The MoFo Top 100 Film Noir Countdown

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In addition to Criss Cross and Act of Violence the Angels Flight Funicular is also featured in Kiss Me Deadly (1955), The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), The Turning Point (1952), Cry of the Hunted (1950), The Unfaithful (1947), Hollow Triumph (1948), the American remake of M (1951), and later films including The Exiles (1961), The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (1964), The Muppets (2011), (500) Days of Summer (2009), and La La Land (2016)

Wow! Kiss Me Deadly and The Night Has a Thousand Eyes might be it. I remember seeing them. It was a movie that I think had the funicular as part of a chase scene. Maybe it was the M remake. I remember the little girl on the street near the funicular.
As far as our French films go, I saw a part of Elevator to the Gallows and wasn't sufficiently interested to stay up and watch it. I am ashamed that I have not seen Rififi either. I know it considered one of the greats. I hang my head in shame.

I'm almost certain it doesn't, which probably means it does
Heh, heh. Yes it does show Angel's Flight amongst their footage of the historic Bunker Hill section of downtown L.A.

Rififi (1955)

Rififi reminded me of John Huston's The Asphalt Jungle and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing. I'm sure I'm not the first to compare those three film noirs.

It was great seeing Paris in the 1950s and very interesting watching the master mind criminals plan and then execute their caper. Of course there was an even nastier gang afoot and that spelled trouble for them. I liked the musical number and the way it was staged:
Good comparison on the 3 films. I've never thought of Rififi as a noir, despite the fairly dark photography, but more of a straight heist film. It dragged a bit, but I enjoyed the film. The notable heist, shot in silence, may have been one of the first to do this.

Director Jules Dassin did have plenty of noir cred though. His two prior films were Thieve's Highway, and Night and the City-- before he fled Hollywood for France after he was exposed as a practicing communist.

So from the looks of it...all but one of my films is going to be on this list. I was worried about Elevator to the Gallows getting overlooked as it's really the first true neo-noir film in my opinion.
  10. Niagra
  12. Elevator to the Gallows
  14. The Breaking Point
  15. Gaslight
  18. They Live by Night
  19. Angel Face
  20. Le Corbeau
  21. The Hitch-Hiker
  22. The Big Combo
  24. (didn't make it)
  25. The Guilty(1 pointer)

I forgot the opening line.
#44 Criss Cross - I like Burt Lancaster and I like films that have characters in it that are so blinded by love that they do the stupidest things imaginable. Everyone else can see clearly, but Steve Thompson's (Lancaster) vision is so blurred that he inexorably marches towards doom, thinking all the while that he's on the right path. I love how he fixes it that he runs into his ex-wife Anna (Yvonne De Carlo) but in his narration makes out like it was a chance meeting. Anyway, saw this a little while ago and it's stuck with me. I had it at #19 on my list.

#42 Rififi - I really like Rififi but I seem to have overlooked it when considering my ballot. I probably didn't realise that it's release date fit in with the time period allowed on the film noir countdown. Obviously the biggest talking point is the famous heist scene, and how innovative and amazing it is. I've only seen it the once, but I have it on Criterion and I'm looking forward to dusting it off and giving it another watch as my memory of it fades.

All the other reveals over the past dozen entries I'm not familiar with

Seen : 11/60
I'd never even heard of : 44/60
Movies that had been on my radar, but I haven't seen yet : 5/60
Films from my list : 5

#44 - My #19 - Criss Cross (1949)
#54 - My #12 - D.O.A. (1950)
#58 - My #23 - The Breaking Point (1950)
#61 - My #21 - Act of Violence (1949)
#67 - My #18 - The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
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For everyone saying they were expecting Rififi to be in the top 10. Correct, it was in my top 10.
As was Elevator to the Gallows as well.

Rififi has the stoic, experienced, hyper-competent professionals pulling off an amazing heist, and then things go unravel, because, well, that's what happens in noir and neo-noir films when hyper-competent professionals pull off a tough heist.

Elevator to the Gallows - Calling it a neo-noir seems fair, since the premise just reminds me so much of a Coens' brothers type of fiasco (in terms of its plot). I'm not going to say anymore than that for people who have not seen it.

3. M 1931 <- ineligible so just bump up everything below this by 1.
9. Rififi 1955 (#42)
10. Elevator to the Gallows 1958 (#41)
20. The Naked City (#60)
21. The Hitch-Hiker (#67)
22. Gaslight 1944 (#96)
23. Niagara 1953 (#56)

Lots to catch up on with five from my list in recent times.

D.O.A. was there at #23. Definitely one of the first noirs I remember seeing and with such a unique character perspective, being told that he's just been murdered.

I re-watched The Big Combo soon after I'd sent in my ballot on which I'd put it at #21. In hindsight I should've put it way higher as it's an awesome film noir with great visuals. Richard Conte's seemingly invincible Mr. Brown makes for an enjoyably entertaining villain, while Jean Wallace's performance is surprisingly engaging and refreshing.

