Film Noir : What Film Noir did you see?:January/February Edition.

Aussie Noir:Deep Water (2016)-With links.

10

Region 2 DVD:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-Water-DVD-Noah-Taylor/dp/B01N0CAUFX


The real case:

www.smh.com.au/nsw/police-to-review-88-possible-gayhate-deaths-20160519-goz7x6.html

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Ordering the 2002 Aussie Comedy The Nugget for a family friend,I asked if there were any other Aussie titles that they were after.Whilst checking up other Aussie flicks,I got told about a 4- part Aussie Noir mini-series currently airing on the BBC. Finding a number of Aussie Noir (which include The Rover and Square) to be incredibly gritty,I decided to swim into the dark waters of Aussie Noir.

The outline of the mini-series:

Whilst the official ruling was suicide,police officer Tori Lustigman has always had doubts over the ruling of her brother's death in 1989,due to his death taking place when a serial killer was murdering gay men (a case,which due to a mix of disinterested and homophobia in the force remains unsolved.) Stuck in a messy divorce, Lustigman decides to return to her home city. Sent on the beat with Nick Manning,they get told of dead body found on the beach. Recognising marks on the victim, Lustigman starts to fear the killer has come back to shore.

View on the mini-series:

Closely based on what is still a partly unsolved case, (with there being 88 "gay-hate" victims whose deaths remain unsolved) director Shawn Seet & cinematographer Bruce Young sway between the pristine present and the Disco lights of the 80's. Cruising into the gay underground scene of the 80's,Seet rolls out a tense Aussie Noir atmosphere,where the dazzling lights from the discos are unable to reach the corners where the killer lurks. Turning the Disco lights off,Seet gives the present a stylish shine,as slow motion and jagged tracking shots pull the past up with Lustigman. Bringing the past back into focus, Seet and Young pour ultra-stylised blood-red water over the present to reflect the murky dealing hidden underneath.

Examining the attitude cops have towards gays,the script by Kris Wyld and Kym Goldsworthy cuts deep into the homophobia under the "clean" veneer of the police,via the dialogue having a confrontation edge perfectly fitting the cops wanting to be seen as Noir "tough guys." Whilst the mentions of her divorce feel well-worn,the writers give Lustigman and Manning a magnetic evil under the sun mood,where modern tech (such as a dating app) are cleverly used to coil the murders of the past into the fading sun of the present.

Attempting to turn from the Aussie Noir rules of the "old boys club" Noah Taylor gives a fantastic performance as Nick Manning,who Taylor threads with a focus of solving the case,whilst staying in the good books with "the boys." Causing a ripple across the deep water, Yael Stone gives an excellent performance as Lustigman,thanks to Stone striking a gritty emotional gravitas over uncovering the full events that led to the death of her brother,as Lustigman finds herself at the Aussie Noir deep end.

Re: Aussie Noir:Deep Water (2016)-With links.

Not one I heard of. On the list it goes, thanks.

Re: Aussie Noir:Deep Water (2016)-With links.

Sounds great. On the list. Cheers.

If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.

A movie for noir fans...

Currently watching a 1933 film called The Kiss Before the Mirror. It's a thriller (but not noir). I really think that if it had been filmed in the forties, it would have been done in noir style.

The movie starts out with a hubby killing his wife as she undressed in her lover's bedroom. His best friend is a lawyer and he is asked to defend the killer. While working on the case, he becomes more and more convinced that his own wife is having an affair.

Great pre-code film!

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: A movie for noir fans...

Hi Ellery,it sounds like you enjoyed Kiss Before the Mirror.Despite now just being known for Horror,James Whale did a lot of Pre-Code style Noir films,with his Waterloo Bridge (on one of the Forbidden Hollywood sets) being an excellent movie I've seen dozens of times:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterloo_Bridge_(1931_film)

Re: A movie for noir fans...

Thanks! I haven't seen that film yet.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Chinese Honeymoon (1958)

Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Chinese Honeymoon (1958): David 'Richard Diamond' Janssen is friends with Keye Luke who is soon to be married to Lisa Lu. When Luke calls off the wedding without giving a reason, Lu asks Janssen if he knows why. He doesn't but when he visits Luke to ask about it, Luke is very evasive and acts out of character. Janssen decides to keep a close tab on Luke, suspecting something's wrong. He soon finds out Luke is somehow caught up in something fishy involving businessman Ted De Corsia. But he's unaware that he's also being tailed himself...

