Film Noir HoF III

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Yeah me too. I just sort of ramble and misspell every other word I can't proof read for nothing.
Fortunately, there are tools for that I personally use a program (and browser add-on) called Grammarly.
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The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible

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.

Glad you liked it!

I'll write about it later, but I'll just let a teaser, while Bergman and Peck are obviously the leads and main attractions to this, there's a third perfomance which is particularly special for the importance of the actor in question.



I don't review I just give simple thoughts on what I watch.
I always hesitate to call my posts "reviews" for a similar reason (often due to a lack of consistency and analysis), but there's only so many times I can use "write-up" in the same sentence without it looking weird haha.

Some of my write-ups are more critical and review-like than others, but it always depends on the film and what I noticed most about it. For one nomination I might only focus on the cinematography or central themes, but then occasionally a film will come along and I basically write half an essay (looking at you, Wings of Desire).

I like seeing everyone's varied approaches to what they write about the nominations. Some are short and sweet, others can be a clinical break down, or offer their own personal reactions to individual scenes or lines. It's those different takes that make these HoFs a pleasure to participant in.



Le Corbeau (1943)

I had never seen this film before this HOF, so it was interesting to see how the French were doing it in 1943—at least how director Henri Clouzot was. It’s a bit of a jumble of a film, more a melodramatic mystery than a film noir.

Having seen no French films from the war era, the way this film was done might have been typical of its type, but I have nothing to compare it to. Translated “The Raven” or “The Crow”, the story relates how certain people in a French town start receiving threatening or accusatory anonymous letters which put them into compromising situations and even death. Various suspects are accused before the culprit is dealt with in the end by a subject’s spouse.

There seemed to be a lot of yelling in the film, which was contrasted by some provocative sexual seduction moments. There was a very nice Hitchcockian scene where a letter is dropped from the rafters onto a church congregation whose attention is drawn upward as the letter flutters to the floor. There were some themes that would have been censored in the U.S. involving prostitution, abortion, and the like. Shot during the Occupation, reportedly the film was produced by Germans in France for two reasons: One, those themes would not have been tolerated in Germany, and, two, the themes were likely meant to show the disdain for, and immorality of the French people.

The film put me in mind of a cinematic presentation of a radio drama—something similar to pictures commonly seen in the early 1930s U.S. Le Corbeau is worth a watch, and has a few nice elements, but it’s really more of a B movie, not in the same league of some of the better noirs of the 1940s.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



L.A. Confidential

Captain Dudley Smith: I admire you as a policeman - particularly your adherence to violence as a necessary adjunct to the job.

A film I have seen countless times and have never, and most likely, will never grow tired of. It is one of those films where you can learn something with each watch and notice subtleties, as well as "glances" and "reactions" that could be easily missed if you're not watching closely.
Smartly written, originally by the author James Ellory, who, I would easily place highly among such past crime writers as Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane, as well as a contemporary author, Elmore Leonard; this neo-noir is a helluva crime story that links the corruption that boldly wears the facade of glamour and righteousness of both Hollywood and the Los Angeles Police Department.
Using several situations that did occur around the setting of 1952, as well as the knowledge and experience of a number of detectives that worked during that time, Ellroy created a many-tiered epic of a crime story that, instead of one main officer, there are three of them. Each uncovering bits of the same puzzle in their own unique ways. All of which is brought together with precision.
Director Curtis Hanson adapts that epic novel into an incredible film. We get all the grit of many past noir films, except for the cinematography that Hanson purposely kept more modern and it all works brilliantly.

Everyone involved completely embody their characters; none of which are one-dimensional, which is proven as the movie moves forward. And it moves masterfully. Keeping the tension as the glimpses beneath the shiny veneer are revealed, all the way to the climax.

A D@MN FINE Nomination!!
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Murder, My Sweet (1944)


Hm. You've got a nice build for a private detective.

To me, Murder, My Sweet is much more noir than The Stranger. Storywise it has all the elements I missed in Welles' film; Marlowe is cynical enough, morally he's quite firmly in the gray zone, and the women are sexy and dangerous. As a movie, it's not any better, though.

There's too much sarcastic jousting with words to my liking. It feels like the characters beg to be beaten (especially Marlowe, but to a lesser degree, both ladies as well). I find it annoying. This same ironic attitude also plagues Marlowe's voice-overs; why do they need to be funny?

