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Film Noir HoF III

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I too have seen them all except for Le Corbeau, so will look forward to watching the French noir.

I'm surprised that no one yet has chosen The Big Sleep which, along with Double Indemnity, are my two favorite noirs.

Should we go ahead and start with our commentaries/reviews?
The Big Sleep is one of favorites, then again Bogie made a lot of great noirs!

Yes, feel free to post your write us and or comment on what's been written. The back and forth conversation is the important thing to me at least.





Crossfire 1947 Directed by Edward Dmytryk

I’ve only seen one other film by Dmymtryk before this one, Murder My Sweet, which is currently in the top ten of my all time favorite Film-Noir list. There are still 4 or 5 films I need to see from this director.

Crossfire is a murder mystery story about a man who was murdered in his own home after having some drinks with a bunch of soldiers he only just met at a bar.

The movie starts off with a powerful and grand title sequence. The camerawork and typical Noir lighting was excellent and the pacing of the story in the first hour was great. The unfolding of the mystery, in true Noir detective style, played out really well. Until somewhere around the last couple of longer and slower paced scenes that were more message driven. It led to a bit of an easy, straightforward and flat ending.

The acting was good and accompanied by quick and snappy dialogue. With standout strong performances by the lovely Gloria Grahame , Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan.

Overall enjoyable watch and worthy nomination. Also another title I can scratch off the BFI noir list.



The Stranger (1946)

I get that Orson Welles is an influential director and technical innovator, but I haven't warmed to his movies that much. In that regard, The Stranger is vintage Welles for me; long-winded, pompous, and hyperbolic. And Welles himself is too grandiose for someone trying to hide in plain sight.

The intro at the harbor looks (and somewhat feels) like noir, but once the action moves to Harper, it's just a regular thriller. If this weren't a Film Noir HoF, I wouldn't have known this was noir. It seems to lack most of the things I'd expect to see in noir, like a cynical protagonist and moral ambiguity and sexual tension. Maybe my idea of the genre is wrong, though.

Like many old films, The Stranger is rather pedantic in ascertaining that viewers will surely get who's the bad guy and how the story unfolds. There's an evil nazi mastermind, a naive wife, an adamant nazi hunter, etc. No shades of grey, no depth, only an adjective and noun to describe everyone.

The Stranger isn't a bad film, though. It delivers a simple story in a comfortably compact form. It's a lot more naive than I expected, and there's too much hand-holding for the audience, but I could think a lot worse ways to spend 90 minutes.
Even though I liked The Stranger better than you did, I would agree with some of what you wrote. Welles was an inventor when it came to directing, but as an actor he's very larger than life, very grandiose. There's some roles he's well suited too and other's that he's not. I thought he was good in The Stranger, but he's not an actor's actor. I've seen this movie twice and thought I had wrote a review, but I guess not. So I'll have more to say when I rewatch it.

I'd expect to see in noir, like a cynical protagonist and moral ambiguity and sexual tension. Maybe my idea of the genre is wrong, though.
You're not wrong if that's your opinion of what a noir should be. Noir is not a genre, it's a style, or maybe it's better described as a mood. At the time The Stranger was made the term noir wasn't in use. We all get to have our own idea of what a noir is and isn't, and that's the fun!



I think it's more of an issue of historical context, I don't think you can classify a film like the Strange as being pedantic when it's attempting to create a standard for the Nazi.
I agree with you that older films need to be viewed (at least partially) through the 'eyes' of historical context. I remember in another Noir HoF I nominated Pickup on South Street and some thought it had a silly plot because of the theme of communist spies trying to steal micro film that contained top secret plans...whilst the character's struggle with the morality of making a buck illegally or doing the patriotic thing. Viewed with today's mind frame that sounds hokey. But as you mentioned, when viewed with the historical context that America was in the middle of the cold war and Soviet espionage was real, then that film's subject is relative to the time it was made. And I think the same historical context idea holds true for The Stranger.



Crossfire 1947 Directed by Edward Dmytryk

The acting was good and accompanied by quick and snappy dialogue. With standout strong performances by the lovely Gloria Grahame ...
Yahoo! I'm a big fan of Gloria Grahame! I've seen every one of her movies say for a couple of her last films where she had bit roles. I've seen Crossfire a couple of times, but I'll watch it again.

She really looks quite different in Crossfire than in any other film I've seen her in. I think it's the lighter make up and longer platinum blonde hair. It's like they were giving her a softer look. Usually she has darker blonde, short hair.

BTW, She's the actress that's in two of our noms. She's also in my nom in The Big Heat. She made a bunch of noirs and I considered several of them.



Yahoo! I'm a big fan of Gloria Grahame! I've seen every one of her movies say for a couple of her last films where she had bit roles. I've seen Crossfire a couple of times, but I'll watch it again.