Fast-paced, well written and well acted with Janssen delivering some nice snappy hard-boiled lines, you can't really go wrong with this series. This one has some additional familiar faces such as noir bad guy Ted De Corsia ('The Naked City'), a young Keye Luke (Master Po from the '70s 'Kung Fu' TV series) and an even younger, but instantly recognizable, James Hong ('Blade Runner') in a bit part. The story delivers and even includes some surprises, making it a highly entertaining 30min ride. This episode's DoP was former noir cinematographer George Diskant ('On Dangerous Ground', 'The Narrow Margin', 'They Live By Night'), who doesn't get much opportunity to showcase his talents here, but still manages to provide some additional atmosphere during a confrontation scene between De Corsia and Luke. Another solid episode of a solid TV series. 7/10

This episode, and many others, can be found on youtube.

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Chinese Honeymoon (1958)

These are all a hoot! Keep them coming. Tick sent.

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Chinese Honeymoon (1958)

Thanks for that, I'll watch it on youtube. Didn't know about this show.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Chinese Honeymoon (1958)

It's a fun show, I hope you enjoy it. And do please share your thoughts!

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Chinese Honeymoon (1958)

I watched it and thought it was quite good, light-weight fun. Good dialogue. Unfortunately the prints on youtube are pretty bad. Keye Luke (No. 1 son), still looking incredibly young, in a thankfully non-stereotypical role as doctor. And we also get Victor Sen Yung (No. 2 son) in it. It looks as if the show never came out on DVD.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

keye luke

Sounds great. Found it. I'll check it out. Cheers, X.

Fans of Keye Luke will want to see Phantom of Chinatown (1940) [Ms EQ, you'd like it], in which he appears centre stage as the sleuth Mr Wong, taking over from Karloff unfortunately only the once. Corny as hell with the aphorisms a la Charlie Chan but with a really nice tone - a role Luke really deserved. Don't get me wrong, I like the Charlie Chan films but this is ultimately less potentially offensive. It's public domain so just google it.


If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.

"My Name is Julia Ross" (1940s)

My Name is Julia Ross (1940s)....

I haven't watched this film in a couple of years now. I'll say this much: it's a terrifying noir-thriller about a young woman who accepts a job as a secretary at a private home, and then she is taken (by the family) to an isolated house and forced to assume the identity of the son's wife. Highly recommended.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)


You can't quit. They wont let you!

The Woman on Pier 13 (AKA: I Married a Communist) is directed by Robert Stevenson and collectively written by Charles Grayson, Robert Hardy Andrews, George W. George and George F. Slavin. It stars Robert Ryan, Laraine Day, John Agar, Thomas Gomez, Janis Carter, Richard Rober and William Talman. Music is by Leigh Harline and cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca.

Brad Collins (Ryan) was a one time member of the communist party. Now married and thriving in business, his world is turned upside down when the CPUSA come to seek him out for influential favours.

It wasn't easy for director Stevenson, what with RKO mogul Howard Hughes interfering as he forced home his anti-communist slant, so much so the whole pic comes off as an almost there type of piece. Casting aside that it's all a bit daft these days, with its red hysteria leanings (though it serves as a most interesting social document of the era), there's a number of tight scenes and enough moody atmospherics to keep this out of basement hell.

Characterisations are rich in noir traditions, a protag whose past is back to bite him, a slinky femme fatale, a dutiful wife in the dark, and villains of substance. Be it Gomez's weasel Commie boss stomping around like a malevolent tyrant or Talman's fairground working hit-man for hire, the latter with a dress code as mirthful as it is strangely unnerving, the baddies offer up some sort of balance in a screenplay that's not sure where it ideally stands. The violence hits hard, with shocking deaths, and in good dark noir style the finale holds court for the right reasons.

Add in a cast who don't let anyone down and the great Musuraca showing his photographic skills (though not as much as we would like), then it's a more than decent viewing experience. But the proviso is that you do have to let the propaganda go above your head to get to those decent rewards. 6/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

This movie is still on my list. As you say the cast sounds great but these Red Scare movies can be quite funny. Have you seen I Was a Communist for the FBI? It's a mediocre film that suffers from the blandness of its leading man, Frank Lovejoy, but interesting nevertheless as a document of its time.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

No not seen that one Jess. It's one of those that I will record if it shows up on one of the UK freeview chans, I have known of it for a while but haven't wanted to source it.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

It's on youtube, the print is very good too. Not a must-see but check it out.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

I agree with your 6/10 rating. The cast, photography and noirishness are all admirable, but, like most "message" pictures, the heavy-handed preachiness tends to dilute the film's overall effectiveness. I wind up being irritated instead of becoming convinced that their cause is a good one.

