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Author Topic: Film-Noir Discussion/DVD Review Thread  (Read 366189 times)
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« Reply #675 on: March 02, 2011, 05:38:03 AM »

The Locket (1946)- 8/10 Got this for Mitchum, but as it turns out, he isn't in all that much of it. No matter, the film is terrific. It has a wacky flashback within a flashback within a flashback structure that somebody like the Coens could have a lot of fun with. But the central performance, by Laraine Day, is a wonder to behold. I've never really liked her--although the only other role of hers I know is as the love interest in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent--but here she's just right as an apparent good girl who's actually a twisted schemer. As such, she joins the ranks of others of her ilk: Jane Greer in Out of the Past, Joan Fontaine in Born to be Bad, Olivia de Havilland in The Dark Mirror. I find this presentation of the femme fatale more interesting than the more obvious efforts supplied by the likes of Marie Windsor or Barbara Stanwyck, good as they are. Anyway, it's really a treat to watch Laraine Day lie, lie, lie and send a series of men to their destruction. Isn't that the very essence of so-called film noir? Too bad the film loses its nerve at the end and goes for an implausible happy ending. Up to that point, the film is hard edged and clean.

SPOILERS

Laraine Day is indeed awesome in her role, but I had a bit of a problem with all that psychoanalysis stuff: it felt cheap to me. No, I have not read any Freud, but I have a feeling that the filmmakers haven't read anything either except Reader's Digest. The idea of a trauma in her childhood is a good one but the psychoanalysis stuff is rubbed in the audience's face way too much. What kept the movie interesting for me was the flashback within a flashback within a flashback structure which is great, and the movie couldn't be told in any other way. (The only other film, that I know of, to use this technique is Passage to Marseille.) The story works as it is BUT there's always, right until the last five minutes, the possibility that it is all made up by the Doc (played by Brian Aherne). Imagine how sick that would be! But anyway, there's an equally great twist even now: she is marrying her playmate's brother! Didn't see that one coming.

No more than 7/10 from me, though. That's because of the overdone freudism and often uninspired visual storytelling (though there are highlights, too).

I don't quite see what Jenkins means by "an implausible happy ending". She's regressed to infantile level, and it's dubious if she can ever recover. And it's left open wether her (latest) husband will stand by her side or not. Note also the linkage to the ending of Notorious: the same door! Reading A: in both films a sick (femail) main character is escorted out of it. Reading B: the door is used as a way to a bittersweet punishment - both, Nancy of The Locket and Alexander Sebastian of Notorious, go through that door to face their destiny, unavoidable retribution for their crimes: death for Sebastian and presumably some kind of an asylum for Nancy. One bastard goes in and another comes out.

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« Reply #676 on: March 02, 2011, 02:32:03 PM »


I don't quite see what Jenkins means by "an implausible happy ending". She's regressed to infantile level, and it's dubious if she can ever recover. And it's left open wether her (latest) husband will stand by her side or not.
In a Hollywood film of the period, if you don't receive summary execution, you are meant to recover. And it's pretty clear, to me anyway, that sucker #4 is going to stand by her.

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« Reply #677 on: March 02, 2011, 02:58:59 PM »

Odd Man Out (1947) - 8/10

Oh my, James Mason is beautiful in this! And he looks even better when suffering. And the athmosphere... perfect noirness.

I loved all those weird supporting characters - they aren't seen in movies lately. But they were somehow there in the French poetic realist films too. It's very close to those.

One thing that keeps it from 10: the ending could have been more dramatic if we'd actually see them on the ground from closer.

That's a pretty cool film.

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« Reply #678 on: March 02, 2011, 03:24:43 PM »

In a Hollywood film of the period, if you don't receive summary execution, you are meant to recover. And it's pretty clear, to me anyway, that sucker #4 is going to stand by her.
To me it appeared that she was as much a lost case as, say, Norman Bates at the end of Psycho or Norma Desmond at the end of Sunset Blvd. And anyway, even if the sucker #4 is going to stand by her, I wouldn't call that a downright happy ending...

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« Reply #679 on: March 03, 2011, 08:42:14 AM »

To me it appeared that she was as much a lost case as, say, Norman Bates at the end of Psycho or Norma Desmond at the end of Sunset Blvd.
But those are later films, and trailblazers to boot. The fact that her husband-to-be is going to stick means she is redeemable, and therefore, since the husband is such a swell guy, his devotion won't be going for nothing.

