Film Noir HoF III

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***That's part 1 of my review. I only got to watch 30 minutes of this wonderful movie before someone called and I had to pause the film. I'll write more when I finish the movie.

This is why my father used to answer the phone "Don't you own a television set!"
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ha, that's pretty funny
And true. I can't count how many times I got to school the next day, and my friends would tell me that they called me the day before, and some guy answered the phone saying that, and then he hung up without taking a message or waiting for an answer.



And true. I can't count how many times I got to school the next day, and my friends would tell me that they called me the day before, and some guy answered the phone saying that, and then he hung up without taking a message or waiting for an answer.
OMG!




The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953)

Director Fritz Lang pulled out all the film making stops and gave us one finely honed film noir, with richly defined characters and an interwoven plot that makes The Big Heat one of the must see film noirs.

The film starts with an introduction to Glenn Ford, a honest hard working cop and his loving wife played by Jocelyn Brando (Marlon Brando's older sister). The happy couple live in suburbia with the children. At this point everything is rosy, until a cop is found dead from an apparent suicide.

The police chief doesn't want the suicide investigated, but Glen Ford thinks the facts don't all add up. It seems the cop's widow is hiding something. She makes a call to a corrupt businessman who runs the city and the police department through bribes and threats of violence.

When Glenn Ford gets to close to the truth, a bomb is set for him in his car. Needing to run some errands his wife borrows the car and is killed in the blast. This sets the family man on a path of vengeance against the killers in the mob.

Across town and unknown to the cop is the mobster's henchman, played to utter perfection by growling Lee Marvin. The henchman likes to beat women for kicks...After a B girl is found dead and tortured, the path leads back to the swanky apartment shared by Lee Marvin and his bored girlfriend played by Gloria Grahame. Grahame is real good as someone so reckless and so bored that she taunts her brooding hulk of a boyfriend, just to get her jabs in. He in return roughs her up. By the end of the film he's done her real physical harm.

The Big Heat is chalked full of big scenes, with big actors who deliver the goods. It has one of the most powerful endings for a noir and an ending that is quite fitting too.
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My voting list is finalized, locked and hermetical sealed! So please send in your voting list to me

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The Deadline is coming up it was June 1st...but I'll extend that to June 11th as the deadline.



Angel Heart

Louis Cyphre*:*Mephistopheles can be a mouthful in Manhattan, Johnny.

I really enjoyed it, but I didn’t get noir vibes from it. It’s more of a supernatural thriller, but that doesn’t detract from how good a film it was.
Definitely a film that needs to be viewed twice to catch all of the details, but they are there. I was able to figure it out before the final moments with Mr. Cyphre

The films is dripping with atmosphere and shocking scenes. Their meant to confuse and distract, as you experience the same state of mind as Harry Angel, played Mickey Rourke.
Angels is hired by Mr Cyphre (played with understated deviousness by De Niro) to find a Johnny Favorite. Wha ya follows is a labyrinthine plot where every suspect questioned ends up dead.
Rourke is ok in the role of Harry, not great but not totally convincing. And there are times where the director, Alan Parker, goes a little over the top with his scenes.
But overall the film did keep me entertained with just enough suspense to keep me guessing.
Surprisingly well done, much more then I expected.



Too bad you didn't like Murder, My Sweet. I think you really need to love all of the classic noir tropes to find it enjoyable, since it's pretty much as stereotypical as the genre gets. They certainly weren't clichés at the time of its release, but it's all familiar and frequently parodied material now.



Too bad you didn't like Murder, My Sweet. I think you really need to love all of the classic noir tropes to find it enjoyable, since it's pretty much as stereotypical as the genre gets. They certainly weren't clichés at the time of its release, but it's all familiar and frequently parodied material now.
That's kind of true. I think what happens with noir is that people expect a certain type of film when they watch one, then if it isn't noirish enough, it seems like a lesser film. When I first watched Murder, My Sweet I was luke warm to it. In my mind I was comparing Dick Powell's detective to Bogies' detective and of course they're just not the same...(I almost typed dick for detective, that would've read funny) But on my second watch for this HoF I really warmed up to Murder, My Sweet. It has a different feel to it than most noirs. I'm not sure I can even describe it...maybe it's lighter on tension but with my heart. If that makes sense.






