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*** 1st Annual HTF Noirvember Physical Media Challenge*** (1 Viewer)

Bryan^H

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I'm having a blast reading these reviews. I know almost nothing about classic Noir films as I never really delved into that genre of film. Going on these reviews I may give a few of them a try.
 

Robert Crawford

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2nd of 20 Noirvember titles:

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My second "Noirvember" movie is "The Bitter Stems" (Los Tallos Amargos) (1956). This once lost Argentine film noir was restored in 2015, by Eddie Muller's Film Noir Foundation. Scott McQueen, who just retired some months ago, headed up UCLA's Film & Television Archive department that did the restoration. It's now being released on Blu-ray by Flicker Alley on November 16th. Since, I ordered my Blu-ray directly from Flicker Alley, it arrived in the mail today and I immediately watched it. This was my second viewing of this fine movie as my first viewing was just in July, when Eddie showed it on "Noir Alley". My second viewing was with an outstanding audio commentary by Imogen Sara Smith. Next to Eddie, she is my favorite "film noir" authority and I love listening to her audio commentaries and featurettes. I also watched a six minute introduction by Eddie and an in-depth conversation between Eddie and Argentine film archivist and historian Fernando Martin Peña. It was Peña that introduced Eddie to this movie back in 2010, by showing him his 16 mm print of the movie. In 2014, Peña discovered some of the original film elements that a private collector had in his possession which were used for the video restoration. The audio restoration were taken from Peña's 16 mm print.

As to the movie, it's one of the best film noirs I ever seen as there are some elements of it that couldn't have been filmed here in the States in 1956. The movie focuses on the main character dealing with some deep seated mistrust, paranoia and family history issues that negatively affected his judgment in committing a horrible crime as he and his partner swindled people out of their monies by the use of a bogus writing scam.
 

dana martin

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Day 5: 5 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Feature Presentation

8. I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes! (Warner Archive Collection) First Time Viewing


Monogram Productions, Inc. (Release Date: May 23, 1948) Director: William Nigh, Cinematographer: Mack Stengler

Time to play catch-up on the past few days’ viewings and observations. First up this gem from Monogram Pictures that was released by Warner Archive, That I possibly think I got during the last 4 for $44 sale that they had before that site went away.

Staring to me a cast or relatively unknown actors and actresses I Wouldn’t Be in Your Shoes! Is definitely a different kind of noir type film. And before we get to the meat and potatoes, let me just say that once again WAC have delivered a spectacular print of a film I had never even hard of that knocked my socks off.

Clocking in at just an hour and 10 minutes long, but able to fit the whole story in that short running time This movie carries a lot of similar themes from two other films that I really like; Alfred Hitchcock's “The Wrong Man” and Joseph Losey’s “The Prowler”.

Tom Quinn and his wife or a couple of professional dancers, who can't seem to get a show working together Tom has been out of work for a while his wife works at a dance studio, not quite a taxi dancer but still willing to take tips from the guys. The film starts off with him waiting around one night wondering what's taking his wife so long to get back from the Dance Academy, and once she does arrive she discuss is that one of the students whom she refers to as Santa Claus wanted to spend some extra time. and they discussed the possibility of moving to the coast from New York so that they can get hired on as a dance team at the movie studios. While they're trying to go to sleep, During one of the hottest nights of the summer with the windows open you can hear the sounds of the bawling cats in the alleyway, and Tom takes his lucky shoes and throws it out the window at the cats to run them off. His wife tells him to run down and grab his shoes, but he says that he will get them in the morning.

