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Noirvember 2022

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I Wake Up Screaming is a very early noir that has it's foot in the upbeat late 1930s. The title credits start with a bouncy tune and during the movie 'Over The Rainbow' plays in the background at the most un-opportune times. I mean The Wizard of Oz was only two years old at the time so I can't figure why that trademark song was used over and over again in this movie? If this had a more traditional and appropriate score the movie might have seemed more grounded in reality.
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Heh, heh. Everyone notices that in more modern times, and there's been a lot of discussion about it. I was totally perplexed when I heard it throughout the picture, almost like a hallucination!

Turns out it was used simply because it was a popular tune at the time, having nothing to do with the "Oz" film. They also used "Street Scene" and "The Things I Love", which were also popular tunes of the day. Keep in mind, they had a minuscule budget for this picture...



The House on Telegraph Hill is a solid noir from the great Robert Wise. It's about a Holocaust survivor who adopts her deceased friend's identity and emigrates to America. There, she hastily marries the guardian to her "son". Soon afterwards, she nearly avoids a tragic accident and casts suspicion on her new husband.

This movie has a great set-up that it doesn't entirely capitalize on. "Karen" stealing her friend's identity causes her to feel guilt, but doesn't play a factor in the story otherwise. What we're left with is a familiar premise, where a new wife questions whether the man she married could be a killer. It's still well-made and features good performances, but it could have used a little juice i.e. something to stand out more.



Professional horse shoe straightener
I watched 'Crime Wave', starring Sterling Hayden this week. I don't hear it talked about much but it was pretty decent. Only 80 minutes long too.



I watched 'Crime Wave', starring Sterling Hayden this week. I don't hear it talked about much but it was pretty decent. Only 80 minutes long too.
I've seen that twice, one of my favorites. The story works well and is tense enough to cause a palatable reaction. Loved the way they filmed Sterling Hayden usually from a low camera angle so that he looms even larger than he would've if shot from a mid camera angle. I especially like the very end scene where Hayden gives a lecture to Gene Nelson...it was unexpected and so much in keeping with Hayden's character. I have to say Sterling Hayden is one of my favorite noir characters. He's pretty good in Johnny Guitar too.



Professional horse shoe straightener
I've seen that twice, one of my favorites. The story works well and is tense enough to cause a palatable reaction. Loved the way they filmed Sterling Hayden usually from a low camera angle so that he looms even larger than he would've if shot from a mid camera angle. I especially like the very end scene where Hayden gives a lecture to Gene Nelson...it was unexpected and so much in keeping with Hayden's character. I have to say Sterling Hayden is one of my favorite noir characters. He's pretty good in Johnny Guitar too.
Yeah he's one of my favourite actors from old Hollywood. I've never seen Johnny Guitar. I need to fix that.



Yeah he's one of my favourite actors from old Hollywood. I've never seen Johnny Guitar. I need to fix that.
Even MoFos who don't like westerns seem to like and or respect Johnny Guitar as it has a lot of sub context going on.



The Glass Key
(Heisler, 1942)



I caught covid a week ago and didn't have the energy to watch films, but I finished the month with this one. Never ending intrigue, political scheming, and drama in a tight and entertaining movie in which no character seem able to shut up. And that's a good thing, because it's carried by wonderful dialogue, charming characters and a strong screenplay. A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign. Alan Ladd and Brian Donlevy's performances are great. Some other acting performances are a bit wooden perhaps. A certain scene with a suicide was poorly directed and doesn't have the punch it deserves. Other than that, not much fault with this one, it's not one of the most memorable noirs I've seen, but it achieves everything it sets out to do and I had a great time.





The Scarlet Hour (Michael Curtiz 1956)

I've never seen a classic era Hollywood movie by a big director that has the three lead stars as unknowns. Carol Ohmart, Tom Tryon & Jody Lawrance have their names over the title and are listed as 'introducing'. That is so weird as usually there's at least one big name star who then might be paired with a newcomer. Sure it's not uncommon in quickie b-noirs by smaller production companies to use unknowns to save money. But this is a bigger budget film, shot in wide screen VistaVision with lots of on location shooting and high production values...and a big name director to boot. It just baffled me that this movie was done like that. Not surprising it didn't do well at the box office.