Spellbound (1945)

Of all of Hitchcock's films that border on film noir, Spellbound is not the film I would have selected. Not to say the film is bad...it's actually quite good minus a performance from Gregory Peck that I didn't care for. Something about the way the man exudes confidence in his delivery that doesn't really work for an amnesiac. When you look at most noir's the leads tend to be men who are nihilistic and world weary...Spellbound sort flips that on it's head with Ingrid Bergman's psychiatrist in a number of ways she's an idealist which is once again not something you want from a film noir.

Though I can also say that at multiple points in the film I was amused...a great scene early on with the collection of doctors breaking down Bergman's character got a wry smile out of me. I also enjoyed how she played with the house detective an early scene of female empowerment.

We finally get the reveal about the crime..it's fine. The actual climax is well silly something you would expect from a James Bond film with the villain explaining his plan. At the end of the day in a noir the crime should be the focus not an aside. To me this was a melodrama.



Too bad you didn't like Murder, My Sweet. I think you really need to love all of the classic noir tropes to find it enjoyable, since it's pretty much as stereotypical as the genre gets. They certainly weren't clichés at the time of its release, but it's all familiar and frequently parodied material now.
Yeah it was a bummer. Maybe I'll see it again sometime down the road.

I may yet watch another one or two from this, still 4 I haven't seen.



Yeah it was a bummer. Maybe I'll see it again sometime down the road.

I may yet watch another one or two from this, still 4 I haven't seen.
Glad to see you watching some of these. I'll look forward to reading your thoughts.







Angel Heart (1987)


Angle Heart is the story of a private detective who is sent on a mission from a strange fellow to discover if a person is still alive. Mickey Rourke was a fairly successful neo-noir actor of the 1980's and this was his last great film until his massive career fall out in the 90's. I found the film to be somewhat uneven with a first act border-lining on being a masterpiece with the New York 50's set coming alive but then the film moves on to a more meandering Louisiana plot section.



The twist is good and it makes sense though it's not executed that well in my eyes, we the audience are deliberately withheld information. Also the horror aspects are a bit to subdued this film reminds me of Polanksi's work but Polanski would give you that great shock Parker doesn't really execute those scenes well. For me the star of the film is Robert Deniro, his portrayal of Louis Cyphre is amazing especially on second watch. Louis walks that fine line of menace and charm and I wish he played more of a role in the film.


What I really admired about the film was it's set design. Sometimes when you go into older time periods everything feels clean and unused but Parker gives us the viewer a lived in version of his story. Also the religious symbolism is especially powerful I kind of wonder if the DVD commentary covers everything.



In my mind I was comparing Dick Powell's detective to Bogies' detective and of course they're just not the same...(I almost typed dick for detective, that would've read funny)
"Comparing Dicks" would be the perfect name for a HoF about gay detectives though.





LA Confidential (1997)


Ahwell made a good call picking this one as Elmore Leonard is my favorite writer and this is my favorite adaptation of his work. So many aspects of this film I love, to start with we get triple leads three detectives who operate at different levels of the LAPD scene and cover the different personality types of the noir hero. Spacy's Jack Vincennes is the nihilistic he treats the world with a sense of humor even though he's disgusted by what he sees. Then you've got Guy Pearce's Exley a political animal of sorts rising up the ranks trying to be a better officer than his father. Pearce views people with contempt but he also has this weakness for authority. And then finally you have Bud White played by Russell Crowe the strong silent violent type the final noir figure a man without brains who just acts.


The actual crime in this film is somewhat typical the sort of thing we see in multiple LA films...it's about traffic sex and drugs the more you watch it the intricacies you pick up on. The betrayals add up the body count increases and it's all done with a quick pace. The story telling is down right economically which adds to it's repeat viewings. The other thing I enjoy about the story is that we don't get minority victims or white washed LA. African American's and Latinos exist in this america and they portrayed as victims..something modern noirs could take a lesson from.


Finally what I love about this film is the look, each set is just so well shot and put together the diner scene, the apartments, the low income housing, all of it looks great. The set decorator did an amazing job giving the film the feeling of an entire world of 1950's LA.