The very next morning his shoes are found on the doorstep of his apartment, and he goes about his business. Meanwhile behind his building I should print is left in the mud as circumstantial evidence of a murder and robbery that has taken place. this is what sets this entire film in motion, unbeknownst to him and his wife, someone has taken his discarded shoes and used them to cast off any doubt that he is the culprit that committed the murder and the robbery.
Daily, Tom runs to the store to pick up the newspaper so that he can look for jobs in the trades one day he mysteriously finds a a wallet with money in it, that is similar in description to the money that has been stolen but not the same amount. He brings it home and discusses it with his wife, And being an honest and upright citizen wants to take it to the police knowing that if no one turns up to pick the money up that they're going to get it back, but she talks him out of it and decides just to look into the papers daily to see if anybody's reported any missing cash. After a short time, two weeks or so, an with a police investigation swirling around the neighborhood looking for anything to tie it to the murder and theft they actually spend some of the money and it's not long before the cops are knocking on their door.
The trial is held, and Tom keeps the most positive attitude of anybody I've ever seen throughout the whole thing knowing that he's not guilty, his wife knows that he's not guilty, and yet he is found guilty completely due to circumstantial evidence which the cops were not willing to investigate further. He is assigned his time on death row and the clock is ticking out.

His wife contacts the dancer known as Santa Claus, who happens to be a policeman to help her prove her husband's innocence and possibly get an appeal. He goes through the motions and finds out who was in the room behind. Looking for another possible suspect or fallguy, that doesn't work out. There is a guilty suspect, who maybe had a little bit of obsession with Tom's wife and used those shoes to set him up to clear away Tom so that his wife would be available for someone else.

I would give this a recommendation, it's heavy noir, but you feel bad for the guy who has that positive attitude even when he knows he is going to die, he says he will get to meet the one person who knows he's not guilty, the murdered man.




Day 7: 7 Noirvember 2021

Todays Double Feature Presentations

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9. I Want to Live! (Twilight Time) First Time Viewing


Figaro, Inc. (Release Date: 18 Nov 1958) Director: Robert Wise, Cinematographer: Lionel Lindon

I Want to Live! is a four person show, Director Robert Wise and Cinematographer Lionel Lindon are the first two, Simeon Oakland in a supporting role as Newspaper reporter Ed Montgomery is number 3.

But all of that is only there to help Susan Hayward in her performance, that could have been a one woman show, and for the most part it is, in the bio film of Barbara Graham, from her wrongful conviction and sentence to die in the gas chamber.

Granted her character was no saint, but what she did do is petty criminality, hustle people, maybe some prostitution, break parole. Bad choices for a jazz party girl, who never seemed to make a great choice, she married a bartender, and had a child, he turned out to be a junkie, and leaves at the wrong time when she needed an alibi.

Three of her gang of thieves bring her in to the mix when they are cornered by the police, and say that she committed the murder, in the hopes of having their sentences reduced or commuted, because they feel the state would be unwilling to kill a woman that way.

Hayward gives an Oscar worthy performance, throughout the film. The highs and lows of the penal system, and Wise a master of direction, goes beyond, by filling the extra time by showing the intricacies that go into the operation on the gas chamber. At moments chilling to the point of hair standing up on the back of your neck. For the time frame that this was made, it doesn’t even flinch away from the subject matter, it’s there, in your face with a reality missing from most films.

The scrip was adapted from Ed Montgomery’s news paper articles and Barbara Grahams letters. The Late Nick Redman’s Twilight Time disc presentation is a thing of beauty.

Highly Recommended.


10. This Gun for Hire (Shout! Select) First Time Viewing

Paramount Pictures, Inc. (Release Date: 13 May 1942) Director: Frank Tuttle, Cinematographer: John Seitz*

Before we go into a synopsis of the film, look up John Seitz, and you will realize that you are in for something special!

in "This Gun for Hire" Laird Cregar’s (Willard Gates) hires … Alan Ladd as (Phillip Raven) in his movie introduction, and what an effing introduction it is. As a hired killer out to get a formula back. This individual is so ruthless that anything is possible, you honestly think he would kill a child, no that would come later via John Carpenter in “Assault on Precinct 13”. But you get that similar feeling. At the end of the job Gates pays Raven off with marked bills that he's reported to the police. The idea is that Gates can clean up his entire mess and leave no ties behind to tie him to the murder and the fact that they are dealing with poisonous gases during World War Two, all via his boss’s direction that he sells to the highest bidder American interest be damned.

