Film Noir : Neo-Noir Quest 2

Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie Brown (1997)


Coming as it did after critical darlings Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, it's perhaps not surprising that Quentin Tarantino's next film failed to - at the time - scale those giddy heights. Yet on reflection these days, when viewing Tarantino's career nearly twenty years later, it's one of his tightest works.

Working from master pulper Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch", Tarantino had a concrete base from which to build on, which he does with aplomb. Cleaving close to the spirit of Leonard, Jackie Brown is rich with glorious chatter, each conversation either pings with a biting hard ass edge, or alternatively deconstructing the vagaries of the human condition.

Oh for sure Jackie Brown is talky, but nothing is ever twee or pointless, it's a film that pays rich rewards to those prepared to grasp the characters on show, to be aware that all is building towards the final third. It's then here where the story brings about its stings, with a complex operation cloaked in double crosses and evasive captures, of violence and more

There's a wonderful portion of the story that sees Tarantino play the same sequence out from different character perspectives, but it's not indulgent. Tarantino reins himself in, not letting stylisations detract from the characters we are so heavily involved with. His other triumph is bringing Pam Grier and Robert Forster to the fore, who both deliver terrific performances. It's through these pair, with their deft characterisations, where Jackie Brown is most poignant and purposeful.

Is Jackie Brown undervalued in Tarantino's armoury? Perhaps it is? But it's ageless, holding up as a piece of intelligent work of note, and well worth revisiting by anyone who hasn't seen it since it was first released. 9/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Jackie Brown (1997)

Nice work as usual. Tick away!

Re: Jackie Brown (1997) - Just Ask Melanie

Like most Tarantino fans, I think Jackie Brown has been underrated. But when all is said and done for Mr. Tarantino, I think this will be considered one of his best. I hadn't realized that this was taken from an Elmore Leonard novel. I guess I never looked at the credits closely enough. Shame on me. They do make quite a pair: are there/where there two better writers of dialog in contemporary film/literature?

I like your review and the comments on Grier and Forster are right on. The only thing I have to add was that this seems to have been Bridget Fonda's swan song. She was in another good film a few years later - A Simple Plan - but she was just about done.

Melanie was one of Tarantino's great characters. After Louis tired of her attitude and, er, left her in the parking lot, he had to explain the whole thing to Ordell which resulted in a terrific and hilarious scene.

Melanie did know how to get high though:

Ordell: "Damn, girl, you gettin' high already? It's only two o'clock.""
Melanie: "It's that late?"
Ordell: "You know you keep smoking that *beep* and it will rob you of your ambition."
Melanie: "Not if you ambition is to get high and watch TV."

Re: Jackie Brown (1997) - Just Ask Melanie

BF should have had a bigger and better career, definitely talent in there. She quit the industry after marrying Danny Elfman and having a child. Good shout on Melanie as a character, nicely written and played. Once she had called Louis a chicken sh*t you sensed it was going to go down hill, but nothing could prepare us for the events that would follow with that pair!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

6ixtynin9 (1999)

Ruang talok 69 (1999)

With great thanks to Gordon

A funny story about 6 and 9.

6ixtynin9 (Ruang talok 69) is without doubt a film of acquired tastes, a pic that's hard to recommend with any great confidence. That is, though, unless you have a kink for violent black comedy crime movies, where the narrative drive is quirky and fulsome, even winsome in some regards.

Story finds Lalita Panyopas (excellent) as Tum, a lady who has just been laid off from work courtesy of lots being drawn. Feeling desperate and at the end of her tether, she's amazed to find on her doorstep a noodle box with $25,000 in it. A gift from the gods? Not quite! And once some shifty gangster types come knocking at her door, nothing will ever be the same again

There's a whole ream of films this draws from, but favourably so, especially since the films often referenced in reviews are pretty tasty in themselves. Yet this is no hack job, director and writer Pen-Ek Ratanaruang has crafted a splendid pot of Thai neo-noir curry, putting his own stamp on things, imbuing the pic with his own flourishes, such as showing acts of violence off screen! Via a shadow, a splatter of blood, or a pair of legs going limp.

The characters who inhabit this world are gloriously strange or purely deranged. The henchmen are from a Thai boxing club, garishly attired in bright red clobber (film is packed with pronounced reds), one of them is even deaf, while their boss is a bit off the map, likes to have one of his charges massage him with is feet. There's a phone sex pest, who ends up being a real key component to how things pan out, and one of the baddies reveals tears and a most bizarre death in the family!

It's all deliciously off kilter, even as the bodies pile up, the black comedy tongue is prodding away at the inside of the cheek. But ultimately its noir heart is with the vagary of fate and of the coincidences that pitch our everyday woman (she's no moll or assassin type) into a bloody and bonkers world. All of which has hinged, ironically, on a number badly screwed to an apartment door! 8/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: 6ixtynin9 (1999)

Glad you liked it. I've watched it a good half dozen times since I first caught it 10 years ago. I see something new every time. Nasty and dark, my type of film.

My take from a 2014 review I posted.


6ixtynin9 - 1999

This one is a bit hard to tag, it is sort of a dark comedy mixed in with plenty of violence and a neo noir feel.

A young woman working in a Bangkok bank is laid off. The woman, Lalita Panyopas, is the sole breadwinner for her family who live in a country village. She is at a loss as to what to do next. Thoughts of suicide enter her mind as she ponders her future.

She returns to her small apartment to sleep on her problems. Her apartment, number 6, has a loose number that slips down and become a 9 when the door is slammed. This is of course is going to cause Miss Panyopas, a ride into the dark side.

The next morning, Panyopas opens the door to take out the trash, she finds a cardboard box sealed with duct tape in front of the door. She picks it up and brings it inside. She grabs a knife and opens the box. Inside, there is $25,000 in cash. What is she to do? Keep it, or turn it into the police.

A quick trip to the Police station ends that idea when she sees several people being tossed into the cells. She decides to keep the loot. There is soon a knock on the door. She answers and finds two thuggish looking gentlemen looking for a box that had been left in error. Panyopas says she knows nothing about it. The two smile, then give her a fist to the side of the head.

A quick look around the apartment finds the cash. Panyopas is not inclined to giving up the loot. She grabs a flowerpot and brains the one thug. The other goes for her and they struggle on the bed with the thug strangling her. As it so happens, the knife Panyopas had used to open the box is still lying on the bed. She grabs it up and spears the swine with it. Panyopas now has two dead bodies on her hands. What to do? She hides one in a storage trunk and the other in the closet.

Now we find out about the cash. It is the rake off from a crooked boxing racket. Every week, the cash is dropped at apartment 9 for the Thai Mafia. The men this week making the drop had mistaken Panyopas' apartment for the drop place.

The boss of the boxing racket, Black Phomtong, soon gets a call from the Mafia about the non-delivery of the week's cut. Needless to say Phomtong is at a loss to explain this, so he promises to straighten the matter out. He sends two more thugs to look into the matter. The Mafia likewise sends a man to check up on things.

A Policeman who lives in the building happens upon the Mafia type. Guns are pulled and presto change-o, we have two more bodies littering Panyopas' apartment. She goes out and buys several more trunks to stash the bodies in. She decides that she should leave the country sharpish like. She always wanted to visit the UK.

She needs a passport and a visa pronto like. She has heard of a place where an under the table passport and papers can be had for a price. It turns out that the establishment is a sideline of the boxing racket outfit. This of course will enter into play later on.

Panyopas has the passport in the works, a ticket to London bought. Now all she needs to do is dispose of the stiffs. She enlists the help of her best friend, Tasanawalia Ongartittichai. Panyopas needs to borrow her pickup to move the corpses. She is going to dump them is a black water lake just out of town.

While this is going on, the racket boss, Phomtong, has discovered that Panyopas is the one who has his cash. He details one of his henchmen to kill her if she returns to get the passport. He is going to a meeting with the Mafia boss at Panyopas' apartment building.

Panyopas and her friend stop to grab the passport. Pal, Ongartittichai, is killed by the man assigned to kill Panyopas. Panyopas, who is by now is becoming used to bloodshed, in turn kills the gunman.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er, apartment, the racket boss and the Mafia man are having a healthy dispute. Each is blaming the other over the missing cash. Guns are again produced and soon there are 6 more bodies piled up.

Panyopas returns home to find the new stiffs. She has had enough. She pulls the cash from the hiding place where it was stashed, and hits the road. She takes the cash and dumps it all in the lake. It has caused her nothing but trouble. Panyopas then drives off to return to her country village. She has had enough of the big city.

The misread apartment number bit has been used in several, mostly comedy films before. The story starts with a definite comic feel to it, but grows progressively darker as the film unwinds. The killing of Panyopas' friend, Ongartittichai, was particularly surprising. This is the kind of film one could see the likes of Quentin Tarantino or the Cohen Brothers making.

I liked it.

Delusion (1991) Christmas in the Desert Noir

A low budget spaghetti western-ish Death Valley Neo "B" Noir with lots of twists. A Cineville production, directed by Belgium born Carl Colpaert, written by Carl Colpaert and Kurt Voss. Starring Jim Metzler (River's Edge (1986)), Jennifer Rubin, Kyle Secor (Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)), Jerry Orbach (Cop Hater (1958)), Robert Costanzo, and Tracey Walter. With a budget of supposedly $1,000,000 Delusion is a bare bones Film Soleil Noir.

George O'Brien (Metzler) is a yuppie executive of some type of LA based computer software company that's been bought out by buy a bigger fish. George is not taking the ensuing events well, and in classic noir fashion, he decides to take a walk on the wild side. O'Brien is a cultured metrosexual, one scene has him and a cohort sitting in a spa/hot tub with mud facials, they calmly discuss embezzling a large sum of cash by faking expenses in the takeover confusion, then crossing the Nevada state line and setting up shop with a new company in Reno.

