Noirvember 2021

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I would love it if someone would make a faithful adaptation of my favorite noir novel, Red Harvest.

I know that some films have borrowed from its basic plot, but I'd love a straight-forward adaptation.



I would love it if someone would make a faithful adaptation of my favorite noir novel, Red Harvest.

I know that some films have borrowed from its basic plot, but I'd love a straight-forward adaptation.
Seems odd that itís never happened given itís influence and Hammettís other adaptations. I wonder if thereís some kind of rights issue holding it back.



What a ridiculous question. Thief is a quality poster, a kind and compassionate human being, a wonderful podcaster, and someone I consider a friend despite only knowing him through online interactions.

Mannís film by a landslide.
Heck, *I* would vote for Mann's film over myself any day.
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Check out my podcast: The Movie Loot!



Heck, *I* would vote for Mann's film over myself any day.
We have no choice but to have Michael Mann direct you.



Seems odd that itís never happened given itís influence and Hammettís other adaptations. I wonder if thereís some kind of rights issue holding it back.
I just want Whisper, and the boxing scene, and people talking about Poisonville, and that one woman who is dying spilling all the dirt. Is that too much to ask?



Le Deuxieme Souffle

No one does neo noir quite like Melville. Many have been inspired by his sense of fluid motion, minimalism, and "pure cinema" sequences of violenxe and crime but his style remains inimitable. This is not even among his greatest crime films (I would place Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge and Le Doulos comfortably above this) but it towers over the lion's share of his contemporaries.



Cornered (1945)

Starring
Dick Powell, Walter Slezak, Micheline Cheirel
Directed by:
Edward Dymytryk; Screenplay by John Paxton & Ben Hecht; story by John Wexley

This is Powellís second and final film with Dymytryk, and second noir outing following his metamorphosis from a song & dance man to tough guy shamus in Murder My Sweet (1944). Here he plays an unrelenting hard boiled former WWII P.O.W. who is determined to find and exact revenge upon the man who was responsible for the killing of his French wife during their short lived wartime marriage.

Set first in France, then Buenos Aires, Powell is set hot on the track of a ďMadame JaracĒ who is thought to be complicit in the wifeís murder. In Argentina, Powell is approached by Slezac, who seemingly has knowledge of Jarnac and the conspiracy, and who offers his suspicious help. From that point until a resolution of the story that we might expect, things become more complex and confusing. But in the end things turn out to most everyoneís satisfaction.

Powellís role is rather a double-down of his still new tough guy image. Throughout the film Powell is relentless and surly to the point of monomania in his quest for lethal satisfaction. He never waivers, never shifts mood, which is a mild detraction to his performance. Along the way he meets some shady characters played by Steven Geray, and Jack La Rue, both reliable shifty bad guys.

This is a slightly unusual classic noir, being set outside of the U.S. But it holds oneís interest, and despite the confusing plot, itís buoyed by good acting and direction. Available on YouTube.






Hell on Frisco Bay (1955)

A star packed cast backs up this on-location noir shot in San Francisco. Edward G. Robinson is moving in on the marina boat trade and those who don't play ball with him are disappearing. Alan Ladd is a cop who was framed for one of those mysterious murders. Joanne Dru is the wife of framed cop, who still loves him but had a brief affair while her husband was doing time. William Demarest is the older and wiser cop friend of Alan Ladd who tries in vein to talk his friend out of seeking revenge on those who framed him. Paul Stewart is a nervous ex con who does the dirty work for Eddie Robinson, somehow he's managed to land a girlfriend who's an ex-Hollywood star, Fay Wray. Rod Taylor has a brief but memorable role as a tough hood and Jayne Mansfield doesn't get many lines here but does dance up a storm.

I thought this was a good noir to watch as it was firmly rooted in noir tradition and treats the viewer to lots of neat street scenes from San Francisco. You can even spot Alcatraz in one scene.

Alan Ladd is more wooden then ever and does drag the movie down...but Eddie Robinson as the cranky, married man and local crime boss pulls out all the stops and delivers a tough and neurotic bad guy.

The print I seen looked restored, really nice. Good noir.

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A good one is The Company She Keeps (1951), also starring Jane Greer. One to look out for if you haven't seen it already.
I seen The Company She Keeps (1951) last night...it was a treat.

Very different and focused on a woman parole from prison Jane Greer. I liked the way it took us into the world of the parole board and of the parole officer Lizabeth Scott. And of the way Jane Greer's defensive, mistrusting personality caused some of her problems. I thought Jane Greer was real good, Lizabeth Scott was OK and so was the male lead. I liked the story and the scenes of the police line up with the women they had picked up on various charges, seemed very real. Good stuff, thanks!



Criss Cross: A near perfect noir that partners star Burt Lancaster with director Robert Siodmak once again. It isn't quite as sensational as their previous film, The Killers, but it effectively builds both it's love triangle and armored car heist with equally deft hands.

The Underneath: Soderbergh's first neo-noir. Largely forgotten and relegated to being a special feature on the Criterion for his King of the Hill, this transports the plot of Siodmak's original, Criss Cross, to Austin, TX and makes the story exponentially more non-linear and intimately personal for the players. It is of comparable quality to the original but doesn't quite nail it's landing, choosing instead to be overly clever than crushingly straight forward. Still a fine film that fortells what Soderbergh will build to stylistically and deserves a far better reputation than it has managed.



