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

Re: The Lost Moment (1947)

Jess. It is currently licensed to the BBC and was shown on BBC2 2 years ago, so I of course recorded and put it onto a shiny disc

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Lost Moment (1947)

Saw this a decade ago on vhs and was rather surprised by it. It was not what I was expecting at all. There is a nicely done bit of noir. Tick has been sent.

What Doesn't Kill You (2008)

8


"It's like when they slurp coffee thinking it's going to change the temperature but it doesn't."



** This review may contain spoilers ***

After first seeing him in Zodiac on the big screen,it has been wonderful to see Mark Ruffalo become a part of major franchises and Oscar winning Dramas,whilst also noticing Ethan Hawke get back on track with a mix of Horror (the first Purge and Sinister) and major Art House projects such as Boyhood. Talking to a family friend about films he recently recorded off TV,I was shocked to find out about a rarely mentioned title that teams Ruffalo up with Hawke(ye),that led to me finding out what doesn't kill you.

The plot:

Growing up poor in Boston,teenage friends Brian Reilly and Paulie McDougan become petty criminals for gangster Pat Kelly. Growing up with Kelly, Reilly and McDougan become a part of his inner circle over the years,with the only thing that the guys turn down being armoured vehicle robberies. Trying to keep a family together with his wife Stacy,Brian finds the temptations too much to resist,and becomes a druggie. Whilst picking up some TVs that "fell" off the back of a truck,the guys are caught by an undercover cop who has had his eyes on them for years. Sent down for 5 years in the big house,Brian and Paulie start to find out that what doesn't kill you, will make them stronger.

View on the film:

Running out of hospital in the freezing cold for another "hit" Mark Ruffalo gives an incredible raw performance as Reilly.Spending his whole life working for Kelly with McDougan,Ruffalo subtly captures Reilly's awareness of being in a Noir tar pit,but also a burnt-out mind-set of getting free from the next mob/drug hit. Joined by a wonderfully expressive Amanda Peet as Reilly's wife Stacy, (plus a side order of two Wahlberg's for some Boston spirit) Ethan Hawke gives a great fragile performance as Paulie,who Hawke makes stand out to Reilly by holding Paulie with an optimism that is always on the horizon,but never reached.

Bringing his life story to the screen,co-writer/(with Donnie Wahlberg and Paul T. Murray) co-star (playing his former boss!) director Brian Goodman & cinematographer Chris Norr (who reunited with Hawke for Sinister) roll into Boston on a wave of blue collar Neo-Noir hovering above a frosty atmosphere of streets covered in snow that give Reilly and McDougan's "tasks" an ice cool shine. Cracking the door open to Reilly's fractured married life, Goodman gives the title a rustic tone,picking up corners of fading walls and keeping a distance to show the full misdeeds of the Noir duo.

Falling into cinemas as the studio went bust,the screenplay by Donnie Wahlberg/Paul T. Murray and Goodman fittingly presents a Noir Drama whose edges bleed with an impending sense of doom. Spanning 8 years,the writers brilliantly bring the world pushing Reilly and McDougan's out into the Noir darkness into focus with clever underhanded ways,from the cost of living in their old neighbourhood becoming un-affordable,to Reilly completely missing major family events behind bars. Tightening the grip drugs and crime have on the friends,the writers strip any darkness to expose the hopeless Noir pit that they are trapped in,as Reilly and McDougan discover what does kill you.

Diamond and Kane... Take your pick.

Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Snow Queen (1958): When an art restorer who works at a gallery owned by Phyllis Avery, a personal friend of David 'Richard Diamond' Janssen, is shot he leaves a cryptic message before dying: 'Diamond H'. At first Janssen and police lieutenant Regis Toomey think the message is incomplete, but Janssen soon discovers the H stands for heroin, and that the art gallery might unknowingly be part of a heroin smuggling scheme. When Janssen pays a visit to the penthouse of rich widow May Ediss, who imported the latest art pieces the deceased was working on, he finds her in bed, weakened and drugged, before he gets knocked out cold...

Another great episode, that is a bit grimmer than most, in part because of the heroin angle, in part because of how far the smugglers will go to keep their business going, and because of the slightly downbeat ending. Janssen ('The Fugitive') is his solid self, altho his lines are not as snappy in this episode as in others. Toomey ('I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes') was a regular in the earlier seasons and does well with the little he's given. This was Avery's 2nd of 3 appearances on this show and I enjoyed her, she's far from just a pretty face in this one. A solid episode! 7/10

Martin Kane, Private Eye: Old Major's Murder (1951): A retired major is living in a boarding house where he spends his time tending to his aquariums and boasting about a hidden box, that can only be unlocked by a key he carries on his body When he's found shot in the head and with the window glass shattered, boarding house owner Una O'Connor turns to old friend William 'Martin Kane' Gargan. Police captain Walter Greaza thinks he found a lead when a shotgun is found, pointing towards the boarding house. But Gargan doesn't think it's that easy when he finds a shard of glass underneath the major's sofa. He decides to create a ruse to smoke out the real killer.

This one's not too bad, it's a decent episode that has a bit of a 30s mystery movie feel to it. Kane has to be a bit more of a sleuth here, which fits Gargan pretty well (this episode would feel silly had my favorite Kane, the more energetic and rough-and-tumble Mark Stevens, tried to solve it). Gargan ('Night Editor') had already played Kane on the radio show, and was a decent B-actor, so he was an easy pick as the first TV Kane. His Kane always seemed more interested in his tobacco than in his cases tho, hah... Not too surprising, this show was heavily sponsored by a tobacco firm, and in almost every episode there is a ton of product placement, and a visit to the local tobacco shop, owned by Walter Kinsella. If you manage to look past it tho, this series is often entertaining and each Kane actor brought a little variation to the character. 6/10

Both episodes can be found on youtube, in less than stellar quality.