She really looks quite different in Crossfire than in any other film I've seen her in. I think it's the lighter make up and longer platinum blonde hair. It's like they were giving her a softer look. Usually she has darker blonde, short hair.

BTW, She's the actress that's in two of our noms. She's also in my nom in The Big Heat. She made a bunch of noirs and I considered several of them.
That's a lot of movies CR, you are a fan, and understandably so. I've only seen four of her films. In a Lonely Place and The Big Heat are my favs so far. Crossfire was one of her earlier roles so naturally she looked a bit more petite but she also showed some serious fierceness in this role.



Just watched my own nom for the Personal Reccs HoF, so here's my review from that:


L.A. Confidential (1997)
My guess: Citizen Rules, I know he likes noir

A stunning, complex, polished neo-noir -- actually, screw it, this is straight up Billy Wilder/Otto Preminger noir from the 40s or 50s -- L.A. Confidential balances several protagonists and many different plot points yet maintains a razor sharp focus during its two hour run time.

Boy do those two hours fly by. The acting from everyone is stellar, especially our three leads - Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Guy Pearce. All phenomenal character performances, and boosted by Kim Basinger's Oscar-winning supporting actress performance.

The acting however - like most movies - is only the tip of the iceberg. The script itself clearly borrows from, well the book it was based on obviously, but also from a lot of different film sources. You can definitely hear that 40s/50s noir dark script style if you know what I'm talking about. But we also get the 90s Tarantino/Scorsese-esque touch of dark humor, twists in language as an idiom, and an overall sense of complete control of style.

And that's exactly what this movie feels like. Curtis Hanson - and indeed everyone who worked on this masterpiece - is gradually uncovering secrets for us, the stupid audience. One by one, he unfolds that neatly wrapped blanket and shocks us with twists and turns along the way. It's like watching a magician perform magic tricks - this movie is Hanson pulling a rabbit out of the hat, and then turning the rabbit into a rat.

Speaking of Curtis Hanson... well, I'd never heard of him either. Too bad he couldn't become a great director, but L.A. Confidential proves he certainly had the talent, especially when he was working with the right actors. I'm still looking forward to seeing other movies he directed even if this is by far the most famous/well regarded of them.

L.A. Confidential is a tribute to noir, but it also breaks free of the genre, which I won't claim to be an expert on in the first place. We get interesting comments on violence and corruption in the law, and indeed the corruption of the entire Los Angeles movie/crime community. It's sinister, dark, smirking. And it got nine Academy Award nominations (of course that was the year Titanic swept everything) and two wins.

Wasn't too sure about this movie when I started and indeed throughout the first thirty minutes or so. But I came out thrilled. This is a certified classic.

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The trick is not minding
Just watched my own nom for the Personal Reccs HoF, so here's my review from that:


L.A. Confidential (1997)
My guess: Citizen Rules, I know he likes noir

A stunning, complex, polished neo-noir -- actually, screw it, this is straight up Billy Wilder/Otto Preminger noir from the 40s or 50s -- L.A. Confidential balances several protagonists and many different plot points yet maintains a razor sharp focus during its two hour run time.

Boy do those two hours fly by. The acting from everyone is stellar, especially our three leads - Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Guy Pearce. All phenomenal character performances, and boosted by Kim Basinger's Oscar-winning supporting actress performance.

The acting however - like most movies - is only the tip of the iceberg. The script itself clearly borrows from, well the book it was based on obviously, but also from a lot of different film sources. You can definitely hear that 40s/50s noir dark script style if you know what I'm talking about. But we also get the 90s Tarantino/Scorsese-esque touch of dark humor, twists in language as an idiom, and an overall sense of complete control of style.

And that's exactly what this movie feels like. Curtis Hanson - and indeed everyone who worked on this masterpiece - is gradually uncovering secrets for us, the stupid audience. One by one, he unfolds that neatly wrapped blanket and shocks us with twists and turns along the way. It's like watching a magician perform magic tricks - this movie is Hanson pulling a rabbit out of the hat, and then turning the rabbit into a rat.

Speaking of Curtis Hanson... well, I'd never heard of him either. Too bad he couldn't become a great director, but L.A. Confidential proves he certainly had the talent, especially when he was working with the right actors. I'm still looking forward to seeing other movies he directed even if this is by far the most famous/well regarded of them.

L.A. Confidential is a tribute to noir, but it also breaks free of the genre, which I won't claim to be an expert on in the first place. We get interesting comments on violence and corruption in the law, and indeed the corruption of the entire Los Angeles movie/crime community. It's sinister, dark, smirking. And it got nine Academy Award nominations (of course that was the year Titanic swept everything) and two wins.

Wasn't too sure about this movie when I started and indeed throughout the first thirty minutes or so. But I came out thrilled. This is a certified classic.

