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Topics - cigar joe

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16
Off-Topic Discussion / Tread Softly Stranger (1958) Brit Noir
« on: July 04, 2020, 05:53:58 PM »
Directed by Gordon Parry written by Jack Popplewell and Denis O'Dell (based on the play by George Minter) Starring Diana Dors, George Baker, Terence Morgan. Interesting little Noir showcasing Dors as the femme fatale to two brothers Dave and Johnny Mancell. Johnny was played by George Baker you may be familiar with from I, Claudius, he played Tiberius.

I think the opening sequence of this film may have been homaged in Get Carter

There are some humorous visual metaphors and Dors seems to constantly about to fall out of her dress/tops, only the friction between her boobs and the fabric miraculously seems to keep the film PG.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ldoe-K9CTYU

17
Off-Topic Discussion / The Macamober Affair (1947)
« on: May 28, 2020, 06:25:02 PM »


One of those sun baked, desert or tropical based Film Soleil Noirs. 7/10

This one leaves it up in the air at the end as to the outcome.  Joan Bennett and her husband Preston Foster are on safari with guide Gregory Peck  in Nairobi.  They are in a sort of estranged relationship. Hints of some type of  infidelity are implied.  Foster hopes the trip will revitalize their marriage.  Instead of regaining his manhood  he displays his weenie-ness when he throws away his rifle and runs  when the lion he wounded charges out of the brush. Back at the camp, Foster takes out his humiliation on the native crew. Its bad form, very bad form.   All that is witnessed by Bennett who is turned on to Peck.

Eventually Foster shows hes got a pair and is able to shoot an antelope, he also is ready to give Bennett he walking papers. Bennett realizes shes gonna loose her sugar daddy.   Foster next shoots a couple of buffalo. One is only wounded and the same scenario with the lion plays out. They have to go in to dispatch it. When the buffalo rears up and charges  both Foster and Peck shoot at it along with Bennett but instead of hitting the buffalo she shoots Foster in the back of the head.  Was it an accident or deliberate.?  Peck fills out a report that it was an accident, but questions Bennett who admits that in her heart she wanted to kill him. The film ends with her walking to the coroners inquiry.

18
Off-Topic Discussion / The Human Jungle (1954) Cop Shop Noir
« on: May 22, 2020, 05:44:10 AM »


I love it when I find a diamond in the rough.

The director Joseph M. Newman didn't readily ring any bells so looked him.up. Newman is responsible for 711 Ocean Drive, and a recent discovery Death in Small Doses. Both pretty good Noirs. He also directed the studio bound Dangerous Crossing and later some twilight Zone episodes. The cinematographer Ellis W. Carter did a couple of Noirs I've never heard of Big Town After Dark and Waterfront at Midnight. The well polished screenplay was by Daniel Fuchs and William Sackheim.

Fuchs has a pretty good pedigree in noir responsible for The Gangster, Hollow Triumph, Criss Cross, Panic in the Streets and Storm Warning. Sackheim adapted 3D Noir Man in the Dark.  The music was by Hans J. Salter.

So who starred in it?, is probably your next question. Garry Merrill he really impressed me with his portrayal of wise ass hood Tommy Scalisi opposite Dana Andrews in Where The Sidewalk Ends.

He didn't have to go over the top like Widmark doing that other Tommy, "have a nice trip down the stairs Mrs. Rizzo," Tommy Udo. Merrill sold Scalisi with his cool delivery and his stance. He sold it and you bought it. What Merrill does here is portraying his range. He's equally believable to me as a smart hard as nails police reformer Police Capt. John Danforth. Then watch his broken on the wagon wino in the Transitional Noir The Incident.

What also makes you wonder why The Human Jungle isn't more well known is the equally exceptional performances of rest of the cast.

Jan Sterling plays a stripper/hooker Mary Abbott, I've never seen her look better and she was a veteran of seven noirs prior to this role (she is also in The Incident). Regis Toomey fits the part of Det. Bob Geddes like putting on an old pair of comfortable slippers.

Chuck Connors really sines as meathead, gang muscle Earl Swados. Then you have, perennially popping up as a cop, Emile Meyer as Police Chief Abe Rowan and the equally adept James Westerfield as Police Capt. Marty Harrison.

