Noirvember 2022

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Woman On The Run: 4/5

A very solid, woman driven noir starring the great Ann Sheridan. CR, you should add it to your docket.



Yes BUT I listened to the Video Archive podcast where Tarantino and Avery gab about its creation and the history behind it (learning that Sullivan was pretty much exactly his character and this was how he smuggled drugs/burned his hand/became friends with Warhol) made it more interesting than it had any right.


There is obviously a decent story in there...I even was entertained by it vaguely....but as a film it is a complete piece of garbage.



There is obviously a decent story in there...I even was entertained by it vaguely....but as a film it is a complete piece of garbage.
I think it existing as a bizarre vanity project of an actual drug smuggler, trying to do a quasi-biopic, brought to life via connection to the NY art scene, lends a legitimate documentary element to it, despite it clearly being a (poorly made) work of fiction.

Garbage, yes, but one can get a great sense of the fascinating lives of the rodents and vagrants that live within.



I've been watching but haven't felt much like doing write ups, so here's some noir/neo-noir joints I've watched and some arbitrary numbers:

Kansas City Confidential: 4.5/5

The Bigamist: 5/5

Devil In A Blue Dress: 5/5

Shallow Grave: 4/5

Pale Flower: 5/5

The Boston Strangler: 4.5/5

Cocaine Cowboys: 2.5/5

Spun: 4/5

They Call Me Mr. Tibbs: 3.5/5

Charlie Varrick: 5/5

Hollow Triumph: 4.5/5
The Bigamist is on my watch list.

Woman On The Run: 4/5

A very solid, woman driven noir starring the great Ann Sheridan. CR, you should add it to your docket.
Thanks, I'll give it a watch. I haven't seen much of Ann Sheridan so this sounds like the ticket.



The Bigamist is on my watch list.

Thanks, I'll give it a watch. I haven't seen much of Ann Sheridan so this sounds like the ticket.
Loved the Bigamist. Really highlights how a lot of filmmakers thought they were making melodramas at the time.

As for Sheridan, I'm a fan of her in:

San Quentin
Angels with Dirty Faces
They Made Me A Criminal
Angels Wash Their Faces
They Drive By Night
City for Conquest

She has a very subtle and dignified quality to her performances that make her work in roles that would feel slight in lesser hands.



Loved the Bigamist. Really highlights how a lot of filmmakers thought they were making melodramas at the time.

As for Sheridan, I'm a fan of her in:

San Quentin
Angels with Dirty Faces
They Made Me A Criminal
Angels Wash Their Faces
They Drive By Night
City for Conquest

She has a very subtle and dignified quality to her performances that make her work in roles that would feel slight in lesser hands.
I just seen San Quentin & Angels with Dirty Faces fairly recently as I'm working on watching Bogart's filmography and of course They Drive By Night. It's been a long time since I seen City For Conquest, but I remember it being good. I haven't seen They Made Me A Criminal & Angels Wash Their Faces.

I just looked at her filmography and she's someone I might check out more as it looks like she made some interesting/fun sounding movies. I noticed the noir Nora Prentiss which sounds pretty good.




A Woman's Devotion (Paul Henreid 1956)

A Woman's Devotion...what a bad title for a really good movie. That title gives the wrong impression of the movie. You might think this is a soap opera drama or a Joan Crawford/Bette Davis vehicle...It's none of those. Originally it was going to be called Acapulco as that's where it was shot on location. And I mean it is really shot in Acapulco and not just using stock footage with rear projection in some Hollywood studio. The cast and crew went down to Acapulco to film this and the city plays a large part of the appeal of this movie.

What I liked about this is: the film has a feeling of real time events happening with the emotional impact of reality and not the emotional kick of a Hollywood film. Nothing is kicked up a notch. The camera work the score the editing it's all matter of fact like you were there on vacation in the mid 1950s. We don't know if the husband (Ralph Meeker) who suffers from PTD and was hospitalized after the war committed the murders or not. He seems like a nice guy when he's not suffering from headaches. His wife (Janice Rule) is the devoted woman. She believes in him, in his art work and in his innocents. The police chief however has a roving eye for the wife and may or may not have unfairly keep them in Acapulco under investigation. The murders happen off screen so we don't know anymore than the wife and police chief knows. I really liked this low key, more realistic approach.




Yes BUT I listened to the Video Archive podcast where Tarantino and Avery gab about its creation and the history behind it (learning that Sullivan was pretty much exactly his character and this was how he smuggled drugs/burned his hand/became friends with Warhol) made it more interesting than it had any right.
Have you seen The Boogeyman, Olivia or The Devonsville Terror? Not material for this thread (maybe Olivia has some neonoir vibes), but they all have a subtly dreamlike/surreal quality I really like, and have really appealing lead performances from Suzanna Love. I doubt Ulli Lommel has too much else Quayle worthwhile in his filmography, but Iím a fan of those. They are not super polished though, so caveat emptor.



The Blue Gardenia (Fritz Lang 1953)

I would've swore I'd seen this before, but nope I had it mixed up with The Blue Dahlia. Different movies, different directors, similar titles. The Blue Gardenia is directed by Fritz Lang and stars Anne Baxter.