It's Christmas time, and O'Brien is soon on his way from smog shrouded LA to Reno with a gift to himself of a half million in the spare tire well of his tres hip silver 1990 Volvo 760. He is cruising across a barren desert on a two lane highway. With all the moola he's carrying in the trunk George is a bit apprehensive, a bit on edge. In his rear view he scopes a red '71 Olds Cutlass weaving erratically across the centerline through the heat waves behind him. It's coming up fast like an interceptor. He breathes a sigh of relief when the Olds barrels on past. A mile or two further on he sees the Olds crest a rise and disappear, but a cloud of yellow dust suddenly boils up against the desert sky.

When George tops the hill he sees the Olds tits up, wheels spinning, and a man and a woman scrambling out of it. Good Samaritan George pulls off the road to offer them help. The woman is all legs, showgirl/escort/femme fatale Patti (Jennifer Rubin) traveling with her pet lizard (which she keeps in a glass jar), and a dumbass, cornball, Vegas hit man Chevy (Kyle Secor). He's on his way to deliver a holiday whack to his old mentor Larry (Jerry Orbach) at his mob provided silver Airstream desert pothole "safe house" hideaway.

It's hinted at that Patti was administering some "road head" to Chevy and that caused the wildly careening Cutlass to veer off the loose gravel shoulder and roll. George offers Patti and Chevy his car phone and a ride into the Noirsville Twilight Zone.

George drives Patti and Chevy to a state line truck stop. He figures his good deed is done, he figures wrong, Chevy pulls out an automatic and instructs George to head South, the pavement ends and they lay down a dust contrail across the desert.

When they blow into Larry's, Chevy tells him that he's got a contract to take out George. George naturally thinks it's because of hot loot in the trunk. Larry happy to see company offers to barbecue some steaks for George's last meal. But it's all BS, the contract was really on Larry and Chevy used George as cover to get his guard down. George is soon digging two graves way out in the desert, he's toast, right? No, Chevy pulls the trigger on George and gets just an audible click. He is out of bullets.

A quick thinking Patti, (who has been visibly warming up to George) quickly tosses what's left of Chevy's bullets in the cartridge box out into the sand. Chevy has no choice but to push George off a nearby bluff and leave him to the buzzards. He and Patti head to the Death Valley Junction Motel in the Volvo. Chevy leaves Patti at the room and heads to Vegas to pick up his hit loot from his mob boss.

George is rescued from the dead by a motorcycle mamma scavenger who spots him sticking out like a sore thumb against the drab landscape. She brings him back to Larry's Airstream where he cleans up, grabs Larry's clothes, revolver, and pickup truck and by hitting redial on the phone tracks Chevy and Patti to the motel. George is now in full Noir payback mode.

The entire film is dominated by the burnt umber, yellow ochers, and the bleached whites of an immense desert laughingly juxtaposed, whenever we see the barest traces of habitation, with the most minisculely pathetic looking Christmas decorations imaginable. Character actor Tracey Walter is in a nice cameo as the desert rat owner of a Death Valley Junction fly speck-dump. The film has an interesting soundtrack, by Barry Adamson, though in retrospect a soundtrack of Diegetic sounds of say Country-Western Christmas tunes blaring from radio stations would have probably been eerie-er. For an extremely low budget "B" a 10/10 for effort, it may be a future Neo Noir Detour, needs a widescreen DVD restoration/release. The crappy screencaps are from a Sony Pictures Home VHS tape.

Re: Delusion (1991) Christmas in the Desert Noir

Delusion (1991)

Good work mate. I haven't got access to my library at the mo but I'm sure this is in the film noir bible in the neo section, and that I searched for it but it wasn't available.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

A Dime A Dance / Good Housekeeping (1995)

Last night I watched 2 episodes from the mid-90s neo-noir anthology TV show 'Fallen Angels'. Don't ask me why, but while season 1 was never released on DVD, season 2 was only released on DVD under its UK title 'Perfect Crimes'. What connected each story of the show was that they were set in the 40s, were (mostly) based on old pulp stories (Chandler, Woolrich, etc) and featured some big names both in front and behind the camera.

A Dime A Dance: A taxi dancer is found murdered, with the killer apparently dragging her dead, bloody body around while 'dancing' to a tune she hated. Her best friend Jennifer Grey is also a dancer for hire and is asked by detectives Eric Stoltz and Richard Portnow to report anything suspicious. One evening while dancing with a stranger, she remembers something her friend said on their last evening together, and she thinks the stranger might be the killer
This episode was directed by Peter Bogdanovich, and based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich. Bogdanovich employs an interesting, but flawed, gimmick: all the sets and clothes are done in black, white & grey, with only skin, neon lights and of course blood appearing in color. It's slightly distracting, and doesn't do anything really to draw you into the noir world. Grey tries to act like a 40s 'tough cookie' girl, but fails rather badly, not helped by Stolz who is relaxed and 'feels' right, making her acting look even worse.
The story is short and not very surprising, but it's really the execution that is a bit of a letdown. Not the best episode in the series.

Good Housekeeping: Dana Delany is happily married to Adam Baldwin. One night when her husband is away for work, she gets an unexpected visit from William Petersen, his girlfriend Marcia Gay Haden and Benicio Del Toro, who claim Baldwin is Petersen's brother and is now living with Delany under an assumed name. They hold her hostage in her own home while waiting for Baldwin to return. But the demure Delany isn't afraid to fight back.
Like the previous episode, this one was also originally a short story by a pulp author, Bruno Fischer in this case. It is also much better done, with a seedy undercurrent and real tension. The acting is also much better across the board, with Petersen and Gay Haden a pretty mean couple while Delany tries to seduce Del Toro. A nicely done episode all in all.

Re: A Dime A Dance / Good Housekeeping (1995)

Fallen Angels (1993)

A Dime a Dance (1995) - Good Housekeeping (1995)

Excellent, a new one on me. You not submitting reviews for these? They don't have any reviews, so think about it mate.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: A Dime A Dance / Good Housekeeping (1995)

I never really thought about it, dunno why. But yeah, why not :) I'll add them right now, thanks. Do check out the series if you can, it's uneven but I don't think there was anything quite like it before or since (I'm talking 'modern' TV).

Re: A Dime A Dance / Good Housekeeping (1995)

Please do post your reviews. There are still a whole load of films and TV episodes out there without a review on IMDb, especially for shows that fall into our own specialist tastes. We are after all here to share as well as learn

If you are not sure about anything as regards submitting them then please PM myself, mdf or Gordon if you think we can help.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Everybody oughta listen to his mother.

Boston criminal Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle (Robert Mitchum) is in the mire, the cops have him bang to rights and he's facing a long stretch in the big house. However, if he turns informant he will keep out of poky

For far too long this film had been stuck hidden away in pirate hell, thankfully it finally saw the light of day and can be seen for all its glory. Peter Yates directs and Paul Monash adapts the screenplay from the George V. Higgins novel. Supporting Mitchum are Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Steven Keats and Alex Rocco. Music is by Dave Grusin and cinematography by Victor J. Kemper.

It's a film noir lovers picture, a throw back to the halcyon days of the first wave of noir back in the 1940s. So who better than a battered pug faced Mitchum to front up the story? Pic is perpetually downbeat, with the air of despondency hanging over our protagonist like the grim reaper. The underworld painted by Yates and his team is smartly stripped down to basics, it's a world that is after all, always moving in secretive circles. There's no frilly glamour here, there's crime and consequences, realistic street operations, and brilliantly there's believable characterisations.

With dialogue dominating the narrative, it's not one for the action junkie - though the set-pieces are superbly staged by Yates, this is a neo-noir of high respect to previous blood lines. And it boasts a quite brilliant turn from Mitchum whilst not copping out at the finale. Noir heads rejoice! 9/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Impulse 1990 - A Walk on the Wild Side

Impulse (1990) directed by Sondra Locke is a gritty story of an Los Angeles femme fatale vice cop Lottie Mason (Theresa Russell) and her "Walk On The Wild Side" of cusp of Noir. It is a dance with with death, love, power and temptation. It's probably one of the Last of the Warner Brothers Noirs.

A piano riff dissolves the blackness into an elevated view of a sleazy Hollywood, hot sheet motel block, at the corner of Las Palmas and Sunset Blvd., one of those all look alike City of Angels low profile strips. Time the late '80s, Madonna is in vogue. The scene is accented by wet pavement reflecting neon. A long ringletted blonde "angel" is strutting her stuff in tight gold Lamé snakeskins, but this celestial Femme Fatale has clipped wings. She's trolling the midnight drift, a lure with hooks. Lonely sad losers cruise the mainstem scoping the fast skirts that will get them a shot at 20 minutes of ecstasy. The opening title sequence displays the workings of the vice stakeout with the excellent noir-ish stylistic cinematography of Dean Semler. The piano riff repeats and become a leitmotif for Lottie's darkside.

Impulse is set strictly in Squaresville, it's a story of the world of hard working cops doing their everyday busts. Lottie's night in and night out tolling the low company is affecting her personal life. Her various Vice assignments, i.e., impersonating a streetwalker, a junkie, a B-girl hooker, a drug dealer has her visiting the division PR office and the psychiatrist/counselor on a regular basis for an hour session mandated by Internal Affairs. They want to know if having to lie and deceive on a regular basis is affecting her job. Her Doctor, Dr. Gardner seems more interested in her personal life her debts and her love life. Lottie when questioned about her torpedoed relationships states that she's only been with cops and she rattles off squads, Vice, Homicide, and Bunco rather than names. Gardener asks about Lottie's quasi-stalker encounter with Lt. Joe Morgan (George Dzundza) an ex boyfriend that she didn't report. Lottie says it's because he'd say she encouraged it. But Lottie makes a confession that she is mainlining on the power of her femininity while staring at her reflection in the window in a great sequence:

Lottie: Lately sometimes working Vice strangers. the way they look at you, you feel that power over them make them pay it's frightening I just want them to look at me to just do it be a trollop.