Claude Akins is the mob connected owner of the Hutch, George Mandy.  The rest of the cast just add to the realism. Lamont Johnson as Det. Lannigan is great and looks amazingly like Tom Hanks, Patrick Waltz as Det. Strauss, Paula Raymond as Pat Danforth, Gary Merrill's wife. The rest, George Wallace as Det. O'Neill, Chubby Johnson as Greenie and, Florenz Ames as Leonard Ustick are equally believable.

Its a well executed film from Allied Artists, and when you're not expecting too much going into it you get a pleasant surprise with what was achieved.

The story is more about cleaning up a troublesome police precinct than solving the crime of who bludgeoned the floozy in the alley. The atmosphere of a lackadaisical precinct full of cops who don't give a shit is well executed. An old New York Times review from 1954 mentions that the film was full of "generally unfamiliar faces." It's full of faces that subsequently became quite famous and familiar on TV.

An anonymous  New York Times review at the time, goes on to say that "Unfortunately, the color of this hard-bitten canvas surpasses its substance. Mr. Merrill's campaign is valiant but predictable, hinging on the inevitable platinum blond cutie, excellently played, as usual, by Jan Sterling."

This just goes to say that back in the day (the 50s) they were churning out these cops and criminal features like they were going out of style. From 1949 to 1954 they produced 52 in '49, 57 during high water mark  '50, 39 in 51 then 26, 21, and back up to 26 in 1954. That's 221 Crime features a lot of the great Film Noir. It's easy to see how this gets lost in the shuffle.

The Times also went on to say "And Emile Meyer, Regis Toomey, Chuck Connors and most of the other supporting roles are expertly ticked off."Sounds like he's writing a four star review. He goes on "Furthermore, for once we get a rather unorthodox fa?ade for evil in Florenz Ames' chilling milquetoast."

I think the final lines display a somewhat jaded attitude "Alas, none of them, including Mr. Merrill's hero, is particularly intriguing. For all the picturesque puttering and sputtering, "The Human Jungle" lodges unimportantly somewhere between "The Asphalt Jungle" and "Detective Story.""  Its important now because of the new interest in Films Noir, and sitting between The Asphalt Jungle and Detective Story ain't to shabby a spot, don't ya think?

It's not so much about solving a crime as it is about the change in the characters getting there. From Allied Artist originally Monogram Pictures. Its a bit studio bound and could have used more location shots. 8/10

19
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly / GBU trivia
« on: May 08, 2020, 01:12:46 PM »
Who is this man and how his he important to The Good The Bad and The Ugly


20
Other Films / The Naked Dawn (1955)
« on: April 15, 2020, 04:29:58 AM »
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer with stars, Arthur Kennedy, Betta St. John, Eugene Iglesias. Spannish guitar soundtrack. Mexican set 1950s Western with Kennedy as Santiago a bandit who robs rail yard boxcars with a partner who gets shot and dies on the trail. Santiago stashes the loot. He next meets a senorita at a water hole then her husband a poor honest farmer. He pays the husband to drive him to Matamoros, where on the way he picks up the boxes of loot which contain watches. He sells then to a crooked border agent (who alerted Santiago about the cargo in the boxcar) who tries to stiff him for his dead partners share of the money. When Santiago complains the agent pulls a gun. Santiago manages to get it away from him then with the farmer helping, he puts a rope around the agents neck throws it over a beam and ties the other end to the safe leg demanding the combination.

It plays like one of those John Wayne "Mesquiteers - Stoney Brooke" type Westerns where you got a mix of old West and modern stuff.

Its interesting and amusing enough to keep your interest, Kennedy is hilarious as a Mexican . 6/10

On Youtube BTW

21
General Discussion / Awaiting Approval
« on: March 05, 2020, 01:49:59 PM »
Wow we got 3817 members awaiting approval

22
General Discussion / MOVED: Happy New Year!
« on: December 31, 2019, 04:15:57 PM »
This topic has been moved to [Off Topic].


24
Off-Topic Discussion / Motherless Brooklyn (2019)
« on: November 02, 2019, 03:34:20 PM »
Wow this one was very impressive reminded me of a New York version of Chinatown it was very film noir- ish. Impressive cast also. 9/10

25
Off-Topic Discussion / PHENAKISTOSCOPE
« on: October 15, 2019, 11:46:39 AM »

26
Off-Topic Discussion / Poodle Springs (1989)
« on: September 11, 2019, 05:26:02 PM »
Previous comments:

Quote from: dave jenkins on April 09, 2017, 06:31:39 PM

Poodle Springs (1998) - 6/10. James Caan as Marlowe. Lame TV-like production, but with some features of interest.
link is dead.