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

It's weird because at the midpoint the pic isn't sure if it should be an uoltimate message movie or not. An interesting film though and I'm glad I watched it. Hell it's got Robert Ryan in it, that's enough for me.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Red Menaces

Fair review, Spike. Thanks. I've seen The Woman On Pier 13 just once, was amazed that it played as well as it did, as I was aware of its original title. It's a pity, IMO, that they air it under the other title, as I love its original exploitation title I Married A Communist, but it isn't a fair world, is it?

That the movie becomes in its second half almost like a Warners crime picture from the 30s works in its favor. If you substitute Mob with Reds that's exactly how it play. Love those big black cars they drive. Robert Ryan was stronger than I expected in the lead, and overall the cast was game. Thomas Gomez was good as the chief bad guy yet I wonder what the movie would be like, if it would be better known and more popular, if RKO had cast Raymond Burr in that role instead.

BTW, have you ever seen the Republic entry in the anti-Communist sweepstakes, The Red Menace? The ads for it, which I have seen, make it look like a real corker. I've never seen it even listed on a TV schedule. There's even a black guy in a prominent role in that one, unusual for the time (1949), as sagebrush studio Republic wasn't the kind of place I'd expect to be a big tent in any genre, least of all the anti-Red one.

Re: Red Menaces

Never heard of The Red Menace, had to look it up. Sounds like a bottom-of-the-barrel cheapo, with actors I have never even heard of, and I thought I know my B, C and D actors. The lead actress was married to Edward Tierney for a while apparently.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Republic

I have a sneaking fondness for Republic B pictures of the Red Menace era, those with contemporary settings. The studio seemed to be aiming, for a few years, to go mainstream, was making A level features and producing lower budgeted films that appeared to be designed to compete with similar pictures from the major studios. Some are much better than they seem based on their titles, casts and directors. Lead actor, Robert Rockwell, was sort of their B Glenn Ford, and competent enough, is best remembered for playing Mr. Boynton on the TV series Our Miss Brooks. Director R.G. Springsteen was a real pro, mostly known for westerns. Production values at Republic were the best of all the small studios. But if you're not a fan of offbeat little movies by all means keep away.

Re: Republic


I have a sneaking fondness for Republic B pictures of the Red Menace era

I have a sneaking fondness for any kind of B movie. :)

You're right, occasionally Republic managed to rise above Poverty Row, with Johnny Guitar and Rio Grande.

Edit: The Red Menace is on youtube, mediocre copy though.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Red Menaces

I have known of The Red Menace (1949) for a long time and was reminded of it whilst seeking out I Married a Communist < Apparently there has been some debate about which came first between these two movies, and thus became the first Commie Propaganda pic? IMDb has Menace listed as the first released. Don't know if you have anything to add about that?

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Reds & Rockets

I've read different release dates for I Married A Communist, which might have been pulled from release or retitled, don't know for sure whether it was made before or after The Red Menace. Republic's tendency to make quick work of things might favor it, rather as Lippert beat Eagle-Lion with their first released spaceship flick Rocketship XM, which reached the theaters before Destination Moon in 1950 even as I believe the latter had been in production before the former. I wouldn't be surprised if no sooner had RKO announced that they were going to make an anti-Red flick than did Republic leap into the fray and beat them to the punch. Just a guess on my part, but at least it's an educated one .

Re: Reds & Rockets

Thank you for the educational read

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

My short review:

The Woman on Pier 13 (1949) Director: Robert Stevenson with Robert Ryan, Laraine Day, Janis Carter Thomas Gomez, William Talman, and John Agar. Ryan and Day are newlyweds nesting in San Francisco Ryan is a Vice President of a shipping company. All is well until commie Femme Fatale Janis Carter shows up and Ryan's past as a commie pinko is revealed. Gomez is great as the manipulating oily head of a nest of card carrying commies. Gomez blackmails Ryan into doing his bidding by threatening to reveal his involvement in a strike that resulted in the death of a participant. Talman plays a hitman for the party (he also has a cover as the operator of a shooting gallery at a penny arcade) who gleefully does Gomez's bidding. Carter gets her hooks into Ryan's younger brother and tries to turn him to do the party's bidding.