Another assignment has Lottie going undercover as a heroin junkie in a shooting gallery, this combined with a second storyline concerning a 2 year old case, a witness protection program witness and a double cross drug deal in NYC brings a District Attorney named Stan (Jeff Fahey) into Lottie's world. Stan is attracted to her and they have an affair though Lottie is still a bit standoffish a bit gunshy.

After an adrenaline rush chase down a highrise and shootout with two drug trafficking perps in a grocery, Lottie is on stressed and on edge, Stan tries to comfort her but she wants him to back off and give her space. She takes off in her Camaro to unwind. She gets a flat tire drives into a service station and while the tire is changed drops into the bar across the street and into Noirsville.

At the bar she's picked up by Tony Peron (Shawn Elliott) who is coincidentally and unbeknownst to Lottie, the drug dealer partner of the man Stan has in witness protection. He asks her if there was anything in the world she could do what would it be. Lottie tells him "I'd get on a plane and go somewhere I'd never been". Tony pulls out a deck of hundred dollar bills and counts off ten, Lottie tells him she wants to go "first class". Tony adds another five, but tells her that first she'll have to go to his house. On impulse Lottie picks up the dough and follows him out to his Beverly Estates house.

When Tony gets her to his place he begins to get busy with it. Lottie holds him off telling him she wants to freshen up. Tony tells her to use the upstairs bedroom bath. Lottie has second thoughts as she stands by vertical blinds in a nice sequence. Afterwards while washing her face she hears two gunshots, and peering down the stairway spots Tony dead on the tile floor. The shooter is actively searching the house. Since her gun was confiscated after the recent shooting Lottie scrambles to hide from the killer.

The shooter leaves the house and Lottie checks out Tony popped twice in the head. She goes through his clothes finding a locker key in his jacket. She wipes down all the surfaces she touched calls the cops disguising her voice and splits. At the airport the next day she opens the locker and finds a suitcase with close to a million dollars.

Sondra Locke did a wonderful job at directing this little Neo Noir gem. The writing by John DeMarco and Leigh Chapman, is competent and consequently the characters are very well developed. This is Theresa Russell's best performance. The rest of the cast are Jeff Fahey as Stan, George Dzundza as Lt. Joe Morgan, Lynne Thigpen as Dr. Gardner, and Shawn Elliott as Tony Peron. The music by Michel Colombier is great along with the various pieces that comprise the soundtrack. Again I can't say enough about the Noir stylistic cinematography which is teriffic.

Is Stan going to resolve his case and find the killer? Are Stan and Lottie going to continue to be an item? Is Lottie going to keep the money? The DVD is from the Warner Archives. 9/10

Review with lots of screencaps here:

Re: Impulse 1990 - A Walk on the Wild Side

Impulse (1990)

Sorry about the late response C J

Not really rated much here on site but looks under seen. I liked what the gang in the Film Noir Encyclopedia had to say about this, and your strong support for it hardens my will to get hold of it (I remember it being mighty pricey and not available here in the UK).

I'll get it!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Impulse 1990 - A Walk on the Wild Side

It's never seen, is probably why it's not rated much, shame.

Funny I just had to order The Money Trap (1965) from the UK, it's pricey here, I got it for 8 something pounds. They want $33 on Amazon.

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2

Hi Spike,I've just found a great 2009 Neo-Noir called The Secrets In Their Eyes,which is on BBCiPlayer until 2am on Sunday.

On a side note,with you being a fan of The Babadook,I think that you might find Goodnight Mommy to be a fitting companion piece.

Despite having just hit cinemas here,the film is out on R1:

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2

Thanks for the tips and links fella

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2

That's OK Spike,and whilst looking for info about Secrets I found out about an 8 hour (!) Neo-Noir that has just aired on BBC4.

With just having seen the second ep,I would sum up the run as an 8 episode self-contained season,which leads to it being an 8 hour movie.

After missing it during the airing,I have found Trapped on iPlayer (Note:the first 2 eps are on until Monday):

For a review,I feel that this captures the Neo-Noir atmosphere of Trapped very well:

Trapped the Icelandic thriller that's the unexpected TV hit of the year so far
Its Agatha Christie meets Nordic noir claustrophobic, horrifically intense and set in a landscape that humans cannot possibly take on and win

The first Icelandic drama ever acquired by the BBC, Trapped has become the sleeper hit of the winter, with over a million addicted fans desperately awaiting the finale on Saturday. It has all the tropes you would cross your mittened fingers for from a Nordic noir. There are bleak skies and brooding landscapes; a head-scratchingly unusual murder; a charismatic, if troubled, lead detective, and a storyline with more (pickled) red herrings than you could shake a loaf of rye bread at. Plus woollens! So many woollens. When a pair of Nigerian sisters turn up off the ferry, victims of human trafficking, police officer Hinrika can hardly wait to get them into some patterned knits that would turn Sarah Lund mad with envy.

But Trapped is far from just a box-ticker. It doesnt feel for one second as if its going through the well-oiled noirish motions. Take the credits. As the music of Jóhann Jóhannsson (who composed the Golden Globe-winning score for The Theory of Everything) swoops over epic images of vast glaciers, wide plains and a frothing sea, interspersed with uncomfortable close-ups of the bloodshot eyeballs and grubby fingernails of a corpse, you know this show intends to soar.

Set in the tiny Icelandic fishing town of Seyðisfjörður, theres something a little bit Fargo about the parochial policing set-up here are a group of well-meaning coppers who never have their Thermos flasks far from hand; who pass incoming calls to colleagues if theyre too invested in a game of computer chess. And, as with Fargos Kansas City gang who enter centre stage and guns blazing, this small port town has a storm a-brewing metaphorically and meteorologically.

In Seyðisfjörður, it doesnt rain it blizzards. As the ferry from Denmark arrives over the fjord, a mutilated torso gets caught in a nearby trawlers net. From this point on, the sleepy town is shaken, and we descend into a world of human trafficking, murder, domestic violence and political corruption. And tentacles of the past the framing tale of the death of Dagný in a fire, from which boyfriend Hjörtur fails to save her, still wreaks havoc on the community are bound to intertwine with this more recent drama.

Local police chief and great big bear-man Andri (played by lafur Darri lafsson, apparently now a heart-throb in Iceland) weathers the choppy waters as best he can, with his own family drama unfolding his not-quite-ex-wife is visiting with her new partner, and his father-in-law, a still grieving and bitter father to fire victim Dagný, continues to struggle with his loss. lafsson plays Andri with great subtlety, especially for a man who rouses himself by rubbing snow in his big bristly beard. Whats wrong with a coffee? And why wont he ever do up his coat? Even in an Arctic blizzard, with mini icicles growing from his facial hair, he seems relatively laissez-faire about zipping up. The female characters are less well fleshed out, but theres certainly something about police officer, Hinrika, played by Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir Im hoping her character will develop further in the finale.

Trapped has its feet firmly on the hard ground: the financial crisis of 2008 is still felt, and theres a possible deal on the table from China to turn this sleepy corner of east Iceland into a major port, lying as it does in a new east-west shipping corridor. Its against this businesslike backdrop that noir can shine (see The Killing season two for another great example). Plus, this storyline also gives us Seyðisfjörðurs answer to to the recent Boris Johnson/Stanley Johnson Brexit kerfuffle, when harbourmaster Sigurður Gudmundssons warning that one man can ruin this for the rest of us is met by his fathers Ill volunteer to be that man.

As Sam Wollaston attests in his review, theres something distinctly Icelandic about Trapped, and it really sets itself apart from those shows based in and around Copenhagen and Malmö (and the bridge connecting the two). In part, thats down to the hulking presence of nature. This is the kind of nature that inspires cathedrals, dwarfs human beings. Its the kind that humans cannot take on and win as we see with poor old Guðmundurs controlled avalanche that is anything but. (When did we ever have an avalanche in a noir?!)

The other thing that makes Trapped different from other Nordic noirs: the brilliantly intense claustrophobia, brought about by the hyperbolic levels of snow (which also gives us one of the greatest chase scenes ever a camper van through feet-deep snow, followed by two huffing, puffing men Andri and the Lithuanian human trafficker practically crawling through the stuff).

The residents of the town, along with the passengers from the ferry, are well and truly stuck. The blizzard has made the road over the mountains impassable and all planes are grounded, meaning the police team from Reykjavík (including the moustachioed Tausti, played by Björn Hlynur Haraldsson of Fortitude fame) dont stand a chance. And a Danish court order, plus pack ice in the fjord, means that the ferry, captained by a very sinister version of Nanna Birk Larsens dad (from season one of The Killing), is also trapped.

Director and creator Baltasar Kormákur has called the show a mix of Nordic noir and Agatha Christie and it definitely comes with a timebomb feeling of dread. I wanted to remind the audience that we are on the outskirts of the inhabitable world, he says the producer of Everest, this is obviously something of a personal interest. And its on these fringes that hes found ripe terrain for a noir with a polar twist. If you havent been watching thus far, don some long johns and get with the programme.

To Live And Die In L.A. (1985) Smog Noir In the City Of angels

Directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection (1971)) outstanding cinematography by Robby Müller. the film stars quite the cast, William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Michael Greene, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Robert Downey Sr., and Jack Hoar.

Beautifully bleak and highly stylistic. This film actually makes a lethally smoggy industrial West Coast/LA sunrise jaw droppingly gorgeous, perverting the normal aesthetic. Palm trees compete with power poles and high tension lines that diffuse into a yellowish soup. Rail yards and wrecking yards are bathed in golden light. All this segues into a montage of a series of varied illegal counterfeit $20 bill transactions.