The plot is pretty basic and, in the end, predictable. Still, it's a plot I expect to see in film noir. Moose was an unnecessary piece in this puzzle, though. I'd drop him and flesh out the other characters more. The end is also rather weak (I'm referring to Ann's actions and the lack of impact the recent events had had on her).

I don't like Powell as Marlowe. He doesn't feel gritty enough (more of a "punch me, please" type). I suppose this is more about not liking how the character is, to be honest. Otherwise, the acting and casting are good.

Murder, My Sweet is another moderately easy watch in this HoF. It's not a personal favorite but, like The Stranger, it's an OK movie, and much closer to what I was expecting to see here.



There's too much sarcastic jousting with words to my liking. [...] This same ironic attitude also plagues Marlowe's voice-overs; why do they need to be funny?
I think it speaks to our drastically differing tastes that one of your biggest problems with the film was one of my favourite aspects haha.





The Big Heat (1953)
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Starring: Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin, Gloria Grahame

The Big Heat occasionally erupts into violence with shocking scenes that were quite uncommon for films of the era. Even though the majority of these acts take place off screen, the events still leave a huge impact, proving that a film doesn't need to flaunt grotesque visuals in order to be effective. Everything on screen is perfectly controlled by Lang, with camera work and editing that complement the tightly written script incredibly well.

The lighting is more subtle than usual for a noir, and especially for Lang in particular, but it still draws on those Expressionistic roots to create a stark mise-en-scène. The disparity between the loving, quaint family scenes and the cruelty that occurs afterwards further emphasises the film's base brutality. Instead of a femme fatale ruining the lives of men, women face the brunt of The Big Heat's violence, often after contact with the protagonist, and indirectly as a consequence for refusing to be complacent in the face of corruption.

Bannion was an honest cop with the perfect home life, but over the course of the film, he turns bitter and cold as vengeance becomes his top priority. You can even hear these changes in Glenn Ford's voice, as he gives arguably the best performance of his career. The entire cast does a remarkable job, with Gloria Grahame going through a similar transformation as her character is also struck hard by the film's many tragic events. It's an engrossing film that's still as relevant today as it was when it was released, so I'm glad I got the chance to watch it again.

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


The Big Heat (1953)
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Starring: Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin, Gloria Grahame

The Big Heat occasionally erupts into violence with shocking scenes that were quite uncommon for films of the era. Even though the majority of these acts take place off screen, the events still leave a huge impact, proving that a film doesn't need to flaunt grotesque visuals in order to be effective. Everything on screen is perfectly controlled by Lang, with camera work and editing that complement the tightly written script incredibly well.

The lighting is more subtle than usual for a noir, and especially for Lang in particular, but it still draws on those Expressionistic roots to create a stark mise-en-scène. The disparity between the loving, quaint family scenes and the cruelty that occurs afterwards further emphasises the film's base brutality. Instead of a femme fatale ruining the lives of men, women face the brunt of The Big Heat's violence, often after contact with the protagonist, and indirectly as a consequence for refusing to be complacent in the face of corruption.

Bannion was an honest cop with the perfect home life, but over the course of the film, he turns bitter and cold as vengeance becomes his top priority. You can even hear these changes in Glenn Ford's voice, as he gives arguably the best performance of his career. The entire cast does a remarkable job, with Gloria Grahame going through a similar transformation as her character is also struck hard by the film's many tragic events. It's an engrossing film that's still as relevant today as it was when it was released, so I'm glad I got the chance to watch it again.

Excellent review and SERIOUS Noir points for a top-notch femme fatale pose!!



Excellent review and SERIOUS Noir points for a top-notch femme fatale pose!!
Thanks! Yeah, I had picked out that image as well as one of Bannion on the other side of a chain link fence and thought...well obviously I have to go with that one, no contest haha.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Thanks! Yeah, I had picked out that image as well as one of Bannion on the other side of a chain link fence and thought...well obviously I have to go with that one, no contest haha.
totally lol



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Murder, My Sweet (1944)


Hm. You've got a nice build for a private detective.

There's too much sarcastic jousting with words to my liking. It feels like the characters beg to be beaten (especially Marlowe, but to a lesser degree, both ladies as well). I find it annoying. This same ironic attitude also plagues Marlowe's voice-overs; why do they need to be funny?

