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May 2013 Classic & Film Noir Film Challenge


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#1 of 32 JohnS

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Posted April 30 2013 - 12:37 PM

May will be Classic films and Film Noir challenge.

You decide what you consider what film should be a classic.
I'm going to stick with 1960's and earlier.
If you plan on any Criterions, keep in mind that August is Criterion challenge month.


COMING SOON
June Challenge: I Love 80's & 90's

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#2 of 32 Robert Crawford

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Posted April 30 2013 - 02:03 PM

John,

 

Thanks for starting this thread as I'll join you this month.  I have several film noirs on disc that I haven't watched yet so this challenge is a good reason to do so.

 

As for June, I'm personally thinking westerns because of so many great ones coming out over the next several weeks.


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#3 of 32 JohnS

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Posted April 30 2013 - 02:04 PM

Robert,

Very cool for you to join us for this.
I was hoping that you would, as I know you love film noir.

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#4 of 32 Robert Crawford

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Posted April 30 2013 - 02:16 PM

John,

 

Yeah, I have a bunch of film noir titles I am going to watch in May.  I'm going to start with the TCM boxset of Glenn Ford film noirs.  The Lady in Question, Framed, The Undercover Man, Mr. Soft Touch and Convicted.  After those are done, I'll decide my next bunch of titles.


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#5 of 32 PatW

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Posted April 30 2013 - 02:28 PM

Just got back. I'm certainly looking forward to this challenge. I'll also be sticking mostly to the movies made from the 30's to the 60's. I have quite a number of classic movies in my collection that I can watch. Unfortunately I've seen them all. Anything new will probably be from TCM.



#6 of 32 PatW

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Posted April 30 2013 - 02:31 PM

Classic film challenge

Movies rated 0-5 new watches in bold.

01 Doctor Zhivago (1965) (bluray) 4/5
02 Goldfinger (1964) (bluray) 4/5
03 Ransom (1956) (tcm) 3.5/5
04 Caine Mutiny (1954) (tcm) 4/5
05 Marked Woman (1937) (dvd) 4//5
06 Strange Cargo (1940) (tcm) 4.5/5
07 Rebecca (1940) (bluray) 4.5/5
08 How Green Was My Valley (1941) (tcm) 4.5/5
09 Larceny Inc. (1942) (dvd) 4/5
10 The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) (bluray) 5/5
11 Francis of Assisi (1961) (tcm) 3.5/5
12 The Shop Around the Corner (1940) (dvd) 4/5

13 Zulu (1964) (bluray) 4/5

14 Jason and the Argonauts (1963) (bluray) 4/5

15 Suspicion (1951) (PBS) 3.5/5

16 A Night to Remember (1958) (bluray) 5/5


Edited by PatW, May 29 2013 - 07:11 PM.


#7 of 32 JohnS

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Posted April 30 2013 - 03:05 PM

John,
 
Yeah, I have a bunch of film noir titles I am going to watch in May.  I'm going to start with the TCM boxset of Glenn Ford film noirs.  The Lady in Question, Framed, The Undercover Man, Mr. Soft Touch and Convicted.  After those are done, I'll decide my next bunch of titles.


My first movie will be The House on Telegraph Hill since I love San Francisco.
Then I will watch Double Idemnity, Scarlett Street and The Man Who Murdered Himself.

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#8 of 32 PatW

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Posted May 01 2013 - 11:12 AM

Dr. Zhivago (1965) 4/5

 

I forgot how long this movie was. Started it late last night and finished watching this afternoon. Classic David Lean film though not my favourite of his, is close to the top.

I first saw this as a little girl and can remember getting caught up in the story and the romance of the film. The cinematography in this film is stunning and the music more than memorable. It's well cast with some great British actors and of course Omar Sharif in the title role. I think I developed a crush on him shortly after seeing this film. I'm certainly glad to have this movie in my collection.



#9 of 32 JohnS

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Posted May 02 2013 - 11:05 AM

The House on Telegraph Hill (1951) (Amazon Prime streaming HD) (first time viewing)

Stars Richard Basehart, Valentina Cortese, William Lundigan

This is part of Fox's Film Noir DVD series.
Valentina Cortese plays a concentration camp survivor and assumes the identity of a rich friend that she was in the camp with when she passes away.
Valentina then moves to San Franciscio to live out her new identity.

