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Author Topic: Film-Noir Discussion/DVD Review Thread  (Read 365863 times)
Silenzio
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« Reply #240 on: July 24, 2007, 09:02:42 AM »

The Big Sleep - 3/5


Terrible, convoluted plot that bored me. Bogey and Bacall's chemistry on screen is one thing that makes the movie watchable.

Hey, WTF!  I saw this a couple nights ago and it blew me away.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #241 on: July 24, 2007, 10:23:11 AM »

Even *I* like The Big Sleep. Peacemaker, have you been into my stash of Jimson weed?

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« Reply #242 on: July 24, 2007, 10:37:49 AM »

Even *I* like The Big Sleep. Peacemaker, have you been into my stash of Jimson weed?

 Grin     Wink



I dunno, I just didn't think it was that great. I didn't say it was that bad either.


Just....eh.

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« Reply #243 on: July 24, 2007, 10:40:52 AM »

Angels With Dirty Faces 5/5

One of James Cagney's best. I love how he portray's the character of Rocky Sullivan. Cagney was a joy to watch.

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« Reply #244 on: July 24, 2007, 05:25:03 PM »

Beaver reviews Warner's Film Noir 4 boxset: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews32/film_noir_classic_collection_v4.htm

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« Reply #245 on: July 25, 2007, 07:57:22 PM »

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« Reply #246 on: July 26, 2007, 06:54:04 AM »

The Big Sleep - 3/5


Terrible, convoluted plot that bored me. Bogey and Bacall's chemistry on screen is one thing that makes the movie watchable.
YOUR plot is terrible and convoluted.

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Silenzio
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« Reply #247 on: July 26, 2007, 09:23:40 AM »

YOUR plot is terrible and convoluted.

This would be true if his screen name was "Gianfranco Parolini."

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #248 on: August 09, 2007, 05:00:49 PM »

One of the reasons (so-called) film noir went south is that TV took over its subject matter and much of its style. Perry Mason (1957-1966) demonstrates this, as do the early seasons of The Fujitive. DVDBeaver has some nice screen captures from the new release The Fujitive, Season 1 Part 1 here: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews32/the_fugitive_tv_series.htm
It's fun to look at shots of some of the guest stars and try to ID them. I can get most of them, and most importantly (to my way of thinking) I can name all the women. Give it a try yourself.

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« Reply #249 on: August 09, 2007, 05:22:19 PM »

The Fugitive was a tremendous television series.  They just don't make dramas like that anymore.  A while back, actually it must be more than 10 years ago, Arts & Entertainment (whatever happened to the programming on that channel?) used to show the reruns.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching them.  You're right.  It was always quite fun to see and pick out the stars that were featured in each episode.  A lot of those stars went on to bigger things, or were frequent guest stars on all  the other hour long programs of the 60's.  The Fugitive episode formula was recycled quite a bit by a lot of programs that followed in various ways.  Always liked David Jansen too.  He was always pretty terrific on television like James Garner.

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« Reply #250 on: September 05, 2007, 10:20:05 PM »

Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) 5/5 great noir hiest that goes completely wrong  Afro

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« Reply #251 on: October 20, 2007, 06:24:17 PM »

Detour - 5/5. Low key and entertaining. It doesn't try to be anything more than it isn't. What it is a low budget gem. Recommended.

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« Reply #252 on: November 29, 2007, 12:44:32 PM »

Daisy Kenyon
(dir. Otto Preminger, USA 1947)

Dangerous Crossing
(dir. Joseph Newman, USA 1953)
DVDEmpire lists these for pre-order and a release date of March 11.

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« Reply #253 on: December 02, 2007, 11:38:16 PM »

This seems like the place to post this. Terry Teachout in October at the commentarymagazine.com blog issued the following book review of the new Otto Preminger biography.

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Terry Teachout - 10.22.2007 - 11:01

• Otto Preminger? Who he? If you’re a paid-up member of the most extreme wing of the auteur theory of film criticism, which holds that directors are the golden gods of Hollywood and everyone else is chopped liver, you’re probably already bristling. Preminger is a certified darling of the auteurists, though cooler heads long ago dismissed him as a cost-conscious middlebrow with a Viennese accent whose continental demeanor and I-am-a-genius tantrums were sucker bait for impressionable rubes. Even his brother agreed. When Foster Hirsch approached Ingo Preminger about writing a biography of his more famous sibling, he got a thoroughly sensible answer: “I can see eight, nine, ten books about Bergman or Fellini, but a book about Otto? He was a very good producer and he fought important battles against censorship, but there was no great film!”

