screenplay by writer/director Montgomery Tully partakes in an impressive level of psychological depth, as gripping exchanges between Pelham and Neal dig up the Noir horrors laying in Neal's sub-conscious. Giving Neal ambiguous shakes,Tully disappointing calms things down far too early,with the mysterious doubt between Neal and Pelham being explained 20 minutes before the end. Gliding round on the streets of late 1950's London,Tully sets his sights on glimpses on Film Noir stylisation,via shots spanning Neal's flat,and icy flashbacks unveiling the inner workings of Neal.

Playing a similar role to the one in The Dark Man, William Hartnell gives a good, gruff performance as Detective Inspector Ross,whilst the very pretty Patricia Roc gives a clever performance as Mary Foster,who raises questions to how helpful Pelham is being to Neal. Playing off each other, Roland Culver & Paul Carpenter give great performances,as Culver gives Pelham an unsettling,calculating calm,and Carpenter brings out the hypnotised fears of Neal.
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