Along the way gates goes to a nightclub and is enamored by a local magician the beautiful Veronica Lake, who happens to be engaged to the police detective that's investigating the murder, play by Robert Preston. Raven passes one of the marked bills and is outed by the store clerk, and the manhunt is on, he makes his way to the train yard to get out of town where he sits in a seating car next to Veronica Lake’s (Ellen Graham) unknowing that she is the cop’s girlfriend. The pressure is on as they pull into Los Angeles, but she feels compelled to help him do what's right after having a meeting with a senator and doing some undercover work to expose the 5th estate that's trying to hurt America's interest in World War Two.

At the same time, she's trying to get Raven to do the right thing and humanize him, as it seems that both, her looking for the traitors, and his hunting the people who screwed him over are leading to the same conclusion.

There are a couple times in film noir where portrayals on film just go beyond, for an "introduction", this movie made Alan Ladd a star! He is a total uncaring unsympathetic beast even when he tells about his troubled childhood, there are a couple more portrayals like that in film noir; one would be Richard Widmark in "Kiss of Death", or Richard Basehart in "He Walked by Night".

Highest Recommendation… You Better Believe It!!!!
 

Robert Crawford

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I'm going to be upfront now and say I will probably violate the rules of this Noirvember Challenge because I'm going to need until November 30th to watch my 20 film noirs. I'm not in a Holiday movie spirit so I doubt I'll be watching many of those type of movies anyway this year. If I do, it will be more in December as we get closer to Christmas Day.
 

Robert Crawford

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Day 5: 5 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Feature Presentation

8. I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes! (Warner Archive Collection) First Time Viewing


Monogram Productions, Inc. (Release Date: May 23, 1948) Director: William Nigh, Cinematographer: Mack Stengler

Time to play catch-up on the past few days’ viewings and observations. First up this gem from Monogram Pictures that was released by Warner Archive, That I possibly think I got during the last 4 for $44 sale that they had before that site went away.

Staring to me a cast or relatively unknown actors and actresses I Wouldn’t Be in Your Shoes! Is definitely a different kind of noir type film. And before we get to the meat and potatoes, let me just say that once again WAC have delivered a spectacular print of a film I had never even hard of that knocked my socks off.

Clocking in at just an hour and 10 minutes long, but able to fit the whole story in that short running time This movie carries a lot of similar themes from two other films that I really like; Alfred Hitchcock's “The Wrong Man” and Joseph Losey’s “The Prowler”.

Tom Quinn and his wife or a couple of professional dancers, who can't seem to get a show working together Tom has been out of work for a while his wife works at a dance studio, not quite a taxi dancer but still willing to take tips from the guys. The film starts off with him waiting around one night wondering what's taking his wife so long to get back from the Dance Academy, and once she does arrive she discuss is that one of the students whom she refers to as Santa Claus wanted to spend some extra time. and they discussed the possibility of moving to the coast from New York so that they can get hired on as a dance team at the movie studios. While they're trying to go to sleep, During one of the hottest nights of the summer with the windows open you can hear the sounds of the bawling cats in the alleyway, and Tom takes his lucky shoes and throws it out the window at the cats to run them off. His wife tells him to run down and grab his shoes, but he says that he will get them in the morning.

The very next morning his shoes are found on the doorstep of his apartment, and he goes about his business. Meanwhile behind his building I should print is left in the mud as circumstantial evidence of a murder and robbery that has taken place. this is what sets this entire film in motion, unbeknownst to him and his wife, someone has taken his discarded shoes and used them to cast off any doubt that he is the culprit that committed the murder and the robbery.
Daily, Tom runs to the store to pick up the newspaper so that he can look for jobs in the trades one day he mysteriously finds a a wallet with money in it, that is similar in description to the money that has been stolen but not the same amount. He brings it home and discusses it with his wife, And being an honest and upright citizen wants to take it to the police knowing that if no one turns up to pick the money up that they're going to get it back, but she talks him out of it and decides just to look into the papers daily to see if anybody's reported any missing cash. After a short time, two weeks or so, an with a police investigation swirling around the neighborhood looking for anything to tie it to the murder and theft they actually spend some of the money and it's not long before the cops are knocking on their door.
The trial is held, and Tom keeps the most positive attitude of anybody I've ever seen throughout the whole thing knowing that he's not guilty, his wife knows that he's not guilty, and yet he is found guilty completely due to circumstantial evidence which the cops were not willing to investigate further. He is assigned his time on death row and the clock is ticking out.