Re: Diamond and Kane... Take your pick.

Well done and keep them coming. Ticks have been sent for both.

The Sign of the Ram (1948)

Peeps. This is not overtly film noir (it has made it into a couple of noir publications), but the presence of the ace lens man Burnett Guffey is very much of interest here, and he delivers. Plus it has a lot of value in the lead female character, while I know there are friends on this board who are like me, who simply love a foggy bound piece of nastiness

The Sign of the Ram (1948)


The Tremerrion Tribulations.

The Sign of the Ram is directed by John Sturges and adapted to screenplay from Margaret Ferguson's novel. It stars Susan Peters, Alexandev Knox, Phyllis Thaxter, Peggy Ann Garner, Ron Randell, Dame May Witty and Allene Roberts. Music is by Hans J. Salter and cinematography by Burnett Guffey.

Wheelchair bound Leah St. Aubyn (Peters) manipulates everybody around her...

"It's the sign of the ram. People born under this sign are endowed with a strong will power and obstinacy of purpose"

The setting is a cliff top mansion, a lighthouse is nearby, its purpose is to steer ships out of the fog and away from harms way. This is the fictitious Cornish place known as Tremerrion, and our play unfolds in the mansion known as Bastions. It's film that has proved to be a bit illusive to pin down, for whatever reasons, and that is a shame because there are plenty things for fans of such devilish dramas to be excited about. The backstory of its leading lady is itself tragic, for Susan Peters would be paralysed from the waist down after a freak hunting accident, this would see her appear in her last film, she gave up on life, tortured by pain and the loss of her ability to walk, she would stave to death and pass away four years later. Thankfully, and it's not sympathetic praise here, she's excellent, leaving a fitting farewell to the movie world.

"Haven't you sensed it? The undertone, like a warning drumbeat"

Stripped down it's the story of a woman who manipulates everyone close to her, cunningly so, her reasons deliberately shaded in grey, and the question constantly gnaws away as to just how come her family and confidants can't see it? Sooner or later something is going to give, and it's the waiting that gives the pic an edginess that's most appealing. This woman has no shame, we are told by her loyal spouse that she's not bitter about her accident, but she so is, but wears it well. She's not only spell bindingly pretty, but she's pretty spell bindingly devious too. The fog rolls in, the waves crash against the coast to marry up with the psychological discord being set loose in Bastions. Salter's music swirls and bites, while genius cinematographer Guffey turns in some class frames (one scene involving criss cross shadows is film noir nirvana).

"They will stop at nothing to accomplice their purpose - and sometimes meet a violent death"

Pulsing with jealousies, betrayals, suspicions and a whole host of devious machinations, this be a crafty old devil, a pic deconstructing the human condition with malicious glee. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Sign of the Ram (1948)

Nice write-up my good man. I just watch Miss Peters in the Bogie film THE BIG SHOT last week . Tick has sent your way of course.

"The Tin God" 1965 Early John Hurt

With the death of John Hurt yesterday, I dug this review up I did some time back in honor of the great actor.

CONTAINS SPOILERS


GIDEON'S WAY: THE TIN GOD 1964

P. I., detective and police drama series were just as popular in the U.K. as they were on this side of the pond. When we were watching "M-Squad", "San Francisco Beat" and "77 Sunset Strip, the U.K. audience was glued to their televisions watching "Dixon of Green Dock", "Z-Cars" and "The Vise". Here is an example of a bit of U.K. crime television with a noir touch.

"The Tin God", is an episode from "Gideon's Way", a police drama that ran 26 episodes from 1964-67. John Gregson plays the lead as Police commander George Gideon.

The story opens with two men scaling a wall with a siren wailing in the distance. It is a prison break, and the two men, Derren Nesbitt and John (ALIEN) Hurt get away clean. Nesbitt is in for a twenty spot on an attempted murder charge. He has spent eight years planning this break. Hurt is a minor crook doing time for robbery who is just tagging along.

Nesbitt's outside contacts have hidden clothes, food, money and weapons for them in a rail-yard shack. Even secret passage on a freighter to South America has been arranged for the pair. Nesbitt and Hurt quickly change and blend right into the city. They need a car, so a handy parking lot is searched. The lot attendant catches the two in the middle of hot-wiring a car. Nesbitt quickly dispatches the man with a large knife.

The pair finally get the car going and start for London. Hurt wonders why the trip to London? Nesbitt just smiles and says, "some unfinished business." The unfinished business is revenge on his ex-wife, Jennifer Wilson.

She had shopped him to the police after Nesbitt had stabbed a man. Wilson, tired of being Nesbitt's punching bag, saw a chance to get away and told the police where he was hiding.

As all this is happening, Police Commander Gregson, who was involved in the original case, warns Wilson of Nesbitt's escape.

Gregson has undercover police assigned to watch her. Several uniformed police also escort her two children to and from school.

Nesbitt's plan is to grab up his son and take him along to South America. Nesbitt knows that it will drive Wilson mad not knowing what has happened to their son. Nesbitt's uncle grabs the lad from school and brings him to the warehouse hideout. The one cop on watch at the school manages to get the license numbers and an all points goes out.

As Gregson and the Yard close in, fellow escapee, Hurt, has finally noticed that perhaps Nesbitt is less than all-right in the head. "Taking the boy will just bring the police after us, we should just grab the boat and leave." Nesbitt responds by pulling out a revolver and killing him. The police now burst in and Nesbitt shoots a constable before he is disarmed and cuffed. The boy is reunited with Wilson and Nesbitt is now gone for life.

