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drinkanddestroy
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« on: October 25, 2012, 04:31:47 PM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049107/



Crime in the Streets (1956)

PLOT SYNOPSIS AND CAST, courtesy of imdb


Social worker tries to befriend local slum gang.


James Whitmore    ...   Ben Wagner
    Sal Mineo    ...   Angelo 'Baby' Gioia
    Mark Rydell    ...   Lou Macklin
    Virginia Gregg    ...   Mrs. Dane
    Peter J. Votrian    ...   Richie Dane (as Peter Votrian)
    Will Kuluva    ...   Mr. Gioia
    Malcolm Atterbury    ...   Mr. McAllister
    Denise Alexander    ...   Maria Gioia
    Dan Terranova    ...   Blockbuster
    Peter Miller    ...   The Fighter
    Steve Rowland    ...   Glasses
    John Cassavetes    ...   Frankie Dane


----------------------------
There is one previous post on this movie in the Film Noir Discussion Thread, http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg148608#msg148608 

by cigar joe

Crime in the Streets (1956) D: Donald Siegel. James Whitmore, John Cassavetes, Sal Mineo, Mark Rydell, Virginia Gregg, Denise Alexander, Will Kuluva, Peter Votrian, Malcolm Atterbury. Draggy drama of angry, alienated youth Cassavetes, who conspires to commit murder. Cassavetes always reminds me of a demented Jerry Lewis, saw just the end of this studio bound film boring, 5/10

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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 04:46:25 PM »

cj, I don't see how you can give a movie a rating if you didn't even see the whole thing! I mean, sure you can say you only saw the end and you found it boring, but I would never actually give a movie a rating unless I saw it in its entirety.

I saw the movie on TCM, and there's what to like. I give it a 7/10

Firstly, this movie is VERY PREACHY. As preach as preachy can get. The scenes with Cassavetes and the gang are repeatedly intercut with the scenes of the social worker trying to speak with them. Preachiness is certainly not my favorite element in movies, but this movie manages to stay interesting. Just when I wonder if I care for all the preaching, there comes a scene or two that makes me smile again. So I'll say there's enough here that it's worth giving a look the next time it plays on TCM.

There are basically two reasons this is worth a look. Firstly, this is the film with the credit "Introducing John Cassavetes" (although it was actualy not his first film role http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001023/ )

But  most importantly, it's for the incredible supporting performance by Mark Rydell (who I believe was also making his debutas the psychotic member of Cassavetes's gang. Cassavetes is a bad but very angry and troubled kid; but Rydell is just psychotic, plain and simple. This is Rydell's movie debut. Rydell would of course direct movies such as The Cowboys and On Golden Pond , but he was also a terrific actor; I just LOVED him as the bad guy in The Last Goodbye. And he is amazing here as well. I wish he's acted in more movies, I just loved watching him  Afro


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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 07:26:24 PM »

I've seen it in its entirety since I rated it at least twice now the last time just recently on TCM - I didn't change my opinion so I didn't bother to change my rating  Afro It starts off with a great opening on the Queensborough bridge ends on a shot of a gasholder immediately cuts to the gasholder in LA then to a studio backlot the rest of the picture - I wouldn't even call it a noir -  hence the reason I didn't bother to list it - its still too boring for me 5/10

« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 07:31:30 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 01:03:43 AM »

I've seen it in its entirety since I rated it at least twice now the last time just recently on TCM - I didn't change my opinion so I didn't bother to change my rating  Afro It starts off with a great opening on the Queensborough bridge ends on a shot of a gasholder immediately cuts to the gasholder in LA then to a studio backlot the rest of the picture - I wouldn't even call it a noir -  hence the reason I didn't bother to list it - its still too boring for me 5/10

here is the opening http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lVI3erPd8E

Okay, so they filmed a few seconds of the New York skyline near the Queensborough Bridge as an "establishing shot," to tell you the movie takes place in New York, and then cut to the studio backlot. There are a million and one movies that do that (including many great ones). I mean, of course, I'd love it if every movie ever made was shot on location; but what are you gonna do....

