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10 All-Time Favorite Film Noirs (1 Viewer)

Bartman

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Trevor Bartram
Going thru my DVDs in no particular order:
Impact
Black Angel
Without Warning
Kansas City Confidential
Scarlet Street
Big Combo
T-Men
Raw Deal
No Orchids For Miss Blandish
Woman On The Beach
The Unsuspected

Many of my other DVDs and all my Blu-rays have already been mentioned.
Have fun!
 

Bartman

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benbess

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I'm still working on my top 10, 20, or even 30 film noirs, but that's going to take a while. There are still many I haven't seen. For instance, today I saw for the first time the original The Postman Always Rings Twice, from 1946. I saw the remake in 1981 in a theater, and didn't care for it back then, which I suppose is why I didn't get around to watching this one for so many years. But as a fan of Lana Turner and the genre, I finally watched it, and I'm glad I did. Haven't read the original novel by James M. Cain, who is one of the biggest literary fathers of the film noir genre, but the number of twists and turns in this one had me guessing that it might be fairly faithful to the novel. Somehow it wasn't what I expected, and I thought it was about to end for the last forty minutes or so, but then it kept going for another twist, and then another. Hume Cronyn is good in this, playing a quite different role from Shadow of a Doubt a few years earlier. But his character seems to vanish from the end of the picture in a way that bothered me. I feel like something got left on the cutting room floor, and I wish I knew what it was. The legal story seemed maybe partially realistic, if greatly compressed? The end had attempt at....
giving a degree of sympathy for the main characters, even if they are ending up in hell?

Anyway, there's no doubt that this is a classic film noir. John Garfield was good, but I guess I sometimes wanted something different in a leading man, even in a film noir. It's all very subjective, but I wasn't personally convinced that Lana Turner's character would fall for him. My rating for the movie as a whole is probably an A-.

It was another film noir set in California. I think we can say that more classic film noir movies are set there than any other state?

postman poster.jpeg the-postman-always-rings-twice-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000.jpeg postman novel.jpeg Screen Shot 2023-01-08 at 5.44.06 PM.png
 

bujaki

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I'm still working on my top 10, 20, or even 30 film noirs, but that's going to take a while. There are still many I haven't seen. For instance, today I saw for the first time the original The Postman Always Rings Twice, from 1946. I saw the remake in 1981 in a theater, and didn't care for it back then, which I suppose is why I didn't get around to watching this one for so many years. But as a fan of Lana Turner and the genre, I finally watched it, and I'm glad I did. Haven't read the original novel by James M. Cain, who is one of the biggest literary fathers of the film noir genre, but the number of twists and turns in this one had me guessing that it might be fairly faithful to the novel. Somehow it wasn't what I expected, and I thought it was about to end for the last forty minutes or so, but then it kept going for another twist, and then another. Hume Cronyn is good in this, playing a quite different role from Shadow of a Doubt a few years earlier. But his character seems to vanish from the end of the picture in a way that bothered me. I feel like something got left on the cutting room floor, and I wish I knew what it was. The legal story seemed maybe partially realistic, if greatly compressed? The end had attempt at....
giving a degree of sympathy for the main characters, even if they are ending up in hell?

Anyway, there's no doubt that this is a classic film noir. John Garfield was good, but I guess I sometimes wanted something different in a leading man, even in a film noir. It's all very subjective, but I wasn't personally convinced that Lana Turner's character would fall for him. My rating for the movie as a whole is probably an A-.

It was another film noir set in California. I think we can say that more classic film noir movies are set there than any other state?

View attachment 170693 View attachment 170694 View attachment 170695 View attachment 170696
The remake hews closer to the novel, as does Visconti's Ossessione. The Production Code changed many elements of the novel for the 1946 adaptation.
 

benbess

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Watching this one now, which has a good song done by Nat King Cole....

PS The end of this one was a direct influence on the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.



1024px-Kiss_Me_Deadly_(1955)_standard_one-sheet.jpeg
 
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uncledougie

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So many of my favorites have been already noted, some are on the fringes of what I’d consider true “noir” - but everybody has their own take on such categories. But selecting one to watch tonight I’d purchased from Kino Lorber awhile back, and have known about forever but never seen, I pulled out SUDDEN FEAR (1952), featuring Joan Crawford’s final Oscar nomination. She also was an uncredited executive producer for this RKO picture and reportedly had a strong hand selecting the director (David Miller), composer (Elmer Bernstein), cinematographer (Charles B. Lang, Jr), and co-stars (Jack Palance - also nominated - and Gloria Grahame). This was Crawford right on the cusp of giving her all, which would turn out to be just too over the top. But she tiptoes that line without stepping over, as she also delicately avoided with POSSESSED (1947), which I finally caught up with a couple of years ago. Bottom line is, wow, what a thrilling, twisty melodrama, among the best plotted and performed noirs I’ve ever seen. And the nail biting ironic conclusion couldn’t be improved upon. Maybe I was just in the mood for it, but I can’t recommend this too highly, and it goes immediately on my Top 25 list (as if I could limit it to an arbitrary number, and as if I could casually throw another favorite off). My only problem with the beautifully rendered disc was the sound of the start up clips for Cohen Media was way too loud, and the sound mix frankly needed dynamic tinkering to bring up low voices and bring down some of the tension music and sound effects. But technically otherwise this was a fine, high contrast print, very few flaws to intrude (scratches, white specks). Altogether a superb example of the genre.
 

uncledougie

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One of Crawford’s best acting performances.
Absolutely right. And that she reportedly had producing status and influence gives me renewed admiration for her focused career self-determination to try and stay relevant and on top even as she approached age 50. Back then especially, a tall order.
 