His wife contacts the dancer known as Santa Claus, who happens to be a policeman to help her prove her husband's innocence and possibly get an appeal. He goes through the motions and finds out who was in the room behind. Looking for another possible suspect or fallguy, that doesn't work out. There is a guilty suspect, who maybe had a little bit of obsession with Tom's wife and used those shoes to set him up to clear away Tom so that his wife would be available for someone else.

I would give this a recommendation, it's heavy noir, but you feel bad for the guy who has that positive attitude even when he knows he is going to die, he says he will get to meet the one person who knows he's not guilty, the murdered man.
I have plans to watch that Blu-ray as well as the Blu-rays of "Step by Step" and "The Window" this month. I'm going to try to watch all three of them in one day since all are very short movies. They'll be first time viewings except for "The Window" which I've seen several times over the years.
 

dana martin

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I'm going to be upfront now and say I will probably violate the rules of this Noirvember Challenge because I'm going to need until November 30th to watch my 20 film noirs. I'm not in a Holiday movie spirit so I doubt I'll be watching many of those type of movies anyway this year. If I do, it will be more in December as we get closer to Christmas Day.
I know the feeling myself, and the abbreviated date is a flexible "gray" area, that has been changed to incorporate the whole month. Looking forward to those Warner Titles and your impressions of them, just got a big box from Kino the other day, so I have more that I can watch in a single month.
 

dana martin

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Day 10: 10 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Feature Presentation

11. Yellow Sky (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) First Time Viewing


Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. (Release Date: Dec 1948) Director: William A. Wellman, Cinematographer: Joseph MacDonald

One of the titles from my recent delivery from Kino, thank God, that Fox had the good sense to release to other distributers before that sale.

Wellman on location, for this different take of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, harshly filmed, so the power of the natural world around them comes into play, our band of bank robbers, who after the hold up, flee from the Calvary before trying to cross Death Valley, low on water. Shows the beginnings of the breakdowns of the characters. To end up in the Alabama Hills area of California for most of the rest of the production.

The Gang lead by Gregory Peck’s “Stretch” looking rougher that you are used to seeing him; has his hands full with Richard Widmark’s “Dude” vying to take leadership of the gang. Once they make it across the desert and to a ghost town where they run into Anne Baxter “Mike” toting a Winchester and telling them to keep on moving. All they want to know is, is there water nearby, she tells them yes, but they won’t survive the trip, they all muster what they have left to make it to the natural spring and runoff.

After spending the night in a broken-down deserted saloon, the boys start looking, around the watering hole once again, and meet up with “Mike” and her prospector Grandfather, who tells them there in nothing there, but greed is a driving force. Every time she goes to get water, the wolves are waiting to look her the with lust, and not to be objectified, she can throw a punch, and scraps with the gang.

At the same time, Stretch has an idea of trying to start a relationship, as the gang continues to pressure about there being gold in the area, till the have an altercation and Grandpa is shot in the leg, they tell him that they will make a deal, that will split it 50/50 and be on their way, after finding out the old man buried it in the mine and pulled the timbers sealing off the mine, the hard work starts.

With most of the group starting even more towards not trusting each other, Wellman does a great job of keeping the tension right at the front of your seat, waiting to see what will happen next, to the showdown of Stretch and Dude back in town at the Ghost Saloon.

Once again, damn good mix of both Noir and Western, so fans of both may like, Recommended.
 

dana martin

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Day 11: 11 Noirvember 2021


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Todays Feature Presentation

12. Hangmen Also Die! (Cohen Film Collection) First Time Viewing


Arnold Productions, Inc. (Release Date: Mar 26, 1943) Director: Fritz Lang, Cinematographer: James Wong Howe

Was able to screen, this Fritz Lang directed, James Wong Howe Wartime film noir on Veteran's Day.

which seems somewhat fitting considering the subject matter of the film, with a fine cast that includes Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan, Dennis O'Keefe, Gene Lockhart, and Anna Lee.