This Noir is off the radar, not on the American Encyclopedia of Film Noir list of Noirs.

The first 19 minutes is sunny California, but as soon as Janis Carter shows up its boom into Noir Land, great waterfront locations, a carnival arcade, Pier 13, even a strip joint. It was mildly amusing, especially the whole commie plot. 7/10

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)


This Noir is off the radar, not on the American Encyclopedia of Film Noir list of Noirs.


It is covered in The film Noir Encyclopedia https://www.amazon.co.uk/Film-Noir-Encyclopedia-Alain-Silver/dp/0715638807/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484489621&sr=1-1&keywords=film+noir+encyclopedia

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

I really need to watch this one again as the copy I had was missing the last 15 minutes! (Most annoying)Tick has been sent.

Re: The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)

LOL, last 15 bummer!

Thanks Gord

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Les Diaboliques (Diabolique) (1955)

A 1955 French psychological noir thriller directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot (Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear ) (1953), ), starring Simone Signoret (Gunman in the Streets (1950), Casque d'Or (1952), Is Paris Burning? (1966), Army of Shadows (1969)), Véra Clouzot (Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) (1953)), Paul Meurisse (Sergil chez les filles (1952), Army of Shadows (1969), Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)) and Charles Vanel (The Wages of Fear (1953), To Catch a Thief (1955)).

The film was based on the novel Celle qui n'était plus (She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The screenplay was by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jérôme Géronimi, René Masson and Frédéric Grende.

Cinematography was by Armand Thirard (Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Le salaire de la peur (1953)), and music was by Georges Van Parys (Casque d'Or (1952)).

A cheap boarding school near Paris is run by tightwad headmaster Michel Delassalle (Meurisse). The school is owned by Delassalle's sickly wife Christina, who is also a teacher. Christina has a heart condition which prevents her from performing her wifely duties, so Michel has taken to banging the blonde Nicole Horner (Signoret), another teacher at the school. The prospect of Nicole becoming Michel's mistress has no effect between the two women since Michel is verbally abusive to both of them and woman beater to boot. They both despise him.

Nichole concocts a plan to off Michel. Christina, is indecisive at first, but after more rounds of abuse from Michel agrees to the plan. Threatening divorce, Christina leaves the school, drives with
Nichole to Nichole's hometown Niort and stays at her apartment. This lures Michel away from the school in pursuit of his meal ticket. Using a sedative mixed into a bottle of Johnnie Walker scotch she gets Michel to drink it. Michel passes out. Nichole and Christina carry him into the bathroom and drown him in the bath tub. Hiding his body in a large wicker basket Nichole and Christina drive back to the school and dump Michel into a disused swimming pool. They figure that once the body floats up to the top it will look like an accident.

Of course the body never floats to the top and everything goes exquisitely Noirsville.

Vera Clouzot, is a delight as the pious, frail, nervous, stepped on one to many times, wife. Simone Signoret seems almost butch in comparison. She is a big full figured woman and she towers over Christina both physically and mentally. There have been some critiques that state that Nicole may have lesbian designs on Christina, I got the same faint vibe. Paul Meurisse comes off like a French Jack Webb, and Charles Vanel's Inspector Fichet I hear is the original prototype of Colombo.

One of the best French Noir, screencaps are from the Criterion DVD. 10/10

Review with screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/les-diaboliques-diabolique-1955.html

Re: Les Diaboliques (Diabolique) (1955)

A truly superb production. Thanks for a great read C.J..

I'll just add my review in support.


The keys in the pool, the husband in the morgue! You dream too much about water in this house!

Headmaster of a boarding school, Michel Delaselle (Paul Meurisse) is a brooding bully of a man, one day his wife and mistress decide enough is enough and plot to kill him, trouble is that once they murder him, his body disappears and reported sightings of him are adding to the ladies' paranoia.

Thus is the setting for director Henri-Georges Clouzot's brilliant suspenser. The pace is stiflingly perfect, he gently racks up the tension, neatly toying with audience expectation, the sense of dread that hangs in the air is palpable. How refreshing it is to see a suspense film actually build its plot for a good hour? In this day and age the MTV generation would be walking out of this after 30 minutes. Armand Thirard's atmospheric photography accentuates the creeping menace like mood, to the point that when we get to the last 15 minutes, nerves are already frayed and we then of course get what is arguably the greatest bath scene ever, and "that" ending...

