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Author Topic: Film-Noir Discussion/DVD Review Thread  (Read 366842 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #645 on: February 02, 2011, 12:16:38 PM »

Glenn Erickson has a thorough write-up on this release:
http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s3425prow.html

Here's his take on the extras:
Quote
VCI's The Prowler has been given the DVD special edition treatment we wish ALL of our favorites would receive. The restored and remastered feature transfer is flawless, thanks to the work of the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the close attention of The Film Noir Foundation, which collected some of the donations that helped make the restoration possible.

The Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode make the extras both entertaining and highly informative. Author and expert Muller carries the full audio commentary track, serving up the benefit of his research and wisdom on the making of the film and its relationship to the blacklist years. He also gives the film's text and visuals a fine combing, examining the specific choice of words in Dalton Trumbo's screenplay. Gilvray's home is described as a "hacienda", to make it seem even more of a prize to Webb Garwood, the outsider looking in. It's one of Muller's better commentaries, and he's recorded many.

The docu featurette The Cost of Living: Creating The Prowler is the place to begin, after seeing the film, of course. Aided by Trumbo's late son Christopher Trumbo, Denise Hamilton and author James Ellroy, Alan Rode takes us deep into The Prowler, painting vibrant pictures of the appealing Evelyn Keyes, the underrated Van Heflin and the shifty producer Sam Spiegel, who pocketed the crew donations for the wrap party. Rode and Muller bring forth much of the film's fascinating factual background, including Dalton Trumbo's resorting to threats to get his pay for the script. Denise Hamilton digs into the film's strong characters, especially Susan, one of the most believably rounded women in film noir. The occasionally profane James Ellroy explores the film's ripe sleaze factor. Now a serious L.A.P.D. apologist, Ellroy distances Webb's crooked cop from the local force. He reminds us that the city is nowhere identified, but it is obviously Los Angeles. When Ellroy identifies himself as once having been a voyeur "perv" like Garwood, he's referring to events recounted in his autobiographical novel, My Dark Places. As a homeless young adult Ellroy stalked Hancock Park, sneaking into yards to peek through windows. When he tells us that he has a personal connection to The Prowler, he isn't kidding.
 
The academic heavy lifting for The Prowler is performed by French director and film historian Bertrand Tavernier, in an interview featurette Masterpiece in the Margins. When Tavernier talks about subtext, it doesn't come off as graduate school doubletalk. I refer to Joseph Losey's use of contrasting locations as "schematic", but this man can describe the film's landscape as "metaphysical" with confidence. It's true: when Losey's moves his urban murder drama to the desert, the story seems to enter a separate, almost surreal dimension.

The disc's featurette On the Prowl: Restoring the Prowler gives us a full picture of the effort and process by which The Prowler came to be reborn. UCLA Archive restorers go on camera both at their facilities and at the film's re-premiere at the American Cinematheque. "The paperwork and the actual film had become separated" and for all practical purposes The Prowler was a lost feature. An original 35mm element was offered to UCLA by the lab where it had been abandoned, long ago. With backing from the Film Noir Foundation, UCLA was able to finesse a beautiful restoration. We also see clips from other UCLA-restored noirs like Pitfall and work-in-progress on Cry Danger!, a terrific tough-guy noir that may have become legally unglued from RKO. We don't see anything of Try and Get Me!, rumored to be a future focus of The Film Noir Foundation.
 
The package rounds off with a close look at the film's provocative pressbook and an original trailer in good shape. That's a fairly rare item considering that United Artists kept so few of its trailers from the early 1950s.

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« Reply #646 on: February 02, 2011, 03:17:55 PM »

I Married A Communist - 1949

6.5/10

A mediocre noir with some hilarously scenery-chewing baddies but it also had a young Robert Ryan (the reason I watched it) in a good guy role, wow.  Grin I kinda ROFL'd at the scenes of the Blonde Demon. She was such a typical femme fatale it hurt. And the fat baddie looked like an old retired politician of my country (who was quite a clown). But the ending was  Cry.

I would've totally put Peter Lorre as some Commie minion in this. No noir is complete without Peter Lorre.  Wink

« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 07:46:27 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #647 on: February 02, 2011, 03:55:40 PM »

Hmmm, maybe it's time to reprise this bit of boffo scholarship ["Thank you, Mr. Jenkins." "No, Dave, thank you!"]:

Detour (Ulmer, 1945) is rightly considered one of the greatest of films noir. It contains the essential elements of noir: bizarre circumstances, a feckless hero crossing from light into darkness, a femme fatale. The film was also made quickly and for little money, lending an appropriate air of crudeness to the proceedings. This crudeness serves to camouflage, if some are to be believed, a work of considerable sophistication.
Thank you for that Afro I see your point but I didn't find the movie especially good.

Detour (1945) - 6.5/10

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« Reply #648 on: February 02, 2011, 05:27:34 PM »

Thank you for that Afro I see your point but I didn't find the movie especially good.

Oh, don't worry. That's only because you trust your own brain and not someone else's.  