This is an excellent bit of television with Nesbitt shining as the sociopathic killer. Nesbitt was also at the top of his game in the UK noir, THE INFORMERS, STRONGROOM and THE MAN IN THE BACK SEAT. Interesting to see John Hurt in one of his early bits.

Veteran UK director, John Gilling directs the episode. His films include the noir, NO TRACE, THE QUIET WOMAN, THE FRIGHTENED MAN, MURDER WILL OUT, RECOIL, WHITE FIRE, ESCAPE BY NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHTSHADE and THE EMBEZZLER.

The director of photography was Gerald Gibbs. His work includes, THE MAN UPSTAIRS, EYE WITNESS, A PRIZE OF ARMS and Joseph Losey's THE INTIMATE STRANGER.

Suburban Noir:The Girl on the Train (2016) DVD Link.

UK DVD:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Train-DVD-Emily-Blunt/dp/B01LO7PJOE

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Talking to a friend who was keen to see this adaptation after reading the book,we both decided to skip it due to the absolutely kicking it had received in reviews. Meeting a family friend over the weekend,I got told that the film (the book of which he has not read)was much better than expected,which led to me deciding to take a gamble and get on the train.

The plot:

Losing her job over alcoholism after her husband Tom has cheated with Anna Boyd, Rachel Watson starts having black-outs which leave Watson unable to remember what's happened. Keeping secret that she's been sacked from her flatmate,Rachel takes long train rides to pass the "work time." Taking a train which goes straight pass Tom and Anna's (who has just had a baby) house,Watson starts looking at Tom's neighbours Scott and Megan Hipwell,who appear happily married.

One day,Rachel catches Megan kissing another man at the house.Horrified at her "perfect image" being broken,Watson jumps off the train to confront Megan. Binge drinking before the train ride,Watson faints before reaching Megan. Waking up in her apartment covered in blood and bruises,Rachel finds that she can't remember how she got home,as Rachel learns that Megan is missing.

View on the film:

Getting on-board during early stage of her pregnancy, (kept secret from cast/crew!) Emily Blunt gives a blistering anti-Femme Fatale Film Noir loner performance as Rachael. Dimly looking at the "perfect" couples across the tracks with eyes caked in black,Blunt superbly unseats the staggered nature of the Noir loner, pouring Watson out in bitter blends of over-confidence in protecting her "perfect" images,and a Noir pit that lands Watson with harsh reality. Joining in this prime cut "Women's Picture" Neo-Noir and also taking a liking to twitchy Justin Theroux's Tom, Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett give excellent performance as Anna and Megan,with Bennett making Megan a bundle of sexy Neo-Noir temptation, whilst Ferguson fractures Anna's suburban, picket-line fence image created by Rachel,to release the bubbling Noir Fury.

Changing tracks from the London setting of Paula Hawkins's book to New York,the screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson corkscrews the thrills for a simmering Neo-Noir atmosphere. Dovetailing fragmented flashbacks to Rachael going off the rails,Wilson presents with a sharp clarity the slurring state of Rachel,lit in sudden turns of aggression and a tense piecing together of her "forgotten" train ride. Opening the bottle to Tom's various relationships,Wilson cuts into an evil under the sun Noir mood, shining from a subtle, gradual changes in perspective,seeping a crisp Noir awareness under the nails of Anna and Rachael.

Buying a Noir Thriller ticket for the first time in his credits,director Tate Taylor & cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen stylishly tap at the burnt Noir loner state of Rachael with grubby low-lighting opening the blackened,decayed wounds of Rachael. Backed by a shimmering score from Danny Elfman,Taylor layers the darkness with chilling stylisation of slow-motion rain hitting the frosty tracks,and screams from a horror-like nightmare linking Rachel's torn ticket memories.

One Way Street (1950)

One Way Street, directed by Argentinian Hugo Fregonese in what was his first US picture, is a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be.
The picture opens with a whopper of a Noir quote and before it has even started, we know how it will end.

Waste no moment, nor a single breath
In fearful flight from Death:
For no matter the tears that may be wept,
The appointment will be kept.
Song of a Fatalist
(It looks as if the author of this poem is unknown.)

I hate missed chances. I was hoping to stumble on another forgotten B Noir gem. Judging by the first 20 minutes, this should have been an absolute crackerjack of a Noir.

James Mason plays doctor for the mob Frank Matson who’s had enough of dancing attendance to gangster boss Johnny Wheeler (Dan Duryea), so he decides to take off with a $200,000 loot from a bank robbery and the boss’s girl Laura (Märta Torén). They want to flee to Mexico City, but due to their plane’s engine trouble are stranded in a small remote Mexican village. Laura takes to the way of life there quickly though Matson wants to move on, but he too finds happiness in helping the villagers.
In the end Matson comes to the conclusion that he doesn’t need the money anymore and wants to give it back, so he goes back to LA for a final confrontation with Wheeler.

The first 20 minutes of the movie are pure Noir dynamite, and so are the last 15. The movie has a slam bang opening with a great title sequence, then the sounds of sirens wailing through the Los Angeles night while Märta Torén, in a slinky black dress, looks on mysteriously. Duryea has just pulled a heist and already the gangsters start to fight amongst themselves. Right there we’re in deepest grittiest Noir country. Crooks turning on each other, knocking each other off for the bounty…
Matson, sick of being Wheeler’s patsy, wants the booty too, and in a calm gamble uses headache pills as his weapon. He makes Wheeler believe that the pills he gave him were poisonous and that in another ninety minutes Wheeler will be dead, unless he lets Matson and Laura leave with the money. Matson says he’ll call Wheeler in an hours’ time to give him the antidote. It’s a silky-smooth little bluff and Mason pulls it off cool as a cucumber.