When I first watched it back in 2008 it was on a poor quality DVD, but revisiting it on Blu-ray it still worked me over as the great suspense movie it is, forcing me to seek the solace of daylight ASAP. Great writing, great directing, great acting, the latter thriving due to Simone Signoret's dangerously simmering sexuality and Véra Clouzot's heartfelt vulnerability. It's one of the classic chillers of European cinema. And if you haven't seen it yet? Do what I did last night, get the Blu-ray, turn off the lights and just have a couple of candles flickering away in your peripheral vision. Maybe indulge in some stiff drinks like I did, and most of all, watch it on your own... 9/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Les Diaboliques (Diabolique) (1955)

Thanks to you and spike for your reviews. I love this movie, it's too long since I've seen it, but I already put the DVD in my amazon basket.

I too remember seeing it first as a child, alone by myself. THAT ending made me scream, the only scene that to me could compare to its horror was THAT jump in Wait Until Dark.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Les Diaboliques (Diabolique) (1955)

Great noir, for sure!

It's one which I really need to see again. I saw it about 11 or 12 years ago, once only.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

HGC

Thrilled to read that you enjoyed this extraordinary Noir so much Mgt.For other Noirs from HGC-if you are able to play R2 DVDs,I would rec Le Corbeau

https://www.amazon.com/corbeau-dvd-italian-Pierre-Fresnay/dp/B0006M4S8C

Here is what I wrote on Diaboliques

10

Hating every moment on the set due to co-writer/ (along with Jérôme Géronimi/René Masson & Frédéric Grendel) director Henri-Georges Clouzot only paying her for 8 weeks,despite the shoot overrunning to 16 weeks,the elegant Simone Signoret gives a chilling performance as Nicole Horner,with the behind the scenes issues being strongly suggested by Signoret giving Nicole a frosty femme fatale edge over the pouring with emotion Christina. Circling round Christina and Michel,Signoret gives Nicole a striking masculinity,as Nicole has to grip Christina's fragile nerves over the plan,whilst laying on the brash charm for her lover Michel.

Showing that she does not take the role easy despite being married to the director, the stunning Véra Clouzot (who sadly died at age 46) gives an incredible performance as Christina Delassalle .Being far less confident on the plan than Nicole is, Véra Clouzot brilliantly balances Christina's tense excitement over the act,and the burnt nerves that follow an unexpected turn in the plan. Joining Signoret & Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse gives an excellent performance as Michel,with Meurisse giving Michel a hard-nosed brittle edge,with Meurisse blunt dialogue delivery building anticipation to Nicole & Christina putting their plan into action.

Grabbing the rights to Pierre Boileau & Thomas Narcejac novel just before Hitchcock made an attempt,the writers spend the first 30 minutes pulling up the decaying Film Noir school,with the writers making a satirical comment on the French education system,as Michel has an equal disregard for the education of the children,and the feelings of his lovers.Keeping away from drying the title up with social dissection,the writers paint a superb Film Noir galley of dread,as Christina & Nicole's mutual mistrust crashes against Michel,with the cold and calculating femme fatale Nicole having to keep the terrified out of her wits Christina on track at all cost. Striking the title with a deliciously macabre twist ending,the writers delicately place the clues to the ending with a real precision, which allows the viewer to see the relationships between Michel.Nicole & Christina from a completely different angle.

Placing a tar pit swimming pool by the school,director Henri-Georges Clouzot and cinematographer Armand Thirard sink the trio into murky Film Noir waters,with Clouzot & Thirard covering the screen in long, looming shadows hiding deceit and betrayal. Highlighting the horror elements,Clouzot uses dazzling close-ups on Christina's face to capture the shock of terror being cast across her face,as the ruins start to crumble.

Storm Fear (1955)

Storm Fear (1955): Struggling writer Dan Duryea lives in a remote mountain house with wife Jean Wallace and son David Stollery. Then Duryea's brother and bank robber Cornel Wilde arrives with his accomplices Steven Hill and Lee Grant. Wilde's been shot in the leg during a robbery but after Wallace removes the bullet the robbers can't move on, because of a fierce snow storm. Stollery's never seen his uncle and is fascinated by Wilde, who's the complete opposite of the sickly and weak Duryea. But Wallace and Wilde used to be lovers, with their past becoming an additional source of friction and tension in the cramped house.