Crossfire. Hate is like a loaded gun! I had 'the three Roberts' down at #8. There's so much in this movie with a great supporting cast. I particularly enjoyed Paul Kelly's tetched monologue scene in Ginny's apartment. It never fails to get your attention. Always a great noir to revisit.

"Well that's the way it is. If you're a fighter, you gotta' fight", and I had The Set-Up coming in at #7. There's been a lot of boxing noirs made, but none do it quite like this one with its sense of close in ultra-realism, believable characters and no-nonsense settings. The real time aspect adds to the drama and emotion, with Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter playing their parts perfectly. A really engaging supporting cast helps make this somewhat unusual noir the gem that it is.

The Narrow Margin was way up at #2. Love just about everything in this movie from start to finish. Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor are absolute tops in the genre for me, and I think Jacqueline White is considerably under appreciated. Train movies usually work well as they have a natural beginning and final destination. The story is easy to follow and works great here in my opinion. Even the comedic aspects including the obnoxious kid take nothing away. Some very inventive photography and the complete lack of any musical score other than the natural elements that appear in the film are nice touches also. As an obvious rail enthusiast I'm sure Hitchcock would've approved.

Of other recent reveals have also seen Kansas City Confidential, High Sierra, Suspicion, Criss Cross, The Harder They Fall and Rififi, and liked them all. That latter two were both in contention for my list, with the former giving way to something more obscure, and whilst I considered Rififi, failed to see how it was eligible within the guidelines. No matter though, and I'm pleased to see it appear.

Charles McGraw was an unsung supporting actor specializing in no-nonsense, tough guy roles. And according to IMDb he played Rick Blaine in a Casablanca TV series in 1955.I just can't picture that.
Well, seeing is believing.
(Decent choice of actress too IMO ).

Mmmmmmmmm, Chesterfield!

They tried to turn Casablanca into a weekly series in the 1980s, starring David Soul as Rick (also Hector Elizondo as Captain Renault, Scatman Crothers as Sam, and Ray Liotta as Sacha).

"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

I had Rififi top five in my initial list but didn't see it listed as noir on wiki or anywhere on imdb so off it went. Is this a case of it seeming like such an obvious noir that some didn't check? Or did I miss it on imdb?

#40 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

Director: Lewis Milestone
Production: Hal Wallis Productions
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott
120 Points, 10 Lists

'A man is reunited with his childhood friend and her husband who believes he knows the truth about the death of her rich aunt years earlier.'


#39 The Wrong Man (1956)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Production: Warner Bros.
Cast: Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle
123 Points, 10 Lists

'In 1953, an innocent man named Christopher Emanuel "Manny" Balestrero is arrested after being mistaken for an armed robber.'


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two votes. rififi was #6, one of the best heist films ever made. elevator to the gallows was my #11, maybe one of the finest examples of classic noir vibes ever.
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I haven't seen The Strange Love of Martha Ivers but Barbara Stanwyck and Lizabeth Scott...instant watchlist add. Now I just have to watch it.

Nice to see The Wrong Man but it's not really a surprise. Good film, not my favourite from Hitch but as I've said before anything mid range for Hitch is a pretty good film to me. The always relatable Henry Fonda adds to this nightmare scenario - being an innocent person mistaken for a criminal. Doesn't seem like a fun time to me. And apparently it's based on a true story.
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

I've been championing The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), and hoping it would make the countdown and it did yeah! It was my # 9. It was also my nomination in the Film Noir HoF V

I wrote this about it:

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

This one is a lock for my noir countdown ballot. A pity more people don't know about this one, at least I don't hear it mentioned. I suspect it's the title that turns them off as it sounds like a romance drama, it's not!

It's one of the best written, best constructed film scripts I've seen. It's two parallel stories with Van Heflin being the connecting element. The characters are given plenty of backstory and pathos to bring them and their actions to life. And the acting is top notch. If you've only seen Van Heflin in Act of Violence where he plays a meek man on the run then you need to watch this as here Heflin is playing the type of role he's known for. Heflin is the rogue outsider who drifts into town and causes events to happen. He's good, real good so is Stanwyck who is controlling and rich.

But it was Lizabeth Scott who utterly impressed me. This was her second movie and her first major role. It's clear to me she was taping into real emotions as she comes across very compelling and very real as a troubled woman with no place to go. Likewise I'm impressed with Kirk Douglas' first movie role. He's not the tough guy here. He's a weak willed district attorney who's married to Martha Ivers and controlled by her. They both have a secret that binds them together and sets events in motion that in true noir fashion ends in tragedy for some.

I love The Wrong Man. It's Top 20 Hitchcock for me. I really liked how Fonda communicates the desperation of his character through his eyes and body language, and how Hitchcock tries to get us inside the mind of someone who's wrongly accused. That said, I didn't vote for it, mostly because I didn't see it as much of a noir.

I've never seen Martha Ivers, but it's been on my radar.

SEEN: 13/62

My ballot  
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With this one, Hitchcock gets his third entry in the countdown. He had Suspicion at #49 and Spellbound at #68.