Then we come to the middle of the film and a grinding halt to the excitement. Matson and Laura end up in the Mexican village, all of a sudden we are in melodrama/romance territory and the plot loses momentum. It’s fiesta time.
It’s all not bad, just disjointed. It seems two different scripts got mixed up but the director charged ahead nevertheless. Mexico is the redemption part of the story, where the doctor finds himself and learns how to care again. Spiritual rebirth though isn’t part of the Noir universe.
We hardly see Duryea and his henchman William Conrad anymore and only in the last 15 minutes are we back on track to Noir land.

What is Noir is the sense of foreboding and doom that’s hanging over picture, Mason is a perfect Noir protagonist. When the movie starts he is already on a downward path and nothing can stop that. When he steals the loot, he dooms himself completely and his fate is sealed. Matson knows Wheeler will never give up finding them, he’s out for revenge and he can’t keep on running forever.
The dialogue is doom-laden too. Mason talks about his number being up several times, in the end he knows he has to go to his “old appointment” he had from the start. He was on a one way street to destruction from the beginning.

Some reviewers bemoaned the poetic ending, but this is Noir if anything is in the film. Mason, just when he thought he had successfully eluded death from Duryea and his henchman, is killed crossing the street in a freak accident. The randomness and meaninglessness of fate.

This was only Mason’s second American film and the script doesn’t give him much to work with. Hollywood didn’t quite know what to do with him yet and he doesn’t feel quite right in the role of a shifty mob doctor. He's too polished for that.

Märta Torén makes for a classy gangster moll, almost too classy. Torén maybe wasn’t much of an actress but plays the mysterious Mona Lisa with obscure motives quite well.

Dan Duryea's talent was simply wasted, it would have been a better picture had he not disappeared for long stretches.

William Conrad, as Duryea’s henchman, is the revelation in this movie, a guy nobody ever paid much attention to, who gets his revenge in the end.

Unfortunately a wasted opportunity, somewhere in this muddled mess was a great Noir wanting to come out.

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

for fans of femme fatales.....

For fans of femme fatales....

Of course there are many such characters in 1940s and 1950s film noir.

Here I'd like to mention that there is quite the femme fatale in the 1931 mystery-thriller Murder by the Clock, played extremely well by Lilyan Tashman.

NO SPOILERS....the film starts out with a rich family matriarch obsessing over her money and over the idea of being buried alive in the graveyard on their property. Then a femme fatale (a member of the family) starts to manipulate the male members of the family to commit murders.

I keep thinking that it's a whodunit, but it isn't. It's really a thriller, although it has a lot of whodunit elements: the isolated house, a secret passage, a family which is after the old lady's money, and even a graveyard & tomb. The femme fatale sure adds to the story.

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Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

Framed (1947)

Framed (1947)


I'm right back where I started. Nowhere!!

Framed (AKA: Paula) is directed by Richard Wallace and adapted to screenplay by Ben Maddow from a story written by Jack Patrick. It stars Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan and Edgar Buchanan. Music is by Marlin Skiles and cinematography by Burnett Guffey.

Mike Lambert (Ford), down on his luck and fed up of getting nowhere in life, meets sultry waitress Paula Craig (Carter) and things will either get better or worse?

There's a road sign in this that grabs the attention, it reads DANGEROUS CURVES! Now that initially is in reference to a perilous road - with roads featuring prominently as dangerous parts of the play - but it quite easily could be, and in all probability is, a sneaky reference to Janis Carter's femme fatale. Paula Craig in Carter's hands dominates the film, not that Ford or Sullivan are pointless fodder, but it is both the actress and her character's show.

After a burst of pacey excitement opens the pic, action moves on to a cafe, from where we are introduced to Guffey's talents, from this point on almost everything is atmospherically shot. Slats and shads, lamps and cell bars, all get the Guffey lens treatment that's sitting superbly with the unfolding psychological dynamics. Very early on we are delivered two characters who basically are a cheater and a viper, while the main man of our story is a guy who's struggling with his identity in life. He also likes a drink, but with that comes memory loss, which is never a good thing when you are holed up in a noirville town.

Stripping it back for examination you find the story is very simple, which is surprising and a little disappointing given the screenplay writer also did The Asphalt Jungle. Yet the characters and the actors performances, helped by some classy tech work, more than compensates - that is until the finale, which for some (me for sure) is a bad choice for character tone. But it's not a film killer, for we get everything from orgasmic glee shown in the process of a callous crime being committed, to characters either in need of a soul or facing their days of judgement. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Framed (1947)

I saw that film a few years ago. I remember enjoying it. Thanks for the review!



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Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

Re: Thanks for running these threads!

Thanks for running these threads! Also thanks to Spike, who used to run them.

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Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

Double Indemnity

I finished Double Indemnity about half an hour ago. I've seen it many times. Always a pleasure to watch!

Just one thing....spoilers....the plan that the two killers came up with was a pretty stupid one. Did they really think that others would believe that the victim could have died by jumping off the train? And didn't Neff consider the fact that he might get injured when he jumped off the train?


Also, the two of them kept meeting at the supermarket. After awhile, wouldn't the staff members have noticed? If they had met there once or twice, fine. Meeting many times would have aroused suspicion.

Still a great movie, but it certainly requires suspension of disbelief.

I love Barbara Stanwyck in the leading role! She sure was great at playing the femme fatale! She played an equally evil character in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.

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Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

The Fallen Idol (1948) Kid Noir

Directed by Carol Reed (Odd Man Out (1947), The Third Man (1949), The Man Between (1953)) and based on the short story "The Basement Room", by Graham Greene. The Screenplay was by Graham Greene with additional dialogue by Lesley Storm and William Templeton. The excellent cinematography was by Georges Périnal (Blood Of A Poet (1932), and the music was by William Alwyn (The Long Memory (1953), A Night To Remember (1958).