Good noir, it starts off kind of light and airy with three young single women sharing an apartment. Ann Sothern is a brassy blonde who's always walking around the apartment with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She's a card with the quips and I can see why she went on to have her own TV show in the late 50s. Jeff Donnell yes that's a girl, is the goofy stay at home type who likes to read pulpy detective novels heavy on murder. But the movie isn't about them and yet they add dimension to their roommate's plight, Anne Baxter. She gets a Dear Jane letter from her boyfriend in Korea (during the war). She makes the mistake of going out with a masher and lady killer, figuratively speaking...Raymond Burr. Well Burr ends up dead and guess which blonde is looking pretty guilty.

This moved at a good pace, everyone was pretty good and there was some neat noir lighting shots which I wish I had a screenshot of. The last scene was a Scooby Doo but that's OK because I liked this anyway.

Oh, got mention Nat King Cole sings Blue Gardenia in a nightclub scene. Very cool.

Thanks @ThatDarnMKS for recommending this.
I really like the film too. The noir lighting you referred to is by the great cinematographer Nicholas Musaraca (Out Of The Past, Clash By Night), who is one of my 2 or 3 favorite noir DPs.

I always LOVED Ann Sothern. And if I can brag a little, in 1970 I used to date Anne Baxter's stand in from Warner Bros. She looked a lot like her... (I never met Baxter).



I really like the film too. The noir lighting you referred to is by the great cinematographer Nicholas Musaraca (Out Of The Past, Clash By Night), who is one of my 2 or 3 favorite noir DPs.

I always LOVED Ann Sothern. And if I can brag a little, in 1970 I used to date Anne Baxter's stand in from Warner Bros. She looked a lot like her... (I never met Baxter).
Wow, color me impressed. I mean Anne Baxter is such a cutie....lucky you!



Have you seen The Boogeyman, Olivia or The Devonsville Terror? Not material for this thread (maybe Olivia has some neonoir vibes), but they all have a subtly dreamlike/surreal quality I really like, and have really appealing lead performances from Suzanna Love. I doubt Ulli Lommel has too much else Quayle worthwhile in his filmography, but Iím a fan of those. They are not super polished though, so caveat emptor.
This was my first Lommel Iíve seen, though I think I watched some of his DTV serial killer flicks when I was young. Curse of the Zodiac feels like a movie I rented and hated.*

Well, and Iíve seen him act in some Fassbinder flicks.

Iíve been interested in Boogeyman and Tenderness of Wolves.




Accused of Murder (1956)

I recommend you don't bother to watch this one Unless you like flat acting by actors who've done much better in other pictures. At times I had to laugh at what was happening on the screen, like the kiss that comes out of nowhere or the punch that just seems to be included for some action. You might call this so bad it's sorta kinda good...Or maybe just call it really mediocre.

It's hard to believe a noir based on a W.R. Burnett novel and shot in Naturama wide screen and Trucolor color print could missed so badly but it did. I've seen David Brian do much better work. Here he's as stoic as Sterling Hayden but without Hayden's flair for stoicism.

The direction by Joseph Kane who directed a bunch of lesser RKO movies is as flat and unpolished as the performances. Twice there was a pan shot where the camera moved so fast from left to right that it made me dizzy. Then there's Vera Ralson who by all accounts was a nice lady who married the head of RKO and landed in a lot of pictures which mostly lost money as Vera was never a good actress and not well received by the public. At least her husband believed in her. Here she's given the star treatment and does duty as a leading lady. Leading lady type she's not.

Best thing about the film: Virginia Grey's drunken fluzzy and the blue 1956 convertible drove by Lee Van Cleef.

and I'm probably being too generous but it was still fun.




Happy Noir Thanksgiving!



I don't know of any Thanksgiving themed Noir movies, but I thought you might like these pics:



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OPEN FLOOR.



I watched The Maltese Falcon for the third time a couple of nights ago. My thoughts haven't really change since I wrote a review for it.


The Maltese Falcon (John Huston 1941)

The Maltese Falcon
is considered by some to be the first Film Noir of the classic period (1941-1958). The movie has many of the Film Noir hallmark elements: like subdued lighting, dark shadows and low camera angles...Many of the scenes are shot from over-the-shoulder of Humphrey Bogart, giving a first person point of view. And of course we have one of the greatest detectives of all time, Sam Spade...Not to mention a very devious femme fatale Brigid (Mary Astor), who at the time had an equally notorious off screen reputation in Hollywood.

The script written by John Huston was true to the original 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel, even with the wording of the dialogue. If someone loves lots of dialogue and twist and turns, this movie has it in spades! It's so complex that I was never sure who was up to what and I've now seen it three times.

The end scene where all the main characters are in the apartment going head to toe against each other, goes on for 20 minutes. That would never be done today but it sure works here and held my attention in fact it's one of director John Huston's most emotionally captivating scenes.

What a dream cast. Bogie paired up with Peter Lorrie and Sydney Greenstreet with Mary Astor to boot. That's not even mentioning veteran character actors like Ward Bond, Barton MacLaine and Gladys George.

Watch the Maltese Falcon statuette when Bogie picks it up. He nearly dropped it, it was that heavy. I read it was made out of lead and there are three of them, each worth a million bucks. A million bucks for a hunk of lead, that shows you how beloved this film is.




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Watch the Maltese Falcon statuette when Bogie picks it up. He nearly dropped it, it was that heavy. I read it was made out of lead and there are three of them, each worth a million bucks. A million bucks for a hunk of lead, that shows you how beloved this film is.
Lead. What dreams are made of.



Lead. What dreams are made of.
Ha Great line in the movie too. My favorite part is when Bogart comes down hard on Mary Astor at the end of the film. In that scene he really tapped into darkened emotions that came across as repressed rage, much like he did in In A Lonely Place.