-

L.A Confidential is so amazing, I can’t wait to rewatch it this weekend. I remember renting it shortly after it was released and was utterly amazed. Definitely among the greatest for me.



I started the write-up for my nomination, but I probably won't get it finished tonight. I find it always takes me awhile to get back into writing when I've been out of the HoFs for awhile.

I thought it had been about 2 months or so since I wrote my last review for the Japanese Hall of Fame, but apparently that was 4 and a half months ago. My grasp of time is getting more tenuous by the day haha.



I started the write-up for my nomination, but I probably won't get it finished tonight. I find it always takes me awhile to get back into writing when I've been out of the HoFs for awhile.

I thought it had been about 2 months or so since I wrote my last review for the Japanese Hall of Fame, but apparently that was 4 and a half months ago. My grasp of time is getting more tenuous by the day haha.
I know what you mean...I've been having a hard time keeping up on my write-ups in my western log thread. Think I've seen 3 westerns lately too, that I haven't gotten around to writing about.




Spellbound 1945 Directed by Alfred Hitchcock


Classic Hitchcock, psychological thriller, romance with some Noir elements. Starring two big lead stars Bergman and Peck who were both excellent in their roles and on top of that displayed some genuine on-screen chemistry.

Spellbound shows a pretty unique approach within the Noir genre. It’s a very modern type movie in the sense that it has a very intelligent and strong willed female lead. And Peck’s male character is the one with the typical ‘femme fatale’ traits; good looking, helpless, with a mysterious and shady past.

In this Hitchcock especially I also noticed and really enjoyed the use and timing of the theme music and how drastically the music changed whenever Peck’s character had one of his many psychological developments. Balancing romance and tension perfectly.

Filled with nice twists throughout the whole movie and great reveal(s) in the end scenes. Ranked this one right behind Strangers on a Train. Excellent nomination once again Neiba, can’t go wrong with Hitchcock.






Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Directed by: Edward Dmytryk
Starring: Dick Powell, Anne Shirley, Claire Trevor

With a camera that lingers on smoke filling a dimly lit room, or mist slowly spreading through darkened woods, Murder, My Sweet is a film that certainly embraces the “noir” aspect of the genre. The daytime scenes take place almost exclusively indoors, limiting the amount of time anyone is exposed to the sunlight. Its characters are the type who flourish in the darkness, so the shadows and ample use of contrast set the perfect tone for the events that follow.

That's not to say that the film is all grit and cynicism though, since it does have a lighter streak that often shines through. Despite his weary exterior, Marlowe has plenty of witty, snappy dialogue and amusing quips at the ready. Dick Powell is great in this role, especially considering that his background was in musicals and romantic comedies. I'm sure many people will prefer Humphrey Bogart's take on the character from the Big Sleep, but I've personally always had a fondness for Powell's performance here.

As our lead character is pulled ever deeper into the central mystery, the plot does begin to feel a little chaotic. However, before things can spiral out of control, the loose threads start to weave back together, and the narrative ultimately concludes in a satisfying manner. Over the years, many of the elements found in this film have become stereotypes of the genre, but Murder, My Sweet is still an excellent example of why those tropes became popular in the first place.


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I know what you mean...I've been having a hard time keeping up on my write-ups in my western log thread. Think I've seen 3 westerns lately too, that I haven't gotten around to writing about.
Well hopefully you manage to get them done before the backlog becomes too daunting!

For the Hall of Fames, I don't like to start my next film until I've finalized what I want to say about the last one I watched. I'm not sure how effective that approach is, but I find that it helps prevent me from procrastinating too much.



Well hopefully you manage to get them done before the backlog becomes too daunting!

For the Hall of Fames, I don't like to start my next film until I've finalized what I want to say about the last one I watched. I'm not sure how effective that approach is, but I find that it helps prevent me from procrastinating too much.
Backlog: that's why I stopped doing reviews for every movie I'd watched on my review thread. One day I fell behind in reviewing, then a week went by, then two, and then I had so many movies to review...I just gave up Oh well, for me the HoFs is where I like to be these days, and so my motivation is always fairly high for these



Backlog: that's why I stopped doing reviews for every movie I'd watched on my review thread. One day I fell behind in reviewing, then a week went by, then two, and then I had so many movies to review...I just gave up Oh well, for me the HoFs is where I like to be these days, and so my motivation is always fairly high for these
You made it longer than me... I had a review thread for a week or two when I just joined and stopped like ten reviews in haha. That said I still write reviews for everything I watch LB (oh here I go again with my LB advertising lol)... maybe I should paste them here to continue the review thread from like a year ago.



I don't review I just give simple thoughts on what I watch.



The trick is not minding
When I get around to doing my “Greatest movies” thread, I will only be reviewing films I considered s great.
Similar to Ebert, which is where I got the inspiration.
If I did every movie, I’d go insane.