The film stars Ralph Richardson (Our Man in Havana (1959)) as Baines, Michèle Morgan (Port of Shadows (1938) Le quai des brumes (original title)) as Julie, Sonia Dresdel (The Clouded Yellow (1950)) as Mrs. Baines, Bobby Henrey as Philippe, Denis O'Dea (Odd Man Out (1947), Niagara (1953)), as Chief Inspector Crowe, and Jack Hawkins (The Cruel Sea (1953)), as Detective Ames.

The Fallen Idol tells its story through Philippe, the nine year old son of a French diplomat. His mother has been very sick and with his father's diplomatic duties keeping him often away, Philippe has the run of a huge diplomatic embassy in the off hours. His fantasy world consists of a pet snake named MacGregor, which he carries with him in the private living area above the palatial great rooms.

His playhouse is the whole of the embassy with its many levels, rooms, and passageways. Philippe spies down upon all, from behind shadowy staircase banisters, through room high windows, and the private resident balconies. Secrets are learned from bits of conversations eavesdropped on phone calls and staying up past his bedtime.

Philippe idolizes Baines his father's butler. Baines keeps the boy entertained with tall tales of his harrowing exploits in Africa, shooting lions in hunting safaris, quelling restless natives, etc., etc. However, Baines is just a fanciful story teller who is unhappily married to a shrew of a wife who keeps the embassy household staff terrorised.

Baines is in love with Julie another member of the embassy staff, and when Philippe follows Baines to a cafe after work and finds Baines and Julie together, Baines tells him that Julie is his niece. After Baines has a fight with his wife over Julie, she accidentally falls two stories to her death from a window sill at the end of a landing where she went to spy on Baines and Julie. Her body lays near the bottom of a staircase. Philippe witnessed the beginning of the fight at the top of the stairs, and assumes that Baines has murdered her by pushing her down the stairway. Philippe runs off into Noirsville

When the police investigations begin, Baines tries to keep Julie out of it, and Philippe attempts to help Baines, but all these clumsy evasions and lies only get Baines into hot water with Scotland Yard. It looks like murder.

Richardson's Baine is great as the likeable, efficient, head of the household staff, and he's sort of a surrogate father figure for Philippe. Dresdel as the jealous sourpuss wife is truly vile. Morgan plays Julie both sweet and weepy. Henrey plays the impressionable Philippe to perfection, he is both innocent and trusting, there are no false notes. The rest of the cast are equally enjoyable to watch, the two washer women of the household staff, a London bobby, a lady of the night, and the detectives of Scotland Yard.

The cinematography of the flee in the night through the cobblestone streets of London will remind you of similar sequences in Vienna in The Third Man.

The only other Kids Noir that readily comes to mind is The Window (1949), these two films would make great introductions to children to the Noir style. 8/10

Full review with screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-fallen-idol-1948-kid-noir.html

Farewell, My Lovely (1975)


Farewell, My Lovely (1975) - I NEEDED A DRINK AND ALL THE BARS WERE CLOSED - Raymond Chandler

Farewell, My Lovely is a film that can be enjoyed for the visuals alone, especially the awesome set design. Dick Richards the director treats us to a pallet of neon, blue and yellow lights. even though some of the rooms and alleyways are dinghy, you wish that you lived during the time. The lush score by David Shire (who also did the score for The Conversation) evokes the smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke in a bar.

Robert Mitchum is very good as Marlowe, though maybe a bit too old. Obviously a lot of the clever dialogs were written by Chandler for his novel. The plot is preposterous but the dialogs and the visuals keep you going.

Jack O Halloran who played Moose Malloy didn't really cut it. Nobody can replace Mike Mazurki in Murder, My Sweet (1944). Sylvester Stallone makes an impression in a guest appearance as one of the heavies who kidnaps Mitchum. Charlotte Rampling was smoking hot though I'm not sure if she looked very American. I liked this film a lot.


(8/10)

I get melancholy if I don't write. I need the company of people who don't exist.

Re: The Fallen Idol (1948) Kid Noir

That's a fantastic evocation of Fallen Idol, mgtbltb. Really brought the memories to life for me. I can hear the plaintive cry now - "Bains!" It's a beautiful film that deals with children's perceptions of adult things very well - maybe like Whistle Down the Wind? - can't remember that one well enough to say for sure, so scratch that... Hitchcock fans shouldn't miss FI but it's appeal is broader than that... excellent Brit Noir.

Cheers,
Manton

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

Re: The Fallen Idol (1948) Kid Noir

I watched that years ago, it was fantastic. Criterion did a good job restoring it.

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

Re: Pushover (1954)

Tonight I'll be watching the 1954 noir Pushover, which I normally twin with Double Indemnity.

Fred MacMurray is the star once again, playing a character similar to the one he had played 10 years earlier in Double Indemnity. This time he's a cop rather than an insurance salesman, and this time he falls under Kim Novak's spell. Terrific and underrated noir!

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Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

The Locket (1946)

The Locket (1946)


Don't tell me your conscience is bothering you?

The locket is directed by John Brahm and based on a screenplay written by Sheridan Gibney, which in turn is adapted from the story "What Nancy Wanted" written by Norma Barzman. It stars Laraine Day, Brian Aherne, Robert Mitchum and Gene Raymond. Music is by Roy Webb and cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca.

Story tells of how a bride to be, who as a child was traumatised by a false charge of stealing, grows up to badly affect the men who wander into her life.

