Film Noir : Neo-Noir Quest 2

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2 (Dog Day Afternoon?)

Not sure if this one has been mentioned yet, but does Dog Day Afternoon count? I saw it for the first time last night. Fantastic film, by the way. Highly recommended.

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen

Blade Runner (1982)

Sci-fi meets Noir. I haven't seen this in years, but this morning I only had time to watch the first 10-15 minutes and was blown away by the Noir photography. I also saw the version with the voice-over. Somehow when I saw this years ago the Noir aspect didn't sink in.

I hope I can see the whole movie this week and write some more about it. Can't wait.

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

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

I'm pretty sure you'll like it. Sci-fi and noir are a perfect marriage. A lot of movie goers were annoyed by the voice over and it was dropped from the subsequent (two?) releases. The opening shot - the camera panning in over a smog covered LA at night (actually it's always night) - is one of my favorite film moments.

Deckard is a true noir detective and Rachel is a different kind of femme fatale: she's not bad, but there is something bad about her. And the street scenes show life among people living on the fringes of society as well as any noir has. It's number three on my list of neos.

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

Deckard is a true noir detective and Rachel is a different kind of femme fatale: she's not bad, but there is something bad about her.

I'm stealing that for my review

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

Check out the very similar noir-ish Dark City (1998)

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

The Directors Cut, of course, surely?

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

Thanks, will do.

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

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

Just re-watched it. Unfortunately, the parts with the voice-over I saw were on the internet and we have the director's cut which had all of them cut out. So no voice-over, but there is still plenty of Noir about Blade Runner.

Harrison Ford plays a "blade runner", a cop who specializes in terminating replicants. These replicants are human clones with a fixed lifespan, they were supposed to be slaves but have turned on their human masters. Is the killing of a clone murder? (I will not go into the philosophical aspects of the film, that would require another thread).

Ridley Scott must have done his homework on Film Noir because its influence is everywhere in the film. Not to put too fine a point to it, Scott seemed to have gone through almost the entire "checklist" of recurring Noir elements, patterns and stylistic means and used them in his film.

The film has the look and feel of Noir. It may not have been filmed in black and white, but the bluish haze is a very good substitute for this. Add to that settings that are awash in deep shadows and cigarette smoke, people who are haloed in light, their faces in close-ups half-obscured by shadows, and you have yourself the perfect Noir set-up.
The streets are rain swept, it always seems to be night. The outer darkness reflects the protagonists's inner darkness and there is a feeling of claustrophobia and dread hanging over the city and its occupants. Melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionmentit's all there.

In the beginning there is an interrogation scene that could be straight out of a 40's Noir. The police office is definitively old-style. The clothing of Ford and other characters have a distinct 40's feel to them (trench coat and fedora).

Harrison Ford's Deckard is a flawed human being and his actions are more than morally questionable. After all he is a human hitman supposed to take out the replicants. He has all the Noir hero's moral ambivalence, he does his dirty job without asking too many uncomfortable questions.

In fact, the whole society in the movie seems to be corrupted and amoral. It is an apocalyptic world, but slowly Deckard starts to question his role as a blade runner when he meets Rachel, the not-quite femme fatale. Their meetings are at once romantic and pessimistic.
Rachel also looks and acts like a 40's femme fatale. She could be a Kathie Moffat, she could just be a tarnished angel trying to find redemption. Deckard can never be sure about her and her intentions, but that doesn't keep him from falling for her. In the end though, Rachel will prove responsible for Deckard's salvation.

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

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

Nice write up.

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

It is one of my favourite films of all time!

I'm ashamed to say I still haven't reviewed it. Scared to really as I always struggle when trying to write about very serious personal favourites

You know there are a number of cuts of it now? I should know, I have them all! I sleep with the 5 disc box set that includes the final cut (I lied about the last part ). Though there is a four hour original cut somewhere that I would most likely kill for!

You have really grasped why it is most definitely a noir movie

I promise I'll come back to your post once I get the October Horror challenge out the way.

Oh and I'll second mg's recommend for Dark City, with the caveat that it be the Directors Cut you watch .


The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

I looked it up on wiki and there seem to be tons of different version around. Do you really have them all?

"You have really grasped why it is most definitely a noir movie"
I didn't cook it all up by myself, I steal, I mean borrow too.
But it was all quite obvious. :)

And I'll wait until after the October Horror challenge.

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

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

One of my all-time fave movies, I also never realized it was 'noir' until after I found out about film noir, heh, I just love(d) the look, the story, the characters etc. I prefers the narration-less versions myself cuz the narration explains too much IMHO.

I've seen 3 of the versions, 2 of which (director's cut & final cut) I saw in the cinema (the final cut only a few months ago), and I own the 5-version set on both DVD and blu-ray heh.

BTW, you can see comparisons of the different versions listed here:

BLACK MASS 2015 Pretty good!

We caught BLACK MASS today. I must admit to being rather surprised just how good it was. As far as I'm concerned this is the best thing Johnny Depp has done since DONNIE BRASCO. Depp plays the FBI's most wanted, James "Whitey" Bulger. The film follows Boston Irish Mafia gangster Bulger from the late 70's till he ended up on the Most Wanted list.

The film has a even, deliberate pace that moves everything along just right. There is plenty of nice period detail etc here. The supporting cast is also good. Well worth a trip to the cinema in my opinion.

Re: BLACK MASS 2015 Pretty good!

Black Mass (2015)

So glad to read it hit your buttons mate, and by the looks of it it has gone down very well with the voters. Definitely one on my radar for sure. What a great cast as well!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: BLACK MASS 2015 Pretty good!

There have not been many films I've caught in the cinema the last few years worth the time expended. This one was a real pleasant surprise. The more I think of it, the higher up goes my rating.

Re: BLACK MASS 2015 Pretty good!

It's about to hit the cinema's here in a week or so, if I don't like it can I ask you for a refund?