Robert Crawford

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I keep saying to myself that I need to watch Sudden Fear again because it's been several years since my last viewing. I bought the Cohen Blu-ray the day it was released in 2016, but never got around to listening to Jeremy Arnold's commentary which I read is very good. I was going to revisit it during the last "Noirvember Challenge", but never did probably because it's a relatively long movie in comparison to other noirs and I wanted to watch as many noirs as possible. Anyhow, I'll make time this week. Right now, I'm watching Thunder Road on TCM's "Noir Alley". Eddie Muller has never shown Sudden Fear, and I know he really likes it as a noir because he references it quite often. Perhaps, he can't get clearance to show it on TCM.
 

uncledougie

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I’ve wondered also why SUDDDN FEAR had never to my knowledge been offered on Noir Alley. It would be a prime candidate for it, so it would be interesting to know why it’s not on Muller’s radar to present.
 

Robert Crawford

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I’ve wondered also why SUDDDN FEAR had never to my knowledge been offered on Noir Alley. It would be a prime candidate for it, so it would be interesting to know why it’s not on Muller’s radar to present.
It has to be broadcasting rights.
 

Carl David

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A Few more that definitely belong on my films noir list: The Narrow Margin, The Asphalt Jungle, Nightmare Alley (1947) and how could I possibly forget Out of the Past!

I just watched Nightmare Alley recently.

One of the best I have seen so far. Very intelligent script.

I have only recently discovered a fascination with 40s and 50s black and white movies commonly referred to as "noir".

Around 9 or 10 films into a watch-list of between 50 - 100 "noir" movies.

I might enter my list after that in a few months.

However, I am thinking about starting a new thread that will be a little different. There does not seem to be hardly any threads on the subject here at HTF.

Watch this space!
 

Robert Crawford

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I just watched Nightmare Alley recently.

One of the best I have seen so far. Very intelligent script.

I have only recently discovered a fascination with 40s and 50s black and white movies commonly referred to as "noir".

Around 9 or 10 films into a watch-list of between 50 - 100 "noir" movies.

I might enter my list after that in a few months.

However, I am thinking about starting a new thread that will be a little different. There does not seem to be hardly any threads on the subject here at HTF.

Watch this space!
Why is there a need for a different thread?
 

compson

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With the caveat that there are some classics which to this day I still have not viewed. (Only so many hours in the day)

Roughly in order of preference...

The Big Heat
Kiss Me Deadly
Force of Evil
Out of the Past
Night of the Hunter
In A Lonely Place
Kiss of Death
The Woman In The Window
Detour
The Set-Up


- Walter.
Hear, hear for The Woman in the Window (1944), a personal favorite of mine and one of the most suspenseful movies I’ve ever seen. I seriously considered turning it off mid-way through the second time I watched it, even though I already knew how it played out.
 

Carl David

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Why is there a need for a different thread?

Difficult to answer that question now.

I need to watch some more movies before I can tackle the subject.

All I will say is if I find enough movies that meet certain requirements in relation to motifs then it will be noir with a twist.

But there might not be enough movies that meet the criteria I am looking for.

If so, then I won't make a new thread on the matter.
 

benbess

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There's a long list of film noir titles at wikipedia. Here's the introduction to the list....

"Film noir is not a clearly defined genre (see here for details on the characteristics). Therefore, the composition of this list may be controversial. To minimize dispute the films included here should preferably feature a footnote linking to a reliable, published source which states that the mentioned film is considered to be a film noir by an expert in this field. The terms which are used below to subsume various periods and variations of film noir are not definitive and are meant as a navigational aid rather than as critical argument. Because the 1940s and 1950s are universally regarded as the "classic period" of American film noir, films released prior to 1940 are listed under the caption "Precursors / early noir-like films". Films released after 1959 should generally only be listed in the list of neo-noir titles."



For what's considered the first year of film noir, 1940, there are four titles: The Letter, Rebecca, Stranger on the Third Floor, and They Drive by Night.
 

Beckford

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A 1940 movie that I consider well worth including in the noir pantheon is the British film "A Window in London", released in the U.S. in 1942 as "Lady in Distress". Directed by Herbert Mason, it ticks most of the noir boxes - a hapless protagonist trapped in circumstances beyond his control, a moody mise en scene, a complex femme fatale and an inevitable detour into crime and tragedy. The cast is led by Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Sally Gray (outstanding) and Patricia Roc (also very good).
In some people's minds, noirs are as strongly connected to the American film industry as westerns. But the British made a lot of great ones in the 40's and 50's. And I'd certainly include this fine film.
 

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