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The Great Flamarion (1945)

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dfordoom
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The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby dfordoom » May 14th, 2007, 4:41 am

The title character in The Great Flamarion is a performer in a variety show, doing a very successful pistol-shooting act. The Great Flamarion cares for nothing except his guns and his at, until one of his assistants, the beautiful Connie, announces that she is in love with him. If only something could be done about her husband, who happens to be Flamarion’s other assistant. Poor Flamarion doesn’t know very much about women and he finds himself totally under the spell of Connie. Mary Beth Hughes plays Connie as a classic femme fatale, and does an absolutely splendid job of it. Erich von Stroheim gives a riveting, and very moving, performance as Flamarion. Dan Duryea as Connie’s drunken husband is, as always, wonderfully entertaining. Great performances by the three leads combined with some stylish and imaginative direction by Anthony Mann make The Great Flamarion a classy and highly entertaining movie. It’s also a genuine film noir, with plenty of classic noir touches – the story is told in flashback, it has a memorable femme fatale, and it has a flawed and tragic hero. And did I mention that it stars the great, the one and only, Erich von Stroheim! I recommend this one very highly!

feaito

Postby feaito » June 21st, 2007, 3:11 pm

Has it been released on DVD dfordoom?

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mongoII
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Postby mongoII » July 14th, 2007, 9:31 am

I saw this movie on TCM. "The Great Flamarion" has an interesting setting and a good cast that give life to an otherwise routine story of love, deceit, and revenge. It is a pretty good movie, while quite obviously a low budget effort, and worth taking a look at.

The main performers are quite good - Erich von Stroheim as a magician fanatically devoted to his act, Mary Beth Hughes as his manipulative assistant, and Dan Duryea who plays a hard-drinking, done-wrong hoofer.

Ultimately, the film works because the way diector Anthony Mann sets the action in so many interesting angles that is hard to take one's eyes for fear of missing something from what he put in the film.

The movie is available on VHS.
Joseph Goodheart

feaito

Postby feaito » July 14th, 2007, 3:01 pm

Thanks for the great feedback Mongo! :D

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MissGoddess
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby MissGoddess » June 29th, 2009, 7:51 pm

And I watched this one yesterday, too (I'm catching up!).

Of the three American noirs I just viewed (Decoy and Crime Wave being the other two), this is
the one that I feel the most divided about. I may have completely misunderstood, but it almost
seemed to play as a farce of film noir. I was laughing at much of the dialogue, which was very
purple---very much in the style of Double Indemnity. However, it was really only when
Mary Beth Hughes was putting on the schmaltz with her latest chump that I noticed it.

I see Billy Wilder's brother produced it, I can't help but sense the "Wilder touch". It doesn't feel
like a "Mann" movie, to me.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Dewey1960
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby Dewey1960 » June 29th, 2009, 8:36 pm

No matter how often I try to watch FLAMARION, I'm always left with the feeling that it could have been a great deal more than what it ultimately is. There are any number of other Anthony Mann films from this period that, for me at least, don't hold up to intense scrutiny: TWO O'CLOCK COURAGE, DESPERATE, and SIDE STREET immediately come to mind. Fortunately, Mann left behind an impressive legacy of great films that more than compensate for the fairly average ones that made their way into his resume.

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ChiO
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby ChiO » June 30th, 2009, 7:18 am

I must confess that, although I enjoy THE GREAT FLAMARION, it is probably based more on the idea of watching an early Mann movie with Von Stroheim and Duryea than on the film itself. If you really want to feel "divided", check out STRANGE IMPERSONATION released a year later, another W. Lee Wilder/Republic production. Cheaper, odder and the ninth of the ten movies Mann made through 1946.

Then comes 1947-49: Eight film noirs, bookended arguably by his two weakest (DESPERATE and SIDE STREET), with John Alton handling the cinematography for five of the six in between. Yes, all less-than-stellar movies are thereby forgiven. (As I recall, Mann made some decent Westerns after that with a noirish sensibility.)
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles

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MissGoddess
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby MissGoddess » June 30th, 2009, 8:32 am

I really liked Strange Impersonation, that one stands out for me. I've never seen or
even heard of Two O'Clock Courage.
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Dewey1960
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby Dewey1960 » June 30th, 2009, 10:10 am

MissG sez: I've never seen or even heard of Two O'Clock Courage.