The film involves the assassination of the Nazis Deputy Reich-Protector, By the Czechoslovakian underground during World War Two and revolves around the links to which both sides will go, during this war.

Lang does a great job, of showing just the complete inhumanity of the Nazis where they don't have to beat you to torture you simple things picking on someone with arthritis by having them repeatedly bend over or whatever, Intimidation, the taking of hostages and execution's to get other individuals to talk.

it also has a similar feel to Fritz Lang’s M, as in the underground is setting up one of the collaborators to be the fall guy. A film that's over 2 hours long it still feels compact there's no wasted space, Howe films it beautifully.

Some may view this as little bit as propaganda during the war time, but as it was based on actual events maybe it was there to help bolster a nation that was fighting back from the inside from their oppressor's.

Highly Recommended
 

Robert Crawford

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3rd of 20 Noirvember titles:

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I've read and heard about "Night has a Thousand Eyes" (1948) for many years and finally got a chance to watch it which I did twice viewing the Kino Blu-ray that officially is released next Tuesday. The Kino Blu-ray has another excellent audio commentary by Imogen Sara Smith. As to the movie, it's about a carnival fortune teller that suddenly develops the ability to foresee the future, who has lived his life as a hermit for 20 years because he feels responsible for the terrible things he sees in the future. The movie is based on another literary work from Cornell Woolrich. The excellent cast is led by Edward G. Robinson, one of the most underrated actors of all-time. He's great in this movie as it's diametrically opposite of another movie performance he did the same year in "Key Largo". The lovely and tragic Gail Russell also stars as this is just another film role in which her lovely, but sad eyes really stand out in this type of movie. John Lund and William Demarest also have significant roles in this movie. Just another fine film noir directed by the underrated director John Farrow.
 

Robert Crawford

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4th of 20 Noirvember titles:

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Man, I haven't seen "Among the Living" (1941) since I was a kid back in the 1960s on TV. The Kino Blu-ray offers a good video presentation of this "B" movie with an "A" cast of actors in it. Albert Dekker plays dual roles of identical twin brothers separated in youth by their father after one witnesses the father attacking their mother and while coming to her defense suffers a severe brain injury that brings on bouts of insanity. Years later, the sane brother returns after the father dies and discovers the truth about his insane brother. Dekker is excellent playing both brothers while vivacious Susan Hayward chews up the scenery as a vixen. Yup, Susan is very hot in this movie. Frances Farmer plays the wife of the sane brother that comes back to town with her husband. Thinking of Farmer's real life and her bouts with mental illness is just as tragic as Gail Russell's. Harry Carey plays an unusual role for him in which he isn't very sympathetic as the town doctor that helped keep a family secret for decades.

This movie has some southern gothic themes in it along with film noir elements that has some scary lynch mob sequences in it. I can see why some people would consider this movie an early "noir" film. I agree with Eddie Muller and Imogen Sara Smith, "film noir" isn't a movie genre. Anyhow, I'll be watching this 69 minute movie again as I want to listen to its audio commentary.
 

Robert Crawford

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5th of 20 Noirvember titles:

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Inspired by my viewings of "Night has a Thousand Eyes". I'm now watching "The Amazing Mr. X" (1948) another film noir involving a phony clairvoyance who claims to be able to communicate with the dead. More to come after I finish watching this Blu-ray recently released by "The Film Detective.

Edit: IMO, "The Amazing Mr. X" aka "The Spiritualist" is a gem "B" film noir that I will revisit again to listen to the audio commentary by Jason A. Ney, an associate of Eddie Muller's Film Noir Foundation. With this Eagle-Lion film, John Alton had a field day shooting this film. His signature camerawork with lighting is on full display in this movie. I guess Carole Landis was supposed to star in this movie, but she committed suicide just before filming, so Lynn Bari took her place. The cast of the phony spiritualist is played by Turhan Bey. Cathy O'Donnell plays Bari's younger and impressionable sister with Richard Carlson and Donald Curtis offering solid support. At 78 minutes the film moves very fast and is highly entertaining. I can see why some of the audiences back in 1948, laughed during parts of the movie which I did too, but I was totally entertained by this movie. The video presentation isn't on WA or Criterion's level, but it's a step up from the usual Blu-ray output from The Film Detective.