Quote from: titoli in response from a review on March 23, 2011, 12:30:26 AM

Poodle Springs (1998) There is the famous anecdote about the people filming The Big Sleep about not knowing who had killed a secondary character of the story and Chandler, asked by them about it, didn't remember either. Well, I don't know what poor Leigh Brackett and Howard Hawks could have made if they had to transpose this for the screen. I mean, I haven't read the novel (and I never intended to, out of respect for Chandler) but if I assume (as jenkins is wont to) that Rafelson simplified the story once he brought it on the screen I can't imagine what the original novel (a development on the first 6 chapters left by Chandler) by Robert B. Parker was like.  But that is not the question because that is not why people, I think, read P.I. novels. You read Agatha Christie for the plot, you read Chandler or Spillane or even Stout for the characters, the dialogues, the city descriptions. Here the dialogues are standard, nothing memorable. Characters are standard and forgettable as well. The final explication and shooting are embarrassing. And, most of all, James Caan does nothing to sympathize with his character: and he looks old, older than Mitchum in his own Marlowe movies. I think Caan could have made a good (don't know how good) Mike Hammer in the '70's or even the '80's. But his Marlowe at 58 sucks. I think the best Marlowe, or at least the one that suits better my idea of him, is James Garner's, even though The Little Sister is not the best movie of the series. 6\10


I've always heard negative things about Poodle Springs. Even some from SLWB members (see above), So I avoided both novel and film.....

Its bullshit... the negative comments. This film is a great addition to the Philip Marlowe detective film "universe." I like it better than Altman's unconventional The Long Goodbye.

Poodle Springs was the novel started by Raymond Chandler that was unfinished at the time of his death. He knocked out the first handful of chapters before kicking the bucket. I'm sure he had some type of outline also. It was eventually completed by Robert B. Parker. I've heard that some Chandler fans even refused to read it out "respect" for Raymond Candler (see above). It was the Chandler estate that requested that Parker, a Chandler enthusiast, finish the last Philip Marlowe novel.

Directed by Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces (1970), Black Widow (1987), and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)). Excellent cinematography was by Stuart Dryburgh, and and beautiful score by Michael Small. The teleplay (it is an HBO film BTW) was written by Tom Stoppard based on the aforementioned book by Robert B. Parker and Raymond Chandler. Stoppard made some changes that work very well. He advanced the time period 3-4 years setting the tale within 19 days between November 3 and November 22 1963 the day of the Kennedy assassination, and that ending date could very well be called the end of what some like to think of as the conservative old school 50's and the dawning of the "Age of Aquarius."

The film stars James Caan (Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), The Godfather (1972), Cinderella Liberty (1973), Dick Tracy (1990)) as Philip Marlowe, Dina Meyer as Laura Parker-Marlowe

David Keith (The Two Jakes (1990)) as Larry Victor/Charles Nichols. Joe Don Baker (Charley Varrick (1973)) as P.J. Parker, Tom Bower (River's Edge (1986), The Killer Inside Me (2010)) as Lt. Arnie Burns, Julia Campbell as Miriam "Muffy" Blackstone-Nichols, Brian Cox as Clayton Blackstone, Nia Peeples as Angel, La Joy Far as Lola Faithful, Sam Vlahos (Powwow Highway (1989), Lone Star (1996)), as Eddie Garcia, and Mo Gallini as J.D.

BTW Poodle Springs is of course fictitious. a spoof on Palm Springs but located way farther East and North, somewhere between Baker and Las Vegas and roughly two miles from the California/Nevada border.

The Story

First day back from his honeymoon Marlowe is lured to a crime scene by a phoney call from a radio phone from Paul Krauss another P.I. asking for some help on a stakeout down in San Pedro, berth 60.

He tell's Marlowe that he's driving a fire engine red '62 Ford Thunderbird convertible. Marlowe hears two shots over the phone. He calls his pal Detective Lieutenant Arnie Burns on LAPD and reports a possible homicide. Marlowe hops in his 1957 Plymouth Plaza gets to the waterfront finds the red rag top.

Inside the car is Krauss. Inside his head is a slug. He's looking through Krauss' wallet and notebook when Burns shows up. Marlowe tells him the story. The homicide squad arrives and starts investigating.