TWO O'CLOCK COURAGE is an RKO B picture from 1945 and it deals with a common theme in 40s noir films: is the amnesiac actually a murderer? Tom Conway's in it, but the whole thing is played a little too lightly to be totally effective as a noir; disappointing. Another Mann film from this period that I don't much care for is REIGN OF TERROR, despite having John Alton behind the camera.

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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby Ollie » June 30th, 2009, 10:30 am

I don't approach FLAMARION, SIDE STREET or DESPERATE from a Mann-Quality standpoint - which I could probably degrade each of these compared to Mann's better works.

But I approach these and several others as vehicles for non-stars to prove their merit as actors, and for the writers who gave me entertainment. Farley Granger (SIDE STREET) was never a favorite, nor Erich Von Stroheim (FLAMARION) , but I loved seeing them in small films deliver a great deal of entertainment to me. Compared to huge volumes of films filled with stars and big names, these are incredibly good efforts. And they're again littered with top-notch supporting actors whose mere appearance tends to elicit high marks from me (like Charles McGraw in Side Street - or anything, for that matter).

DESPERATE is a favorite of mine because of Steve Brodie. And then throw in Raymond Burr as the bad guy - and he's pretty despicable in this one - I watch this one every time it's on, and then some. There's the interesting "let's sit on the sidelines and see what happens" approach by the detective. Why don'tcha help Steve?!! It's like those highspeed car chases - why aren't the cops preventing those criminals from killing or hurting ANYONE first? What is "Protect and serve" all about? Protect THEIR coffee? Serve THEIR donuts?!!

My interest in these films is more broadly comparative, perhaps, where I end up thinking, "That was good - and compared to so many of today's films with better budgets, better effects, etc, - it's outstanding!"

I almost hate French Connection and Bullitt these days because they were so successful (and good) with their car chase effects, and while they have strong characterizations in them, the '60s and '70s really did put the onus back on Effects instead of characters, I think. Maybe I shouldn't use that time period as a starting point. The Three Stooges were about 90% effects. I'd never claim the Marx brothers' films were strong in character-construction either.

Of course, "great" isn't a label i'd apply to those either. Entertaining. Fun. Rewatchable. All of those, yes yes yes.

I enjoyed seeing Erich get a chance to stretch his acting wings, though, and really enjoyed this tale. Or see Steve Brodie play a lead part, too. Farley had more chances at major-contributor roles, but I still wonder about the quality of villain and how that affects my desire to re-watch films.

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MissGoddess
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby MissGoddess » June 30th, 2009, 2:39 pm

Hi Ollie!

I like to watch movies with a similar mindset---I have always tended to think each film
stands on its own merits. It's only recently I've started really looking at the works of
specific directors with a view to comparing their works and seeking continuity. It's
not really a good idea sometimes---you might even end up seeing continuity where
there is none.

However, I still say I sense more Wilder than Mann with Flamarion, lol. Or
maybe it's just plain, old Germanic cynicism, common to both directors and Von Stroheim.
:D
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers

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Dewey1960
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby Dewey1960 » June 30th, 2009, 3:33 pm

ChiO sez: If you really want to feel "divided", check out STRANGE IMPERSONATION released a year later, another W. Lee Wilder/Republic production. Cheaper, odder and the ninth of the ten movies Mann made through 1946.

I like STRANGE IMPERSONATION quite a bit better than many of Mann's other, higher-profile films from the same period. The film's producer, W. Lee Wilder (often referred to as Billy Wilder's less talented older brother) directed a small handful of films himself with THE PRETENDER (1947) starring Albert Dekker (and beautifully photographed by John Alton) being my favorite of the batch. A totally minimalist masterpiece with an extraordinary visual dynamic, it must be seen to be believed. We showed it at the Roxie last month and the crowd really loved it. A sterling example of what critic Myron Meisel once referred to as "the primacy of the visual."

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ChiO
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Re: The Great Flamarion (1945)

Postby ChiO » June 30th, 2009, 4:59 pm

Oh, I'm a fan of STRANGE IMPERSONATION, too, in case the implication was otherwise. But, it wasn't until the last 15 minutes or so, when it started to pull together for me, that I realized that I like it.

MissG wrote:
Or maybe it's just plain, old Germanic cynicism, common to both directors and Von Stroheim.


Mann had this to say about working with Von Stroheim: He drove me mad. He was a genius. I'm not a genius. I'm a worker.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles


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