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Author Topic: Film-Noir Discussion/DVD Review Thread  (Read 367807 times)
cigar joe
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« Reply #375 on: October 25, 2009, 02:04:27 PM »

How has the rest of the Columbia set?

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« Reply #376 on: October 25, 2009, 06:32:36 PM »

Right, the Columbia set.

There are 5 films in it, but I skipped the two I'd seen already (The Big Heat and 5 Against the House) and concentrated on the 3 that were new to me. Here's a quick report.

The Sniper
(1952) - 7/10. Stanley Kramer's name on the front of this red-flagged it for me, and sure enough, it turned out to be a movie with a message. I guess the message was, Psycho killers are people too. Who knew? But also they're a menace, and nobody wants this particular one on the loose, not even the sniper himself. He keeps sending the police messages hoping they'll put a stop to his compulsion to kill good-looking brunettes, but they take their time about it. When they finally nab him, though,  he's visibly upset about what he's done. A shame about the large body count. Presenting the killer sympathetically was, apparently, a way for the producer to show his good intentions. This isn't your ordinary tawdry tale of serial killings, Mr. Kramer seems to be repeatedly announcing, this is a much more high-toned affair. Oh well, the San Francisco locations are shot well, the score is quite interesting, and the lead actor isn't bad. But what's Adolphe Menjou doing in the picture--and what happened to his mustache?

The Lineup (1958) - 7/10. I watched this twice to make sure, but this was something of a disappointment. Again, great SF location work, and Don Seigel really knows how to shoot scenes, but the plot makes almost no sense at all. The characters are a lot of fun, though, especially the partners in crime, Eli Wallach and Robert Keith (Brian Keith's dad). Also the climax--a long car chase ending in a shootout--is pretty exciting.

Murder By Contract
(1958) - 8/10. Vince Edwards plays a guy who takes up contract killing because it pays better.  The film begins with a quick tour through his early, simple assignments before settling down on the one that is much more complicated and lengthy and which ultimately proves his undoing. For his final hit Edwards is given two stooges to assist him (one played by Herschel Bernardi!) and they provide a certain amount of comedy relief. There's an odd vibe running through the film--you can't tell if you are supposed to take things seriously or not--that reminded me a lot of Jim Jarmusch's approach. In fact, this film would probably make a great double bill with The Limits of Control. The LA setting is complemented by a pre-surf electric guitar score. This is one I'll definitely be watching again.

The image on the DVDs for all three of these is immaculate.

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« Reply #377 on: October 25, 2009, 07:04:55 PM »

Noir opera: http://www.santafeopera.org/tickets/production.aspx?performanceNumber=2787

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« Reply #378 on: October 25, 2009, 07:16:39 PM »

Quote
Pun-boy dies!

Jeez Jenkins, ah haf already been sentenced to a lahf wifout da wahmf of hooman cumfuht! Vy mahst you be so cold!?!

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« Reply #379 on: October 26, 2009, 07:27:27 PM »


"I see your fireworks, and raise you."


"I call!"

I need to see this movie, just for that picture alone.

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« Reply #380 on: October 27, 2009, 01:48:10 PM »

Beaver reviews the Columbia Noir Set: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDReviews47/film_noir_collection.htm

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« Reply #381 on: October 30, 2009, 03:23:56 AM »

Available on Netflix: I Wake Up Screaming (1941) a proto Noir with Betty Grable ,Victorr Mature , Carole Landis    , Laird Cregar,    William Gargan,    Alan Mowbray,    Allyn Joslyn ,  and Elisha Cook Jr.  Great cinematography almost a template for Noir films to come. Title is a bit misleading though, lol. 7/10

Great, check it out and listen with commentary also!

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« Reply #382 on: October 30, 2009, 11:45:57 AM »

Right, Eddie Muller gives great comment. They don't call him the Czar of Noir fer nothin'.

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« Reply #383 on: October 30, 2009, 04:46:43 PM »

Elisha Cook has been in every other noir ever made I think.

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« Reply #384 on: October 31, 2009, 08:21:58 AM »

Elisha Cook has been in every other noir ever made I think.
True, but he doesn't tend to be in the best ones. Detour? Not in it. Out of the Past? Not there either. Double Indemnity? Nope. Criss Cross? Uh uh. In a Lonely Place?

Need I go on?

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« Reply #385 on: November 02, 2009, 01:37:09 AM »

True, but he doesn't tend to be in the best ones. Detour? Not in it. Out of the Past? Not there either. Double Indemnity? Nope. Criss Cross? Uh uh. In a Lonely Place?

Need I go on?

The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and The Killing are awfully big titles, and certainly better than Criss Cross (which I like) and Detour (which I really enjoy).

It was just a silly observation but when I think of noir supporting players, Cook is the first name that comes to mind. I think his casting in Wenders' Hammett supports my case.

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« Reply #386 on: November 02, 2009, 03:01:24 PM »

The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and The Killing are awfully big titles, and certainly better than Criss Cross (which I like) and Detour (which I really enjoy).

It was just a silly observation but when I think of noir supporting players, Cook is the first name that comes to mind. I think his casting in Wenders' Hammett supports my case.
Urm . . . it's Wenders worst movie, though, dontcha think? Cheesy

Yes, of course your comment was silly, and my response was intended in the same vein. Cook is in a lot of noirs, and you're right, his name quickly comes to mind when thinking of supporting parts. Still, he's not in any of my absolute top faves, although I enjoy him when I see him (my favorite role of his is as Lawrence Tierney's erstwhile sidekick in Born to Kill).

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« Reply #387 on: November 03, 2009, 08:40:11 AM »

Urm . . . it's Wenders worst movie, though, dontcha think? Cheesy

Yes, of course your comment was silly, and my response was intended in the same vein. Cook is in a lot of noirs, and you're right, his name quickly comes to mind when thinking of supporting parts. Still, he's not in any of my absolute top faves, although I enjoy him when I see him (my favorite role of his is as Lawrence Tierney's erstwhile sidekick in Born to Kill).

I haven't seen enough to say if it's his worst. I'll say this: It's no Chinatown.

That's probably his best role, performance wise, I agree.

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« Reply #388 on: November 04, 2009, 11:56:54 AM »


Young Man with a Horn (1950)

Some sort of biopic-noir-musical-drama crossbreed, with romance, both classic and lesbian, and a few other things. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall and Doris Day, about the life of the American jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke. I don't care for jazz music much but I think it's pretty safe to say this is only a mediocre experiment. The first half of the movie is somewhat interesting but you can easily tell it'll go nowhere, the second half gets buried beneath its uneventfulness. Kirk Douglas was OK; but I had the feeling I saw those happy smiling faces of his somewhere before. I even dare to say both Lauren Bacall and Doris Day (!) were better.

Probably more interesting for jazz music lovers. Though I wouldn't count on it.


5/10

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« Reply #389 on: November 06, 2009, 04:26:07 PM »

In the same vein I saw the other day

Blues In The Night (1941)
About members of a traveling jazz band trying to keep their leader from drinking himself to death.
Cast: Priscilla Lane, Betty Field, Richard Whorf, Lloyd Nolan Dir: Anatole Litvak, wasn't bad but wasn't outstanding either.

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