The movie does have some nice panoramic views of San Francisco and also a few close shots within the city. This isn't so much a film noir. But still a satisfying thriller.

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#10 of 32 PatW

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Posted May 02 2013 - 04:46 PM

Goldfinger (1964) (bluray) 4/5

 

Couldn't resist watching this classic Bond film for this challenge. Probably this is my favourite Bond film with my favourite Bond actor. Everything was great here, from the interesting villain to the cool gadgets to the wonderful opening song. I don't imagine there is many who haven't seen it, but if you haven't, it come highly recommended.

 

 

Ransom (1956) (tcm) 3.5/5

 

I didn't realize when I watched the Gibson Ransom that it was a remake until I caught this on tcm yesterday.  Though I enjoyed both versions I do enjoyed the

simplicity of this version. The performances weren't over the top but were more

to the point. The ending did feel kind of rushed but on the whole I liked this film

very much.



#11 of 32 JohnS

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Posted May 02 2013 - 05:14 PM

Classic & Film Noir film list
Films in bold are first time viewings

Alice in Wonderland (1933)
The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
Out of the Past (1947)

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#12 of 32 JohnS

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Posted May 04 2013 - 03:31 AM

Before I got to my next film noir, I had to watch Alice in Wonderland (1933)
TCM was showing this Friday night and I had never seen it before.

I think I like this version better than Walt Disney's.
Makeup and sets are really good.
Movie is very creepy yet fun and interesting.

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#13 of 32 PatW

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Posted May 05 2013 - 10:57 AM

Caine Mutiny (1954) (Netflix) 4/5

 

WWII drama about a group of officers accused of mutiny aboard a mine sweeper ship.

Humphrey Bogart given a stellar performance as  the incompetent commander of the destroyer. Fred MacMurray and Van Johnson also give great performances. I've never read the Herman Wouk book though it will be next on my list.

 

 

Marked Woman (1937) (dvd) 4/5

 

Early film noir about a DA trying to take down a mobster boss by using a nightclub girl to testify against her boss. Bette Davis gives a fantastic performance as the party girl who is not exactly cooperative until a tragedy happens. Though I became aware of Bette Davis in her later years and some of the horror movies she made, I've come to appreciate what a fantastic well rounded actress that she was during her whole career. Humphrey Bogart as the crusading DA was also fantastic. Though slightly melodramatic at times, I thought the courtroom scenes were well done.



#14 of 32 Robert Crawford

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Posted May 05 2013 - 04:30 PM

Today, I watched two film noirs starring Glenn Ford.  The first one was Mr. Soft Touch which was a favorite of mine from my youth.  I always thought Ford and Evelyn Keyes had great film chemistry as they done several films together.  The second film noir was The Undercover Man with Ford playing a Treasury Agent trying to nail the Big Fellow/Al Capone. 


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#15 of 32 PatW

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Posted May 08 2013 - 01:41 PM

Strange Cargo (1940) (tcm) 4.5/5

 

This film certainly lives up to its title of being a very unusual movie. It's actually quite profound and moving and not a movie you would except to see Cable and Crawford in. Whether you want to believe the Cambreau character is God or Jesus Christ or just a holy man is up to the viewer. I was quite intrigued and thinking of adding this to my collection if available.



#16 of 32 Michael Elliott

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Posted May 08 2013 - 05:31 PM

I was going to try and go through the entire Charlie Chan series but too much stuff is going on.  I'm not sure how many of the films I'm going to watch are "classics" but they did appear on TCM and have my DVR nearing the 90% full mark so I need to watch them down. :)

 

 