I highly recommend this Blu-ray which can be bought at Deep Discount for $15.99 and about $2.00 more at Amazon.
 

dana martin

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Robert,
you weren't kidding, I haven't seen any of those, I do have all on my whish list to purchase, tomorrow I will be viewing my first phony carnival fortune teller for the first time when I crack open Nightmare Alley- for the very first time in my life, And I will also be posting todays viewings, from to different sides of the big pond.

And like you I am finding that I am really enjoying the double viewing one without and once with the commentary, and how much a good to great commentary can change your opinion on certain parts of the film.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Robert,
you weren't kidding, I haven't seen any of those, I do have all on my whish list to purchase, tomorrow I will be viewing my first phony carnival fortune teller for the first time when I crack open Nightmare Alley- for the very first time in my life, And I will also be posting todays viewings, from to different sides of the big pond.

And like you I am finding that I am really enjoying the double viewing one without and once with the commentary, and how much a good to great commentary can change your opinion on certain parts of the film.
Yeah, I'm in a groove now!:laugh: I'll be watching "Nightmare Alley" again, but I've seen that movie a number of times so I'm not in a hurry to watch my Criterion Blu-ray. However, before December 1st, I will definitely watch it by then, but right now, I'm trying to concentrate on movies I haven't seen beforehand or it's been so long, I forgotten parts of the movie. My Criterion Blu-ray of "High Sierra" is in the same category as "Nightmare Alley". Another movie that I basically know by heart, but it will be one of last Blu-rays I watch this month in this "Noirvember" challenge.:)
 

Robert Crawford

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6th of 20 Noirvember titles:

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Another first time viewing or more accurately, the first time I actually watched this movie in its entirety. This is one of those movies that I've seen in bits and pieces over the years, but never really sat down and watched "The Accused" (1949) in its complete form, even though, I had the 2016 DVD for five years. The movie about a college professor that is sexually attacked by one of her students and kills him in self-defense then tries to cover up the killing by making it seem like he drowned by falling off some cliff. Previously I watched the movie's beginning, the attempted rape sequence, the police investigation and even the ending, but never did so in one seating.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a solid video presentation that is far from being pristine. Loretta Young plays the college professor and as I watched the Blu-ray today, I wonder how she felt about playing this role. Shortly before her death in 2000, she accused Clark Gable of date raping her back when they filmed "The Call of the Wild". Later she gave birth to her daughter that she pretended to have adopted. Anyhow, who knows if it's true or not about the date rape accusation as years later she did introduce Gable to her daughter while changing her story about her daughter's parentage over the years. Anyway, this movie's cast included Robert Cummings as the dead man's guardian and Wendell Corey as the police lieutenant investigating the death. A good movie, though, you really have to suspend your belief in order to enjoy the movie. My personal film grade is a solid 3.5 out of 5. One day, I'll try to listen to the audio commentary by Eddy Von Mueller.
 

Robert Crawford

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7th of 20 Noivember titles:

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"Deported" (1950) was Robert Siodmak's last Hollywood studio movie he directed that was filmed on location in Italy. The film's premise is about a gangster deported from the States to Italy for being an undesirable which was loosely based on Lucky Luciano's deportation. Jeff Chandler plays the deported gangster and Marta Toren plays the Italian widow he falls in love, who leads him to possibly change his criminal ways. Frankly, the film was really slow moving for me as I struggled to maintain my interest in this 89 minute film. I'm not saying it's a bad movie, but it was slow moving as I was really looking forward to watching it for the first time. I think this Kino Blu-ray is the first home video format release here in the States. Another good if not pristine video presentation that has another Eddy Von Mueller audio commentary that I'll try to listen during my next Blu-ray viewing. My film grade is 3.0 out of 5.
 