Nevertheless, Hirsch soldiered on, and the result is Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King (Knopf, 373 pp., $35), a readable book about an interesting man who made two good movies, Laura and Anatomy of a Murder, and two or three others that are still worth watching. If you think that’s sufficient cinematic achievement to justify a full-length biography, rest assured that this one will hold your attention, for Preminger’s story is fascinating from start to finish. A Polish Jew who reinvented himself as an echt-Viennese stage director, he relocated to Hollywood by way of Broadway and embarked on a career that brought him fame, fortune and a fair number of admiring reviews. A bald-headed tyrant whose larger-than-life personality made him the stuff of countless anecdotes, Preminger worked with everybody from Laurette Taylor to John Wayne, had affairs with Gypsy Rose Lee and Dorothy Dandridge, and played a half-dozen big-screen Nazis on the side, the best-remembered of whom is the sardonic commandant of Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17: “With Christmas coming on, I have a special treat for you. I’ll have you all deloused for the holidays.”

In between these well-told tales, Hirsch does all he can to persuade us that the director of Forever Amber, The Moon Is Blue, and River of No Return was something more than a highly paid hack. Not only does he call the embarrassingly elephantine Advise and Consent “the most intelligent American film about American politics…made by a maestro at the height of his command of the language of film,” but he even finds it in his forgiving heart to describe Skidoo, one of the half-dozen worst big-budget movies ever made, as “this infamous, endearing flop.” Far more telling, though, is Hirsch’s unintentionally devastating account of Preminger’s parallel career as a stage director in Austria and America, which leaves no possible doubt of his fundamental artistic unseriousness (the only plays of any importance that he directed in his 42 years in the theater were The Front Page and Johann Nestroy’s Einen Jux will er sich machen).

The truth was that Preminger cared only for commercial success, and was willing to make any compromise necessary in order to get it. Whenever he took on “serious” subject matter, he invariably watered it down so as to make it palatable to the masses, adding just enough shock value to épater le bourgeois. (It was Preminger who introduced the word “virgin” to the silver screen in The Moon Is Blue, showed Frank Sinatra shooting up in The Man with the Golden Arm, and filmed the inside of a gay bar in Advise and Consent.) Only twice did he adapt significant stage plays, Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan and Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, and both films, predictably enough, were artistic and commercial failures.

The rest was melodrama—except for Laura, the slickest and most elegant film noir ever made, and Anatomy of a Murder, a startlingly tough-minded courtroom drama in which Preminger drew on his youthful experience as a Viennese law student to show how lawyers approach the vexing problem of defending clients whose innocence they doubt. These two films are more than worth remembering, and Hirsch does well by them (though he seems curiously unaware that Alexander Woollcott was the real-life model for Waldo Lydecker, the epicene journalist-radio personality who narrates Laura).

Yet two films do not an oeuvre make, and I have a feeling that Foster Hirsch, for all his enthusiasm, suspects as much. At book’s end, he describes Otto Preminger as “a supremely fluent metteur-en-scène who made thoughtful, challenging films on a broad range of subjects that continue to matter.” Judicious appraisal—or damning with faint praise? You be the judge.

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« Reply #254 on: December 02, 2007, 11:40:04 PM »

And my response:

    Worth a read, certainly. But a quick check of the IMDB shows that TT's assessment of OP is too pat. I've not seen Anatomy of a Murder, which is probably pretty good (a Jimmy Stewart picture), but Laura is one of those films that's famous for being famous. When you actually see the thing you can't help feeling disappointed: the plot's a complete bust. The first time through, however, not knowing this, it's possible to be impressed by the movie's wit and sense of style. But once you know the ending, it's hard to return to the film with any great amount of pleasure.

    Style is what OP was all about. Of course, today Laura is considered a "film noir," and a particularly good-looking one. But it was not the only example of the, ahem, genre to come off OP's bat. Worthier films include Fallen Angel (w/ Linda Darnell and Dana Andrews), Whirlpool (Gene Tierney), Where the Sidewalk Ends (Andrews and Tierney) and Angel Face (Mitchum and Jean Simmons). What these films all have in common is that they consist of B-film material burnished to an A-level gloss. All are entertaining, and work reasonably well (Whirlpool is complete hokum); OP knew how to appeal to mainstream tastes.

    OP's later career was essentially more of the same, only instead of looking to the pulps for inspiration, he took his material from airport news stands. Hence Bonjour Tristesse, Anatomy of a Murder, and Exodus; how he avoided adapting an Alex Haley novel we'll never know. True, his aspirations weren't very high, but he knew his audience, and how to flatter it. There are exceptions, however. The last film of his career was The Human Factor, a Graham Greene novel that did have high aspirations, as did, presumably, Preminger's film. Even more interesting is the fact that OP brought out the film version of Porgy and Bess (odd that TT doesn't mention this). I've never seen the whole thing (I watched part of it at a SIFF Secret Festival screening) and it's not my thing (Gershwin opera), but there are people to whom attention must be paid who think the film is one of cinema's grails (rights issues, apparently, keep it from general distribution). Say what you will about its merits, P&B represents OP's bid for artistic sainthood. What audience did he make it for, anyway? Apparently, one not yet born.

    In the end, OP will be remembered mostly as an entertainer, a showman. But that is no small achievement. Indeed, I'd rather sit down to Fallen Angel or Where the Sidewalk Ends (even Laura) than have to again endure Touch of Evil  or The Lady from Shanghai. Welles could have benefited from a bit of Preminger's "common touch," and probably envied it.

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