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| | |-+  The first ever Film Noir: Underworld (1927)
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Author Topic: The first ever Film Noir: Underworld (1927)  (Read 213 times)
morrison-dylan-fan
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« on: July 02, 2017, 06:37:39 PM »


Full film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSNj4clHP08

10

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Joining in a poll on ICM for a poll on the best movies of 1927,I started looking for titles at the last minute. While scrolling for short films I stumbled on a Silent Film Noir. Just beating Fritz Lang's Noir-style Spiv epic Spiones,I was thrilled to discover that this appears to be the first ever full-on Film Noir.

The plot:

Proudly robbing stores sing-handed, 'Bull' Weed feels top of the world. Using some of his cold hard cash,"Bull" gets lawyer 'Rolls Royce' Wensel back on his feet,and starts working with him. Whilst becoming an unstoppable team, 'Rolls Royce' starts feeling tempted to steal what is most valuable to Bull:his girlfriend 'Feathers' McCoy. Caught up in a shoot-out with thug 'Buck' Mulligan,Bull lands in a Death Row pen. Needing help to escape,Bull discovers the loyalties of the underworld.

View on the film:

Paving the path of a new genre/style,director Josef von Sternberg (replacing fired Arthur Rosson) and cinematographer Bert Glennon pave the path with an extraordinary confidence,as ultra-stylised blasts of smoke gunfire give the shootouts a frantic energy which is still felt in Neo-Noir and Crime films. Sending 'Feathers' in the air with glowing lights giving this deadly siren a Femme Fatale aura,Sternberg gives the melodrama romance between 'Bull'/ 'Feathers' and Rolls Royce a Film Noir grilling via the locations having a documentary grit and hanging shadows lighting the darkness awaiting the trio.

Wanting his name (and that of co-writers Howard Hawks/Charles Furthman & Robert N. Lee) removed from what was expected by the studio to be a flop, Ben Hecht ended up winning Best Screenplay at the first ever Oscar's.Giving a voice to the genre,Hecht makes the dialogue crackle with a rich pessimism,lit by an awareness from Bull of sinking into the depths of the underworld.

Stepping into the first pair of Femme Fatale heels,the elegant Evelyn Brent gives a marvellous performance as 'Feathers',whose Melodrama romantic feelings towards the guys is given a Film Noir sass by Brent which is as light as a feather. Taking aim at the Noir loner figure, George Bancroft gives a magnificent performance as 'Bull',which strikes with a burning madness in Bull's eyes,which Bancroft subtly underlines with a growing sorrow,as Film Noir comes out of the underworld.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2017, 06:40:45 PM »

Thanks I'll check it out.  Afro

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stanton
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2017, 02:17:16 AM »

A stylish film, like most films from Von Sternberg

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cigar joe
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 03:38:29 PM »

Watched it last night great film agreed. I'll add it to the Gangster Film list.  Afro

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Jessica Rabbit
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2017, 07:54:43 AM »

Thanks, I'll check it out too.

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morrison-dylan-fan
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 01:22:25 PM »


That is terrific Jess,look forward to reading about what you think of it.


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