In other noir news: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcompare/rififi.htm

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« Reply #680 on: March 04, 2011, 09:57:37 PM »

The Set-Up (1949) Director Robert Wise, with Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias,  Alan Baxter, and Wallace Ford. Great little boxing Film Noir with a lot and I mean of atmosphere. Robert Ryan, aging fighter, who has a room in the "Cozy Hotel" with his girl Audrey Totter, goes up against a young opponent with underworld connections, his manager doesn't tell him that he supposed to take a dive, for $50 bucks no less (hey, a hamburger and two beers tab came to $1.16 including the tax, lol). He finally finds this out during the fight but he was not going give up and beats the kid. Repercussions come.

The cinematography is outstanding we get are a lot of nice beautifully lit and composed facial closeups and boxing action with a juxtaposition of great 5 to 10 second cutaway vignettes of various members of the fight audience reactions that provide a wonderful cross section of humanity. Another 10/10 for me.  Afro


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« Reply #681 on: March 06, 2011, 10:53:00 AM »

The Set-Up (1949) The cinematography is outstanding we get are a lot of nice beautifully lit and composed facial closeups and boxing action with a juxtaposition of great 5 to 10 second cutaway vignettes of various members of the fight audience reactions that provide a wonderful cross section of humanity. Another 10/10 for me.  Afro
Amen. Afro

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« Reply #682 on: March 08, 2011, 11:52:21 AM »

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film3/dvd_reviews53/rope_of_sand.htm

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« Reply #683 on: March 08, 2011, 02:51:45 PM »


looks cool

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« Reply #684 on: March 12, 2011, 04:59:36 PM »

The Street with No Name (1948) dir. William Keighley, Writer: Harry Kleiner (screenplay) starring: Mark Stevens, Richard Widmark, John McIntire, Ed Begley, and Lloyd Nolan, This is one of the police procedural Noirs with some great location work around LA. Widmark is a sneering hypochondriac villain who runs a  boxing gym, HQ for a gang the police are wanting to put out of business. They send undercover FBI agent Stevens into a dive neighborhood of arcade parlors and cheap flea bit hotels to infiltrate the gang and get the goods on Widmark, Nolan is the FBI agent in charge McIntire his undercover contact to Nolan. Barbara Lawrence is the very cute girlfriend of Widmark. 7/10.

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« Reply #685 on: March 12, 2011, 05:18:10 PM »

[Widmark is given  a sneering hypochondriac villain who runs a  boxing gym as a front for a gang

Why should a gang need a front? And a boxing gym at that? Shocked

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« Reply #686 on: March 13, 2011, 04:02:47 AM »

Maybe "front" is the wrong word, say it was their headquarters Afro. Sort of like Max, Fat Moe's & Noodles Nightclub, or the "Bada Bing" in The Sopranos.

PS I edited it to make it clear.

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« Reply #687 on: March 13, 2011, 11:04:02 AM »

Barbara Lawrence is very cute.
Now you're talking! Afro

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« Reply #688 on: March 13, 2011, 04:21:22 PM »

Hell's Island (1955) - 5/10. Another John Payne/Phil Karlson collaboration, but much less successful than previous efforts. Payne plays a schlub being played, first by a gem smuggler who wants a ruby, then by an old girlfriend (Mary Murphy) who wants her husband rescued from a penal island. Or so she claims. Murphy is kind of fun to watch as she lies, lies, lies to sucker Payne. Of course he finally wises up, but then there goes much of the entertainment. This film piles on the cliches--the villain even has a pond where he keeps alligators. There a few neat touches--a man at a cockfight is killed with a metal spur, for example--but production values are poor, the story is formulaic, and everybody (especially Payne) overacts. For Karlson completists only.

Continued discussion here........: http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg148815#msg148815

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« Reply #689 on: March 13, 2011, 10:39:48 PM »

The Set-Up (1949) Director Robert Wise, with Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias,  Alan Baxter, and Wallace Ford. Great little boxing Film Noir with a lot and I mean of atmosphere. Robert Ryan, aging fighter, who has a room in the "Cozy Hotel" with his girl Audrey Totter, goes up against a young opponent with underworld connections, his manager doesn't tell him that he supposed to take a dive, for $50 bucks no less (hey, a hamburger and two beers tab came to $1.16 including the tax, lol). He finally finds this out during the fight but he was not going give up and beats the kid. Repercussions come.

The cinematography is outstanding we get are a lot of nice beautifully lit and composed facial closeups and boxing action with a juxtaposition of great 5 to 10 second cutaway vignettes of various members of the fight audience reactions that provide a wonderful cross section of humanity. Another 10/10 for me.  Afro

Yeah, The Set-Up is a masterpiece. Easily Ryan's best performance (which is saying something), and probably Wise's best film too.

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