Re: The Glass Cage (1964)

The Glass Cage (1964) Director Antonio Santean written by Antonio Santean and John Hoyt, Stars Arlene Sax, John Hoyt (The Unfaithful, Brute Force, The Bribe, Trapped, Loan Shark, and The Big Combo) Bob Kelljan, and a cameo by Elisha Cook Jr. who of course has numerous Noir in his CV.

Very Noir-ish Mystery with some great experimental cinematography about two detectives trying to solve the murder of a local, what looks like Bunker Hill neighborhood business man. A nightmare sequence features the iconic Noir Bradley Building. Pleasantly surprised, the film was produced by Futuramic Productions whose only other efforts was Squad Car (1960) and Come Spy with Me (1967). Arlene Sax plays a beautiful but troubled woman living in a low rent rooming house who thinks she shot the intruder. A beatnik artist is the only witness. Sax later known as Arlene Martel, was a staple of 50s-60s TV. A 7/10 worth a watch for Sax/Martel fans.

Re: The Glass Cage (1964)

When I caught the heading in your post I thought it said Lady in a Cage (1964)

Sounds good, has some very good noir credentials in the mix as well. Did you see the uncut version?

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Glass Cage (1964)

That's an interesting question, I wasn't aware that it may be cut. The version I saw was from a DVD from Sinister Video and I didn't check the run time. The IMDb page says 84 minutes, and I can't just pop it in to see as I'm currently about 2000 miles away from home in Chinook MT ;-)

Where did you get the info that it may be cut, I'm curious now?

Re: The Glass Cage (1964)

There's a tough rape scene in the film. If you saw that then you have seen it uncut, if not then you have seen the censored version. Got the info from the film's page on TCM.

Hope yer having fun in Chinook!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Glass Cage (1964)

Was in Chinook Montana years ago. Had beers there once or twice! It is not all that far from Calgary. The old days when we would head south for booze up weekends! I still recall the hangovers.

Re: The Glass Cage (1964)

Yes there was a rape sequence so I guess its the full version.

Femme Fatale (2002)

Femme Fatale (2002)

Isn't sugar better than vinegar?

**SPOILER ALERT - The last paragraph makes reference to a 1940s film that constitutes a spoiler. **

There rarely seems to be anything in between where Brian De Palma films are concerned, cinematic lovers of all kinds by and large either trash or laud his films. Femme Fatale is no different, one critic - both professional or amateur - will have it as a 1/10 movie, another will have it at the maximum rate available. Femme Fatale is high grade stuff if one is either a De Palma fan or a lover of film noir. Conversely if these two things don't tick your film loving boxes then the law of averages suggests you should have - or should - stayed/stay away from it.

De Palma opens up the doors to his fun house and invites noir lovers to come on in and enjoy. It's difficult to write about the plot because it holds many twists and turns, it's a veritable supply of uppers and downers, twisters and benders, all sexed up and pumped full of De Palma's trademark tricks and devilish rug pulls. In truth the story and set-up is predictable, but the journey is what makes the pic ooze quality and bare faced cheek, with the director giggling away like a schoolgirl in the background.

Opening up with a sequence that sees our titular fatale (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) watching famed noir classic Double Indemnity, De Palma proceeds to homage and love the film noir world. As he uses split-screens, canted angles, up-tilt shots, shadow plays etc, the narrative pulses with eroticism and impending cruelty, this really is a femme fatale based movie of the grandest kind. As events unfurl, with hapless photographer Nicola Bardo (a fun packed Antonio Banderas) caught in the web, Ryuichi Sakamoto's magnificent classical based score swirls around like some sort of peeping tom. The latter of which finds a shifty accomplice in Thierry Arbogast's noir photography.

It's a picture awash with dupes, dopes and vengeful criminals, where the themes of identity, duality, sexuality and distorted perceptions gnaw away at those investing fully in the viewing experience. Some critics (prof and amat) have lazily likened the film to David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, as if De Palma in 6 short months watched Lynch's movie and then knocked this film out! The copy-cat charge as funny as the rug-pull that De Palma pulls here. Besides, as any film noir lover will tell you, this has more in keeping with Fritz Lang's 1944 noirer "The Woman in the Window" than Lynch's film, which is no bad thing at all, and De Palma knew that. 8/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Everyone was peeing on my head and telling me it's raining.

Devil in a Blue Dress is written and directed by Carl Franklin, who adapts from the book written by Walter Mosley. It stars Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals, Don Cheadle and Maury Chaykin. Music is by Elmer Bernstein and cinematography by Tak Fujimoto.

Carl Franklin had already laid down a considerable neo-noir marker with his searing 1992 thriller One False Move, here he goes more traditional but garners equally impressive results. Plot has Washington as a WW2 veteran who has lost his job and desperately needs money to keep hold of his pride and joy - his house. Taking on a job offered by shifty DeWitt Albright (Sizemore), to find a missing woman, Rawlings quickly finds himself in up to his neck in murder and deception, he must turn ace detective to save his skin.

Set in late 1940s Los Angeles, what instantly stands out is the period detail. The clothes, the cars and the establishments frequented by Easy and company. With voice over narration also provided by Washington, in dry and sardonic tones, it's every inch a loving ode to the film noir movies released at the time the pic is set. There's plenty of neon signs about the place, some bad ass cops, good sex, brandy and sharp suits, smoking and coolness and of course a psychopath in the classic mould (Cheadle excellent).

But of course noir dressage is only that if you haven't got a good pot boiling plot, thankfully this has one. The story takes unexpected turns, always remaining interesting, the distinctive characterisations breathing heavy, managing to off set the run of the mill stereotypes in the supporting ranks. It can be argued that Beals as the titular femme fatale of the title is under written, but the character comes with an air of mystery that serves Franklin's atmosphere very well. Tech credits are high, something of a given with Bernstein and Fujimoto on the list, while Washington turns in another classy show of subtlety and believability.

Lovers of film noir should get much rewards from Devil in a Blue Dress. 7.5/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

This one and One False Move certainly where a blip on the radar screen. Franklin hadn't done anything before and his stuff after has got increasingly more mainstream. OFM was rough around the edges with a hard boiled storyline and Devil has its own edginess in showing us what racism was in post WWII America, the only noir or neo that I can think of that has. After these two, Franklin seems to have lost his nerve.

