Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

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ken123
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Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by ken123 »

Coleen Gray, Cathy O' Donnell, Alice Faye in Fallen Angel, Alice White, Diane Baker in Mirage, who ? :D
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CineMaven
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by CineMaven »

Hi there,

I would have to go with the sweet and lovely Cathy O'Donnell.
"You build my gallows high, baby."

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klondike

Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by klondike »

No matter how often I try, I cannot find the 'groove' for Alice Faye . . coarsely plain to the point of homeliness, with a just-OK figure, 2 left feet and an uninspiring song voice [frequently off-key or beat-late], she always seemed irritated by the proximity of co-stars, and bored with the events of the plot . . the only conclusion I can come to which would explain her presence in movies at all, is she was either some studio head's favorite niece or cousin, or she knew where those 'skeletons' were buried.
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mrsl
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by mrsl »

.
I see only the very nice young wife Janet Leigh, innocently thrown into a muddle of her new husbands' with no knowledge of what is happening, or why, in Touch of Evil.
.
Anne


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ken123
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by ken123 »

klondike wrote:No matter how often I try, I cannot find the 'groove' for Alice Faye . . coarsely plain to the point of homeliness, with a just-OK figure, 2 left feet and an uninspiring song voice [frequently off-key or beat-late], she always seemed irritated by the proximity of co-stars, and bored with the events of the plot . . the only conclusion I can come to which would explain her presence in movies at all, is she was either some studio head's favorite niece or cousin, or she knew where those 'skeletons' were buried.
I am not a great Alice fan, but gals in tights, to me at least, always garner my interest. Eary in her career, Alices' make up, hair & facial features made her look like a Jean Harlow look alike. IMHO she looked horrible. :shock:
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ken123
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by ken123 »

[quote="mrsl"].
I see only the very nice young wife Janet Leigh, innocently thrown into a muddle of her new husbands' with no knowledge of what is happening, or why, in Touch of Evil.
.
[/quoteWOW mrsl,
I had never thought of MsLeigh when I was thinking of a list for my thread. A great pick. :D
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Professional Tourist
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by Professional Tourist »

Hmmm, how about Barbara Bel Geddes, such as in Caught! and 14 Hours.
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phil noir
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by phil noir »

Definitely agree with Barbara Bel Geddes in Caught; and I also like Ella Raines in Impact. She is meant - I would guess - to exemplify the values of small town life, and does so in a natural, likeable, entirely convincing manner. So often the nice girl is also a dull girl, but she makes niceness appealing (no mean feat in a noir, especially a noir with Helen Walker as the bad girl.)
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by JackFavell »

I agree completely with Ella Raines in Impact. she is marvelous, so natural, and good natured that you can't help but respond to her.

Janet Leigh is also quite good as another wife completely in the dark in Act of Violence. She's very fresh and you can't help but like her, standing up to Robert Ryan when her own husband won't.
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by JackFavell »

I was trying to think of other nice girls in noir films, but in most noir films, even the nice girls turn out to be not quite so.

I'm thinking of The Big Sleep and Double Indemnity in particular - where the nice girls are....well....they have an agenda.

The victims aren't exactly sweet and lovely either - in Born to Kill.... Isabel Jewell and the wonderful Esther Howard are about as nice as ...well...you fill in the blank. The sister in BTK, played by Audrey Long, is supposed to be sweet and rich, but she comes off a little worse for being in contact with all the sleazy people she is around. I feel the same way about Jeanne Crain in Leave Her to Heaven. Something seems not quite right about her, no matter how good and kind she is supposed to be. They are all tainted by the milieu....
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by Professional Tourist »

JackFavell wrote:I was trying to think of other nice girls in noir films, but in most noir films, even the nice girls turn out to be not quite so.
Well, Lauren Bacall's character of Irene Jansen in Dark Passage is certainly a nice girl. About as goody-goody as they come. :P
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by JackFavell »

Oh, that's a good one!
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by ChiO »

Hmmm, how about Barbara Bel Geddes, such as in Caught!

Definitely agree with Barbara Bel Geddes in Caught
Nice? Naive maybe, but not really "nice". She wants money and the things money can buy, including a fur coat for her mother ("I always knew she'd be successful"), that she can now have because she married a rich psychopath (Ryan) after a few dates. Then, while married, she falls for another man (Mason) who treats her with just as much emotional cruelty as her husband -- he just gussies it up a bit. And her smile at the end can be read as resignation or restrained joy. In the context of what had happened, it just isn't "nice" to these eyes.

Perhaps too strong to be considered "nice", but Nina Foch as Julia in MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS is one of my favorite non-femme fatale characters in noir. See her on July 14 on TCM!
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JackFavell
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by JackFavell »

Your use of the word 'naive' made me think of my favorite fresh-faced nice girl - Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson) in Sunset Boulevard, who smells like "freshly-laundered linen handkerchiefs, like a brand new automobile".
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Re: Favorite Nice Girl in a Noir

Post by moira finnie »

I love your choices earlier in this thread and agree with ChiO about Barbara Bel Geddes' complicity in her own entrapment in Caught, (a point that I think could be made about Ophuls' very different film, Letter from an Unknown Woman too as he examines the tragic limitations and deep appeal of delusional romanticism). Ella Raines in Impact is the best "nice girl" I can think of in this genre! Terrific choice.

Perhaps these movies are not strictly noir, I suppose, but I've always been fond
of these soiled doves--each of whom begins the movie a relative innocent, and I'd probably call them "nice girls" but--often to their sorrow--each learns more about herself and the world around her than she ever expected to during the course of the movie. They don't all end up as "nice" I suppose, but what a character arc they have to play!:

Teresa Wright in Shadow of a Doubt
Lucille Ball in Cornered
Eleanor Parker in Caged
Vera Miles in The Wrong Man
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