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A few words about...™ Double Indemnity -- in Blu-ray

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#21 of 50 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted April 21 2014 - 04:13 PM

Will try to take another look. Afaik, there is no original negative.RAH

I seem to recall hearing MCA junked all the Onegs of the pre-1948 Paramount catalog when they aquired it in the early 50s.

#22 of 50 OFFLINE   Martin_Teller

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Posted April 22 2014 - 08:28 AM

If Double Indemnity was actually the *first* film noir, could one have already been a film noir fan, or would the fandom have been based on books/magazines?

 

http://blog.cinemaau...uble-indemnity/

 

I dunno who that blogger is or where he got his (mis)information, but no one calls Double Indemnity the first film noir. The Maltese Falcon usually gets that honor, but as bigshot said, I'd go back to Stranger on the Third Floor.



#23 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 22 2014 - 08:36 AM

I dunno who that blogger is or where he got his (mis)information, but no one calls Double Indemnity the first film noir. The Maltese Falcon usually gets that honor, but as bigshot said, I'd go back to Stranger on the Third Floor.

There is even some dispute about Stranger on the Third Floor being the first one.


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#24 of 50 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted April 22 2014 - 08:47 AM

There is even some dispute about Stranger on the Third Floor being the first one.

 

There is indeed, particularly as the only part with real merit is the nightmare sequence. Many people believe You Only Live Once (1937) has a much stronger claim. 



#25 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted April 22 2014 - 09:25 AM

I dunno who that blogger is or where he got his (mis)information, but no one calls Double Indemnity the first film noir. The Maltese Falcon usually gets that honor, but as bigshot said, I'd go back to Stranger on the Third Floor.

I recognize that Turner Classic Movies may not be a "scholarly" citation; nevertheless, here is a sentence from a TCM article about Double Indemnity:

 

Critics have argued whether or not this movie can be considered the first film noir thriller, but it undoubtedly set the pattern for that distinctive post-war genre: a shadowy, nighttime urban world of deception and betrayal usually distinguished by its "hard-boiled" dialogue, corrupt characters and the obligatory femme fatale who preys on the primal urges of an ordinary Joe hungry for sex and easy wealth.

 

http://www.tcm.com/t...-Indemnity.html

 

The authors of the paper at this site may have been students; in other words, I do not know their credentials. 

 

http://www.ualr.edu/...uteurreport.pdf

 

Here is the relevant quote:

 

Double Indemnity was credited as being the first film noir

 

This next citation *could* (I'm honestly not sure) be considered "scholarly":

 

DOUBLE INDEMNITY is sometimes considered the first "film noir," although the idea of

which is first is rather foolish considering that the category was invented after the factthat

is, it is applied retroactively to films before the term was used. Of particular

importance is the narrative quality of the film, the use of the dub over (the "behind the

picture" narrator), the femme fatale, and the cynicism that prevails in the film. In this

film, the narrator is dying. Later, Billy Wilder, the director, used a dead narrator in

SUNSET BOULEVARD. What are the contributions to "film noir" conventions that

Wilder made?

 

https://koppa.jyu.fi...ir Syllabus.pdf



#26 of 50 OFFLINE   AshJW

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Posted April 22 2014 - 09:52 AM

Sure thing, Double Indemnity is "film noir".

 

This book even put it on it's cover:

Posted ImageI read it at the moment. :)

This one could be the english version, it's from the same publisher (Taschen)

 

---

 

Yesterday I watched "Dead Men don't wear Plaid".

Wonderful homage to all the films noirs.


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#27 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted April 22 2014 - 10:18 AM

^ The debate (which I hope is a friendly debate) is not whether Double Indemnity is a film noir, but whether it actually is - or has just been called <perhaps incorrectly> - the *first* film noir.



#28 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 22 2014 - 10:26 AM

^ The debate (which I hope is a friendly debate) is not whether Double Indemnity is a film noir, but whether it actually is - or has just been called <perhaps incorrectly> - the *first* film noir.

Aren't all debates here friendly? ;)


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#29 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 22 2014 - 10:27 AM

I consider The Maltese Falcon the first film noir, but that's my opinion.


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#30 of 50 OFFLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted April 22 2014 - 10:32 AM

I consider The Maltese Falcon the first film noir, but that's my opinion.

 

And I hardly consider The Maltese Falcon a noir at all, because although Mary Astor is a femme fatale, she doesn't lead the hero to his doom.  Bogart largely stays firmly in control of the situation throughout and never falls for her tricks.