I don't like Powell as Marlowe. He doesn't feel gritty enough (more of a "punch me, please" type). I suppose this is more about not liking how the character is, to be honest. Otherwise, the acting and casting are good.
enjoyed the write up!

There is something like seven or so actors who have played Raymond Chandler's Detective Marlowe in both films and TV and, yes, like you said, the character is not the tough aka "hard-boiled" detective, but a more laconic, VERY sarcastic detective who uses violence against others as a last resort.
For me, Powell fits the "persona" rather well. So did Elliot Gould in 1973's version of The Long Goodbye.
Humphrey Bogart's rendition was too much like his Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, which he did f@ckin nail. Though I DO love the scene where he played a book collector in The Big Sleep. THAT is PURE Marlowe.
I have yet to see Robert Mitchum's take on the character from the two he did in the 70s. Has anybody seen them?

Also, the "voice-overs" are from the colorful writing prose of the author himself. The style became a staple of such detective/crime stories written at the time in pulp magazines.
And, like so many iconic things, it would be parodied and feel a bit corny for people new to the writing style or film genre.
I've wondered if Chandler, who wrote his first story in the 30s was the first to write that way and others followed, or if it was something already present and he had a very serious flair for it.



I have yet to see Robert Mitchum's take on the character from the two he did in the 70s. Has anybody seen them?
Not yet, I'll probably watch Farewell My Lovely after this hof. It has Stallone in it as henchman, but at first glance Charlotte Rampling doesn't fit the genre imo, we'll see.
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Not yet, I'll probably watch Farewell My Lovely after this hof. It has Stallone in it as henchman, but at first glance Charlotte Rampling doesn't fit the genre imo, we'll see.
PLEASE, let me know. I've been curious but never had the opportunity to pursue that curiosity.



I seen Farewell My Lovely (1975) I didn't care for it much, and if I didn't know better I'd thought that Robert Mitchum wasn't a very good actor. Maybe he was bored with the movie? I wish I would've wrote a review, but I can't find it. I do see I rated a



I was just rewatching L.A. Confidential, and was amused to see This Gun for Hire playing in one of the scenes, since I watched it in preparation for this Hall of Fame haha.




Murder, My Sweet (1944)

When I hosted the first Noir HoF I thought that all the nominations would be like comparing apples to apples, as all the movies were from the classic period of Film Noir (1941 to 1958). But what I found out was that even in those 17 years, Noir changed from the early WWII days to the 1950s. So I was glad to see Murder, My Sweet nominated as it hearkens back to the earliest days of noir when it was about character tropes, colorful slang dialogue, twisting turning mysteries, with moody lighting reminiscent of German expressionism of the 1930s.

I loved the vernacular of Murder, My Sweet, so many great lines with such imaginative phrasing, I really got a kick out it...

"I only took the job because my bank account was trying to crawl under a duck."

What the hell does that mean? You know what, I don't even care because it sounds like something a hard boiled detective would say...and it's authentic and that's something you can't get from a modern movie set in the past. I mean this is 1944, captured on film with all it's mannerisms and styles. Even the women are very stylish dressed and the lighting and noir effects are in full play here.

I've never read a Raymond Chandler novel but I feel this movie must have captured the feeling of those novels. And in a way this reminded me of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Captain Picard uses the holodeck to recreate the literary fictional world of Dixon Hill.

Now if I was on a Boogie kick, I might say to myself, Dick Powell? The singer? He's no Boogie. Well Boogie is no Dick Powell, and he can't sing either, ha. I liked Powell because he wasn't always the smartest guy in the room, he wasn't the toughest and he screwed up a lot. And in that way he reminded me of another great film detective, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford-Blade Runner). Powell's Philip Marlowe is no superman and in that way the average person can relate to him. I liked how he played the jaded detective with just a touch of ironic comedy and always looked like he needed a drink.

Clarie Trevor is always good. She looked the best at the start of the film in the white dress with the mid drift belly pick-a-boo. She did look a bit to old for that get up, but then again that was the point wasn't it?

Anne Shirley was as cute as a button! Too bad this was her last film. She retired from acting at the ripe old age of 26.

Gosh, I didn't even mention all the cool noir lighting, effects and shadows. Yeah, there's a lot to like here alright. Murder, My Sweet is like stepping into another world where everything is just a bit cooler than real life. Good stuff.

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