The tale is about three US Secret Service Agents who are headquartered in L.A. When not providing security for a visiting POTUS (President of the United States) they do field investigation work for the US Treasury, targeting counterfeiters.

Richard Chance (Petersen) and Jim Hart (Greene) are top notch agents. Chance the cock of the walk, is a bit reckless, a bit overconfident, a bit of a jock, a bit shady, he even shacks up in a "safe house" with a stripper Ruth Lanier (Darlanne Fluegel) that he uses as a "stoolie with benefits". He holds her probation and the ability to see her daughter as leverage.

Agent Hart is the veteran, steadfast, partner who is almost a father figure to Chance.

Chance and Hart have just busted up an assassination attempt on President Reagan. The stress of the details are getting too much for Hart who is soon going to retire and go fishing. Chance unwinds by bungee jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge over L.A. Harbor (though in the film he calls it B.A.S.E. jumping). A day after Hart's retirement party at the Dog Run Bar, and with only a few days left on the clock, Hart heads off on one last surveillance assignment. He drives out into the desert to check on a warehouse suspected of housing counterfeiting equipment. With binoculars he checks out the site belonging to counterfeiter Rick Masters (Dafoe).

Hart, thinking the site is deserted approaches and jumps the fence. He starts to poke around and finds a trash bag full of cropped currancy paper in a dumpster. Masters and Jack, his bodyguard, surprize and kill Hart. Leading a team of agents to Masters desert warehouse Chance discovers a pool of blood soaking into the dirt from Hart's body lying in the dumpster.

Chance gets assigned a stuffy new partner John Vukovich (Pankow), a no nonsense by the book professional. Chance tells John that he is making taking down Masters a personal vendetta.

The two new partners begin putting the screws to Masters. They start by setting up a tag team surveillance post in a church across from attorney Max Waxman a well known shady shyster associate of Masters. During Vukovich's turn on watch he falls asleep, Masters shows up and whacks Waxman.

Arriving at the unsecured crime scene Chance takes a notebook belonging to Waxman, which is apparently a payoff record. Vukovich tell's Chance that he's tampering with evidence but later back at headquarters the two come to an uneasy truce. Vukovich says he won't rat him out, but the agents now work two different angles. Chance uses the coded payoff book and his relationship with Ruth to get the inside skinny on underworld transactions. Vulkovich on the other hand arranges a meeting with Masters private attorney Bob Grimes (Dean Stockwell) in a downtown L.A. bar.

Grimes, agrees to set up a meeting between Masters and the two agents. The agents will pose as bankers from Palm Springs interested in Masters' counterfeiting services. Masters is reluctant to work with them, but ultimately agrees to print them a million worth of fake bills for $50,000. The problem is that the Treasury Department only allows payouts of $30,000. From Ruth, Chance gets the skinny that a money deal is going down and that a bag-man is coming by Amtrak from San Francisco. He tells Vukovich that they are going to steal it.

Unfortunately, the info is wrong the bag-man Thomas Ling is in reality an undercover FBI agent on a sting operation, after Chance and Vukovich abduct him they drive him to the rail yards along the Los Angeles River. There they break open the suitcase only to find a phone book. Chance knows hes carrying and finds that he has a money belt, the FBI agents that are shadowing him accidently kill Ling after a freak accident while they are trying to save him.

Chance and Vukovich not knowing what's coming down run for their car and they try to evade a swarm of FBI men. What follows is one of the greatest car chases on film easily equal to those in Bullitt (1968), The French Connection (1971), The Seven-Ups (1973), and it's also an homage the car chase after Charles McGraw in the L.A. River in the Classic Film Noir Roadblock (1951).

By luck Chance and Vukovich manage to evade their pursuers. At their daily Treasury Dept. briefing they are read an FBI bulletin that reveals that Ling and FBI agent was kidnapped, robbed, and killed by two unidentified men driving a cream colored car. Vukovich becomes guilt ridden, but Chance is still focused on getting Masters. Vukovich concerned with saving his own skin goes back to sleazeball attorney Bob Grimes, who advises to turn himself in and rat on Chance. Vukovich refuses that advice.

Chance and Vukovich meet Masters for the the money exchange. The agents attempt to arrest Masters when they get the evidence but Jack Pulls a shotgun and in an exchange of fire both Chance and Jack are killed. Masters escapes in the mayhem and Vukovich is stunned by his partners death.

The film has a 80's techno Wang Chung pounding beat. The cast at that time (save for Dean Stockwell) where pretty much all unknowns. The mayhem ratchets up nicely and unpredictably throughout the film. It's an anti buddy cop film.

The Noir ending, has the now jaded Vukovich visiting Ruth as she's packing up to get the hell out of Dodge. He knows Chance gave her ten G's as her cut. Ruth used it to pay off her debts. She's his bitch now.

Gritty, flamboyant, caustic, beautifully bleak 9/10

Here for more with screencaps:

Re: To Live And Die In L.A. (1985) Smog Noir In the City Of angels

Yep, big fan myself.

That doesn't mean I'm gonna roll over and play informer. If you're looking for a pigeon, go to the park.

To Live and Die in L.A. is directed by William Friedkin who co-adapts the screenplay with Gerald Petievich from Petievich's own novel. It stars William Petersen, Wiiliam Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturo, Darlanne Fluegel and Dean Stockwell. Music is by Wang Chung and cinematography by Robby Muller.

Secret Service agent Richard Chance (Petersen) swears to bring down those responsible for the death of his partner

Critics of the time were very divided on the quality of Friedkin's movie, with some being way off the mark by trying to put it in the same ball park as TV show Miami Vice! On reflection you like to think that many of those critics view it now and see just how damn down and gritty it actually is. A common misconception is that the film wasn't supported by the paying public, with some quarters suggesting it flopped, not so since it cleared $10 million in profit in North America alone.

The story is set over 41 days in December and January, but forget any notion that this has any hint of the Christmas holidays, for there is no joy here. This trawls the unglamourous side of Los Angeles, crime and corruption dwells here in a world of strip joints and working class graft locales. There are no heroes either, all characters are either flawed or trapped by their situation, alienation figures prominently, as does fatal obsession, and Robby Muller's photography dovetails with the character's mental health by way of colour and composition. In short, this is classic neo-noir.

As an action film it also scores high, with the brutal violence handled with kinetic assurance by Friedkin, while the "famous" car chase that precedes the finale is worthy of all the praise thrown its way over the years. Taking six weeks to shoot, and with Friedkin challenging himself to trump the car chase in The French Connection, it's a dizzying array of accelerated thrusts, spins and nail biting breathlessness, one of the finest car chases in cinematic history for sure. That finale that follows also proves to be a throat grabber, no cop-outs here as Friedkin sneakily put in the ending that the studio didn't want. The script stings with snide asides and moody exchanges and a splendid cast are led by Petersen and Dafoe turning in classical noir protagonist/antagonist portrayals.

It's very 80s, Wang Chung's electro synth musical score ensures that is the case, as do the garish reds and greens that adorn the opening credits, but this is a good thing, for it's not a film of god awful mullets and spangle dressage. A moody and miserable film it is, and thankfully so. 8/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Hot Spot (1990) "I can find it in the dark"

Directed by Dennis Hopper (Colors (1988) as actor, Blue Velvet (1986), River's Edge (1986), Black Widow (1987), Red Rock West (1993), True Romance (1993)), based on a hard boiled 1952 novel "Hell Hath No Fury" by Charles Williams, with a screenplay by Charles Williams and Nona Tyson updated to 1989. Cinematography was by Ueli Steiger. An outstanding bluesy soundtrack by John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis, Taj Mahal and many others.

Wind. We see an incandescent sun rising. The gust patterns ripples on naked sand. Broiling heat, a parched desert, enveloping dunes, a topography of the bottom of an ancient evaporated ocean. A silent inferno scored by wind. Our desolate view is pierced by a fleeting raptor. But this raptor is a '50s relic, a sleek, black mechanical sled, chromium trimmed with tail fins. Genus Studebaker, Species Silver Hawk. It cruises. A mirage shimmering down a two lane blacktop. A highway being erased, swallowed by sand and sagebrush. It's driver, a drifter named Harry Madox (Johnson) occasionally stops to take a leak. Dust devils swirl across the landscape. The place Dog Dick, West Texas, the town Landers, the time 1989. So begins The Hot Spot.

The film stars Don Johnson as Harry Madox a cool, suave, shady, drifter. He's a silver tongued devil Don Juan, who makes one too many pit stops in the road movie of his life. Madox, with just C-note in his pocket, blows into Landers for gas. In short order he gets a fill up, a cool beer at a strip joint, a full eyeball of Gloria Harper, and slickers his way into a used car salesman job at Harshaw Motors.

Jerry Hardin bulls about as George Harshaw a town big shot, a wheeler dealer businessman and used car czar. Charles Martin Smith nails Lon Gulick a nebbish, numbnuts used car salesman, in the kind of part that in Classic Noir would have been reserved for Elisha Cook Jr. or Strother Martin. Jack Nance (Blue Velvet (1986), Barfly (1987), Wild At Heart (1990), Lost Highway (1997)) is Julian Ward a goofy, frail, bank manager by day and a salacious tittie bar lounge lizard by night. Barry Corbin plays the Sheriff.

Jennifer Connelly (Once Upon A Time In America (1984), Mulholland Falls (1996), Dark City (1998) Requiem For A Dream (2000)), plays the sweet nineteen year old Gloria Harper a doe eyed, demure, damsel in distress. She's the townie girl next door with a past. Frank Sutton (William Sadler) is an oily sidewinder who scratches out a living at his backwoods shack doing Landscaping, Oil Field Service, Deer Processing. He's a squirrel eating, desert pack rat, dirtbag.