Marlowe: Hey you find the other slug?
LAPD Detective: There's just one entry.
Marlowe: You sure?
LAPD Captain: Something troubling you Marlowe?
Marlowe: Yea there were two shots.
LAPD Captain: Tell me again how you know?
Marlowe: I was counting...

Marlowe is arrested when the cops tell him Krauss couldn't have made the call. All radio calls go through an operator and the last call Krauss made was last night.

Marlowe immediately finds out how strong political pull really is when he's suddenly released when some brass on the LAPD finds out he's P.J. Parker's son-in-law. However once the brass splits his buddy Arnie, who doesn't want anybody to think he rolled over for P.J. Parker, has Marlowe handcuffed again and still sent to a holding cell until his wife and her law partners get him out.

From the name and address he found in Krauss' notebook Marlowe checks out a photographer named Larry Victor. He's not in his office so Marlowe jimmy's the lock on the back door and snoops around. He doesn't get far. Larry Victor come in through the back door of his office.

Larry Victor: Any idea what breaking and entering can get you?
Marlowe: One to five in Soledad...

Marlowe questions Larry after identifying himself as a private eye. Larry tells him that he doesn't know why his name was in Krauss' address notebook. Larry gets a phone call and Marlowe splits. But he circles around the hall and sneaks back in through the front door to listen to the conversation. He finds out that Victor is going to meet someone at Sam's Hof Brau at 9:00PM.

Continued....

27
Other Films / The Grey Fox (1982)
« on: August 24, 2019, 09:21:09 PM »
Director: Phillip Borsos. Writer: John Hunter,  Cinematography by
Frank Tidy, Music by Michael Conway Baker. Filmed in British Columbia and Washington State.

Stars: Richard Farnsworth, Jackie Burroughs, Ken Pogue,

Needs it's own discussion page and a place on the American Western list.  Just caught the first 15 minutes on a re-watch until my internet connection crapped out, will watch the rest and put my thoughts down here. I haven't seen it in quite a while.

Well I think it's a chromecast problem. I got to the halfway point then it got tiresome. Shut it off. A pretty good Western, in the McCabe & Mrs. Miller vein. 

28
Other Films / The Long Rope (1961)
« on: July 27, 2019, 03:16:45 PM »
Director: William Witney, Writer: Robert Hamner, starring Hugh Marlowe, Alan Hale Jr., Robert J. Wilke. A Mexican is framed for the murder of Wilke's brother, Marlowe is the judge, Hale is the sheriff. 5/10 a good reason why Spaghetti Westerns became so popular.

29
Off-Topic Discussion / Albert Finney
« on: February 08, 2019, 10:43:27 AM »
R.I.P. Tom Jones

30
Off-Topic Discussion / Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)
« on: January 11, 2019, 04:24:59 AM »


A Paramount Noir so don't hold your breath TCM fans. Directed by John Farrow (The Big Clock (1948), Alias Nick Beal (1949), and Where Danger Lives (1950)). The screenplay was by Barré Lyndon and Jonathan Latimer. Based on the novel of the same name by Cornell Woolrich.

The Music was by Victor Young and the Cinematography was by John F. Seitz who lensed This Gun for Hire (1942), Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), The Big Clock (1948), Appointment with Danger (1950), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and others.

Stars: Edward G. Robinson as John Triton 'The Mental Wizard', Gail Russell as Jean Courtland, John Lund as Elliott Carson, Virginia Bruce as Jenny Courtland, William Demarest as Lt. Shawn, Richard Webb as Peter Vinson, Jerome Cowan as Whitney Courtland.


The Cornell Woolrich book was a real slog. To make it simple I'll use the film characters names and delineate the books action in italics and the film in regular type.

An off duty police detective taking a walk along Riverside Drive in Washington Heights he finds some gloves then an expensive cigarette case, then another item following them, like bread crumbs he follows the trail onto the George Washington Bridge where he gets to a young woman Jean Courtland who is contemplating committing suicide. He reaches her just as she is about to leap. When he saves her she is delirious and complaining about the stars watching her.

He takes her to a cafe where she tells her story.



The film begins dramatically with a shot of a Southern Pacific steam locomotive switch engine roaring through a rail yard. Jean Courtland's boyfriend Elliott Carson gets out of his convertible, he looks about. As he searches around, he firsts finds a pair of Jean's gloves, between some rails, continuing he next finds the contents of her purse including a cigarette case strewn about a stretch of tracks. Looking about he spots Jean climbing a spiral staircase that leads to a signal maintenance bridge across the tracks.