Torchy Gets Her Man (1938)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

The sixth film in the Warner series has Glena Farrell returning to the role of reporter Torchy Blane. This time out she learns that her fiancé detective (Barton MacLane) is working with a government man as they two to capture a counterfeiter known as $100 Bailey. TORCHY GETS HER MAN is certainly a step up from the previous film, which was just downright flat due in large part to a weak story and the lack of Farrell. Thankfully the studio was able to get her back for this installment and there's no question that the picture is much better for it. As with the previous entries, the stories themselves aren't the greatest things out there but this here is good enough to at least keep you interested in everything that's going on and the cast just makes everything all the more entertaining. Farrell was certainly at ease in the role and I think her comic timing is right on the mark from start to finish and she just gives such a fun performance that you can't help but smile watching her work. MacLane, also back after missing the previous film, is good but there's no question that he's not given too much to do. Tom Kennedy nearly steals the film as the dimwitted driver and wannabe poet. The supporting cast doesn't feature any real stand outs but everyone is nice in their roles. I think the weakest thing about this entry is that director William Beaudine lives up to his reputation of just doing one take. There are some pretty ugly and cheap shots to be seen here and it takes the "B" level quality down a notch. Still, he at least keeps the film moving at a nice pace and fans of the series should be entertained.

 

 

Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939)

** (out of 4)

The seventh film in the series finds Torchy (Glena Farrell) once again getting in the way as Detective McBride (Barton MacLane) tries to figure out who killing off a group of people with a connection to some valuable Chinese treasures. TORCHY BLANE IN CHINATOWN seems like it would fit the Mr. Moto or Charlie Chan series better but there's no question that this features an interesting story but sadly director William Beaudine can't add any life, energy or excitement to anything we're seeing. The story itself is pretty good and in fact it was interesting enough to make one upset that more wasn't being done with it. This story from Murray Leinster was originally filmed in 1920 and then again in 1930 but I've yet to see either version. The material here actually makes for a good mystery and I especially liked how one never fully understood why the murders were taking place. A great example of this is handled with various cards being left behind at crime scenes telling the cops who will die next. Another benefit this film has is that we're given a pretty strong cast. Farrell is once again highly entertaining and charming in her role. MacLane appears to be tired of his career and bored playing it because he pretty much sleepwalks through the film. The supporting cast is actually good with Tom Kennedy returning for comic relief and we also get Henry O'Neill, Patric Knowles and James Stephenson. What really kills the movie is the bad pacing, poor cinematography and the lack of any real energy. Director Beaudine probably kept the film under budget but he just wasn't able to add anything extra to the story. No matter how good the story is you still still someone to bring it to life and that just never happened.

 

 

A Fugitive from Justice (1940)

** (out of 4)

Boring crime picture about an insurance investigator (Roger Pryor) who goes out looking for a fugitive who just happens to be running from the police who are trying to kill him as well as a group of gangsters who also wants him dead. The investigator hopes to bring him to justice so that his company won't have to pay out a large sum of money. If you don't know director Terry O. Morse's name you might be familiar with some of his films like British INTELLIGENCE with Boris Karloff and FOG ISLAND George Zucco. I mention those two films because like them, this one here is pretty boring from start to finish and there's not an inch of energy to be found anywhere. What's really strange about this picture is that it almost seems two different directors were given certain pages of the script and asked to film them. The problem is that the two directors never talked about what type of film they wanted to make so one went out and did a straight crime picture while the other did some sort of spoof. Considering there was only one director, it's rather shocking to see how poorly paced this thing is and at how wildly uneven it is. The film starts off being able to grab one's attention because the set-up is pretty straight-forward and it seems like you're going to be in for a treat. Sadly this feeling is over within minutes as the main story kicks up and the film turns into some badly acted, over-the-top scenes meant to get laughs but instead it just drives one crazy. Pryor just doesn't have enough going for him to hold the viewer's attention and Eddie Foy, Jr. is just too silly for his own good. Lucile Fairbanks, the niece of Douglas, is decent in her supporting role but the screenplay doesn't give her much to do. A FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE is a pretty bland excuse for a crime picture and even at just 52-minutes the thing drags.



#17 of 32 JohnS

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Posted May 11 2013 - 03:50 AM

Out of the Past (1947) (TCM) (First time viewing)

Really good film noir drama.
Loved the story and the direction all the characters went.
Really liked the closure in the final scene.
Great performances by Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas.
Jane Greer was a looker.
I also liked Dickie Moore playing "the kid" who's deaf.