It's a good noir though, not great but the leads are all interesting and turn in a good job. The print was restored and that's a plus too.






Closed out Noirvember with American Gigolo. Damn fine neo-noir. Would probably bump it up a notch if it gets a 4K release (current blu-ray is pathetic). 4/5



Closed out Noirvember with American Gigolo. Damn fine neo-noir. Would probably bump it up a notch if it gets a 4K release (current blu-ray is pathetic). 4/5
You wanna see all the fibres of his Armani suits.



You wanna see all the fibres of his Armani suits.
I wanna see every strand of Gere's perfectly coiffed hair.



I don't actually wear pants.
I watched Born to Kill the other day. It's awesome, although I think the characters weren't as deep as they could be. I use "awesome" as "not quite a perfect(ish) film but still highly encapsulating" so there is a level of quality higher for me. Anyway, it's all solid, but could have used some stronger characterization.
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I'm back, and this is my front. I left, but that's my right.
Thanks again, Mr Portridge.



The Glass Key
(Heisler, 1942)

I caught covid a week ago and didn't have the energy to watch films, but I finished the month with this one.....Some other acting performances are a bit wooden perhaps...
Sorry to hear you caught Covid, hope you're doing better now. It's been awhile but I seem to remember liking The Glass Key. What actors did you think was wooden?

I watched Born to Kill the other day. It's awesome, although I think the characters weren't as deep as they could be. I use "awesome" as "not quite a perfect(ish) film but still highly encapsulating" so there is a level of quality higher for me. Anyway, it's all solid, but could have used some stronger characterization.
Born to Kill has been on my watch list all of Noir-vember. I'll still try to catch it as it sounds good and your review makes me want to watch all the more.



Sorry to hear you caught Covid, hope you're doing better now. It's been awhile but I seem to remember liking The Glass Key. What actors did you think was wooden?
I'm well again, thanks! I thought the characters of Opal, Taylor Henry and Eloise were played quite flatly and I found them unmemorable compared to the others. The goods news is that it doesn't significantly affect the movie experience.



I'm well again, thanks! I thought the characters of Opal, Taylor Henry and Eloise were played quite flatly and I found them unmemorable compared to the others. The goods news is that it doesn't significantly affect the movie experience.
What did you think of Veronica Lake?



What did you think of Veronica Lake?
Not great, I think she could have done more, but her looks and especially her strong charisma is what makes her role work. A lot of her material is to appear silently like an angel and glance emotionally at others, which she does really well. At the end of the day, she pulls of what the screenplay calls for, but nothing beyond that. Well, she probably also made people buy tickets which is important.



Not great, I think she could have done more, but her looks and especially her strong charisma is what makes her role work. A lot of her material is to appear silently like an angel and glance emotionally at others, which she does really well. At the end of the day, she pulls of what the screenplay calls for, but nothing beyond that. Well, she probably also made people buy tickets which is important.
Well said!



The ultimate film to me, Is Sunset Boulevard,an amazing film about the dark side of fame in the so called hollywood, brilliant film



The ultimate film to me, Is Sunset Boulevard,an amazing film about the dark side of fame in the so called hollywood, brilliant film
One of the best of the best, that's for sure. I love how it starts with William Holden telling the audience that he's dead



I don't actually wear pants.

Born to Kill has been on my watch list all of Noir-vember. I'll still try to catch it as it sounds good and your review makes me want to watch all the more.
It did what it wanted to do very well. I checked it out from the library since I couldn't find any other way of watching it. Hopefully you can find a way to watch Born to Kill. It's very engrossing. My favorite character is the leading lady, that is to say Helen played by Claire Trevor. She did a great job keeping me tense, wondering what'll happen next and not just to her, which will make sense when you watch it. I hesitate to type any more because I don't want to spoil it for you.

It's fairly inexpensive on Amazon, if you want to go that route. It's like $10 to $15 for a DVD.