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A few words about... Somewhere in the Night & Whirlpool


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#1 of 7 Robert Harris

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Posted September 09 2005 - 05:30 AM

Fox has released the third group in their Noir series, and two are more than worth the price of admission.

One of the most literate of filmmakers, Joseph Mankiewicz's 1946 Somewhere in the Night, tells of a man waking in a military hospital having lost his memory and only a few clues to help him on his way. We find ourselves putting the pieces together along with the lead character.

Whirlpool is a 1949 production directed by Otto Preminger, and starring Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, a brilliant Jose Ferrer and Charles Bickford. Mr. Ferrer plays a less than honest hypnotist who goes after the wife of a successful phychiatrist, involving her in a murder.

Both of these black and white productions are beautifully rendered by Fox, with only a passing sync problem on Whirlpool to take away from total viewing pleasure.

Whirlpool was photographed by Arthur Miller, who's work can be found in The Gunfighter, A Letter to Three Wives, Gentlemen's Agreement, Song of Bernadette and other major films of the 1940s. A decade earlier he did service on most of the Shirley Temple productions. Tracking his career further back, one finds that he was Asst. Cameraman on A True Indian's Heart in 1909, and cinematograher on The Perils of Pauline in 1914.

He apparently knew what he was doing.

Both of these films come recommended from these quarters.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 7 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted September 09 2005 - 05:39 AM

I'm looking forward to these as always!

#3 of 7 Robert Crawford

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Posted September 09 2005 - 07:36 AM

I've watched all three releases and though they're not as good film-wise as the next batch of film noirs planned later this year, I was still pleased with the dvd presentations. I especially enjoyed Eddie Muller's commentary on "Somewhere in the Night" and "House on 92nd Street". I am looking forward to the December releases.






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#4 of 7 Russell G

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Posted September 09 2005 - 09:13 AM

Great to hear! I have this wave lined up to watch this weekend. After watching Warners film noir vol 2 collection, and 1-6 of Fox's Noir collection this week, I'm now on "House on 92nd Street", which is of course the one title not remarked upon!

#5 of 7 Robert Harris

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Posted September 10 2005 - 01:28 AM

Although House on 92nd Street has a positive reputation, and although I attempted to like it, it came off as too dated, and with the trappings of an FBI promotional film.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#6 of 7 Russell G

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Posted September 12 2005 - 02:23 AM

I watched all of these this weekend. I have to agree with Mr. Harris, "House on 92nd Street" does have an FBI propaganda vibe, especially through the first 20 odd minutes which play more like a dicumentary (an interesting one at that, can anyone explain how that finger print finder machine that you load those cards into works?), but once the story proper kicked in, I enjoyed it. The tear gas filled ending was pretty great, wonderfully filmed. "Somewhere in the Night" get's my vote for the best of this wave, with "Whirlpool" being the one that left me flat. I might of liked it more if I hadn't just watched "Nightmare Ally", which has similar psychotropic themes. I guess I prefer trashier noir.

#7 of 7 Charles H

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Posted September 12 2005 - 04:35 AM

WHIRLPOOL is my favorite of a superior lot, and I find it better than LAURA. It is most interesting in the context of Ms. Tierney's own fragile psychology of the time and it plays like a film noir variation of Ibsen's "A Doll's House." Arthur Miller's subtle POV camerawork shows how the men in the film (Conte, Ferrer, and Bickford) view the Tierney character. Ferrer gives a wonderfully acerbic performance as an unsentimental variation of Waldo Lydecker. The Raksin score is aces also. I know of no sadder portrait of a woman in a film noir than WHIRLPOOL.
Apparently Preminger's FALLEN ANGEL is on its way but no word yet on THE THIRTEENTH LETTER (1951) featuring wonderfully uncharacteristic performances by Linda Darnell and Charles Boyer.
Charles Hoyt