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: The Wild Party (1956) Beatnik Noir  ( 171 )
cigar joe
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« : March 27, 2018, 02:09:20 PM »



The more I explore the Noirs from the end of the fifties and into the early sixties, the more I've noticed that besides the fact that, as a lot of the old "hard" Crime genre component was draining quickly over into television, a generational change was also taking place on the silver screen.

The visual stylistics were retained but the dark side bad guys, comprised before of mostly gangsters and petty criminals had morphed into the new societal boogie men. Crazed beatniks, surreal artists, jazz musicians, junkie dope addicts, marijuana smokers, poets, juvenile delinquents, commies, floozies, hookers, strippers, porno producers, drunks, serial killer nut jobs, rapists, voyeurs, psychos, schizos, sadists, sexual deviates, and other psychologically damaged individuals. The sixties would add hippies, LSD droppers, pop artists, racists, blacks, Hispanics, draft dodgers, and rednecks.


Kicks  Johnson (Nehemiah Persoff)

The Wild Party even sounds different, the old familiar hard boiled dialogs, are replaced with cool cat hipster, beatnik slang, you dig? It's not of the Classic Noirs it's not of the Neo Noirs, it's in between, one of the Lost Noirs/Transitional Noirs.

Beat Speak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ0S1F29gv8

One of the main components of The Classic Noirs, besides the stylistic visuals that first got them noticed, of course, were the screenplays based on hard boiled pulp stories of Hammett, Woolrich, Chandler, and others. Tales that were originally set in the 1920s and 1930s that didn't get translated to the screen until the 1940s.

So originally they had this sort of time delay filter, and combined with the  Motion Picture Production Code (1930 -1968), there also a serious censorship filter. Part of the charm of the classics was the creative ways the directors, producers, and artistis wiggled around the dictates of the code. As Classic Film Noir coursed through into the 1950s and the Code began to weaken with the competition from TV, the stories began to explore previously taboo subject matter (deviates, racsism, drugs and sex) and they began to catch up with real time events (tales about communist infiltration, radioactive materials, nuclear testing, beatniks, etc., etc.).

Then once the Code completely disappeared Noir was cut loose from most of its original moorings, this allowed creative artists the freedom to delve into infinite variations. Independent poverty row Film Noir that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as Horror, Thriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, maniacs, and psychotics, etc.). Those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, etc., situations were being lumped into or classed as various Exploitation flicks, (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films). The the noir-ish films that dealt with everything else, except Crime, concerning the human condition were labeled Dramas and Suspense. Those that tried new techniques, lenses, etc., were labeled Experimental. Some films are so so bad in all aspects that they acquire the "so bad it's good" Cult status.

The film was directed by Harry Horner (Beware, My Lovely (1952), and the remake of I wake Up Screaming, Vicki (1953)), the cinematography was by Sam Leavitt (The Man with the Golden Arm (1955). Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Crimson Kimono (1959) Cape Fear (1962), The music was by Buddy Bregman with jazz sets by Buddy De Franco and his Quartet.

It's the hipsters against the squares. The film stars Anthony Quinn as Tom Kupfen a washed up pro football star, the "Wild Party" of the title, he heads up a group of down and out hipsters who all need money for one thing or another.


Tom Kupfen (Anthony Quinn)

Tom is first viewed out moochin' for money. He hits up a Bop/Bepob Club owner he knows for a C note. He turns him down flat, since Tom already owes him $1,400. The owner slips him a fiver but Tom shruggs off both it and the offer of a job as a "car parking grease monkey" for the club. Kathryn Grant is Honey, Tom's main squeeze, a leftover from his college glory days, she needs cash for the rent.


Honey (Kathryn Grant)

Honey: Tom, they locked me out of my room tonight. I can live with that, but they got all my records, my player.....

Honey's been rode hard and put away wet so many times by Tom that she figures she has "40,000 miles on me."

Nehemiah Persoff is Kicks Johnson a jazz pianist, and another member of Toms beatnik "posse."  Kicks narrates the story in beat slang which is told in the film in one long flashback. Kicks needs doe to get back his union cabaret license so that he can earn a living playing the clubs.