Very good story and Beals is perfect for this part but Cheadle kind of steals the show. Another psychopathic hit man from Texas (Red Rock West).

One False Move

I really wish we could get more people to see it

Oh for sure Cheadle owns the movie, the calm psychopath roles always chill the bones, but only if the actor is good enough to carry it off, and DC does to great effect.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Pick-Up (1968) Vegas Road Trip -Sexploitation - Roughie - Film Noir

I'm beginning to see a pattern, formulating a supposition, especially after viewing this film and recently 1967's Aroused. It's almost as if during Classic Film Noir's original run the darker subject matter of the films, even though hampered by the Hayes Code would reflect the realities of society albeit in a coded way, but with a sort of delayed time lag. But once the code and the Studio System began to breakdown and when film began to get increased competition from TV the subject matter began to get up to speed so to speak and cover more current topics, i.e., beatniks (The Beat Generation 1959) juvenile delinquency (Crime in the Streets 1956, The Young Savages 1961), heroin addiction (The Man With The Golden Arm 1955, Stakeout on Dope Street 1958), rape (Anatomy of a Murder 1959), racism ( No Way Out 1950, The Crimson Kimono 1959, Odds Against Tomorrow 1959, The Pawnbroker 1964). Eventually independently produced films began to explore and depict fringe sex topics, virginity (The Moon Is Blue 1953 ) multiple partners (The Night of the Iguana 1964) homosexuality (Suddenly, Last Summer 1959, The Children's Hour 1961, Reflections in a Golden Eye 1967) fetishism (Satan In High Heels 1962), prostitution and sex maniacs (Aroused 1967) and this film The Pick-Up which features casual sex and a bit of bondage and sadism. But the sadism/bondage sequence would for all intents and purposes be equal to the Daniel Craig torture sequence in Casino Royale (2006) but getting an R rating because the victim is female.

The last two Films are shot in the Film Noir style but The Pick-Up would have benefited with just a tad bit of restraint. It just crosses over the line in a few sequences lingering on female nudity going into, for me, what I would consider definite exploitation. I wouldn't cut any shots but I didn't need to see that much repetition, a few seconds for each shot would have been sufficient and also would have left a bit to the imagination, the best of both worlds. You could say it went over the speed limit of the prevailing Zeitgiest. Noir for the most part sort of went underground. The mainstream culture wouldn't catch up to some taboo subjects for 20 or 30 years.

If you overlook those small excesses in The Pick-Up you will discover one of the last great gritty Black & White Neo Noir's.

The Film starred writer, actor, producer, Wes Bishop (Perry Mason (1957), Combat! (1962), Bonanza (1959) and The High Chaparral (1967) as Tony. Tony reminds you of a cool Robert Wagner, Stefan Zema (Crime Story) plays Frankie, he's comes off like a young Ernest Borgnine. Tony and Frankie are bag-men for the mob transporting Las Vegas skim in a '66 Cadillac Fleetwood from a strip casino run by Charlie (exploitation film producer David F. Friedman) to Los Angeles Mob boss Sal (sexploitation producer Bob Cresse).

The story set up is that Tony, the veteran bag-man is breaking in hired gun Frankie the newbie. The operation has a simple check and balance Tony works for Sal, and Frankie was hired (back East) to work for Charlie. Frankie has never been to Vegas before and since they have arrived early in the morning before the scheduled pick-up, Frankie wants to explore the strip a bit.

Frankie is like a kid in a candy store, exclaiming at one point that the mass of neon lights the street "like daylight". Tony plays by the book but breaks down a little and while the Caddy is being serviced and he and Frankie walk the strip, he even lets Frankie try his hand at the slots. The opening sequence is a great traveling time capsule through the windshield of the Fleetwood to circa 1967 Las Vegas as Tony & Frankie glide into town.

When ever Tony has to get serious he puts on his shades, perhaps a reference to Sam Fullers killer in Underworld U.S.A. (1961). When they arrive at the casino Tony tells Frankie to stay inside the car while he puts on his shades and makes the transaction accepting two suitcases from Charlie's cronies and handing over a receipt. They head out of town into the desert on old Highway 91 towards Los Angeles. Frankie is driving down a desolate stretch of highway while Tony tries to catch some shut eye, when they approach two women stranded on the side of the road with the hood up on their car. The women dressed in mini skirts try to flag Frankie down. Frankie pulls over and wakes up Tony and convinces him to go back and give the ladies a hand. They U- Turn and pull up behind the women. Tony puts on his sunglasses and tells Frankie to stay inside and lock the doors.

The women wear that mid sixties fashion style tent dress mini - micro mini skirt, to me they resemble the female cast of highly popular daytime TV soap opera Dark Shadows. The two women are played by the sultry Lois Ursone (Dana) and waif-ish space case Lynn Harris (Marcia) who looks like a brunette Goldie Hawn circa her Laugh-In years.

Frankie convinces Tony to give the girls a ride to a service garage. On the way Marcia comes on to Frankie in the back seat.

Frankie convinces Tony to call in and say they have car problems so that they can party with the girls. They decide to look for a bar but since the girls have their own booze they get two rooms at a motel.

What could go wrong?

The film has a period 60s score that ranges from a folk singer entertaining up in the casino's penthouse, to bongo drums. The DVD is available from Something Weird Video 7/10

Full review with many NSFW screen caps here:

Re: The Pick-Up (1968) Vegas Road Trip -Sexploitation - Roughie - Film N

The Pick-Up (1968)

James Craig?

Great read, enjoyed that. I can't get onto the blog as I'm at work and blogs are blocked by our IT department, but I'll check it out when I log on at home. I'm pretty sure I tried to seek this out last year but it wasn't available or was charged at a ridiculous price. Good to see Something Weird Video provides an option.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Pick-Up (1968) Vegas Road Trip -Sexploitation - Roughie - Film N

Daniel Craig, I'll fix it. thanks.