Sutton, an amateur photographer, is also supplementing his income slinking about as a window peeper and voyeur taking nudie pics and beaver shots of the members of Landers Ladies Club making him a squirrel eating, desert pack rat, BLACKMAILING dirtbag.

Virginia Madsen torches this hicksville down as Dolly Harshaw the round heels trophy wife of George. She's a split tail, sausage jocky, that cruises the main drag in a hot pink 59 Caddy convertible passing out nookie tickets everywhere she goes. As soon as Dolly sees Harry she's dripping ready to play hide the salami.

Dolly Harshaw: There's only two things to do in this town. You got a TV?
Harry Madox: Nope.
Dolly Harshaw: Well then, you're down to one. Lotsa luck!

Only Harry, an accomplished a$$ wrangler, has already been scoping out his drilling prospects with Gloria. Giving Dolly the impression that she's getting the brush for Gloria sets up a classic "hell hath no fury as a woman scorned" plot point. Dolly doubles down on her seduction of Harry who's all to happy to do the tube steak boogie with her while chipping away at Gloria. Dolly invites Harry to visit after dark.

While all this burying the bone with Dolly is going on at night, Harry is scheming during the day about robbing the Landers bank. You see back when Harry was a "just got in town Jasper" there was a fire at the local burger joint. The whole town went to watch, and the tellers were all volunteer firemen leaving the bank empty save for Julian Ward (Nance) the manager who was taking a dump. Harry had stepped in to open an account, and talky Julian revealed that they hadn't hooked up the surveillance system yet. From that day on Harry began cooking up a plan to set another fire and clean out the cash.

As Harry gets closer to Gloria gaining her confidence, she reveals that her step sister recently committed suicide the result of Sutton discovering that she had a lesbian relationship with a town teacher and was threatening to tell her mother and the School Board. On top of all that, Sutton also took candid photos of Gloria and her sister skinny dipping together, and implying that Gloria was also in a lesbian relationship with her sister and that he "could just imagine what them two were doing together all those nights they were in their shared bedroom".

Harry's actions with Gloria leaves Dolly stewing and she begins upping the ante with more sex. One night Harry, all steamed up, leaves the Yellow Rose and passes by the car lot. Dolly is lying in wait in the backseat of one of her husband's sedans displaying to Harry everything she's got and looking for some tongue in groove action.

On another occasion Dolly sets up a rendezvous at an old defunct sawmill, for a session of "lust in the sawdust." Harry succeeds at freeing Gloria from Sutton"s clutches but at a terrible price. As in the best Noirs events go spiraling out of control for Harry. Dolly proves to be more than his match, she's better and more ruthless at it, and in the end they both reach their own level. Torrid sex, lustful losers, sleazy insinuations, along the highway of broken dreams. Bravo Dennis 9/10

Review with lots of screen caps here:

Re: The Hot Spot (1990) "I can find it in the dark"

Stand by, CJ, got it, watching it later.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The Hot Spot (1990) "I can find it in the dark"

Nice!, hope you enjoy.

The Money Trap (1965) The Last Classic Studio Noir?

Directed by Burt Kennedy, written by Walter Bernstein (Kiss the Blood Off My Hands) based on the novel of the same name by Lionel White (The Killing). This film has quite the line-up of Classic Film Noir actors, Glenn Ford and Joseph Cotten ( both with 8 Classic Film Noir each), Rita Hayworth (Gilda (1946), Affair In Trinidad (1952), Lady From Shanghai ( 1948)), Ricardo Montalban (Border Incident (1949), Mystery Street (1950)), Ted de Corsia (7 Film Noir to his record) and Elke Sommer (Daniella by Night (1961)). Cinematography was by Paul Vogel High Wall (1947), Dial 1119 (1950), The Tall Target (1951), The Sellout (1952) the bongo/jazz/beatnik score was by Hal Schaefer.

This could be the last Studio "B" Noir. We hear a crazed bongo beat on the soundtrack. The Story: Two LAPD Homicide Detectives Joe Baron (Ford) and his Mexican partner Pete Delanos (Montalban) catch a squeal to investigate the murder of a whore at a downtown cat-house. It's pouring, it's night, it's Noir. Arriving at the address they climb a staircase and pass a landing lined with rubber necking prostitutes. The Mexican victim was secretly moonlighting as a hooker to bring in extra income. She was murdered by her enraged husband who had just found out. He hung her like a piñata from the handiest light fixture, left her swinging, and vamoosed. This is the dark and "sleazo" underworld of our ever on call detectives.

But Joe Baron , off the job, is living high on the hog. In bright contrast to the night before we see him drive up in a '65 Plymouth Fury to an impressive terraced hillside house, in the driveway is a '61 Jaguar XK-E. In the backyard a pool, in the pool a blonde bombshell trophy wife. Lisa Baron (Sommer) is young, 25-ish, bubbly, socialite, about half the age of hubby Joe who has a weary hangdog look that vanishes simultaneously as he sheds his hard exterior emotional armor and enters his castle. He caresses the Jag in the driveway, then lovingly embraces Lisa poolside, and they settle scandalously together she on top into a lounge chair under the bright sunshine.

But their playhouse is about to come tumbling down. Lisa gets a letter from her father's estate lawyer stating that they won't be paying a dividend this year.

Joe asks Lisa to remember where he lived when they first met, and if she'd like living there with him. She replies that something will work out. This is the Money Trap of the title.

Back on the case Joe and Pete question the sister-in-law of the dead hooker, she lives in a crowded Bunker Hill flop house apartment. She tells them that the wife only did it for her little girl Amaya after her husband lost his job. Joe and Pete decide to set up a continuous stake out of the house to catch the father if he shows up to see his daughter.

Meanwhile, crap happens and our two flatfoots catch another squeal at the home of Dr. Horace Van Tilden M.D. (Cotten). It seems the good doctor shot a house burglar in an upstairs bedroom after he broke into a safe. That safe was empty the doctor states, the one he keeps in his office downstairs has the important papers. Joe & Pete smell something rotten, the brass is there to smooth things over, the safe wasn't cracked, the perp was a small time hood. Joe makes him as Phil Kenny, a junkie not a box man, why would he go to a bedroom if he needed a hit.

Joe goes downtown with the ambulance. Kenny regains conscience enough to tell Joe that there was money in the safe two bags, a million bucks. When Joe asks why there were no marks on the safe Kenny pulls a paper with the combination out of his pocket and hands it to Joe.

Joe now knows that Van Tilden is crooked, Kenny was set up, and with the investigation officially squashed, decides to go on, on his own, off the record, while at the same time still trying to solve the hanging hooker case for his impatient Captain (de Corsia).

A million dollars of illegal money would solve his money problems so Joe breaks bad. Later when Pete asks Joe if Kenny spilled, Joe tells him no.

Joe begins his missing millions investigation by tracking down Kenny's wife Rosalie (Hayworth). She's working as a cocktail waitress in a downtown grill. Be prepared for a shock, Hayworth looks terrible, frumpy and overweight, age, smoking, bad marriages, Hollywood and alcoholism have taken a heavy toll and she's only 47 in this flick, but looks twenty years older, the Hayworth of Gilda is a long faded memory. I hope that part of her look was just makeup for the role, if it is it's very convincing.

Rosalie turns out to be Joe Baron's old flame Rosie, he lost his virginity to her on top of the roof of their apartment house back in the old neighborhood. He's a bit shocked to find out she married a junkie. When Baron asks her questions Rosie clams up. After a confrontation with a patron at the bar Joe leaves for home. Outside the bar we see that Joe is being followed by Pete who suspects his partner of six years is up to something. Pete is overworked and underpaid. As a Mexican American he feels as if his piece of the pie is slipping away, if it was ever there in the first place.

Pete suspects Joe is holding out at the gym Pete gets right in Joe's face and tells he wants in on the money. Joe is pissed that Pete has followed him. Pete tells Joe that not putting down interviewing Rosalie in his report is falsifying evidence. But he won't report it if they split the money, and besides who is Van Tilden going to go to, the police?

The film is interesting for film Noir fans. The flop house where Amaya lives is the old run down Brousseau Mansion at 238 South Bunker Hill Avenue. By 1965 the Bunker Hill redevelopment had cleared out most of the houses. That's why the house is surrounded by empty lots. Ford then tails the aunt and Amaya to Third & Olive and rides with them down Angels Flight, which is also surrounded by empty lots, the end of an era along with the end of a Classic Noir location.

Joe and Pete plan to crack Van Tilden's safe and make off with the two bags of moola. They find out that he's taking off for a week of fishing in Acapulco and go for it. But Van Tilden is a step ahead of them faking the trip and catching them in the act. There's a shootout in the dark and Pete is hit but they get the loot. Joe brings Pete to his house where they find that one of the bags has a half a million the other bag has a half million in heroin.

Pete needs a doctor and the only crooked doctor Joe knows is Van Tilden. He'll trade the dope for Pete's life. Of course it all goes Noirsville.

I look at Films Noir and Neo Noir like you would a combination lock. If you get all the tumblers lined up it works, sometimes they all align perfectly enough to shine a bright light through the hole and you get a 10/10, others you get one component off a bit and it's a 9/10, and so on and so forth down the line. Sometimes a production will just get just enough of components into wack to see some light and you still have a barely Noir Noir, but it's a dim light.

So why isn't this film better known or talked about, why has it dropped off the radar?

A few guesses.

It's a partial throwback to the early part traditional Classic Noir Era period the 1941-1946 before the lighter cameras made location shooting more feasible. Half the film is shot on back lot and looks it. This gives it a dated feel which is in direct contrast to it's modern look of being shot in widescreen. It has a jazzy bongo beatnik score when the country was getting its rock and roll funk on. The Pawnbroker (1964) (which I consider a Noir BTW) was among the first American movies to feature nudity during the Production Code, i.e bare breasts and it received Production Code approval.