----------------

RE: whether or not it's a noir: I only created this thread because YOU already made an entry for this movie in the noir index  Tongue . YOU are the one who decides what's a noir around here, not me. And as I recall, YOU are the one with an incredibly expansive definition of noir, including even movies that have no noir visuals whatsoever, just an "obsessed character," which would basically include 25% of movies ever made. Which would basically include every crime drama ever made. I agree that this movie is not much of a noir, but there are movies with far lesser noir characteristics out there that you have labeled "noir."  Wink Movies like Ace in the Hole. Or Odds Against Tomorrow.


 I haven't read a single book on noir, I ain't no expert on shit, but the way I see it, you just feel when something is noir; it just HITS you: Robert Mitchum or Dick Powell walking down a dark street, trench coat with the collar turned up, cigarette (after cigarette after cigarette ;-) ) dangling from the corner of his mouth, hat pulled low over his head, as the one street light on the otherwise pitch dark block casts ominous shadows  Smiley You shouldn't have to label a film a "noir";  A NOIR SHOULD LABEL ITSELF!  Wink

IMO we should stick to a definition that goes something  like this: A crime drama with noir visuals, shadows, camera angles, hard-boiled language, dealing with the underbelly of society... But the visuals should be a prerequisite; no noir visuals, then no noir. I think that using the "obsessed character" definition takes you down a road that leads everywhere, and therefore nowhere.



« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 02:13:28 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 07:53:27 AM »

my updated definition - rather than call these films a genre call them a style/tool of filmmaking used in certain film/plot sequences or for a films entirety that was used to conveyed claustrophobia, alienation, obsession, and events spiraling out of control, that came to fruition in the roughly the period of the last two and a half decades of B&W film.

Then you can say we have this Film Noir Style that can have two opposite poles one would be Films de la nuit, Films of the night, or Films de la nuit éternelle, Films of the eternal night, the opposite would be Films Soleil, films of the sun, those sun baked, filled with light Noirs, then all the rest would fit in the spectrum in between being various shades of grey or Films Gris. No? ;-)

Its still messy no matter how you slice it. In Biesen's book Blackout: WWII and the origins of Film Noir, its interesting to note that before there was a label "Film Noir" the New York Times called these series of films "The Red Meat Crime Cycle" emphasizing their hard boiled "crime" angle.

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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 10:15:26 PM »

yes, I definitely agree that Noir is not a genre, but a style of crime drama. (Interesting to hear that NYT definition, and of course, it's hard to try to fit these movies into a term that was created years later).
But I think this style called "Noir" is only useful if it is limited and specific, rather than overly expansive.  It's a useful term if we limit it to those movies with the obvious noir characteristics, like The Set-Up, Out of the Past, Where The Sidewalk Ends, Murder, My Sweet, etc. If it is expanded to include any movie involving "alienated and obsessed characters," then it effectively loses all significance. If you are going to consider Ace in the Hole or Odds Against Tomorrow noirs, then you are basically defining noir as "any movie in which someone acts badly," or  "any crime movie."

« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 05:51:42 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 05:39:11 AM »

If it is expanded to include any movie involving "alienated and obsessed characters," then it effectively loses all significance. If you are going to consider Ace in the Hole or Odds Against Tomorrow noirs, then you are basically defining noir as "any movie in which someone acts badly," or  "any crime movie."

  I think there is a diff between alienated and obsessed characters & just acting badly

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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 06:05:37 AM »

 I think there is a diff between alienated and obsessed characters & just acting badly

let's take eg.Ace in the Hole, Kirk Douglas plays an unethical reporter: a guy who wants to get the hell out of a shitty job in New Mexico, and make it back to a big paper in the big city. So he unethically plots to extend a crisis until he can milk the story for all its worth. No doubt, he's an unethical guy. And this unethical desire for a big story at any cost ultimately results in disastrous consequences for all involved.. You wanna call him alienated and obsessed?  This takes place in rural New Mexico, with most of it in The Big Carnival-like outdoor set, in the bright New Mexico sun; and some scenes in the roadside restaurant, jammed with customers in middle of the afternoon.

 is this what you think of when you think of "Noir?" or do you think of Dick Powell in the shadows of a dark city street, hat pulled low, trench coat collar turned up, as he lights a cigarette and feels in his pocket to make sure his revolver is ready, just in case.... ?

if they used that shitty roadside restaurant, but instead, it was Kirk Douglas meeting Jan Sterling there alone, after midnight, sitting in a corner alone, smoking a cigarette while the juke box plays some tune, lights turned low, etc... well that might be a Noir.