Hammett (1982) - A Noir Lovers Wet Dream

Sort of an alcoholic stupor/dream of a PI flick, enforced by the storybook poetic/magic realism quality of the Zoetrope Studio sets and a melancholy soundtrack. The story revolves around Dashiell "Sam" Hammett post his Pinkerton years, late 1920s, during his Pulp Fiction/Black Mask, penny a word, hack writer days, and the accounting of one last case or is it just another hard boiled tale?

Wim Wenders and Zoetrope Studios managed to recreate a late 1920s San Francisco crammed with amazing details and populated by what seems like hundreds of extras. Our story begins with a slow zoom into a cheap walk up apartment. Sam Hammett (Frederic Forest) a chain smoker, a lunger, and a heavy boozer prematurely gray, is pecking out the finale to a pulp story on what looks like an Underhill. While Sam is typing we see the tale as it unfolds. A voice-over narrates in true Hard Boiled Noir fashion. It's a fog bound waterfront of docks and warehouses. A operative named Sue Alabama, has just double crossed her partner Jimmy Ryan. Ryan dopes it out, gets the drop on Sue and recovers the pearl necklace. Sue asks Ryan to give her an hour for old times sake, he agrees, she takes off, but in his narration Ryan tells us he only gave her fifteen minutes and she was picked up at the station. His last line of narration is "Back in '26 Sue Alabama and I nearly got married. I suppose it's just as well we didn't.

Sam types The End rolls out his last page and adds it to the stack of the manuscript. He smiles grabs up the pages and stumbles over to his bed where he passes out.

Alcoholic stupor/lucid dream? We fade to black then cut to Sam hacking and coughing his lungs up into the sink in his bathroom, until he collapses on the tile floor

Waking up in the middle of the night Sam lights up a tar bar and sees a figure sitting in his easy chair. It turns out to be Jimmy Ryan (Boyle) his partner from his Pinkerton days, and he reading his Continental Op manuscript. Ryan says "Sam I don't know whether to be flattered or embarrassed, .. How come the guy doesn't have a name?. this guy does all the stuff I used to do"

Ryan tells Sam that he's in San Francisco working an MP (a Missing Person Case) and that he needs Sam's help. Sam protests that he's done with all that. But Ryan tells the story about a young kid green on the job who would have got a bullet in the eye if Ryan hadn't stepped in the line of fire taking it in the shoulder. The kid tells Ryan that he owes him "saying any time any place " Well Ryan tell's Sam "the place is here, the time is now!"

The rest of the tale involves the extortion plot and the various individuals connected, the film is a Noir lover's visual wet dream with a wonderful back-lots and set designed by Dean Tavoularis

Frederic Forrest is excellent as Hammett, perfect and totally believable in the role of a hard drinking, chain smoking, lunger, ex detective. Marilu Henner is good as Kit. Crystal Ling is great as the story's femme fatale. David Patrick Kelly is good as the gunsel.

The rest of the cast perform well the films only faults are one, Peter Boyle, I feel that he is only adequate as Jimmy Ryan, the original casting choice was supposed to be Brian Kieth, who would have brought a ton of cinematic memory with him to the role, Boyle brings the wrong kind of baggage, he's played in too many comedies, he's almost but not quite spoofing the part, too bad.

The films second fault, is with the numerous production problems. An 8/10 after repeated viewings

full review with many screen caps here:

Re: Hammett (1982) - A Noir Lovers Wet Dream

It's a tricky one. I like it well enough but it is very stage bound and very uneven, while it's more dressage that actual potent content. But we both agree that it's definitely a film noir lovers movie.

Thanks for the read C J

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Hammett (1982) - A Noir Lovers Wet Dream

I find myself enjoying it more everytime I watch it. The original cast was Brian Keith and Ronee Blakley in the supporting parts and there were a lot more location shots. The film was basically reshot and it's said that 30% of Wenders is what's left in the film we have. Read the novel by Joe Gores if you ever get the chance very different story altogether but equally good.

Re: Hammett (1982) - A Noir Lovers Wet Dream

It's hard for me to comment on this film without sounding fickle and contradictory. The first time I saw it I was wild about it, probably because of the great period feel and superb visuals. But on a second viewing I became somewhat impatient with it and found it gloomy and depressing. I realize this is a strange reaction from a noir fan, since the very essence of noir is darkness and desperation, but there you are.

Your comments on the cast are right on target, especially about Frederic Forest who was great here and in Zoetrope's hallucinatory, color-drenched Las Vegas fantasy, One From The Heart.

Re: Hammett (1982) - A Noir Lovers Wet Dream

The soundtrack by John Barry is another plus for Hammett.

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2

Just bumping this folks to stop IMDb deleting it off the page. I have a number of neos lined up now that Xmas is over.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Black Widow (1987)

Black Widow (1987)

The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Black Widow is directed by Bob Rafelson and written by Ronald Bass. It stars Debra Winger and Theresa Russell. Music is by Michael Small and cinematography by Conrad L. Hall.

Two women. Catherine marries men for their money, then murders them. The other, Alexandra Barnes is on her tail, getting in close to hopefully expose her crimes

Rafelson's neo-noir homages the film noir femme fatales of the 40s and 50s with a high degree of success. There's much potency in the screenplay that puts it firmly in the noir universe. Flip flopping the misogyny angles of yesteryear, pic pitches the ultimate femme fatale destroyer of men into a cat and mouse scenario with a sexually repressed opponent - or is she a jealous but secret admirer? The transformation of Winger's dowdy Justice Department Agent into a blossoming lady at Catherine Black Widow's (Russell super sexy and sensuous) side brings in the doppelgänger effect, a good old noir staple. The sexual tension is a constant, particularly when Paul Nuytten (Sami Frey) is brought into proceedings, something which shifts the piece still further into noirville.