This film, had it had Elke Sommer go topless like she already had appeared in Daniella by Night (1961) would have brought it some notoriety and a hook. As it is, it's in the rearview mirror of the general Zeitgeist of the culture that was speeding towards the Age of Aquarius. Finally, most of the great later Noirs the 8-9-10s/10 had memorable shots or iconic sequences, I can rattle some off:

The old lady in the wheelchair that Richard Widmark pushes down the stairs in Kiss Of Death.
Cloris Leachman running down the highway in Kiss Me Deadly.
Ted de Corsia falling off the Manhattan Bridge in The Naked City.
Joseph Cotten going over Niagara Falls in Niagara.
Robert Ryan and Harry Belafonte blowing themselves up on a gas tank in Odds Against Tomorrow.

The Money Trap does have a memorable opening sequence, but it never quite tops it. It sort of just idles along. It could have shown Rosalie spectacularly going off the roof, now that that would have been memorable. A last Noir call for Noir greats Ford, Hayworth, Cotton, de Corsia, Montalban. It's entertaining nevertheless, DVD from Warner Archive Collection. 7/10

Fuller review with lots of screencaps here:

Re: The Money Trap (1965) The Last Classic Studio Noir?

The Money Trap (1965)

That's a mighty strong cast list at the head of things, for the likes of us of course. Very intrigued by this one CJ, both as a film and your thoughts on its little known being.

Super read

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The American Friend (Der amerikanische Freund) (1977) Euro Noir

Director: Wim Wenders (Hammett (1982), Paris, Texas (1984)), story by Patricia Highsmith (novel), screenplay by Wim Wenders. Beautiful cinematography by Robby Müller (Paris, Texas (1984), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Barfly (1987). Music by Jürgen Knieper.

The film stars Dennis Hopper (Blue Velvet (1986), Black Widow (1987), Red Rock West (1993), True Romance 1993), Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire (1987)), Lisa Kreuzer, Gérard Blain, Nicholas Ray (director of Classic Noirs They Live by Night (1948), In A Lonely Place (1950)), Samuel Fuller (director of Classic Noirs, Pickup on South Street (1953), House Of Bamboo (1955), The Crimson Kimono (1959), and Lou Castel A Bullet For The General (1966).

The story is pretty basic. Tom Ripley (Hopper) is an American who lives in Hamburg. He wears a cowboy hat and is known as the "Cowboy of Hamburg". He is a shady character with a dark past. His current scheme is posing as an art dealer bringing over paintings done by a supposedly dead NYC artist named Derwatt (Ray), he's also is involved in rigging auctions to bid up the same paintings to artificially drive up the price.

Jonathan Zimmermann (Ganz) was a talented art restorer, a rare blood disease has affected his ability to restore, and he is now reduced to working as art framer, albeit a good one. However the lifestyle of Jonathan and his family has gone seriously downhill and they are reduced to living in a cheap apartment in a building on a block that's being demolished.

Jonathan meets Ripley at the auction of one of Derwatt's paintings that he framed. Ripley is aware of Jonathan's condition, and Jonathan knowing something of Ripley's shady nature and not quite feeling himself he comes off as gruff when they are introduced. Ripley, not liking being snubbed, does not forget. Later an associate of Ripley, Raoul Minot (Blain) from Paris, calls on Ripley to call in a debt. He wants a hit put on an enemy. Ripley concocts an elaborate rouse to get Jonathan to do the job. While Ripley gets on Jonathan's good side, he sends a fake telegram to Jonathan from a friend who had just left for Canada telling him that he's sorry about his worsening condition. At the same time he has Minot call Jonathan telling him that knowing the graveness of his condition he will pay him a great deal of money if he whacks this gangster, and that this will provide for his wife and son.

Jonathan calls his doctor to see what is going on and the doctor assures him that nothing has changed, but he should not get excited because excitement aggravates his condition. Ripley arranges for Minot to set up an appointment for Jonathan with blood specialists in Paris. Jonathan arrives for the test and Minot fakes the results, despondent Jonathan agrees to do the hit.

After successfully doing the job Jonathan has 97,000 Deutschmarks in his account. Jonathan tell his wife Marianne (Kreuzer) that he is being paid by doctors to undergo experimental treatments. Minot visits Ripley again to give a thumbs up with Jonathan's performance. Ripley, who has now begun to like Jonathan, is dismayed when Minot tells him wants Jonathan to assassinate two American gangsters, this time on a train bound for Hamburg.

Jonathan agrees but while on the train the bodyguard of the second target catches Jonathan. Ripley who was on the train shows up and overpowers him. Both Jonathan and Tom execute both target and bodyguard. Ripley confesses to Jonathan that he was the one that set him up.

Minot shows up at Jonathan's after his apartment is blown up in Paris telling Jonathan that the mafia is after them. Ripley picks up Jonathan and they drive to Ripley's mansion to wait for the assassins. Of course all this excitement is just what Jonathan didn't need and things go Noirsville. Criterion Collection DVD 9/10.

Full review with screencaps here:

Re: The American Friend (Der amerikanische Freund) (1977) Euro Noir

I just got the Criterion Blu-ray of this and the quality is superb. I thought this was a great film and it was interesting how different the Tom Ripley character is here as compared to other films. In Plein Soleil and The Talented Mr. Ripley, Alain Delon and Matt Damon, respectively, played Ripley as one of the beautiful people who operated in lush, exotic locales. Dennis Hopper's Ripley is scruffier and totally unglamorous, and operates in a tough, dingy world. Actually, Hopper's Ripley is more like John Malkovich's Ripley in Ripley's Game.

In addition to the fabulous cast, I also greatly admired the photography which not only captured the feeling of noir, but also employed some stunning use of brilliant colors. My only criticism is that the story, especially toward the end was quite convoluted and hard to follow. At times it felt like parts of the film were missing as the characters showed up in places and situations which were totally unexplained. For that reason, I would also give it a 9/10.

Re: The American Friend (Der amerikanische Freund) (1977) Euro Noir

Der amerikanische Freund (1977)

Yes I'd like to see this. I was greatly underwhelmed by a recent visit to The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), so it's not a character that is instantly on my radar. But enjoyed your review and noted with enthusiasm. Hopper a strong selling point.

Seen and thoroughly enjoyed The Hot Spot (1990), bear with me, trying to catch up on my reviews this next week. Also for reference, since you mentioned it, I'm watching Quién sabe? (1966) very soon as part of the CFB up-coming poll for 1966. Twas a tasty year for Spag Westerns!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: The American Friend (Der amerikanische Freund) (1977) Euro Noir

Seen and thoroughly enjoyed The Hot Spot (1990), bear with me, trying to catch up on my reviews this next week. Also for reference, since you mentioned it, I'm watching Quién sabe? (1966) very soon as part of the CFB up-coming poll for 1966. Twas a tasty year for Spag Westerns!

When you watch Quién sabe? let me know if GianMaria Volonte was dubbed in English by a different voice actor than the one that dubbed him in For a Few Dollars More.

Supposedly there is a release that did use Bernard Grant, he was the voice actor who dubbed Volonte in English-language versions of FOD and FAFDM, he also was the Union Captain in GBU, and Morton in OUATITW.

The disc I have does not have Grant.

Re: The American Friend (Der amerikanische Freund) (1977) Euro Noir

When you watch Quién sabe? let me know if GianMaria Volonte was dubbed in English by a different voice actor than the one that dubbed him in For a Few Dollars More.

How do I find out? Will it be in the credits? About to load it now. My DVD is 113 minutes long, Argent release.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner (1982)

Retirement - Replicants - Resplendent.

Blade Runner is one of those glorious films that has gained in popularity the older it has gotten. Ridley Scott's follow up to the critical and commercial darling that was Alien, was by and large considered a flop and damned for not being a science fiction action blockbuster. There was of course some fans who recognised its many many strengths during the initial weeks of its 1982 release, but many who now claim to have loved it back then are surely looking sheepishly in the mirror these days, for the hard-core minority of 82 fans remember it very differently.

Remember the spider that lived outside your window? Orange body, green legs. Watched her build a web all summer, then one day there's a big egg in it. The egg hatched

Anyway, that's by the by, the point being that a film can sometimes be ahead of its time, misunderstood or miss-marketed, Scott's masterpiece is one such case. Story, adapted in fashion from Philip K. Dick's story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is pretty simple. It's a dystopian Los Angeles, 2019, and there are four genetically engineered Replicants - human in appearance - in the city, which is illegal. They were designed to work on off-world colonies, any Replicant who defies the rules will be retired by special police assassins known as Blade Runners, and Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is on this case. A case that will prove to have many layers

A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies! A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

Ridley Scott gets to have all his cakes to eat here, managing to blend intriguing science fiction with film noir. That the visuals are outstanding is a given, even the film's most hardest critics grudgingly acknowledge this to be an eye popping piece of visual class - the mention of eyes is on purpose since it's forms a key narrative thread. That it is awash with eye orgasms has led to critics calling a charge of beauty over substance, but the deep themes at work here tickle the brain and gnaw away at the senses.

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

Mood is set at perpetually bleak, a classic film noir trait, and paced accordingly. Scott isn't here to perk anyone up, he's here to ask questions whilst filtering his main characters through a prism of techno decay, of humanity questioned to the max, for a film so stunning in visuals, it's surprisingly nightmarish at its core. The emotional spine is ever present, troubled when violence shows its hand, but it's there posing an intriguing question as the Replicants kill because they want to live. And this as our antagonist, Deckard (Ford a brilliantly miserable Marlowe clone), starts to fall for Rachael (a sensually effective femme fatale portrayal), one of his retirement targets.

Tears in the Rain.