Robert Crawford

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8th of 20 Noirvember titles:

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This weekend's "Noir Alley" movie was "The Lineup" (1958). I did listen to Eddie Muller's comments, but I watched my 2019 Blu-ray of it, and at the same time, sync the audio commentary from the 2009 DVD on a second player. This audio commentary is one of the best I ever heard as it's enjoyable, informative and just plain funny with Eddie Muller and James Ellroy. This was my second listen to this audio commentary so I wanted to revisit it again this weekend. IMO, the commentary is even better than the movie and the movie is quite good. The movie involves some drug shipments from Asia being brought into the States by some innocent mules. Things go wrong so two hit men from Miami are brought in to clean up the mess while the police get closer to solving this crime as well as various killings involved in this drug smuggling. Eli Wallach and Robert Keith play the hired psychotic killers with Richard Jaeckel as their wheelman. Warner Anderson and Emile Meyer play the San Francisco detectives trying to solve the crimes. The movie is derived from a TV series of the same name that ran in the 1950s. Don Siegel directed the first episode of the TV show and was brought back by the TV show's producers to direct this film. Most of the movie was filmed on location in San Francisco and it was great listening to Eddie Muller describe the different locales from 1957/1958 and what's there now, when the audio commentary was recorded in 2009. My film grade is 4.0 out of 5 as it's a really good crime/noir movie with some great filmed sequences including a car chase that was really impressive until surpass by chases filmed a decade or so later, in movies such as "Bullitt" and "The French Connection". Anyhow, there are other great car chase movies, but I'm not going to name all of them.
 

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Dana Martin
Day 12: 12 Noirvember 2021


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Todays Double Feature Presentations

13. I Walk Alone (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) First Time Viewing


Hal Wallis Productions, Inc. (Release Date: Jan 16, 1948) Director: Byron Haskin, Cinematographer: Leo Tover

I really just do these as I watch each movie instead of trying to play catch up after doing a double feature, or a day or so later. So first up is I Walk Alone from Paramount, who really seem to be in the groove for doing new or films that has bonus of being the first time that Burt Lancaster ( Frankie Madison) and Kirk Douglas (Noll "Dink" Turner) starred together in the same film.

the story involves two former bootleggers during prohibition, and when they're about to get hijacked that they avoid Douglas’s character bails out of the truck that was carrying there are load of goods and Lancaster's character was picked up and spent 14 years in prison.

In that whole time Noll never once came to visit Frankie in prison, instead monthly he sent him a carton of cigarettes and have one of the old gang Dave (Wendell Cory) come by to check on him. While he was setting up his new club and social climbing. Even with its own musical revue, Kay (Lizbeth Scott).

Upon dissolution of the original partnership Noll has taken it, to a completely new level where he's broken the club up into three separate organizations, that can't be easily decided unless a board of directors agrees to it hence there's nothing to share with Frankie and Frankie wants to know where his 50% is.

Good little potboiler with both of the leads coming at each other from different angles, and Lisabeth Scott caught in the middle, that ends in a big showdown across the river in New Jersey. the direction is tight the lighting and camera work is really good, another Recommended Title.


14. Odd Man Out (The Criterion Collection) First Time Viewing

Two Cities Films (Release Date: 31 Jan 1947 United Kingdom) Director: Carol Reed, Cinematographer: Robert Krasker

OK from the booklet inside the Criterion release it says this is Carol Reed's first Masterpiece, anyone who has seen The Third Man, might say that that's a pretty bold statement to make but this is where everything that would go into that film came into focus, reads very stylistic way of filming, lighting, the use of other elements such as wind rain snow and the luminescence that IT projects up along with the shadows only helps to add to this outstanding film.

The story involves a escaped “Irish Organization organizer” wonderfully portrayed by James Mason as Johnny McQueen as the IRA is never mentioned in the film, in an unnamed town (Belfast), feels as if he is an Odd Man out, while he was locked up, things have changed, and after breaking out of prison some of the others want him to sit this one out. Especially Kathleen Sullivan (Kathleen Ryan), who has fallen deeply in love with Johnny, and wants for nothing more to go away and live a normal life.