There's also other characters straight out of film noir. Be it Alexandra's boss (the always reliable Terry O'Quinn), who's a lech harbouring desires for Alex, or sleazy Private Investigator H Shin (James Hong) who has a needle habit, it's clear that Rafelson and Bass know their noir. Unfortunately most of the play is in daylight, meaning missed opportunities for some psychological shadow play is passed up. Though it should be noted that Hall's photography is slick and tonally in tune, especially when lighting scenes involving Russell as prime focus. It all builds to a splendid finale, the makers pulling us both ways as to where it will lead. Sure, some of the plot devices are weak, but in the main this is sexy, intriguing and tricksy in narrative, whilst tech credits stay at the higher end of the scale. 7/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Black Widow (1987)

Nice bit, Spike. I saw this in the cinema and enjoyed it. Hard to believe it was back in 87. I must admit that I had the hots for Miss Russell! Tick is away!

Re: Black Widow (1987)

What a pair of legs on Theresa!

I'd have married her in a heartbeat and paid the noir consequence for my folly

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Night Moves (1975) The Deconstructed Detective

Night Moves geographically spans from the classic haunts of Hammett, Chandler, and Ross Mcdonald, i.e., California, LA, Hollywood, to the aqua and coral pastels of John D. MacDonald's South Florida and it's Gulf Coast Keys. There is also a short stopover to a New Mexico film location.

Directed by Arthur Penn. Written by Alan Sharp, with cinematography by Bruce Surtees. The film stars Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Mars, Janet Ward, Anthony Costello, John Crawford, and it also has some outstanding early career appearances by James Woods and Melanie Griffith.

The story reboots the classic hardboiled detective story up to the contemporary 1970's. Harry Moseby (Hackman) runs Moseby Confidential a one man detective agency, a business that seems to putter along on vapors. He drives a 1967 Ford Mustang. Instead of being the usual ex WWI, WWII, Korean or Vietnam Vet, Moseby is an ex Oakland Raider football player, who has apparently invested some of his NFL contract doe into a PI dream.

Moseby is a Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe "knight of the streets" wannabe but rather than hard boiled, Harry is soft boiled at best, he is not tough or mean, he's more easygoing and disarming, Harry is also a bit tarnished and maybe bit afraid. He is the hero, competent and dedicated, but even as his personal world dissolves around him he is still as Chandler said "a man of honorby instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world."

Our tale begins when Harry get's a case referred to him by one of his wife's Ellen's (Susan Clark) clients Nick (Kenneth Mars), a collector of Mayan antiquities. The job is to find and return the wayward daughter of a crumbling Hollywood C-list star, Arlene Iverson (Janet Ward). Iverson is a multiple marriage booze hound, getting a bit thick in the middle and living high on the hog off alimony checks in a hillside house above LA. She's specialized in banging movie stuntmen. She'll remind you of a caricature of a past the end of career Elizabeth Taylor. She comes on to Harry like a bitch in heat every time he visits her to get the details of or report his findings on her daughter Delilah "Delly" (Melanie Griffith). Arlene wants her back because Delly has a sizeable trust fund.

Harry from information he got from Arlene, confronts Delly's last boyfriend Quentin (James Woods) a movie crew mechanic who informs Harry that Delly left him in New Mexico for a stuntman pilot name of Marv (Anthony Costello).

The case is the real deal to Harry, it pays more, it's better than routine divorce cases, and better than working for a large agencies which, he remarks to Ellen, are no better than data collection services. While driving back through Burbank, and feeling good about himself, Harry passes the Magnolia Theatre where his wife and her gay business associate Charles (Ben Archibek) are exiting a film. Harry makes a U-ie parks and is about to call out to Ellen when he witnesses her leave the company of Charles to take up with another man Marty (Harris Yulin). Marty walks with the aid of a cane and he escorts Ellen into a Mercedes. They drive away. Harry jumps back in the Mustang and tails them to Malibu. Seeing Ellen have an affair is like getting kicked in the guts. Harry stakes out Marty's house and confronts him about the affair.

Leaving his personal life in tatters Harry copes by diving fully into the missing daughter case. He flies to New Mexico where he meets Delly's father stunt coordinator Joey Ziegler (Edward Binns). While at a bar with Joey, he's introduced to sleazy stuntman Marv (Anthony Costello). When Joey leaves the table momentarily Harry asks Marv about Delly. Marv says she headed for Florida to stay with her step dad Tom Iverson (John Crawford) then he offers his observation of the certain perspective a man gets when he sleeps with both the daughter (Delly) and the mother (Arlene). He snickers.

Harry heads to the Florida Gulf Coast to track down Delly at her step dad's grungy off the beaten track guiding, fishing, retail business MidKay Supermarket and The Gulf Shore Cabins. There he meets free-spirited Paula (Jennifer Warren) a slinky, blonde, Southern beach trash, beauty who has among other endeavors has bar tended, waitressed, stripped, etc., etc. She takes him to meet Delly. Delly is introduced to us in homage to much like Brigitte Bardot was iconically introduced in Roger Vadim's And God Created Woman, naked behind a clothesline.

Delly is a 16-year-old, very in your face, out of control, round heels nymphomaniac, who gives the impression that she will screw anything with a dick. She constantly teases any man within her reach ready to strip off her clothes at the drop of a hat. As soon as Harry shows up he becomes the object of her constant attention.

Delly's step dad Tom Iverson (John Crawford) flies in on a seaplane soon after Harry arrives. When Harry tells him he's there to collect Delly and bring her back to her mother, Tom confides to Harry that she's a handful, and referring to her open sexuality states "there ought to be a law" to which Harry replies "there is."

Paula, Delly, and Harry decide to take the glass bottomed boat out for a recreational night dive on the reef. They turn the underwater lights on. Delly strips and jumps in while Paula and Harry watch. While Delly is moving about she discovers the wreck of a small seaplane. When she gets close to the cockpit she sees the body of a deadman, fish are feeding on his head eating his eye sockets, she panics bursting upwards to the surface and screams.

Seeing the dead man so disturbs Delly that she's ready to go back to California with Harry. Once back at Arlene's, Delly has a dysfunctional brouhaha with her mother, Quentin, and her mother's new lover in front of Harry as he is trying to leave after collecting his check.