Lt. Arthur Mitchel (Arthur Franz) and Erica London (Carol Ohmart)

Carol Ohmart is Erica London a high society gal hanging out at the bar of the Beverly Hills Hotel. She is there with Navy Lt. Arthur Mitchel (Arthur Franz) her fiance. They are looking for a little excitement, before he ships off on his next tour of duty.


Gage Freeposter (Jay Robinson)

Jay Robinson is Gage Freeposter a wound a bit too tight weasel. A switchblade knife wielding beatnik pickpocket con artist working out of the bar of Beverly Hills Hotel, posing as a hotel guest, Derek Fielding from Stamford. He sets up square marks with money, out looking to "make the scene." He learned how to talk and look "square" from watching movies. The squares get lured out of various square bars by Jay who tells them that he knows a great after hours club called The Fat Man, where, he tells them the "real cats swing".

Before they leave the hotel Gage calls Tom and tells him he's got some squares on the hook.

Gage: First we'll play them cool, then we'll play them hot!

Continued......

« : March 27, 2018, 02:31:14 PM cigar joe »

"When you feel that rope tighten on your neck you can feel the devil bite your ass"!
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« #1 : March 27, 2018, 02:09:54 PM »

Continuing.....

Noirsville








Buddy De Franco






Beverly Hills Hotel



Erica: "I don't do what I want, I do what I should."
Gage, Erica, and Arthur take Erica's car to The Fat Man's. There they meet up with Tom and crew and spend a wild hour or two dancing to Kick's piano music.

"When Tom gets fat all the other cats get cream"

When Erica and Mitchel get into a tiff over spending his last night ashore listening to this "noise," Erica starts coming on a bit to Tom. Tom reacts.

Tom: Let's you and me go take a walk, huh.
Erica: I can't do that.
Tom: Why not, you want to.
Erica: I don't do what I want, I do what I should.

Tom wants to play hide the sausage with Erica, so when Gage steals Erica's keys out of her purse the simple roll job for Erica's furs and jewels and Mitchel's cash turns into a sexual assault and kidnapping. Gage offers them a drive in Tom's car to a cab stand, but Tom takes them to a deserted gas station. When Mitchel loudly objects Tom beats him up. They then go to Toms beach shack where Erica is locked up with Honey. Mitchel, at knifepoint is forced to go get the ransom money of $10,000 together.

Tom, Gage, and Kicks take Mitchel to Ben Davis (Paul Stewart), a nightclub owner friend of Mitchel. Davis thinks he's wise to the con, thinks Mitchel lost big gambling and is getting muscled by Tom and Kicks for the doe. Davis pulls out a .45 and tells them all to scram.

The rest of the cast includes Barbara Nichols in a bit part as Sandy the goofy chorus girl girlfriend of Ben, and Buddy De Franco playing himself.

The scheme all falls apart when Kicks convinces Honey to break with Tom, because he's gone too far. When Tom violently confronts Kicks, Honey crushes Toms legs by driving his car into the wall he's up against.

Anthony Quinn (The Long Wait (1954), La Strada (1954), The Naked Street (1955), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), Across 110th Street (1972)) and Nehemiah Persoff (The Naked City (1948), On the Waterfront (1954),  The Harder They Fall (1956), The Wrong Man (1956), Psychic Killer (1975)), both seem just a tad to long in the tooth for being members of The Beat Generation, but Jay Robinson (Tell Me in the Sunlight (1965)) and Kathryn Grant (Rear Window (1954), Tight Spot (1955), 5 Against the House (1955), The Phenix City Story (1955), The Brothers Rico (1957), Anatomy of a Murder (1959)) are more convincing and seem spot on. Jay Robinson will always be remembered by me for his two turns as the vile Roman Emperor Caligula in The Robe (1953) and Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954).

Carol Ohmart best know for the campy (House on Haunted Hill (1959)), holds her own with Quinn's loose cannon Tom, Arthur Franz (Red Light (1949), The Sniper (1952), Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)) is also quite believable.

Looking back it's quite humorous contemplating that beat speak, bebop jazz, and switchblades were deamed so frightening to the squares out there in 1956 Squareville. Screencaps are from the Spanish Region 2 DVD but the clip on Youtube is obviously superior. Curiously entertaining enough, 6/10.

« : March 27, 2018, 02:28:56 PM cigar joe »

"When you feel that rope tighten on your neck you can feel the devil bite your ass"!
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