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #649 on: February 04, 2011, 11:56:05 AM »

Screen caps: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film3/dvd_reviews53/the_prowler.htm

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« Reply #650 on: February 04, 2011, 03:08:38 PM »

This is kinda fun: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00y2xn6/Afternoon_Play_Double_Jeopardy

Listen quick, I think it's only available for a week.

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« Reply #651 on: February 04, 2011, 07:47:43 PM »

Crime Wave (1954) Holy shit! One of the best Noir's yet by Director: André De Toth with a stellar cast, Sterling Hayden    
Gene Nelson, Phyllis Kirk, Ted de Corsia, Charles Bronson, Jay Novello, Nedrick Young, James Bell, and  Dub Taylor , with outstandingly excellent location cinematography in LA.

Another ex con slub, Gene Nelson, is caught in the middle between Ted de Corsia's smarmy cigarette holder smoking gang leader and Sterling Hayden's tough homicide cop. 10/10

SEE THIS ONE  Afro Afro Afro

« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 07:58:08 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #652 on: February 05, 2011, 03:27:05 PM »

The Killers (1946) Better than Criss-Cross, so I give it 8\10. Visually it is astounding:  it has a crisp surface which doesn't belie the fact that (except for the factory scene) it is all shot in a studio. I don't think there is a single shot which is not visually attractive. Plotwise it has some faults, especially in the finale (those dying people on the stairs!, the Gardner's pleading for some useless words that would supposedly save her and so on. But you do not get aware of them until you see the remake:

continued here......: http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg148608#msg148608


The Killers (1964) I saw it first in the early 70's (but probably I'm wrong there, it seems that this got a circulation visa in 1978. The dubbing though seems like it was done in the '60's. I'm curious about the vicissitudes of the movie in Italy) in a cinema and was amazed. I saw it again twice on tv and was amazed again. Today I watched it again on a big screen (but, alas, the italian dvd is fullscreen) and, again, this is still one of my favourite movies. Still I give it only a 9\10 because I don't like Cassavetes, especially in the beginning (his grins while driving are ridiculous) though I like him when he discovers the truth. And I don't like Gulager, who tries his best to portray a nevrotic individual besieged by tics and with sudden violence eruptions but who, to me, looks rather nerdy, especially as he mostly seen shoulder to shoulder with the real thing. I also think that the racing sequence is too long).  

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« Reply #653 on: February 06, 2011, 09:25:03 AM »

I agree with Joe on Crime WaveAfro Excellent film.

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« Reply #654 on: February 06, 2011, 04:16:53 PM »

I've got a question that cropped up from watching Crime Wave, I've seen a lot of Hollywood films where some one drives up in a car to a location and the headlights are not on, WTF is up with that was there a problem with the headlights reflecting in the camera lens, or just sloppy film making?

Now in Crime Wave there is no problem shooting cars driving around with the lights on, it looked amazing, anybody know?

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« Reply #655 on: February 07, 2011, 10:40:09 AM »

You're talking about headlights at night? Or headlights in the day (or day-for-night)? If it's the latter, it might be due to sloppy filmmaking. If it's the former, it may be due to optics. Full-on headlights will cause lens flare that film can't help reading. I'm just taking a stab at what you're talking about, because I'm not sure to what you are referring. Do you have a particular example (besides Crime Wave) you can point to?

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« Reply #656 on: February 07, 2011, 04:56:29 PM »

You're talking about headlights at night? Or headlights in the day (or day-for-night)? If it's the latter, it might be due to sloppy filmmaking. If it's the former, it may be due to optics. Full-on headlights will cause lens flare that film can't help reading. I'm just taking a stab at what you're talking about, because I'm not sure to what you are referring. Do you have a particular example (besides Crime Wave) you can point to?

Yea, headlights on cars trucks in night shots that should normally be on, I'm leaning towards sloppy filmmaking.

"Do you have a particular example"

Not at the moment, but I'll start to note the ones I see.

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« Reply #657 on: February 07, 2011, 05:09:10 PM »

Decoy (1946) dir by Jack Bernhard on a double disc with "Crime Wave" a pretty ridiculous Noir revolving around bringing the dead back to life to find out where he hid the loot Jean Gillie plays the over the top  femme fatale with Edward Norris,
Robert Armstrong, Herbert Rudley, and Sheldon Leonard. 5/10

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« Reply #658 on: February 08, 2011, 03:35:01 PM »

Decoy (1946) dir by Jack Bernhard on a double disc with "Crime Wave" a pretty ridiculous Noir revolving around bringing the dead back to life to find out where he hid the loot Jean Gillie plays the over the top  femme fatale with Edward Norris,
Robert Armstrong, Herbert Rudley, and Sheldon Leonard. 5/10

I love, love, love this movie but it certainly is ridiculous - which is why it's a favorite of mine. imo it's a camp classic and I love the sci-fi angle. I can't think of anything like it.


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« Reply #659 on: February 08, 2011, 04:35:39 PM »

I love, love, love this movie but it certainly is ridiculous - which is why it's a favorite of mine. imo it's a camp classic and I love the sci-fi angle. I can't think of anything like it.



Yea, Sheldon Leonard camps it up pretty well I'll admit.

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