Harry has misgivings, wondering if he did the right thing, a few day later his apprehensions prove out when Delly is killed in an accident on a movie set. After meeting with Joey Ziegler and seeing rushes of the crash Harry suspects Quentin was involved. Harry follows Quentin to Florida where in classic noir fashion everything unravels, and in not the way you expect.

In the old whodunnits, the detective would logically follow the clues and solve the case. In the hard boiled tales of Hammett and Chandler the detective takes the case shakes things up and sees what falls out. When Harry goes back to Florida he reaches the tipping point into full blown Noirsville.

The jazzy soundtrack is by Michael Small, 8/10.

Full review with screencaps here

Re: Night Moves (1975) The Deconstructed Detective

Wonderful to see you keeping up the major league reviews

I defo like the film a touch more than yourself.

Take a swing at me Harry the way Sam Spade would.

Night Moves is directed by Arthur Penn and written by Alan Sharp. It stars Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Mars and Janet Ward. Music is by Michael Small and cinematography by Bruce Surtees.

Former footballer turned private detective in Los Angeles Harry Moseby (Hackman), gets hired by an ageing actress to track down her trust- funded daughter Delly Grastner (Griffith), who is known to be in Florida. With his own personal life shaken by his wife's infidelity, Harry dives into the Grasten case with determination. Unfortunately nothing is as it first seems and it's not long before Harry is mired in murky goings on

It sounds kind of bleak. Or is it just the way you tell it?

The locale is often bright and sunny but that's about the only thing that is in this excellent neo-noir. Harking back, and doffing its cap towards, the noir detective films of the classic cycle, Night Moves is ripe with characters who are either dubious or damaged. Protagonist Harry Moseby is thrust into a melancholic world that he has no control over, but he doesn't know this fact. As the mystery at the core of the dense plot starts to unravel, there's a bleakness, a 1970s air of cynicism, that pervades the narrative. Culminating in a finale that's suitably dark and ambiguous.

Harry thinks if you call him Harry again he's gonna make you eat that cat!

Alan Sharp's (Ulzana's Raid) terrific screenplay is appropriately as sharp as a razor. Dialogue is often hardboiled or zinging with wit, and the conversations come with sadness or desperation. Be it chatter about a fateful chess move, sexual enlightenment or the pains of childhood and bad parenting, Sharp's writing provides fascinating characters operating in a tense thriller environment.

Listen Delly, I know it doesn't make much sense when you're sixteen. Don't worry. When you get to be forty, it isn't any better.

Arthur Penn brilliantly threads it all together, as he hones a great performance out of Hackman and notable turns from the support players, he smoothly blends action with pulsing unease. There's nudity on show, but in Penn's hands it is never used for gratuitous purpose, it represents dangerous fantasies or dented psyches. Small's jazzy score is a fine tonal accompaniment, and Surtees' Technicolor photography provides deft mood enhancements for the interior and exterior sequences.

Biting and bitter, Night Moves is essential neo-noir. 9/10

Here's a list of neo's I have to watch and review, let me know if there is anything you want to watch and review yourself and we can post up a communal part to the thread.

The Two Jakes
Blue Velvet
Bad Lieutenant
The Conversation
The Drowning Pool
Farewell, My Lovely
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
The Getaway (original, though I'm trying to source the remake)
Jackie Brown (watching this tonight though)
L.A. Confidential
Lost Highway
Mulholland Drive
No Country for Old Men
High and Low
Blood and Wine
The Man Who Wasn't There

I got The Hot Spot as well but I know you did that one recently.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Night Moves (1975) The Deconstructed Detective

If the cinematography was a bit more stylistic (for Night Moves) it would have complemented the twisted story even more, but it seemed just adequate, that was why I went the 8/10, I'm a bit more visually oriented.

As far as your list, I have these to review also.

The Two Jakes (need to source this one)
Blue Velvet (have it)
Bad Lieutenant (seen it a while ago, not recently)
The Conversation (don't have it)
The Drowning Pool (seen it a while ago also)
Farewell, My Lovely (have it)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (have it)
The Getaway (seen it a while ago (just read the novel) I'm trying to source the remake too)
Jackie Brown (have it)
L.A. Confidential (done it already)
Lost Highway (have it)
Mulholland Drive (have it)
No Country for Old Men (have it)
Fargo (have it)
High and Low (on my Netflix list)
Blood and Wine (never heard of it)
The Man Who Wasn't There (seen it but not recently enough to review it)

These are the Neo Noir films I'm trying to review to catch up with the purchases I've made but not reviewed as of yet:

Payback seen theatrical and have directors cut, liked theatrical better until the ending then liked the directors cut end, need to get theatrical DVD to properly review it
Experiment In Terror
Pennies From Heaven Steve Martin version sort of a noir-ish musical
8 Million Ways To Die
Beat Generation
To Live and Die in L.A.
The Hot Spot
The Incident

Re: Night Moves (1975) The Deconstructed Detective

Blood and Wine (1996)

I got wind of it after watching Bob Rafelson's Black Widow, where I saw a few film noir lovers reference it as a Rafelson Florida Noir. Looking into it it very much appears to be a film that only film noir fans can get on side with. Plus it has Nicholson & Caine in it so that's a good starting point for me. Stick it on your list.

Watched Jackie Brown (1997), review pending, liked it loads, very tight to Leonard.

I'm very much in the camp that prefers the D/C of Payback. I look forward to your review of To Live and Die in L.A..

Next one up for me is The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973).

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Night Moves (1975) The Deconstructed Detective

Blood & Wine Oh yea, now I remember it, I did see it, it must not have impressed me the first go round, I stumbled upon it on TV, it was a pool side scene I watched don't think I stayed with it.

The theatrical release of Payback looked way more noir-ish with the Dutch Angels, the blue tint, etc., etc,, the shenanigans at the end starting with Mel Gibson crawling under the SUV was all a bit farfetched. I'm split on it.

