The MoFo Top 100 Film Noir Countdown

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They Live By Night is excellent and made my ballot at number nine. Niagara is very good, but didn't make my ballot.

Seen: 42/46

You say this like it's a bad thing. I've also got a lot of 'not seens' on this list, which to me is ideal. I'd probably be at my happiest if I ever came across a best of list where I'd seen none of them. It means there is this whole undiscovered ecosystem of movies I have yet to enter, when I'd been stupidly under the impression that I'd already seen everything

How exciting!

That's a very good point! I have a lot to check out.... including today's two movies. Oh well, more to see.

A system of cells interlinked
Almost halfway through the list and I still have yet to land one from my ballot... I must have exquisite taste!
“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” ― Thomas Sowell

Niagara is fine. Wouldn’t have made my list even if I considered it though.

They Live By Night is awesome. I put it at 11. I could see it going up even higher on rewatches. I absolutely loved that central relationship, and the movie looks fantastic.

I see what you did there
My god. That happens so often you would think I would have learned to check by now. Niagara would definitely make my lust list. 😀

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

Niagara was my #23 (or #22 if we bump everything up one from my #3 being ineligible). I mean, it's a noir, with a man kind of disintegrating from his experience in the war.

Another Nicholas Ray film made my ballot quite high. I tried watching They Live By Night but couldn't get into it and finish it. I don't know how much of that was due to too high expectations from the other Ray film (likely). I keep meaning to give it another try, but I still haven't done so.

As usual, my previous review from the 2023 Noirvember thread.

They Live By Night
(Nicholas Ray 1948)

I liked this noir alot, probably because it was a different slant than most noirs. In They Live By Night we learn of two young people who were born into lives of poverty and end up on the wrong side of the law. What the film does that's special is it gives these two Bowie (Farley Granger) and Keechie (Cathy O'Donnell) a lightness of soul and a longing for a normal life that has been denied to them. They seem to have a chance to redeem their lives and live in peace and love, only the law is not about to forgive an escape murderer and so at every turn of the road they're in danger of losing their youthful dreams.

In contrast to the young couple the people around them are harsh and corrupting...I especially liked the cigar chomping, Chickamaw (Howard De Silva) with his fierce temper and one bad eye....and the great Jay C. Flippin as (T-Dub) the older wiser criminal who's still not a nice guy. I liked that the world of these poor thieves, some who are related was explored so well in the film, especially in the first half at the old rundown gas station.

This was Nicholas Ray's first job as director and I was amazed to see aerial scenes in such and early movie. I read that the first scene he ever directed for a movie was this one from a helicopter!

1 for 2. I'd heard of Niagara but had no idea it was a noir. I enjoyed They Live by Night. I liked the names of the characters, Keechie and Bowie. Chicamaw and T-Dub. Liked the combination of Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell. They also costarred together in Side Street, another great noir (which I'm hoping shows up later in the countdown). O'Donnell was seemingly typecast as the girl-next-door type (at least in the roles I saw her in like SS, The Best Year of Our Lives and Detective Story). I haven't seen Robert Altman's remake, Thieves Like Us.

21 of 46 seen.

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#56. Niagara (1953) is my one pointer at #25 on my ballot.

Saw it for the countdown.
Great scenery, nice cast... alas, screenwriters were incapable to develop a fully decent story that this place deserves. It was just something fastly fabricated. That's why it took my lowest slot. By the way, I found Jean Peters extremely beautiful.


My Ballot

21. Spellbound (1945) [#68]
23. Woman on the Run (1950) [#91]
25. Niagara (1953) [#56]

"Population don't imitate art, population imitate bad television." W.A.
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." M.T.

Another blank round for me.

As for list facts, Henry Hathaway gets another notch on his belt; he has three (3) so far. Meanwhile, Nicholas Ray gets his second one on the list.
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They Live By Night was my #14. I really felt for Bowie and Keechie and their inability to escape the past.

I have not seen Niagara but after seeing the stills on this thread I think I need to rectify that forthwith.

#56. Niagara (1953) is my one pointer at #25 on my ballot.

Saw it for the countdown.
Great scenery, nice cast... alas, screenwriters were incapable to develop a fully decent story that this place deserves. It was just something fastly fabricated. That's why it took my lowest slot. By the way, I found Jean Peters extremely beautiful.


What he said except it wasn't on my list.

They Live By Night is another story. I haven't seen it. I used to avoid things about regular folks, because as a regular folk it doesn't interest me. I am also not a big Farley Granger fan. He is very good-looking but that is about it.

I didn't have room on my ballot for this gorgeous looking, three strip technicolor, wide screen film. But I did write this once:

Niagara (1953)

This is a gorgeous looking film and it's not solely because of Marilyn Monroe...though the camera does love her and this was her first lead starring role and her first technicolor film too.

What made Niagara so fascinating to see was the stunning cinematography which featured Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. Very unusual for an early 1950s technicolor film to be filmed primarily on location and that makes all the difference. We don't just see the falls, we see them from the river angle and from an aerial angle and from various different view points. And the falls do figure prominently into the story too.

I won't spoil anything, I promise! I'll just say at the start of the film we learn Marilyn Monroe is stuck in an unhappy marriage to Joseph Cotton who just got out of an Army mental care hospital. And yes there's some noir stuff going on, enough to make this film worthy of a noir fan. I'll just say there's this one scene that's haunting in how it's shot.

Oh and this is cool:
The famous walk by Marilyn's character Rose Loomis across the cobblestone street holds the record for the longest walk in cinema history - 116 feet of film...27 seconds.

For whatever reason I didn't care for Niagara at all. It's probably my lowest rated on the list that I've seen so far. It looked great. Marilyn looked great. Joseph Cotten usually is great. But the story didn't work for me. It was a long time ago that could change on a rewatch but I'm not in a rush. They Live by Night is another quality film from Nicholas Ray but not the one I voted for.
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I've not seen Niagara, have long meant to, knew it was considered a film noir but didn't even try to watch it for the countdown. So many that I've put on my list that came first and will probably get watched first. But seeing those lovely pics that @Citizen Rules, @Holden Pike, and @mrblond posted, it may get watched sooner than later.

And They Live by Night is way up high on my Watch List, mainly because, um, Cathy O'Donnell! Yes, thank you and please!

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no votes. i watched niagara for the first time recently and found it quite enjoyable. haven't seen they live by night.
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