"You don't know the truth from lies, you are just a love sick quack"

A psychological melodrama with film noir flecks, The Locket turns out to be a most intriguing picture. Director Brahm brings into the production not only his baroque know how, where his Germanic keen eye for mood is so evident in films like The Lodger and Hangover Square, but also a dizzying array of flashbacks in a collage of psychological murkiness. Structured as it is, film can be disorientating if one isn't giving the film the undivided attention it needs. But for those all in with it, it delivers rewards a plenty, even if some daft touches stop it from being an essential picture for the genre seeker. Essentially the film is a case study of one young female mind deeply affected to the point that it has great implications on those who become involved with her.

Story raises some queries about the treatment of mental health patients, and their place in society, while some of the characterisations have good dramatic worth. Sheridan Gibney does a very good job with the screenplay, the tricky subject is given some thoughtful consideration whilst toying with the audience's loyalties about possible femme fatale, Nancy (Day), the ambivalence of which makes the ending from a writing standpoint far better than it probably has any right to be. Credit is due to Brahm, then, for bringing it home safely after employing such a tricky narrative device, it's far from being up with his best work, but it does showcase what a talent the German émigré was - the visual grab of the finale a case in point.

Of the cast it's the very pretty Laraine Day (latterly of I Married a Communist) who shines in a tricky role, while there's a nice stern performance in the support slots from Katherine Emery as Mrs. Mills. Mitchum was yet to find his acting marker (which would come the following year in Out of the Past and Crossfire), and here he's a touch miscast and gets by on presence alone - with his character getting one of the films' duffer leaps in logic moments, literally! and Aherne is passable and easy to listen to, but never really convinces as a psychiatrist. Musuraca photographs in suitable black and white shadowy tones, but like Brahm and Mitchum, this is far from the upper echelons of his best work.

If you can get past some daft touches and crucially pay attention, The Locket is well worth the time spent with it. 7/10


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Locket (1946)

Nice review. Let me piggyback mine, from a while ago.

After having heard a lot about The Locket I finally saw it and must say it went straight to the top of my favorites list. At the time of its release the film received fairly mixed reviews mostly because many people considered the narrative structure too confusing and convoluted.
This is however not the case at all. The movie does require the viewer to pay attention, but the pay-off is enormous.

Just before his wedding to Nancy, John Willis (Gene Raymond) gets a visit from a Dr. Blair (Brian Ahern) who claims to be the bride's former husband and who tells Willis that Nancy is not only a kleptomaniac and compulsive liar, but also a murderess.
But is Blair telling the truth or does he have ulterior motives?

For a short time in the 40's, film-makers became quite enamored of Freud and psychoanalysis. The Locket is one of a string of Noirs that dealt heavily with psychoanalysis and abnormal human behavior, like Spellbound, The Scar and Secret Beyond the Door.

The Locket has gone down into Film Noir history as the movie with the most complex and interwoven flashbacks.
Flashbacks have always been part of the the Noir style and "architecture", and by showing events from the perspective of one who already knows the ultimate outcome of his story, the audience is placed in a position of omniscience.
However, and here it gets interesting, can these flashbacks be trusted? Are they real, are they lies or are they false memory flashbacks?
The flashbacks-within-flashbacks are like a labyrinth that is delving deeper and deeper into Nancy's story and ultimately her psyche. What lies behind her kleptomania, is she innocent or guilty? The flashback sequences are like dreams and we don't know who can be believed and trusted.
Hitchcock would exploit the seemingly genuine flashbacks later in Stage Fright and prove them lies. The past as a narrative construct...

Laraine Day gives a brilliant performance as one of Noir's best and most deadly femmes fatales, not because she is the proverbial seductive and provocative spider-woman but because she is all wide-eyed innocence...sweet, angelic, charming and ethereal. Not once during the movie, up until the very end, does Nancy give herself away and reveal her true malice and unhinged mind. To me this makes her one of the most disturbing femmes fatales ever. Innocence as the ultimate master manipulator. Pure poison dissolved in fluffy and sweet cotton candy.

As we find out, Nancy's kleptomania arose from her being falsely accused of the theft of a locket when she was a child. As a result, she has spent most of her adult life paying society back for this unfair accusation. It is this exact locket that her future mother-in-law (who is incidentally the woman who accused her as a child) gives to her on her wedding day that brings about her breakdown and her downfall.
This is the only very minor complaint I have about the film, no explanation is offered as to why Nancy resorts to such extreme measures to get revenge.

The locket of course serves as a symbol of repressed memory and mirrors the revealing of the hidden underlying madness of Nancy's mind.
The acting is uniformly good in this film. Mitchum is maybe a little bit miscast as aspiring painter, but his screen presence makes up for it. His suicide came as a real shock to me.

Mitchum's painter is also the one person who captures Nancy's persona perfectly after he has seen through her. He has painted her as Cassandra, the beautiful and insane seer who is never to be believed. Her eyes are completely empty...

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

Fake flashbacks

I think the flashbacks in 'The Locket' are what the make the movie extraordinarily absorbing. I want to see it again after viewing it for the first time last year.

I know that Hitchcock said that he regretted the fake flashback in 'Stage Fright.' But I reckon that it doesn't harm his film at all.

Re: Fake flashbacks

Stage Fright isn't exactly Hitch's best, but it's quite good though the fake flashback is a cop-out.

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

Re: Fake flashbacks

The fake flashback in 'Stage Fright' is a cop out but I always wonder if it was necessary to the story. I've never heard Hitch explain how he would gone about the story if he wanted to avoid it.

The Girl in the Black Stockings (1957)

This review contains spoilers.

The Girl in the Black Stockings, directed by Howard Koch (Shield for Murder), is more of a thriller/slasher film with exploitation touches than Noir and quite a decent little flick, campy and highly entertaining with good location shooting and decent dialogue. The movie has gotten a lot of flak over the years, but I find the ridicule quite undeserved.