I've seen Eddie Coyle, didn't click the first go round, my lasting impression was "'70s muscle cars driving around a parking lot", lol, I'll give it another go.

Re: Night Moves (1975) The Deconstructed Detective

Jackie Brown, Payback, To live and Die in LA and Eddie Coyle I quite liked. Blood and Wine I did not like in the least. Caine for me was the only saving grace. It is one of those no gray area films, you like it, or you don't.

Only God Forgives (2013)

Only God Forgives (2013): Brothers Ryan Gosling and Tom Burke run a muay thai fighting arena in Bangkok, Thailand, which also fronts for drug-smuggling activities. One night Burke rapes and kills an underage hooker. When police inspector Vithaya Pansringarm sees the bloody mess, he lets the hooker's father kill Burke, before chopping off the father's right arm for pimping out his daughter. Burke's mother Kristin Scott Thomas flies to Thailand to collect her dead son, as well as take a tighter control over the drug-smuggling ring and order Gosling to avenge his brother's death. Gosling is reluctant, but Thomas won't take no for an answer, not knowing who she's up against.
Film noir always had an existential edge, and director Nicholas Winding Refn takes this side to the extreme in this neon-lit neo-noir. It is even more cerebral than his previous collaboration with Gosling, the amazing 'Drive'. Mixing images of the unfolding story with images that are more symbolic in nature, the movie is soaked in neon-red hues, and beautiful to watch. It is also rather slow and Gosling has even less lines here than in 'Drive', but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Gosling has a continuous empty glare in his eyes as his character goes through the motions, and his character has serious mommy-issues affecting his libido. But who wouldn't with Thomas as his incestuous mother, she is awesome as one of those 'bitch to end all bitches' characters. Pansringarm is the titular 'god' and hands out justice without the need of a court in a supremely calculated manner. He doesn't (need to) display a large range of emotions, but he has a menacing presence, off-set by a love for karaoke.
The movie is cerebral and almost meditative, but also bloody, violent and brutal when it needs to be. It is not an easy watch, but it's a fascinating one, and I will definitely watch it again to see if the symbolic scenes make more sense (some are kinda obvious, others are not, yet). Really good stuff but a movie one probably has to be in the right mood to appreciate. 8/10

Re: Only God Forgives (2013)

I'm most intrigued by this one, it really polarises opinions. I do own it but haven't got around to watching it yet. I absolutely loved Drive, one of my favourite neos.

Enjoyed your review, some interesting observations, got me keen to see it for myself now.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Nordic Noir - Snabba cash (2010)

There have been a lot of good crime thrillers coming out of Scandinavia - Headhunters, The Keeper of Lost Causes, The Pusher Trilogy, The Millennium Trilogy, The Killing (TV series), ID:A , Insomnia - all written by Scandinavian writers who completely get the crime genre. Maybe it's the long winters.

As in most good noir, the motivation of the characters is what drives Snabba cash (the English title is Easy Money - but the Swedish title is so much cooler). There are three main characters who all see money as what's important in proving their worth and they all see crime as the only way to get it. Their lives become entangled in a cocaine deal/rip-off involving the Serbian mafia (who are fast becoming the new movie bad guys in European cinema).

Our three anti-heroes are very conflicted and as we watch them disintegrate it portends for a very bleak ending. The movie builds tension (too slowly for fans who gave it a lukewarm reception) while drawing us into the hopes and dreams of the three who really are sympathetic characters.

The photography is very noir as is the music, the acting and the directing. I've seen a couple of the films I mentioned above and am looking forward to watching more. This movie is highly recommended - 8/10.

Re: Nordic Noir - Snabba cash (2010)

Snabba cash (2010)

Yes, reads as a cracker jg, thanks for bringing it to our attention

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Experiment In Terror (1962) San Francisco Tail Fin Noir

A neat 1962 Suspense-Thriller Noir that fits into that particular period from mid to late 1950's early 1960's that is visually defined on cars by the Space Age design feature the tail fin, and by Googie style signage and architecture. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film was directed by Blake Edwards, Mickey Spillane's 'Mike Hammer!' (TV Movie 1954) Days of Wine And Roses (1962), and written by Mildred and Gordon Gordon and was based on their 1961 novel, Operation Terror.

The film stars Glenn Ford (seven classic noir films), Lee Remick (Anatomy of a Murder (1959)), Stefanie Powers, and Ross Martin. Supporting cast Ned Glass, Anita Loo, Patricia Huston, Clifton James, Al Avalon, James Lanphier, and William Sharon. The film is greatly enhanced by the excellent cinematography by Philip H. Lathrop who was assistant camera on Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948), camera operator on (The Raging Tide (1951), Touch Of Evil (1958), lensed as cinematographer a couple of critically forgettable Paul Henreid directed films, and a string of TV series, (Rawhide, and the noir-ish, Mr. Lucky, Peter Gunn, and Perry Mason)

The film's night time opening title sequence is of Kelly Sherwood (Lee Remick), driving 58 Ford Fairlane Sunliner top down convertible across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. She is framed against a twinkling San Francisco skyline that features inky blacks pierced by strings of pearl streetlights and moving headlights becomes a harbinger of the noir stylistics to come, breathtaking contrasts, and unsettling camera angles.

Sherwood is a cute bank teller who lives on a hill overlooking the city with her 16-year-old sister (Stefanie Powers) in the Twin Peaks section of San Francisco. As we continue to follow her home from a party in Oakland to her house, she is grabbed from behind after she gets out of her car and is assaulted in her dark garage by a man with a raspy wheezing voice. The shot is in an uncomfortable extreme close-up. The Wheezer threatens to either kill her or her sister if she doesn't cooperate in his plan to rob her bank. The man ratchets up the terror factor by letting Kelly know that he has been stalking them for a while, he even emphasises the point that he even knows intimate things, i.e., her measurements. The way the scene plays out we know that he is fondling her as he calls out her hips, waist, and bust size by her reactions.

