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Noir Films

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CineMaven
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Re: Noir Films

Postby CineMaven » August 5th, 2014, 4:45 am

The next two days of double features I saw included this quartet.

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MARILYN MONROE ( Rose Loomis ) - She wants her older shell-shocked veteran husband dead. ( You should see the tall, dark and handsome cutie waiting in the wings. ) Her plan goes awry like Helen Walker’s in “Impact” and she goes the way of most lethal ladies who get caught. Husband Joseph Cotten is like a butterfly pinned to the mat by Monroe’s sexuality. He’s hopeless, helpless and unbalanced. Marilyn has EDGE. She’s sarcastic. And I wish the studios let her exhibit this smart-alec edge more often. It shows well in “Niagara.” She didn’t have to be that ‘little lost girl.’ But Marilyn is after all Marilyn, and perhaps she wouldn’t be Marilyn without being Marilyn. When she steps from her bungalow into the courtyard in her neon chartreuse dress, the young folks in the background step back as she makes her way through them to give the d.j. her record. They look and stare as though she’s something they’ve never seen before. You know what...they’re right. Oh yeah...there was Harlow. But there IS Marilyn, too.
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JEAN SIMMONS ( Diane Tremaine ) - Cultured manner. Velvet-voiced. To the manor born. But don’t be fooled. Looks are deceiving. Her unfathomable eyes flash like a shark’s. Her flashes of anger and pique might be attributed to Otto Preminger, but they serve her well as the murderous femme fatale. As Diane Tremaine, her idle runs high. No doubt she’s high maintenance and Noir’s resident maintenance man is...you know it: Robert Mitchum. He trades his trenchoat and fedora for hospital whites. Yep, once again Mitchum leaves a nice stable practical bland blonde for the dark side; this time, a girl unhinged by Daddy issues. Simmons is made for Noir ( or whatever genre she tackles. ) Dark and lovely, she solves her problems by murder. And when all plans fail as they almost must in Film Noir, she goes for the Pyrrhic Victory. You’ve gotta love a femme fatale who goes down with the ship.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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AVA GARDNER ( Kitty Collins ) - “Don’t ask a dying man to lie his soul into Hell.”

My favorite movie line. Yeah. That about sums up Ava and her Power. Eternity. Into the next life. She smolders, she lies, she withholds. She’s got fight too...she’s no shrinking violet: ( “Touch me and you won’t live ‘till morning.” ) Lancaster is hit with a sledgehammer when he first sees her. When she whispers, he’s the only thing that matters. Now, about that money...
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RITA HAYWORTH - She IS The Love Goddess.

She might not be everyone’s cuppa. But I can’t say I’ve felt anything like this in my movie-watching memory but you can correct me if I’m wrong. I can’t recall a studio so presenting their star to us in such a full display. It begins with the opening title card in King Kong-sized letters: “RITA HAYWORTH as GILDA” ( you English majors can tell me the difference between ‘is’ and ‘as.’ Is one more “being” than the other? ) It’s as though Columbia were Tiffany or Harry Winston presenting rare and precious gems and stones to us on a sterling silver tray. Hayworth is just on such spectacular display, for all the world to see, from her iconic entrance to her two solo musical numbers.

Sandwiched between these moments, Hayworth shows wonderful facets of dramatic ability. Now, she’s not bad like Tierney or Greer or Stanwyck. But she is Fire, and wreaks havoc on one man. She gives as good as she gets in this sado-masochistic ping pong game. She’s in control when she taunts, teases and torments Glenn Ford. But she’s merely lashing out in payback for his abandoning her before the movie starts. What she gets, is a painful sight to see. Her vulnerability is raw. And her final insight is piercing: “You wouldn’t think one woman could marry two insane men in one lifetime.”

( P.S. George Macready's voice is almost as compelling to listen to...as Rita Hayworth is to watch. )
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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RedRiver
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Re: Noir Films

Postby RedRiver » August 5th, 2014, 11:47 am

NIAGARA. Further proof that dark, creepy crime stories can be in beautiful color. Makes you want to LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN!

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Re: Noir Films

Postby CineMaven » November 1st, 2014, 7:11 pm

RedRiver wrote:NIAGARA. Further proof that dark, creepy crime stories can be in beautiful color. Makes you want to LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN!


For a little more proof of crime stories in color...and out in the sunshine, Brooklyn's BAM Rose Cinemas ( Brooklyn Academy of Music ) will be showing a whole slew of "Sunshine Noir" at the end of November. Click on my collage and check out BAM's schedule at the end of the month:


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"You build my gallows high, baby."

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RedRiver
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Re: Noir Films

Postby RedRiver » November 2nd, 2014, 4:48 pm

Some fine colorful crime stories there, Cine-(insert silly film reference here)! Not to isolate on one example, but I've been a fan of the almost unheard of STRAIGHT TIME since it came out. It's tough, cynical and exciting. M. Emmett Walsh is sensational. He always is! Every moment of this sad drama is intriguing and thought provoking. I'm surprised it gets so little attention. Or am I wrong?

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Re: Noir Films

Postby Rita Hayworth » November 3rd, 2014, 9:10 am

CineMaven wrote:Her vulnerability is raw. And her final insight is piercing: “You wouldn’t think one woman could marry two insane men in one lifetime.”


That quote that you've written CineMaven is one of my favorite lines in Gilda ... bar none!

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Re: Noir Films

Postby kingrat » November 11th, 2014, 2:13 pm

SCENE OF THE CRIME (d. Roy Rowland) isn't all that noir in visual design, but turned out to be quite watchable. I like Van Johnson more often than not, and he is fine as a cop trying to solve the murder of another cop. He's married to the beautiful Arlene Dahl, and part of the investigation involves making eyes at burlesque dancer Gloria De Haven.

But they weren't the reason I liked the film. This was shown as part of a hundredth birthday celebration for Norman Lloyd. He is GREAT as a police informant called Sleeper. I wish he'd had two or three more scenes. Sleeper has brains, of a sort, and likes to play with words ("yuk yuk," for those of you who've seen the movie). I also loved Tom Powers as a guy called Umpire who heads a bookie operation and Robert Gist as a private detective who bemoans the fact that after Humphrey Bogart, everyone thinks detectives are tough guys. Add John McIntire as a cop who's been working the beat a little too long, Leon Ames and Jerome Cowan in small (too small) roles, and you can just sit back and enjoy the character actors.

Charles Schnee (The Furies, The Bad and the Beautiful) gets credit for the script, and we probably have him to thank for the lines that Lloyd and Gist do so much with. Gloria De Haven has a great line toward the end of the movie, too. There's a subplot with Tom Drake as a rookie cop and another with an old admirer of Arlene Dahl, neither of which adds much, but the pluses outweigh the minuses.

The script includes a lot of period cop/gangster slang. I had never heard "shmegay" (phonetic), which, according to a Yiddish dictionary I found online is "shmegege," meaning fool or buffoon.

RedRiver
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Re: Noir Films

Postby RedRiver » November 11th, 2014, 2:32 pm

I'm one who became familiar with Norman Lloyd through his work on ST. ELSEWHERE. Later, when I saw him dangling from a certain New York statue, I did a double take!

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Re: Noir Films

Postby movieman1957 » June 5th, 2015, 1:44 pm

Just a reminder that TCM kicks off its Friday Noir schedule tonight. "Summer of Darkness" is the title of the programming of over 100 noir films shown in June and July. You'll find its own website here

Also, as a bonus today's Wall Street Journal has an article that touts the talents of RKO composer Roy Webb. He will likely be figured prominently among the films over the next two months.

Check out both if you can.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."


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