Put it this way: if Nighthawks doesn't belong in the movie, then the movie ain't Noir  Wink

« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 07:36:11 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 07:06:44 AM »

let's take eg.Ace in the Hole, Kirk Douglas plays an unethical reporter: a guy who wants to get the hell out of a shitty job in New Mexico, and make it back to a big paper in the big city. So he unethically plots to extend a crisis until he can milk the story for all its worth. No doubt, he's an unethical guy. And this unethical desire for a big story at any cost ultimately results in disastrous consequences for all involved.. You wanna call him alienated and obsessed?  This takes place in rural New Mexico, with most of it in The Big Carnival-like outdoor set, in the bright New Mexico sun; and some scenes in the roadside restaurant, jammed with customers in middle of the afternoon.

 is this what you think of when you think of "Noir?" or do you think of Dick Powell in the shadows of a dark city street, hat pulled low, trench coat collar turned up, as he lights a cigarette and feels in his pocket to make sure his revolver is ready, just in case.... ?

if they used that shitty roadside restaurant, but instead, it was Kirk Douglas meeting Jan Sterling there alone, after midnight, sitting in a corner alone, smoking a cigarette while the jule box plays some tune, lights turned low, etc... well that might be a Noir.

Put it this way: if Nighthawks doesn't belong in the movie, then the movie ain't Noir  Wink
Yes- I'll call him obsessed about the story - perhaps I should reword the noir def - they don't have to be both alienated and obsessed but can be either or - but then being a big city reporter he's sort of a fish out of water sort of "alienated" - read the def again - " a Film Noir Style that can have two opposite poles one would be Films de la nuit, Films of the night, or Films de la nuit éternelle, Films of the eternal night, the opposite would be Films Soleil, films of the sun, those sun baked, filled with light Noirs, ie Ace in the Hole" On the other hand and a completely different idea of mine is for a real Hard Core Noir Genre which should have definite archetypes and take place almost in eternal night http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=11081.0

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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 07:42:35 AM »

Yes- I'll call him obsessed about the story - perhaps I should reword the noir def - they don't have to be both alienated and obsessed but can be either or - but then being a big city reporter he's sort of a fish out of water sort of "alienated" - read the def again - " a Film Noir Style that can have two opposite poles one would be Films de la nuit, Films of the night, or Films de la nuit éternelle, Films of the eternal night, the opposite would be Films Soleil, films of the sun, those sun baked, filled with light Noirs," On the other hand and a completely different idea of mine is for a real Hard Core Noir Genre which should have definite archetypes and take place almost in eternal night http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=11081.0

yeah well I am not interested in creating new theoretical genres like your new Nor Genre, all I am interested in doing is categorizing existing films.  And I think that that "alienated and obsessed" character isn't enough of a distinction,  without the recognizable visual elements

I mean, is there anyone more alienated and/or obsessed than Ethan Edwards in The Searchers? You want to call that a Sun-baked noir? (There are some Western noirs, like Station West; and Johnny Guitar would be a Western color noir). But nobody calls The Searchers a Noir

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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 07:54:00 AM »

Molly Haskell piece - http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/591-ace-in-the-hole-noir-in-broad-daylight  and Eddie Muller's def "So is noir a genre or a style?

Depends on your own philosophy. If you think movies are defined by their themes, then you probably think of noir as a genre. If you define films by their visual look and tone, then to you noir is definitely a style. Here's my take: If a private eye is hired by an old geezer to prove his wife's cheating on him and the shamus discovers long-buried family secrets and solves a couple of murders before returning to his lonely office - that's detective fiction. If the same private eye gets seduced by the geezer's wife, kills the old coot for her, gets double-crossed by his lover and ends up shot to death by his old partner from the police force - I can say with complete assurance: you are wallowing in NOIR."

« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 10:34:20 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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