When the man leaves, Kelly not very intimidated, goes into her house and dials up the FBI. She's switch boarded to Agent John 'Rip' Ripley (Glenn Ford) who is just able to get her name before the line goes dead. It's The Wheezer, he assumed that she'd make her call for help and entering her house he's smacked her to the floor and hung up the phone. When Kelly comes to he tells her that she get's to make this one mistake, and she'd better follow his precise instructions from now. The Wheezer leaves again and an increasingly terrorized Kelly is immobilized by fear. Lying in despair by the phone she is startled when it suddenly rings. It's the FBI, Ripley and the bureau has managed to suss out where she lives.

The film balances between being a policer and a suspense thriller that surprisingly keeps Kelly pretty level headed throughout, and doesn't fall into the now greatly over used "saviour becomes lover" trope. Ripley and the G men are all business. They search for similar MO's and chase leads. They even get a small break when one of The Wheezer's gal pals Nancy Ashton (Patricia Huston), who has a mannequin repair business, suspects something is up and nervously visits the FBI with her suspicions. Nancy fibs a bit telling Ripley that it's her friend that's in trouble, she even propositions Ripley for a date but again stressing professionalism Ripley begs off. Nancy later works up some courage and phones Ripley to tell him that she has information and asks him to drop by but Wheezer kills her before Ripley arrives.

A police informant named "Popcorn" (Ned Glass in a nice cameo) who sells tips supplies more pieces to the puzzle telling the FBI that he's overheard phone conversations between a forger and man that fits their MO a man named Red Lynch. Lynch raped and killed a bank teller in Kansas after she would not go along with his scheme. Lynch's profile also shows that he is fond of Chinese females, which sends Ripley and the FBI into Chinatown with mug shots of Lynch.

The film even has a somewhat humorous sequence, when The Wheezer gives Kelly instructions to meet at The Gay Nineties Club, the place is packed with customers and also FBI men. As Kelly walks around trying to meet with Wheezer she is looking at various men and in tern attracting their attention while under surveillance . One guy approaches her thinking she is a hooker, and Kelly at first assumes that he is the Wheezer. She walks out of the club with him and to his car, as they drive away, followed by a convoy of FBI cars, he indicates that she should move closer and sit beside him. She balks saying that it's only business, the guy is thinking OK she wants money. When Kelly suddenly realizes he thinks she's a prostitute she bolts from the car and he is surrounded by FBI agents with drawn guns.

As the asthmatic schizophrenic killer Red Lynch (Ross Martin), practically steals the show. Martin isn't just a single layer - one note villain, he is eventually revealed as having a normal serious relationship with a Chinese woman named Lisa Soong (Anita Loo), serious to the extent of paying the hospital costs for her son's hip replacement operation. He even visits him at the hospital, bringing him expensive stuffed animals. This normality all proves his Achilles heel.

Stefanie Powers is perfect as Toby, Kelly's younger sister who is still a bit of an awkward teenager, still that has that little bit of baby fat, but you can see beyond to the beauty that she will become.

I can't express enough how much this late Film Noir is an addictive visual treat, it's full of striking compositions, skewed by unsetting camera angles, teeming with bizarre interior sets all added to wonderful San Francisco location shots. The film also has a good score from long time Blake Edwards collaborator Henry Mancini. 9/10

Full review with lots of screencaps here:

Re: Experiment In Terror (1962) San Francisco Tail Fin Noir

I watched this for the first time at the start of 2014 (purchased it).

Operation Terror.

Experiment in Terror is directed by Blake Edwards and adapted to screenplay by Mildred and Gordon Gordon from their own novel called Operation Terror. It stars Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, Stefanie Powers and Ross Martin. Music is by Henry Mancini and cinematography by Philip H. Lathrop.

Film begins with bank teller Kelly Sherwood (Remick) driving home through night time San Francisco, over head shots capturing the cityscape for backdrop purpose. Henry Mancini's haunting soundtrack hovers over Kelly's car in spectral fashion, until she arrives home in Twin Peaks and enters her garage, things fall silent as she gets out the car. She senses she's not alone, and she's right. A man whose face is obscured grabs her and puts one hand over her mouth, he tells her in his asthmatic voice that he knows everything about her and her young sister, and that if she doesn't do as she is told then pain, misery and death awaits them. She's to steal $100,000 from the bank where she works, he will even cut her in for 20%, what a swell fella eh?

It's a brilliant opening, stylish film making meets a thematic atmosphere full of fear, tension and sexual menace. What follows is a superbly crafted movie, a bona fide thriller that is concerned with characterisations, concerned with wringing out maximum amounts of suspense by way of suggestions and conversations, there is no need to spill blood here, the threat and the fear is palpable throughout. The police procedural aspects of the story, headed by Ford's trusty and stoic detective, are played out with intelligence and always hold fascination appeal. Especially as the little snatches of time we spend with the villain leaves us in no doubt about how cruel and vile he can be.

Edwards takes his time to build the story, stopping every once in a while to unfurl a special scene to reinforce the drama. Stand outs include a classic sequence in a room of mannequins and a genuinely chilling piece where our villain dresses in drag. Then there is the justifiably lauded finale played out at Candlestick Park during the culmination of a major league baseball game, thrilling in its execution and a fitting closure to the screw tightening approach favoured by Edwards. All the while Mancini's musical accompaniments act as a foreboding presence, dovetailing with the themes and characterisations at work in the play.

Visually it's also impressive, filmed in gritty black and white, Edwards uses intense close-ups to ramp up the tension, dallies with angles to enforce emotional turmoil, while Lathrop always keeps the lenses stark, the contrasts rich and the use of angled shadows is most striking. Cast are superb, Remick makes for a strong heroine in spite of the constant peril she faces, Ford is a bastion of strength and virtue and Powers exudes youthful vulnerability without appearing as a whiny adolescent. Then there is Martin, turning in one of the most menacing villain turns of the 60s, it's a lesson in how to play evil without actually being extremely physical. As the character shifts from being a murdering predator to a man of heart who cares for a girlfriend's child, Martin convinces enough to make it a frightening proposition.

Highly recommended. 8/10

Good call mg

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217