I seen The Company She Keeps (1951) last night...it was a treat.
Cool. Yes that major scene with the line up, very powerful I thought. The way in which she's blinded by the light and so vulnerable at that moment - brings a lot of humanity and realism to it. Also Lizabeth Scott at the end: Only a saint could be so happy under the circumstances. But why not, it's a movie afterall.



Criss Cross: A near perfect noir that partners star Burt Lancaster with director Robert Siodmak once again. It isn't quite as sensational as their previous film, The Killers, but it effectively builds both it's love triangle and armored car heist with equally deft hands.
...
Both thumbs way up for this one. One of the great classic noirs. Yvonne De Carlo was just about full on nasty..

A lot of people have the opinion that San Francisco is the best city for noir. But I've always preferred L.A.-- like in this picture.



The Unholy Wife (1957)

An obscure, color noir with Rod Steiger and England's answer to Marilyn Monroe...Diana Dors. This was one of the last films produced by RKO which ceased operations in 1957...and the production values of this film shows it. The direction is static and the editing seems to suggest that critical scenes were never shot or just cut.

On the flip side, the story is very unique with Rod Steiger as a very moral man who owns the families vineyards & winery in California. Can't say I've seen another noir with that setting. And Diana Dor, blazes the screen. Forget other femme fatales, in this movie she's pure evil! It kind of felt like a made for TV movie at time thanks to the direction and editing, but the stories good...oh and it has Beulah Bondi too.



MOONRISE

Frank Borzage directs this moody and emotional tale of a man struggling with his inner demons after growing up in the shadow of his father's execution. It perfectly captures what it's like to live with pent up rage and the struggle to keep it suppressed. It also intelligently captures the social machinations and generational punishment that can push a good man to extremes. Perhaps, this fits in as among the first "angry, unstable, violent white man" flicks that range from Taxi Driver to Joker.

However, unlike those films, it seems to be genuinely and tenderly concerned with the goodness within it's protagonist rather than revelling in his ugliness. It makes it more emotionally gratifying and far less punishing than those films, as bleak and dour as it can be at times.



Crossfire -


This is a very good post-World War II whodunit noir about American soldiers who are implicated in the murder of a Jewish man. It has a flashback structure reminiscent of Rashomon's that flits between the investigation and the events leading up to and following the murder that deftly ramps up the uncertainty and tension. Speaking of uncertainty, the movie successfully captures the vibe of a country that is reckoning with its wartime actions and is not sure what to do next. All of the performances are strong, the standout being Robert Young's no-nonsense detective. Robert Mitchum fans may be disappointed because he has minimal screen time (it's not a spoiler for me to say so), but fans of noir, murder mysteries and/or stories about the dangers of prejudice are bound to enjoy it.



Crossfire -


This is a very good post-World War II whodunit noir about American soldiers who are implicated in the murder of a Jewish man. It has a flashback structure reminiscent of Rashomon's that flits between the investigation and the events leading up to and following the murder that deftly ramps up the uncertainty and tension. Speaking of uncertainty, the movie successfully captures the vibe of a country that is reckoning with its wartime actions and is not sure what to do next. All of the performances are strong, the standout being Robert Young's no-nonsense detective. Robert Mitchum fans may be disappointed because he has minimal screen time (it's not a spoiler for me to say so), but fans of noir, murder mysteries and/or stories about the dangers of prejudice are bound to enjoy it.
I agree with everything except I thought Robert Ryan was far and away the standout performance, especially given how his character was virtually the opposite of who he really was. Really loved him in that film and itís probably my favorite from him at the moment.



I agree with everything except I thought Robert Ryan was far and away the standout performance, especially given how his character was virtually the opposite of who he really was. Really loved him in that film and itís probably my favorite from him at the moment.
Ryan is no slouch in it, but the way Young delivered that "Irish potato famine" speech sealed the deal for me. Regardless, it's the best movie that has 3 leads named Robert.



Closed out my Noirvember with these two:

THE LADY GAMBLES

A noir/melodrama starring Barbara Stanwyck as a woman that becomes hopelessly addicted to gambling. It's a tad plodding, but it cleverly subverts the gender norms of the genre, gives an atypically honest/compassionate depiction of addiction, and gives Stanwyck the opportunity to play someone far more vulnerable than I'm used to seeing, especially in this genre.

THIS GUN FOR HIRE

An instant favorite. Alan Ladd plays a hit man on the run, who kidnaps a show girl played by Veronica Lake. It's their first and best pairing, as well as a large piece of influential cinema that has finally clicked into place. This may very well be the birth (or at least the popularization) of the stoic, trench coated hit man that Melville would take to iconic status across the globe. It's hard hitting, ruthless and cool with great chemistry between the leads. Highly recommended to anyone even halfway interested in the genre.

My ranked list of Noirvember 1st time watches!

https://boxd.it/edVcm



Crossfire -


This is a very good post-World War II whodunit noir about American soldiers who are implicated in the murder of a Jewish man. It has a flashback structure reminiscent of Rashomon's that flits between the investigation and the events leading up to and following the murder that deftly ramps up the uncertainty and tension. Speaking of uncertainty, the movie successfully captures the vibe of a country that is reckoning with its wartime actions and is not sure what to do next. All of the performances are strong, the standout being Robert Young's no-nonsense detective. Robert Mitchum fans may be disappointed because he has minimal screen time (it's not a spoiler for me to say so), but fans of noir, murder mysteries and/or stories about the dangers of prejudice are bound to enjoy it.
Despite the stellar cast, this one had never crossed my radar until earlier this year. I've loved seeing others watch and review it in the last month!