A claustrophobic home-invasion thriller meets love-triangle melodrama, actor/director/producer Cornel Wilde ('The Big Combo') does a good job of keeping this movie, which is rather talky, tense and gripping. And he also gets good performances from most of the actors, including himself. Especially Wilde's real life wife Wallace ('The Big Combo') gives a great performance, as a woman struggling with several dilemmas that come to a head when Wilde forces himself back into her life. I also really enjoyed Grant's ('Detective Story') performance, who was blacklisted at the time. She reminded me of the streetwise and tough but sympathetic gunmolls from the 30s gangster movies, particularly Gladys George in 'The Roaring Twenties'. I kinda wanted to see more of her part in this movie. And while kid actors are 9 out of 10 times either wooden or annoying, Stollery is pretty convincing and even subtle. He gave up acting however and became a successful car designer. Noir icon Duryea ('Scarlet Street') plays against type and he does well as always but he doesn't have a lot to do besides cough and moan, which is a shame. Hill (TV's 'Law & Order') is the only dissonant, he's uneven and seems unsure how to play his part.

Wilde keeps the movie focused and never lets the narrative wander off too far. Once the dramatic moments inside the house have been exhausted, he moves the story outdoors, with Stollery guiding Wilde and his crew across a mountain, pursued by Dennis Weaver (TV's 'McCloud'). Oddly enough tho, while Weaver has no problem following their tracks, he doesn't seem to notice one of crew members who's been left behind halfway with a broken ankle. What also helps is that DoP Joseph La Shelle ('Laura') does a great job with both the indoor and outdoor scenes, his lensing is both effective and nice to look at, but also not too prominent to take over the movie. Having said all that tho, I am not sure this movie has a lot of rewatch value. The story is not very surprising and moves to a predictable climax (altho the final moments are rather touching, thanks to some pretty good acting), and I feel that by focusing primarily on himself and Wallace's past, Wilde left out some opportunities to really crank up the heat. Still, I can recommend it. 7+/10

I watched this on the Kino blu-ray (region A), which has a beautiful transfer. I do wish Kino would include subtitles with their releases more often however...

Re: Storm Fear (1955)

I still haven't seen it, but I may get the DVD. Heard a lot of good things about it. I'd like to see Dan Duryea play against type, should be interesting.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Storm Fear (1955)

Thanks for this XX. Can't believe there's a Dan "The" Man" movie like this that I haven't come across before.

Great review and on the list it goes

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Storm Fear (1955)

Hi XHC,I hope you are having a good weekend and I want to say thank you for the great review (which I've ticked).With the home-invasion,I was wondering if Wilde spends much time building up to the robbery?

Re: Storm Fear (1955)


I was wondering if Wilde spends much time building up to the robbery?

Nope, the robbery has already happened when the movie starts. The movie follows the family, not the robbers, so to say.

Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Picture Of Fear (1957)

Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Picture Of Fear (1957): Only 5 episodes into season 1 and David 'Richard Diamond' Janssen already needs some downtime. So he goes on a fishing trip, except he ends up coming to the aid of undercover reporter Judith Braun, who's also staying at his resort (which is called, funnily enough, 'Twin Peaks'). She just took a photo of politician George Neise and mobster James Nolan, as part of an expose article she's writing on crooked politicians. But they are on to her, and when she refuses to hand over the film, they turn to more drastic measures.

I found this a below-average episode with a remarkably lazy screenplay with some big plot holes and time/continuation errors. Janssen also seemed out of his element in the more 'comedic' scenes where he has to wear fishing gear, but once he's in detective mode he's great and sharp again as usual. The rest of the cast are unremarkable but not too bad really, and there are some exciting action scenes. If more attention to detail had been given to the screenplay, it could've been a great episode. But unfortunately that wasn't the case. It's still watchable and has its moments, but this is not the episode to introduce someone to Richard Diamond with... 6/10

Look no further than youtube for this episode, but if you do, you might as well pick another one. Or at least don't let this one be the deciding factor on this otherwise great and entertaining series.

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Picture Of Fear (1957)

Well said my good fellow. I have this one up on IMDB as well. I enjoyed it a bit more than you, but I admit to being an easy marker with this series. Tick has been dispatched your way.