Maybe I just have a thing for pulpy B movies but I like The Girl in the Black Stockings, a misleading title if there ever was one. No girl wears stockings of any kind in the movie.

Technically this could be called late period Noir, but rather than focusing on doom, gloom and pessimism, it is strangely wacky and jam-packed with suggested depravity, sex and psycho-babble. Noir was going into a different direction, exploitation was on its way in and this movie foreshadows more realistically brutal and shocking thrillers like Psycho or Peeping Tom.

Everybody seems to have nothing but sex on the brain here and everyone has sexual hang-ups, and in the end we find out it was sex (should be spelled in all caps) that made the killer go over the edge. Well, well…it’s just unfortunate that the whole thing isn’t trashy and lurid enough. The posters, the title and the set-up promise pulpy luridness but they don’t quite deliver what they promise, and if we expect glorious all-out trashiness, we don’t get it. All the wonderful sinfulness is only hinted at.

On vacation at Parry Lodge in Utah, hunky lawyer (!) David Hewson (Lex Barker), out on a romantic date with Beth Dixon (Anne Bancroft) finds the badly mutilated body of a party girl. Soon the bodies start piling up, there’s no shortage of suspects because the visitors to the lodge are a strange lot.

The cast is very good, though the performances are strangely off-kilter and veer into camp territory quite often.

Lex Barker is Lex Barker and he struts around in swim shorts a lot of the time. No complaints there.

Mamie Van Doren is bodacious as always, her tangible assets are plenty on display and she has the best campy scene the movie in which she literally throws herself at the hotel owner.

The best of the cast is probably Ron Randell who plays completely paralyzed embittered lodge owner Edmund Parry, who’s eaten up by an all-consuming hate for the world, everybody who lives in it and most of all himself. His injuries are purely psychosomatic, he has been paralyzed since his lady love left him decades earlier. His ice-cold seething hate for women and his obsession with sex are chilling to watch. It’s a very strange performance, at the same time off-kilter, hammy but oddly effective nevertheless.
For the longest time the audience is made to believe that he’s only shamming his injury.

Marie Windsor, who could vamp it up with the best of them, plays his too-devoted sister who takes care of him. It’s a bit odd to see her as repressed spinster and not the femme fatale.
Her possessiveness knows no bounds, there are definitively incestuous undercurrents in their relationship. The way she caresses her brother is not in the least sisterly, and it was her who drove her brother’s girl-friend away. In fact it’s a bit shock to find out she’s Edmund’s sister, not his wife.

Anne Bancroft is slight under-utilized here, she had much meatier roles in Nightfall and New York Confidential. Though she turns out to be the serial killer, the motives for her crimes are too murky, it is only alluded too that she was supposedly made to do “shameful” things. There we go again. Even in the 50s there were films that didn't shy away from giving a bit more detail.

A fun little time waster.

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

Re: The Girl in the Black Stockings (1957)

Great review, I saw it the first time on a crappy AVI file the second time on TCM, it was much better the second go round.

Did you get a DVD?

Re: The Girl in the Black Stockings (1957)

A friend of mine had a good cleaned-up copy, it's on Amazon. So it looks clean, which is nice. But I wouldn't necessarily spent the extra money on it.

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

Re: The Girl in the Black Stockings (1957)

OK, thanks, the TCM print was very good.

Re: Sorry Wrong Number...

I just had to watch Sorry Wrong Number again. Terrific film! After the film was released, the script was shortened and modified for radio, with Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster in the leading roles. The original radio play stars Agnes Moorehead.