All of that goes out the window during the heist to get funds for the organization, Johnny is shot, and a man is killed during the holdup, so now he is wanted for murder. As the getaway is happening, his “friends” can’t pull him into the car, and so begins the rest of the day and a long night through the eyes of a man suffering from blood loss and dying. And in moments of clarity, on his feet trying to move about the town while evading the police.

At the same time Kathleen is on the lookout for him, along with others who want him now for the reward that has been place on his head. At one point he stumbles into a pub into a private booth, where Lukey and eccentric painter portrayed by a wonderful Robert Newton, gets him out of the pub and back to his flat of eccentrics, with one giving him some basic medical, and stating that he needs to go to the hospital.

After a phantasmagoria, in which the paintings in Lukeys room start talking to Johnny, he musters the strength, to leave and wants to make it to the church, at the same time Kathleen is talking to the father but leaves to find Johnny. They find each other, and profess what the outcomes of their lives should be, or could be, as she trys to lead him towards the ships in the harbor. But in the end, when all hope seems lost, she dose the only thing that will guarantee that they “Will be together- forever in one form or another”.

Reed’s first Masterpiece… Yes, definitely
Highest Recommendation


Day 13: 13 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Feature Presentation

15. Nightmare Alley (The Criterion Collection) First Time Viewing


Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. (Release Date: 9 Oct 1947) Director: Edmund Goulding, Cinematographer: Lee Garmes

Another noir, that somehow, I have never seen, among the ones that are always talked about, and as I was watching this, I also realized that, somehow, I really haven’t seen to many films with Tyrone Power in them either, what I had seen was always some sort of swashbuckler, I have seen Jessie James. But my exposure to him has been very limited.

So for those uninitiated like me this is a great film as he is definitely playing against type, and even with the lighting that is used in this film, it’s a dark film, showing the star in one of the most unsympathetic roles. And everything that he is willing to do for his own personal gain.

Stan Carlisle (Power) is a con man that's fallen in as a carnival Barker, there along the way he meets Mademoiselle Zeena (Joan Blondell) and her alcoholic husband Pete (Ian Keith). Who work a Mystic reading act but used to be big time because they had a two person code so that they were top billed but then Pete started hitting the bottle. Stan wants to know how the code works because he sees a way to make a profit of it. At the same time Stan has eyes for Zeena who he tries to woo, away from Pete and possibly start up their own act. All this works out well until trying to pump Pete for information he mistakenly gives him a bottle of wood grain alcohol to drink causing Pete to die, And proving a Zeena's reading Of the tarot cards, that this is all wrong teaching him how to do the code, is all wrong and will turn out bad.

At the same time, he's also attracted to Molly (Coleen Gray) one of the young circus workers, with his looks he seems to be able to get by on his charm and con man attitude. But when their romance is found out, they are kind of forced into a shotgun wedding. At the same time Stan has found a way to get Zeena to help teach him and Molly the code.

Him and Molly go to Chicago and book themselves as a top billed act doing readings answering questions blindfolded, when one of the audience members says that it's a code and he takes a 50/50 guess on one of the questions they can't be answered in code and gets it right. This leads to a chance meeting with Doctor Ritter a psychiatrist who records all the sessions with her patients so she has sensitive information that he can use to manipulate people into buying his con.

Recognizing themselves as kindred spirits they set up sort of a partnership where she gives him information that he can use in his fake readings to make it seem more real. But his greed gets the best of him when one of the individuals who gives him $150,000 wants to actually see ethereal proof of a formal love. He tries to talk his wife Molly into portraying, but during the con, her guilt mounts and she breaks from the act and let's Grindle know, that it was just a con.

with his back against the wall Stan is on the run and hitting the bottle, till he winds up at a carnival once again trying to get into the sideshow where the only thing available for him to do is be a geek, when the boss who owns the show goes you know what a geek is right, his answer is scarier than what most would think because of how low he is sunk” Mister, I was made for it".
At that point the hairs are standing up on the back of your neck, the makeup work makes Tyrone Power look like the worst of alcoholics suffering from that horrible disease.

Highly Recommended
 
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