I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

I Wake up Screaming is early transitional or proto Noir, made in 1941 for Fox. Director Bruce Humberstone (of Charlie Chan fame) and cinematographer Edward Cronjager infuse the film with a haunting atmospere. Strangely, neither of them ever directed another Noir after this picture. Somehow, instinctively, they got the look and style of Noir right. Only Stranger On The Third Floor, made the year before, exhibits the same striking Noir visuals.

I Wake up Screaming was based on the eponymous novel by pulp author Steve Fisher, a writer for Black Mask Magazine. Hardboiled crime pulps were the feedstock of Noir and Hollywood finally began to recognize their existence and popularity and started to put them on film.
As a little nod to its source material there is a shot of a newsstand proudly displaying Black Mask Magazines. Until I Wake up Screaming Fisher hadn’t met with much success, after its release though he became a sought-after screen writer, responsible for screen plays such as The Lady in the Lake, Johnny Angel and Dead Reckoning.
The film’s cinematography is beautiful, stylistically this is full-blown Noir. Shadow-drenched imagery, low angles, shadows of Venetian blinds, low lit closeups and canted angles fill the movie.

The title alone should land us firmly in Noir territory, it evokes all the terror and dread of a frightening nightmare (though nobody actually wakes up screaming in the movie). Visually this is certainly the case, thematically it is not quite.

Sports promoter Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature) is accused of the murder of Vicky Lynn (Carole Landis), a young waitress he “discovered” and is trying to turn into a star. He introduces her to New York’s high society and only succeeds too well. She’s on the verge of making it big and wants to take off to Tinseltown… when she gets mysteriously murdered. For no discernible reason, Inspector Ed Cornell (Laird Cregar) has it in for Mature from the beginning and wants Mature’s head on a silver platter. But he is a man with a hidden agenda.
To complicate matters, Vicky’s sister Jill (Betty Grable) has fallen in love with Mature and doesn’t believe in his guilt.
Also along for the ride are Alan Mowbray as a washed-up ham actor and Allyn Joslyn, in a George Sanders role, as a witty and acerbic gossip columnist.
The movie works well as a genuine whodunit. Suspicion shifts from one character to another and the audience is never quite sure if Jill’s faith in Mature’s innocence is justified or if she too is being played.

Victor Mature was a likable actor but his acting could best be described as solid and adequate. To his credit he was aware of his limitations, but this picture is a good example of why he had such a long and successful career. His performance is energetic and heartfelt and makes the viewer root for him despite the fact that he is a rather shifty and cagey character.

Grable, Mature and Landis had all recently starred in musicals and were to a certain extend identified with this genre, so their casting in a crime movie was a bit off-beat at the time.
It seems the producers weren’t quite willing to let go of the occasional Broadway touches here and there. The opening credits play out like a musical with bright marquee lights flashing across the screen, and in the public pool scene there is a fountain feature that just seems to be waiting for Esther Williams to show up. This part seems to belong in a different movie. Granted, they had to show Grable's gams and Mature’s chest. Nice, but it simply doesn’t fit the film’s mood.

There even is the faint echo of countless Broadway productions in the story line: a promoter wants to pull a pygmalion and turn a cheap little hash-slinger into a star…until she gets herself murdered and we’re back in crime territory.

There are a few light comedic moments, mostly involving Mowbray and Joslyn, which are at odds with crime picture conventions and would be at home in a sophisticated 30s drawing room comedy. Nick and Nora and some zany screwball banter wouldn’t feel out of place.
A strong romantic strain runs through the picture, the focus is a bit too much on the blossoming romance between Grable and Mature. This is heightened considerably by the ad nauseam repetition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a lovely song but not a song that should be anywhere near the Noir universe. It is too sentimental, it belongs in a fantasy film, and saying it’s overused would be kind.
Alfred Newman’s Street Scene, featured in so many Fox Noirs to come, fits the movie much better although it too would have benefited from fewer repetitions.

Betty Grable’s casting is an interesting one too, she’s out of her natural habitat, her wholesomeness barely touched by the darkness surrounding her. But she displays real warmth in a rare dramatic role.

Carole Landis however is a perfect fit for Noir. She is cold and calculating, a girl with a “heart like a rock candy”. The second she doesn’t need somebody anymore she literally throws them away. Her part is fairly small, but even when she’s gone she haunts the film like a ghost. She is what drives the movie. She lives on through flashbacks, even dead she is still everywhere, in picture frames on walls and desks.