#31 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 22 2014 - 10:35 AM

*
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And I hardly consider The Maltese Falcon a noir at all, because although Mary Astor is a femme fatale, she doesn't lead the hero to his doom.  Bogart largely stays firmly in control of the situation throughout and never falls for her tricks.

That's why this is such an interesting discussion because I'm pretty sure all of us have at least one film we consider film noir, but doesn't meet every film noir prerequisite, especially those films made before film noir was defined as a genre.


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#32 of 50 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted April 22 2014 - 10:51 AM

Yep, that is true. I don't necessarily think the femme fatale always has to lead to the complete downfall of the man. I too think I might go with The Maltese Falcon, but I think these were all movies that contributed to and inspired the form. 



#33 of 50 OFFLINE   davidHartzog

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Posted April 22 2014 - 04:03 PM

Excellent BD transfer, thanks Universal.
Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

#34 of 50 OFFLINE   Martin_Teller

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Posted April 23 2014 - 10:11 AM

A femme fatale is not a necessary ingredient of a film noir.  In fact, if you look at the genre (or movement, as I prefer to think of it) as a whole, you'll find that the majority of the films don't have a femme fatale.

 

The fun (and sometimes frustrating) thing about noir is that everyone has a different definition of it.  I agree very much with this sentiment: "the idea of which is first is rather foolish considering that the category was invented after the fact, that is, it is applied retroactively to films before the term was used."  Still, it seems pretty short-sighted to call Double Indemnity the first.

 

Calling it the best film noir, however, I have no problem with :)



#35 of 50 OFFLINE   bigshot

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Posted April 23 2014 - 10:27 AM

I think of Double Indemnity and Postman Always Rings Twice as the most quintessential film noirs. They have every one of the aspects going.But noir started earlier and developed a while. Stranger on the Third Floor has an awful lot of key elements. It's clearly a noir film. I'll check out You Only Live Once. Thanks for the tip.

#36 of 50 OFFLINE   RKR1970

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Posted April 23 2014 - 09:39 PM

Paramount junked the Black & White nitrate elements in the1980’s, not MCA/Universal.  The original deal delivered one safety 35mm fine grain and an optical track for each title to EMKA (MCA) in 1958, not the original negatives.  On the 3 strip titles, MCA did get the original camera negatives but the Black & White nitrate originals are all gone. Nitrate prints survive at UCLA on many Paramount titles and are used, along with nitrate elements from the BFI for restoration by Universal (or UCLA). 

 

 

 

I seem to recall hearing MCA junked all the Onegs of the pre-1948 Paramount catalog when they aquired it in the early 50s.



#37 of 50 OFFLINE   RickardL

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Posted April 24 2014 - 04:38 AM

 

So it was with a bit of trepidation that I sampled Universal's new Blu-ray.  Already in release in the UK, would it be the same transfer, cleaned up a bit, possibly beyond repair?  Or might it be something new.

 

I couldn't be more pleased to discover the Universal stepped to the fore here, bettering the UK release, with a new 4k image harvest from an archival fine grain master.

Robert, did you review (write A Few Words...about ) the UK blu-ray release?



#38 of 50 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted April 24 2014 - 06:43 AM

A femme fatale is not a necessary ingredient of a film noir.  In fact, if you look at the genre (or movement, as I prefer to think of it) as a whole, you'll find that the majority of the films don't have a femme fatale.

 

The fun (and sometimes frustrating) thing about noir is that everyone has a different definition of it.  I agree very much with this sentiment: "the idea of which is first is rather foolish considering that the category was invented after the fact, that is, it is applied retroactively to films before the term was used."  Still, it seems pretty short-sighted to call Double Indemnity the first.

 

Calling it the best film noir, however, I have no problem with :)

 

On occasion, I've heard fans of "Mildred Pierce" classify "Mildred Pierce" as a film noir.  I've wondered whether those fans think that, today, film noir is a more prestigious (or maybe recognizable?) label for a film than "melodrama" or "women's picture"?



#39 of 50 OFFLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted April 24 2014 - 07:57 AM

MILDRED PIERCE is lit noirishly, it's based on a novel by noir favorite James Cain and Ann Blyth's character would be right at home in a film noir, but it's another woman (her mother) who is taken in by her selfish schemes and there's a lot of melodrama.   It's borderline, as is LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN.



#40 of 50 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted April 24 2014 - 08:01 AM

MILDRED PIERCE is lit noirishly, it's based on a novel by noir favorite James Cain and Ann Blyth's character would be right at home in a film noir, but it's another woman (her mother) who is taken in by her selfish schemes and there's a lot of melodrama.   It's borderline, as is LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN.

There is a lot of melodrama, but it has enough film noir feeling to it that I liken it more to that genre than melodrama.


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