Elliott Carson (John Lund)








Elliott runs to the bridge and starts up after Jean. Jean climbs over the rail and is about to jump down to the tracks as the switcher approaches when Elliott saves her. He takes her back to his car where she asks if he could put the top up because the stars are watching. Elliott takes her to a cafe where she sees John Triton and then she knows how Elliott found her.

In the cafe Jean relates that she is despondent because a man John Triton who sees the future has devastated the life of her father. She tells the detective that he gave her father stock quotes and tips and predicted the crash of a plane that he was supposed to be on. He then predicts the time and place and method (involving a lion) of her father's actual death, and tells her a series of strange seemingly bizarre things that will occur preceding it. Her father as each weird event/thing happens, through worry is reduced to a functioning corpse.

At the cafe John Triton tells his story. He had a phony mentalist act that worked off a code. A woman Jenny, Jean's future mother, was the cheesecake that worked the audience collecting questions filled out by the audience and sealing them in envelopes and depositing them in a fishbowl.


John Triton (Edward G. Robinson)


Jean Courtland (Gail Russell)



John reveals to Jean that one night during the act a vision came to him like raindrops on a window and he actually began to see visions of things to come.

John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard': [to Jean and Elliott] I, uh, suppose that most people when they're looking back can see the exact point where their lives are touched by something... a new job, an unexpected inheritance, a quick decision, but I can't. My destiny came upon me... imperceptibly like
[Indicating with his finger]
John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard': the first thin drops of rain are noticed on a window pane. It wasn't until the third or fourth or fifth drops that I became aware of this rain that was to engulf my life. I remember the date, August 3, 1928. we were playing a one-night stand in a small town in Louisiana, Glenberry
[Dissolve to flashback]
John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard': Triton, The Mental Wizard and Company! Three twelve minute shows a day sandwiched with the Toto and His Tumbling Dogs and a troupe of acrobats. The act deserved better billing. It was a phony, of course, like most mind-reading acts, but it was a first class phony.
[laughs]

The fishbowl was placed on a table near John and he identified the various audience members and answered their questions without ever touching the envelopes. He didn't have to. Whitney Courtland  the acts pianist was the person who actually was passed the real envelope. The switch was made with identical fish bowls. Whitney opened an envelope read the question and by the means of playing certain tunes and emphasizing certain notes conveyed by code the information to John who then wowed the audience.




John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard': if I do say so myself. Nobody knew how we did it. It was the late show - 11:37, and while Jenny was collecting the envelopes with the usual familiar questions: 'Will I take a trip?', 'Is my husband faithful?', 'Should I marry my boyfriend?', I was winding up my spiel....

He stops in the middle of it and tells a woman in the audience wearing a straw hat with daisies that she better get home quickly, her son is in danger. After the show the woman and her husband thank John and tells him that their son had found a book of matches and had started a fire.

John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard': This gift, which I never asked for and don't understand, has brought me only unhappiness!

The way the act worked was after the collection, the fishbowl was placed on a table near John and he identified the various audience members and answered their questions without ever touching the envelopes. He didn't have to. Whitney Courtland  the acts pianist was the person to whom the actual real envelopes were passed. The switch was made with either identical fish bowls or by Jenny's slight of hand, it's never actually detailed. Whitney would then behind the piano and out of sight from the audience open an envelope read the question and by the means of playing certain tunes and emphasizing certain notes conveyed by prearranged code the information to John who then wowed the audience. Jenny and John were in love and planned to marry.



Whitney doesn't believe John at first until he give him a tip on a racehorse that ends up paying ten to one. John begins to get stock tips, one is for the stock of an unknown oil company called Comanche Hills which ends up becoming one of the biggest strikes in the country.


Whitney Courtland. (Jerome Cowan)

Meanwhile John encounters a newsboy at the stage entrance to the theater he sees a vision of the boy getting run over by a truck, He is about to tell the boy not to cross the street but decides that he should ignore the vision.

John Triton aka 'The Mental Wizard': I was becoming more frightened every day, and I began to have a crazy feeling that... I was making the things come true - like a voodoo sorcerer who kills people by sticking pins in the doll. I thought of the man with a broken collar bone, the boy with the matches. Would anything have happened to them if I had kept quiet?

John doesn't tell the boy not to cross the street which results in the boy getting killed.

Continued.....

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