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#18 of 32 Robert Crawford

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Posted May 11 2013 - 03:52 AM

The other day I viewed the BD of The Enforcer starring Bogart about Murder Inc.  One of the best BDs from Olive and a very good, but underrated Bogart film as well as film noir.


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#19 of 32 PatW

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Posted May 11 2013 - 06:56 PM

Rebecca (1940) (bluray) 4.5/5

 

This is one of my favourite Hitchcock movies. I read the book first and I adored it as a young teen so I have a great deal of affection for the movie. It hit all the right notes for me and when Maxim said he never loved Rebecca, well I think I fell in love with Olivier  on the spot and tried to watch everything he was in. Memories, memories. I thought the whole cast was excellent and Judith Anderson just gave me the chills. Great movie.

 

 

How Green Was My Valley (1941) (tcm) 4.5/5

 

I can't believe I've never seen this. I guess the subject material didn't interest me much but how wrong I was. Roddy McDowell was so talented as a child actor and he's one of the few that managed a career in the movies as an adult. I would have never known that this film was made in California instead of Wales unless Osborne hadn't announced it. Great film and I'm glad I finally saw it.



#20 of 32 Michael Elliott

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Posted May 12 2013 - 10:50 AM

The Shining (1980) ****

Dawn of the Dead (1978) ****

 

I got to see these two classics on the large screen over the weekend.  Friday night was THE SHINING and then Saturday was DAWN OF THE DEAD, which was the first time I've been able to see this one at a theater.

 

THE SHINING had about 60 people in the crowd, which was pretty good because this theater has never done a midnight movie before or at least not since the early 2000s.  The first time I watched this I thought it was a pretty poor movie and would give it somewhere around * 1/2.  There was something in the movie that made me keep going back to it and after a couple viewings I bumped it to a ** 1/2 then a few more led to a ***.  I finally got to the point where I gave it a full **** but called it a failed masterpiece.  Watching the film again I think I'm just going to flat out call it a masterpiece and one of the greatest horror films ever made.  It might even enter my greatest of all time chat. 

 

I'm not going to get into everything this film has going for it but the sheer level of terror and atmosphere is just terrific.  The two little girls are still the creepiest things I've seen in any horror movie and I think the overall feel is just something no other film has came close to (and something Rob Zombie's THE LORDS OF SALEM really bombed at trying to rip). 

 

The theater was showing this because of the recent documentary, which I watched several weeks ago on Amazon.  I don't buy into any of the theories in that film but there are countless other theories about these characters, the meanings and so on.  I think the amazing thing is that no matter what you believe, it's pretty much backed up in the film and it's just amazing that Kubrick could have so many things going on at once and anything you want to make of them can add up to the "truth" in the picture.

 

DAWN OF THE DEAD has always been in my Top 3 horror pictures.  Sadly the experience wasn't as great as I hoped because of an idiot sitting next to me.  You know someone has smoked too much dope when I sit there screaming and insulting him and yet he still doesn't realize I'm talking to him.  There were around 300 people in the theater and no two seats were open together so my girlfriend and I was pretty much trapped until before the bikers showed up in the film.  Around that time another couple left and that allowed us to move into their seat.

 

Outside of that the film works wonderfully well on the big screen and especially all of those terrific effects.  It seems this theater always draws "fans" of the picture but also some who just show up to laugh at anything old.  The sound effects and clothing seemed to get plenty of laughs from these people but for the most part it seemed everyone had a blast.  The "fans" of the film certainly ate everything up including a pre-film contest where those who dressed up would have a brain eating contest (some type of jello) to see who would win passes to upcoming midnight showings.

 

One cool thing is that the manager announced they were going to tell us the upcoming Halloween screenings and that they selected the titles based on the make-up artists.  We then saw the trailers played to know what the titles were.  AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF, CREEPSHOW, THE FLY and THE MONSTER SQUAD.  I must say that when I heard Savini was getting a film I was hoping for MANIAC but oh well. 

 

Either way, to keep this on topic, seeing THE SHINING and DAWN again makes me certain they belong in the classic field and they certainly don't make 'em like that anymore.






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