Noir should be like a cheap shot of bourbon that burns your throat on the way down, but somebody threw a good slosh of bubbly champagne into the mixture. It’s OK though, Noir had no inkling of its own existence yet.

The second we lay eyes on Laird Cregar though we know we are in Noirsville. As an actor he steals the spotlight.
When the audience gets its first glimpse of him in the interrogation room, he is lurking in the shadows and hiding behind a bright lamp which shines directly in Mature’s face. Cregar’s face is not revealed, he is an enigma. Shortly after Jill recognizes Cornell as the man who was stalking her sister. The second we see him we get a sense of uneasy foreboding, his whole attitude is simply disturbing. He’s often photographed from below and at canted angles, which makes his already big and hulking frame even bigger. His menacing size contrasts sharply with his quiet voice and smooth line readings, there is an unsettling quality of stillness about him. He seems to be in a constant trance-like state.
Almost every scene with Cregar feels claustrophobic. Apartments and prison cells feel even more cramped because of his looming presence.

Cornell is a man who lives in the shadows and barely ever steps out of them. He is incapable of sustaining human relationships, he just lurks and watches. He is the ultimate Noir protagonist. His life is a bottomless pit of loneliness, despair, agony and futility. The theme of obsession runs through the movie. Vicky desperately wants to make it big, men are obsessed with Vicky, but it is Cregar’s Cornell whose obsession with Vicky knows no bounds. He’s a man on a crusade. As we find out later, he had caught on to the real killer fairly early but keeps hounding Mature anyway because in his sick brain he holds Mature responsible for Vicky’s death. After all Mature took her away from him when he made her a star. His police methods are not only unorthodox and underhand, but would most certainly have been illegal even in 1941. Search warrants are for amateurs, stalking, threatening, breaking and entering and planting evidence are more to his liking.
One of the creepiest scenes is when Mature wakes up at night to find Cregar sitting in his bedroom because just maybe Mature might talk in his sleep.

But Cornell is not only obsessed, he’s doomed too. And he’s well aware or it.
Jill asks him: “What's the good of living without hope?” to which Cornell answers: “It can be done.”
Nihilism in a nutshell. He’s a man who is already dead, he’s just forgotten to die.

But somehow, for all his menace, in the end Cregar makes us feel sorry for Cornell, and that is a tribute to his acting. When we see his shrine for Vicky it is a beautiful piece of understated horror, and we can understand his deep pain.

Elisha Cook, switchboard operator at Vickie’s apartment, plays his signature weasel with the hangdog loser attitude. He too is a creep, he takes it upon himself to enter dead Vicki's apartment and "gather her things together.” It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what he was doing at that time.

Despite all its idiosyncrasies, this movie belongs into the Noir canon.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

great review, a favorite of mine.

Re: I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

I saw your review again, and "gateway" Noir is a good description of it.
I'll watch Vicki next, just to see how it compares.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

Great review, Jessica. Beautifully written and detailed. I Wake Up Screaming is a haunting movie. Images from it have stayed with me from the first time I saw it as a teenager. Even with its outstanding cast, Laird Cregar dominates the movie. His performance is so persuasive it almost feels like he's acting out his real life on screen. Yet in the end his character remains an enigma. We know nothing of his personal life, only his professional life. His aura of sadness is as massive as his frame.

Re: I Wake Up Screaming (1941).......................

...it's a very atmospheric film! I think you were the one who brought this film to my attention, and I'm sure glad you did.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

Thank you. I agree about Laird Cregar. I always like to see him on screen but I believe this is his best performance. It was wonderful how he conveyed evil, madness and sadness at the same time.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Laird Cregar

Yes, the role of Cornell really helped define Laird Cregar for the screen, and in ways that may well have had tragic consequences given the way he died. I Wake Up Screaming along with The Lodger and Hangover Square form a kind of trio of films Cregar appeared in, the ones he's best remembered for. Like the later and very different James Dean Cregar often seemed to be acting out his private demons for the camera. Both actors have cult followings to this day, with Dean's, needless to say, vastly larger, but LC is well remembered and has been much discussed on the IMDB boards over the years.

Re: I Wake Up Screaming (1941)

Nicely done Miss Rabbit.
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