As Rutger Hauer (never better) saunters more prominently into the story as head Replicant Roy Batty, the pic evolves still more. Haunting lyricism starts pulsing away in conjunction with Vangelis' rib shaking techno score, while Jordan Cronenweth's cinematography brings Scott's masterful visions to life, key characters one and all. Visuals, aural splendour and dark thematics - so just what does it mean to be human? - Indeed, curl as one in a magnificent cinematic achievement. A number of cuts of the film are out there, and all of them have fans, but Scott's Final Cut is the one where he had total artistic control, and the scrub up job across the board is quite literally breath taking. 10/10

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

Saw this in the theater in its original release and again in 1992 when they released the Director's Cut. One of the most memorable opening shots in all of cinema. The voice over in the original seemed too much of a noir affectation and I think it works better without it.

I'm a big fan of Science Fiction noir and really like Los Angeles 2019 - a noir city in the extreme. The bizarre street life is a whole new level in fringe existence and the bad guy Tyrell's apartment at the top of the city is a step up from even Whitt Sterling's place.

The Final Cut sparked all the talk of Deckard being a replicant, which to me is a bit disappointing as I've always thought that Deckard falling for a replicant was incredibly human. Anyway, the relationship did add some much needed pathos to the story.

As you said, this was the follow up to Alien and that film was preceded by another great one, The Duellists. Surely one of the great three movie runs among today's directors.

Fantastic movie and a great review, spike. The "spider outside your window" scene has always been one of my favorites too. She looked so sad and lost - I think that's when he fell for her.

Re: Blade Runner (1982)

The "spider outside your window" scene has always been one of my favorites too. She looked so sad and lost - I think that's when he fell for her.

It's stunning isn't it?!

I fell for her as well

The Final Cut sparked all the talk of Deckard being a replicant, which to me is a bit disappointing as I've always thought that Deckard falling for a replicant was incredibly human. Anyway, the relationship did add some much needed pathos to the story.

I actually don't care either way, I love the ambiguity of it all, that even the makers are at odds about it. I just tend to view it from both angles now, I watch it every year and now I find myself asking "is he, isn't he?", does it matter? How wonderful that we can now view it from two perspectives.

Sean Young should have had a bigger and better career. It's all James Wood's fault of course!

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

The Incident (1967) New York Subway Noir

A triumvirate of native New Yorkers, director Larry Peerce (Goodbye, Columbus (1969)), veteran Noir cinematographer, Gerald Hirschfeld ('C'-Man (1949), Guilty Bystander (1950), Fail-Safe (1964) and writer Nicholas E. Baehr, all add a big city garnish of authenticity and atmospherics to this dark tale of events going out of control on a late night Bronx IRT Jerome Avenue el train heading downtown towards Manhattan. (Reports have been posted though, that most of the actual outdoor scenes of the train (below) were filmed on and around the Bronx section of the IRT Third Avenue Line which was demolished in 1973. I haven't been able to confirm this.)

Baehr adapted The Incident from his earlier teleplay, which had been previously adapted as TV movie Ride With Terror (1963) which starred Vincent Gardenia, Gene Hackman and coincidentally Tony Musante who reprises his role of Joe Ferrone in The Incident. It would be interesting to someday make a side by side comparison.

The Incident is a true ensemble Noir much in the vein of Deadline at Dawn (1946) His Kind of Woman (1951), and The Girl in Black Stockings (1957).

The film stars Robert Bannard, Beau Bridges (Force of Evil (1948)), Tony Musante (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), The Detective (1968)), Martin Sheen (The Naked City, TV (1962), Ed McMahon, Donna Mills (Play Misty for Me (1971)), Brock Peters (The Pawnbroker (1964)), Jack Gilford (Mister Buddwing (1966)) Victor Arnold (Shaft (1971), The Seven Ups (1973)), Mike Kellin (The Naked City, TV (1959-1963)), Robert Fields (They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)) Diana Van der Vlis (The Girl in Black Stockings (1957)) , and Henry Proach.

Four Classic Noir actors provide some very effective cinematic memory to The Incident, Ruby Dee (No Way Out (1950), The Tall Target (1951), Gary Merrill (Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), A Blueprint for Murder (1953), Night Without Sleep (1952), Witness to Murder (1954), Thelma Ritter, (Call Northside 777 (1948), Pickup on South Street (1953), Rear Window (1954)), and Jan Sterling (Caged (1950), Union Station (1950), Appointment with Danger (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), Split Second (1953), and The Harder They Fall (1956).

The Story:

It's the 60s, dig, it's The Bronx. Late Sunday night early Monday morning. Two blitzed deadbeats, one Joe Ferrone, and one Artie Connors are up to no good. Ferrone (Musante) has a sport jacket with his shirt unbuttoned down to his navel, wears a medallion, carries a blade, and has pointy sideburns, a real wannabe Italian stallion. Connors (Sheen) is threading it mod wears a jacket with a turtleneck. These sick puppies are gassed and really amped to make a bad scene.

They close down the ten table Academy Pool Hall. Then, down on 170th Street looking for kicks, they begin to check door handles for unlocked cars. These two punks next taunt a couple on the sidewalk and then decide to mug the first cat that comes by.

They hide in a basement stairwell. When a lone square comes down the concrete stroll they dart out pull him into the cellar. Mugging him for all the bread he's got, a measly eight bucks. They then beat the *beep* out of him for fun, nice guys. Not ready to call it a night these two *beep* decide to book downtown to Times Square. They head to the elevated station just down the block at Jerome Avenue.

In flashback we see the Wilks', Bill (McMahon) and Helen (Van der Vlis). Bill is shlepping their sleeping daughter home from a birthday party. He's a tight wad who won't spring for a cab back to Queens. He ops for the el and while waiting for the train gets into an argument with Helen about not wanting more kids cause they're too expensive. A downtown number 4 train pulls in. They go to get on the last car. One of it's three sliding doors is out of order. The Wilks' have to step around a sleeping drunk (Proach) who is crashed out on the rattan covered bench seat by the working door

Tony Goya (Arnold) has "pantalones calientes" for Alice Keenan (Mills). Tony is grease-ball swarthy, and he can't keep his hands to himself. Alice is cherry, blond, all show and no go. Alice wears a short pleated mini skirt that swooshes tantalizingly from side to side as she walks showing lots of creamy white thigh. Horny Tony's got his eyes on the prize, Alice's golden gate.

Alice is driving Tony plumb loco, they are continually swapping spit, but Alice is constantly applying the brakes. She won't go all the way, and "pobrecito" Tony has a serious case of blue balls. He tells her he's had it, she tells him next time, maybe. He says he'll try and get some wheels, a car's got a back seat you know he's thinking.

They get on the train and into the same car as the Wilks family at Bedford Park Boulevard Station, and begin to mess around. It's not easy to get laid in New York City when you are young and broke.

Sam Beckerman (Guilford) is a bitter man he constantly kvetches to his wife Bertha that his own son won't give him five hundred bucks to fix his teeth, so he "can eat like a human being," but he'll blow that much at the track. Bertha (Ritter) is ambivalent and looking very tired of it all. They get on the train at Kingsbridge Road.

Army buddies Pfc. Phillip Carmatti (Bannard) and Pfc. Felix Teflinger (Bridges) have just finished a nice family dinner at the Carmatti's apartment. They head out the door and to the el station. Phillip is going to see his wounded pal Felix off at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. Felix is heading home first to St. Louis, then South from there. They get on the train at Fordam Road in the last car with the Wilks, Tony, Alice, Sam and Bertha.

Harry (Kellin) and Muriel (Sterling) Purvis' marriage is going Skidsville. They were at a high rise cocktail party with their old friends, all of whom have been way more successful than they are. Harry is a nerdy uptight prim and proper history teacher who is happy with his lot in life. He's wearing a pocket protector, black rim glasses, carries a briefcase and an umbrella. He's a poster boy for the geek squad. Muriel is dressed all in black as if she went to a funeral. Her locks are pinned up, she wears a hair net and pearls. She is wound a little bit too tight with resentment. She is sexually frustrated, emotional exhausted, and envious of their affluent friends. She resents her priggish husband. They get on the train with the rest at Burnside Avenue.

Harry Purvis (Kellin) with fedora, pocket protector,umbrella and briefcase watching Muriel pace back and forth like a cat in heat

Douglas McCann (Merrill) is a recovering booze hound who is haunted by the loss of his job, his family his future. He drifts down the sidewalk towards the neon lights of a bar like a storm tossed ship to a lighthouse. He falls off the wagon at a dive on 176th Street.

Kenneth Otis (Fields) is a twink a closet gay who's looking for a real good buddy. He's clueless about how to go about it. He's is in the same bar with McCann. In the men's room Kenneth tries to get chummy with Doug and is ignored. Doug finishes his drink and heads up the stairway to the platform pausing at the stations coin booth area to drop a dime on an old boss about an upcoming interview. While Doug is on the phone Kenneth has also come up the stairs and gets into Doug's space standing right behind him like a love sick puppy. Doug tells him to get lost. They both go up the the platform and Kenny follows Doug into the same car with the rest of our cast of characters.

At Mt. Eden Station an African-American couple Arnold (Peters) and Joan (Dee) Robinson buy tokens for the train. An innocent transaction with the change clerk goes sour and Arnold goes ballistic. Arnold is a wannabe black militant who gets exaggeratedly offended at the slightest provocation railing against the man in general. Joan is slightly exasperated at his self righteous misbegotten belligerence.

the detached calm before the storm
At the point in time when the train arrives at the next station, 170th Street, the flashback ends and real time begins as Joe Ferrone and Artie Connors board the last car.