This will likely be my last post on this thread, so a big thanks to you and Spike for running these threads.

~~~~~
Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

Fright (1956) Fringe Noir - Lost Noir

Fright (1956) Fringe Noir - Lost Noir

We can call it a Psychological Noir, a Fringe Noir, a Tail Fin Noir "C" movie cheapo. Shot in Hunters Point and Long Island City, New York. It's a film mistakenly dumped into the horror genre, probably because it's director, (who BTW is the brother of director Billy Wilder), finished his career making SiFi and Creature Features.

Directed by W. Lee Wilder (The Glass Alibi (1946), The Pretender (1947), Once a Thief (1950), The Big Bluff (1955)) and written by his son Myles Wilder. Music was by Lew Davies, cinematography was by J. Burgi Contner.

The film stars Eric Fleming (Rawhide TV Series (1959–1965) as Dr. James Hamilton, Nancy Malone as Ann Summers, Frank Marth (Telefon (1977)) as George Morley, Norman McKay as Inspector Blackburn, Humphrey Davis as Prof. Charles Gore, and and Ned Glass (The Damned Don't Cry (1950), Storm Warning (1951)) as the Taxi Driver.

The tale starts with the escape of a mass murderer George Morley (Marth) from a Welfare (Roosevelt) Island mental hospital. Morley is able to evade the cops and gets across the small bridge to Long Island City.

Making his way South along the East River he eventually gets to the Pennsylvania Railroad Powerhouse on 2nd Street and 50th Avenue in Hunters Point.

He runs East up to Vernon Blvd., then he backtracks North to the Queensboro Bridge. He's spotted, caught in a searchlight. Morely is cornered on the pedestrian walkway at night by NYPD. Police activity causes a massive traffic jam and a crowd of rubberneckers. In a standoff Morley threatens to jump. Police Inspector Blackburn (McKay) with a bullhorn tries to talk him out of it.

Into this scene walks Dr. James Hamilton (Fleming), a Park Avenue psychiatrist (who apparently was stuck in traffic). Hamilton offers to see if he can talk Moreley down. Using the police spotlight shining in Morelys eyes and the power of suggestion Hamilton is able to diffuse the situation. While this is all going on a young woman Ann Summers (Malone) caught in a taxi finds herself equally affected by Hamilton's authoritative voice and the power of suggestion.

Summers begins to stalk Hamilton, wanting him to take her case. She has frequent blackouts, not remembering where she goes during those periods. Hamilton, who finds himself attracted to her is reluctant at first. He caves. Under hypnosis he discovers that Ann has a split personality, her other self being the German speaking Austrian Baroness Mary Vetsera, who was involved in the Mayerling Incident. The Mayerling Incident was the apparent murder–suicide of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria and Vetsera. However, from a recording of his hypnosis session with Ann, Hamilton's friend and colleague European historian Prof. Charles Gore, who speaks fluent German tells Hamilton that she is speaking imperfect German, hardly what a reincarnation of the Baroness would speak.

Interestingly the whole Mayerling angle storyline is no doubt injected into the film through the Wilder family's Austrian roots.

When Ann disappears again Hamilton tracks down her guardian, who tells him that as a child Ann was taken care of by an Austrian governess. This governess related the story of the Mayerling Incident to an impressionable Ann.

In order to bait Baroness Vetsera/Ann back to reality, Hamilton feeds the tabloids the story that mass murderer Morley is the reincarnation of Crown Prince Rudolf. He hypnotizes Morley into believing he is Prince Rudolf with the cooperation of the NYPD .

Other Noirs that dealt with hypnotism, Fear in the Night (1947), and Whirlpool (1950), are better known but Fright, fits in nicely with them in a low budget sort of way. Another film that I just recently watched The Hypnotic Eye (1960), is also very noir-ish but it actually does cross over line into the horror genre, whereas Fright does not. Fright is part of a double bill DVD from Alpha Home Entertainment, worth a watch for real New York City location Noir aficionados. 6/10

Review with screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/fright-1956-fringe-noir-lost-noir.html

Re: Regarding some noir...

Regarding some film noir which I've seen recently....did the criminals in each of those cases really think that their plot would work? In particular, I find myself thinking about Double Indemnity, where the two of them thought that others would believe that the victim really did fall off the train and was killed that way. And if the two of them were so convinced that this is a way someone could die, then why did the insurance salesman take a risk by jumping off that train himself?

No wonder the killers in these films always got caught in the end! Their plots were so ridiculous. In real life, those murder plots wouldn't even get past the early stages.

And yet...I love those films!

~~~~~
Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

Re: Regarding some noir...

I wonder if it was due to that living on the edge mentality that made characters in the early noir act like that. Some are so desperate and prepared to take a risk as though life was cheap and could end at any time.

Re: Regarding some noir...

Also, some of them just didn't think through carefully what might happen if they actually went ahead with these plots. Sure enough, in each case, the plans backfired on them.

Back to Double Indemnity: I'm also surprised that no one in that supermarket spotted the two of them. After all, they always met there....wouldn't the workers have noticed eventually?

~~~~~
Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

Faces in the Dark (1960)

Hi all,this might be the last Noir I watch on IMDb...but what a final film to end the era with!

8

** This review may contain spoilers ***

Discussing French Film Noir with the very generous IMDber dbdumonteil,I asked about adaptations of novelists Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac,due to the three that I've seen (Eyes Without A Face,Vertigo and Diabolique) being absolute classics. Catching me by surprise, dbdumonteil told me about a British Film Noir adaptation. Gathering up titles for my birthday viewing,I was thrilled to find it on Ebay £2.50!,which led to me unmasking the faces in the dark.

The plot:

Completely absorbed in his work, businessmen Richard Hammond puts his eyes on inventing a new light-bulb in his factory. Trying out a prototype, Hammond gets caught in an explosion which permanently blinds him. Fearing that he might go mad,Hammond is told by the Dr that he must trust his long suffering wife Christiane and "loyal" friend/co-worker David Merton to take care of him. Returning to his country home, Hammond is horrified to find himself constantly needing to be "corrected" by Christiane that things have not been moved around in the house. Standing outside,light begins to enter Hammond's blind vision when he smells pine trees,despite no pine trees having ever been near his house.

View on the film:

Unmasking this near-forgotten title, Renown present a sparkling transfer,with the dialogue and Mikis Theodorakis's off-beat wah-wah score being clear,and there only being a few specs of dirt on the images of the dark.

Ridding Hammond of his sight in the first 5 minutes (!) of this Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac adaptation,the screenplay by Ephraim Kogan & John Tully cuts a lean and mean British Film Noir. Changing sight of the original novel limiting the pov to the darkness of Hammond's mind,the writers brilliantly retain the isolation Noir spirit,with sharp-tooth inner monologues bringing to light the mad darkness Hammond is trapped in,and the echoes of doubt he now has of those out of sight. Playfully nodding to the French to English transfer,the writers hit a fantastic ambiguous note for Hammond's friends and family, shining in the clipped exchanges Christine has with her husband,which carry (some) element of care with a decayed frustration over Hammond's blindness to other points of view.

Spraying the dark mist of the original novel across the screen,director David Eady and cinematographer Ken Hodges turn Hammond's upper-crust country house into a Noir maze,via ever winding ultra-stylish shadows guarding Hammond from seeing the darkest events taking place. Largely staying away from any Gothic "monster" lighting for Hammond, Eady looks into his burnt eyes with coiled close-ups stabbing the pompous outlook he had on life,with a new Noir loner grasp from Hammond to catch an eyeful of the true feelings of those around him. Joined by an elegant, thoughtful Mai Zetterling as Christiane, John Gregson gives a fantastic performance as Hammond,thanks to Gregson punching Hammond's narrow bitterness with a gradual Film Noir fear of lies coming from the faces in the dark.
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