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A few words about... The Dark Corner


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#1 of 9 Robert Harris

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Posted December 01 2005 - 07:50 AM

One of Fox's latest offerings in their continuing Noir collection is the 1946 production, The Dark Corner, starring a pre-Lucy Lucile Ball, Mark Stevens (one of a group of second string players from the era), William Bendix and Clifton Webb.

A lovely DVD with a terrific black and white video image of Joe MacDonald's superb nor cinematography.

A release which is recommneded, and a great addition to Fox's series.

One thing struck me as I was watching it however.

Something that has always troubled me, whether reading a script or watching a completed film, is what I call "Nametag" dialogue.

Its as if the characters should be wearing adhesive tags proudly stating "Hi! I'm (fill in the blank).

This is one of those films in which the characters continuously refer to each other by name.

In the earlier days of the cinema, the main titles would occasionally have an image of the actor, identifying them by both their real name and by the character that they play. That way we can't get confused.

In The Dark Corner, I didn't make a count, but I would guess that Ms. Ball refers to her boss, played by Mr. Stevens, no less than fifty times, adding his name to each piece of dialogue.

"Gee, Brad, I'd never thought of that."

"What are you thinking, Brad."

"I'm not sure, Brad, but I think that man in the white suit..."

You get the idea.

Wonderful film, filled with name tag dialogue, and worth a visit.

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 9 Herb Kane

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Posted December 01 2005 - 04:38 PM

Quote:
and worth a visit.

And my favorite title of this current wave of Fox releases. Can't wait to pick them up - thanks Robert.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#3 of 9 David Jay

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Posted December 01 2005 - 05:39 PM

I've picked up the previous 2 waves of noir from Fox, so this just heightens my anticipation.

In regards to the "nametag" dialogue, I haven't seen this film yet, but sometimes this kind of dialogue can come in handy. We all know how twisty and confusing some of the deeper film noirs can get, so it's sometimes nice to have names drilled into your head early on. Or, at least that's my youthful, optomistic way of looking at it. Posted Image

Thanks again, Mr. Harris. Your posts are always great.

#4 of 9 Robert Harris

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Posted December 02 2005 - 12:54 AM

For me, "nametag" dialogue only worked when Ms. Bacall referred to Mr. Bogart as "Steve" in To Have and Have Not.

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


#5 of 9 Mark VH

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Posted December 02 2005 - 01:12 AM

Quote:
For me, "nametag" dialogue only worked when Ms. Bacall referred to Mr. Bogart as "Steve" in To Have and Have Not.


Especially considering that his character's name in that film was actually Harry.

"Nicknametag" dialogue?

:b

#6 of 9 Rob_Ray

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Posted December 02 2005 - 02:41 AM

I actually wish movies used "nametag" dialogue more often, especially today. On the rare occasion that I see a newer movie, I often can't warm up to any of the characters and one reason of many is the fact that they *don't* use "nametag" dialogue and even by the end of the movie, I feel like I don't really know the characters. When the credits roll, and we see who played who, I often don't recognize the characters' names. They are just props to trigger all the special effects.

#7 of 9 MichaelScott

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Posted December 02 2005 - 03:37 AM

When the credits roll, and we see who played who, I often don't recognize the characters' names. They are just props to trigger all the special effects.


So very true!!!..feel the same way. One thing I love about older movies is the heavier use of dialogue in general, so name tags or not..anything is better then what we have now with some exceptions of course but over all in film today..heaven forbid people have an attention span of more then two seconds to actually listen to dialogue these days.

#8 of 9 Damin J Toell

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Posted December 02 2005 - 05:31 AM

Quote:
For me, "nametag" dialogue only worked when Ms. Bacall referred to Mr. Bogart as "Steve" in To Have and Have Not.

You know how to whistle, don't you, Bob? Posted Image

DJ

#9 of 9 Ira Siegel

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Posted December 28 2005 - 10:30 AM

In The Dark Corner, I didn't make a count, but I would guess that Ms. Ball refers to her boss, played by Mr. Stevens, no less than fifty times, adding his name to each piece of dialogue.
Here the "nametag" dialog signals and reinforces Kathleen's (Ball's character's) message to her boss, whom she repeatedy called "Mr. Galt" in the beginning of the movie: "Hey, guy, now that you've kissed me, I'm gonna be your girl in a romantic way in addition to being your secretary, no matter how many times you tell me to beat it."
Clifton Webb's reprising his Laura role is humorous, although certainly unintentionally. William Bendix is great. Very good image transfer, and the sound is real clear. I, too, recommend this DVD (along with Where the Sidewalk Ends and Kiss of Death).





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