Now if you are not a native New Yorker this fact of big city survival may not be apparent. The one thing you do not do, and you were taught this back in the day not only by family and friends but also learn it day in and day out by basic instinct, is to NOT make eye contact with strangers, and especially with crazy strangers, either on the street, on the bus, on the subway. That's just asking for trouble, and when trouble happens you stay out of it. Even a good deed can turn deadly.

Joe and Artie burst into the car at 170th Street, Artie is laughing, riding piggy back on Joe. Everyone of course looks but immediately everyone instinctively ignores. They are just two lit up rowdies out for a good time. Joe and Artie spin around a pole cackling, then run up and down the car. Joe plops down in an empty seat and swigs from his pint bottle. Artie stands near the bum.

Their first victim is the bum. Artie tries to give him a hot foot sticking a match between the sole and top leather of his shoe. He lights the match and watches with gleeful anticipation. It burns down. The bum is in La La Land, there is no reaction. Artie redoubles his efforts putting unlit matches between the derelicts lips. Doug McCann, perhaps seeing the drunken bum as his personal Ghost of Christmas Future, tells Artie to knock it off. He's the first of the passengers to stand up to the punks but when no one else joins in he backs off.

(Let's just pause for a moment to discuss the setup of the final act. The subway car that our characters ride has a total of eight doors. It has two manually operated doors at each end, but since this is the end car of the train the door at the tail end is locked. The manually operated door at the opposite end is broken and wont open. If it did open you could pass between cars while the train is running. So that leaves six automatic sliding doors three on the right side of the car and three on the left. Since this train is a local the doors only operate on the right side of the car. On this particular car one of those doors is broken and inoperable. When Joe and Artie effectively take the car over they use the shoe of the unconscious bum to wedge another sliding inoperable leaving only one way in and out of the car.)

In this claustrophobic environment Joe and Artie systematically degrade, terrorize and humiliate all the passengers. Joe is the sociopath, the bigger jackass and more aggressive. Artie is Joe's sidekick more of a follower aping his moves.

Joe and Artie have their way until they go one victim to far in the claustrophobic confines of the subway car.

In an ironic bit of prescient commentary on today's current events when the cops finally get to the car they immediately try to arrest Arnold the only black man.

Tony Musante is frightening as Joe. Jeff Bridges is heroic as Felix. Brock Peters is outstanding showing some great range as Arnold. Gary Merrill is great as the down and out alkie, Jan Sterling equally as the crumbling beauty facing a stagnant life. Mike Kellin is a wonderful as the dweeb. Martin Sheen, Ruby Dee, Victor Arnold, Jack Gilford, Diana Van der Vlis, and Ed McMahon are all believable. Donna Mills is pretty much eye candy. Thelma Ritter who always seemed to play a feisty older woman here really is old and she looks tired, this was her second to last film, she died 15 months after this was released.

The Incident is the best NYC Subway based psychological thriller film out there. Music was by Charles Fox and Terry Knight. Sound by Jack C. Jacobsen. There is no current R1 or R0 video available for The Incident. Screen caps were from the R2 Simply Media. 9/10 a 10/10 with a restoration.

For the Review with Screencaps:

Re: The Incident (1967) New York Subway Noir

Never heard of this one before, but it sounds (and looks, love the screencaps on your blog!) great. Thanks for the excellent review!

Re: The Incident (1967) New York Subway Noir

The Incident (1967)

Sounds flipping ace! Brilliant contribution C J

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2

Hi Spike,since you've reviewed his other Neo-Noir flicks just want to let you know that De Palma's latest Noir Passion is on IPlayer until Saturday:

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2

Thank you chap, didn't get the chance, and the site is blocked anyway when I'm at work! Really appreciated the post/link.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Against All Odds (1984)

Against All Odds (1984) 5/10

Let's take the flashback tale of a somewhat sleazy detective who is hired by a mobster to find his ex gal pal who stole a wad of cash from him and took off to Mexico. Said detective finds the girl in a one of the most icon sequences in Film Noir and falls under her spell, and then takes off with her. The detective's partner is then hired by the mobster to find him and the girl. He finds the detective and the girl and a fight results in the detective's partners death. The girl splits and leaves the detective holding the bag. When he does find her she's back shacked up with the mobster. Movie has nice dark Noir Visuals.

Let's take all this and change it to.

Lose the flashback. Add a exotic car car chase. Make the detective a recently injury suspended football player who drives a Porsche. But, he but needs money enough to be talked into looking for the wayward daughter of the team's owner who's fled to Mexico, by her sleazy club owner of a boyfriend. He finds the girl in an idyllic tropical Mexico, anti iconically wearing nondescript casual clothes buying groceries at an outside market. He falls in love with her and while making love in a Mayan pyramid is surprised by his coach who was sent by the sleazy boyfriend to find the two. The coach pulls a gun on them. In a struggle she shoots the coach dead and runs off leaving the football player with the body. He comes back to LA and finds her back with the sleazy boyfriend, and there is still a half hour yet of more ways to screw up a good hardboiled story. Also lose all the the Noir Stylistics.

This movie is a travelog for Cozumel and Quintana Roo, Mexico.

If you want good Mexican Based Neo Noirs check out The Wrong Man (1993) the bizarro Night Train (1999) and Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Re: Against All Odds (1984)

Against All Odds (1984)

Your sarcasm is starting to show Always nice to see Garcia get a recommendation

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Neo-Noir Quest 2

Hi Spike,on a TV Neo-Noir note, the BBC have aired the first 4 (of 10) wonderful eps of a new Noir series called Follow The Money,the first 4 eps of which can be watched for 17 days here:

On a side note,have just seen Passion (on iPlayer until Sunday) and found it to be a dazzling Neo-Noir.

Fargo (1996)

Re-watched it recently after a very long time.

I read Ebert and Siskel were watching the movie in a theater and Siskel turned to Ebert and said it is for films like Fargo that he watches movies.

Food has so much prominence in the film. Everyone's always consuming food. It made me hungry. Or they are watching TV. But it does not seem to satisfy them.

The film is so damn entertaining. Most scenes don't last for too long. It made me wish the director would show me some more about the characters. Especially Steve Buscemi's character. His date with the prostitute was really sad. No wonder, people got together and made a whole TV series based on this film. That's how much this film captured their imagination. I mean, every character in the film could have a separate film about their life.

A lot of indoor scenes would be followed by an outdoor one. Each character has some kind of notable mannerism or eccentricity. This is foregrounded. The film has two of the best character actors in William.H.Macy and Steve Buscemi. The acting is exceptional.

The film is a great achievement.


Re: Fargo (1996)

Hi Pimpin,with you being a fan of the film I think that you would really like the first season of the TV show,esp Billy Bob being a real badass:

Re: Fargo (1996)

thanks, mdf. i'm thinking about getting the TV series.

Re: Fargo (1996)

I really need to rewatch and review the damn thing!

Thank you for the read PAE, and the reminder to watch again this devilish delight.

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Fargo (1996)

ok, np.

Albino Alligator (1996)

Dear Kevin Spacey,

you had everything a director could ask for. This film has a great setting - a bar in New Orleans. A great story - a hostage thriller inside a bar but the patrons and staff at the bar are not what they seem like. There is a brilliant twist as well. The dialogues were great. It has a great cast - Matt Dillon, Faye Dunaway, Viggo Mortensen, Emmet Walsh and William Fichtner. What could go wrong?
Well, the direction was crap. I mean how scenes were shot. Where the camera is placed. How tension is built. What the actors are doing. How the scenes are edited. Use of background score. All of this contributes to making a film great. You failed in all these areas, Kevin.

The film did begin with a bang. The action scenes were terrific. But the drama inside the bar soon becomes uninteresting due to bad direction. And the actors mumbled too much at times. The scenes outside the bar with the police officers and the news reporters were not particularly well written. I am not saying it was utter crap. It was interesting for a while. This is another film Tarantino might have been inspired by when he was writing The Hateful Eight.

Best Regards,


Prime Cut (1972)

Dear Gangster and action movie fans,

I bet you haven't heard of Prime Cut. It has one of the most original title sequences that would offend the hell out of the Hindutva brigade. Characters so dirty that you would feel like a hot shower after the film gets over. Dialogs so filthy that you would never show it to your parents. Two of the best choreographed and located action pieces you would ever watch. An interesting score by Lalo Schifrin that is both rollicking and light hearted.

It has Lee Marvin playing a Mickey who is part Travis Bickle and part Lee Marvin. Gene Hackman as a true American who would easily feel at home with The Devil's Rejects. Gregory Walcott who could spar with Mike Mazurki and Danny Trejo. Sissy Spacek who is almost as adorable as Iris (from Taxidriver).

It takes place in rural Kansas which could be seedier than any city in America. It has a grueling brawl between a threshing machine and a car (comparable to any action sequence in Christine (1983) or the Terminator movies). It provides commentary on American culture through extensive footage from a rural fair. Though it is a raw display of American machismo and power, it also shows what monsters inhabit this earth.

If you liked Charley Varrick, Junior Bonner (which had a similar title sequence) and Cockfighter, I recommend this movie.

Best Regards, Pimpin.


Dog Day (1984)

Dear Lee Marvin,

it was almost as if you walked out of Prime Cut and walked into Dog Day. The first scene where you are running across the corn fields - it was a sorry sight because you could hardly run. Just like in Prime Cut. A violent American gangster (You) on the run from the French police hides out at a farm in the French country side. The farm is occupied by a family that would make The Devil's rejects seem like pious Christians. A whisky guzzling whore house visiting kid obsessed with American culture, a nympho-maniacal woman, alcoholic and perverted man of the family, his murderous wife and Swedish lesbian hitchhikers were some of the things you had to deal with. There are many nude scenes and gratuitous violence. The location with sprawling fields of corn and the helicopter shots of action scenes are great to look at. The film is really out there in terms of strange relationships and weird rural characters. It deserves a blu-ray.

Best Regards,