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

bujaki

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In 2001, The Reckless Moment was remade as The Deep End. Quite a good version, with Tilda Swinton shining as the mother of the now gay son who kills his lover. A sex change that actually works.
Someone should cover the film during Noirvember.
Also to be tackled is Visconti's Ossessione, his very faithful and gritty, unlike the MGM version, of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Think the Nicholson/Lange version, but even grimier. It's also an undisputed masterpiece.
 

Robert Crawford

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15th of 20 Noirvember titles:

MV5BNThkN2NmZGUtM2VlNC00ZTViLTgxZTQtN2U3N2FhMTRkN2EyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTYzNTE3NDA@._V1_.jpg



This was another first time viewing via TCM. Right now, I don't have time to write up my complete thoughts on "The Velvet Touch" (1948) an independently produced film noir starring Rosalind Russell, but I did like it until the Production Code forced an ending that I totally dislike to no end. Anyhow, more to come when I have time to verbalize my thoughts.

Edit: I knew about "The Velvet Touch" (1948) for years, but for some reason or another was never able to watch it. Early this morning that changed when TCM showed it. This film noir was produced by Independent Artists and distributed by RKO. The movie stars Rosalind Russell as a Broadway actress that accidently kills her producer/lover during a heated argument. However, another actress played by Claire Trevor is later suspected of the killing. Sydney Greenstreet plays the police captain investigating the homicide while Russell tries to cover her tracks while dealing with her own conscience as someone else is blamed for her act of violence. IMO, the film would have been better if the ending was different, but the production code interceded again because they would never allow a guilty party to get away with a crime, especially a homicide. Both Russell and Trevor were great in their roles, while Genn as Russell's romantic interest was just meh to me. I thought Leon Ames was better in his role as the victim while Greenstreet gave his usual strong performance as the investigating detective. Another thing, even though Theresa Harris as Russell's maid/servant had more dialogue in the movie than some actors. Harris was listed below those other actors in the screen credits. Just another example of Hollywood's racism from that period of time. I found this melo-noirish movie relatively entertaining so my film score is 3.5 out of 5.

Another note, the movie is on the TCM app until December 2nd.
 

dana martin

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15th of 20 Noirvember titles:

MV5BNThkN2NmZGUtM2VlNC00ZTViLTgxZTQtN2U3N2FhMTRkN2EyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTYzNTE3NDA@._V1_.jpg



This was another first time viewing via TCM. Right now, I don't have time to write up my complete thoughts on "The Velvet Touch" "1948" an independently produced film noir starring Rosalind Russell, but I did like it until the Production Code forced an ending that I totally dislike to no end. Anyhow, more to come when I have time to verbalize my thoughts.
Funny, I always thought that noir was sort of a workaround to get some of the items past the production code, but I agree that there are films that would have benefited from not having that intrusion.
 

Robert Crawford

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I had a busy day watching movies on Friday. After watching a western early this morning, I turned my attention back to "film noir" and proceeded to watch three of them on Blu-ray. I ended up my movie watching with the "Citizen Kane" 4K disc.

#16 of 20 Noirvember titles:

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"The Window" (1949) starring Arthur Kennedy, Barbara Hale, Paul Stewart, Ruth Roman and Bobby Driscoll. The movie was derived from another Cornell Woolrich story. The movie takes place on a couple of hot summer days in NYC and was mostly filmed on location in late 1947. However, filming was then moved to RKO's studios in La during the month of January, 1948. Unfortunately, it's 1948 release date was delayed by Howard Hughes because he didn't think the movie would make any money and that Bobby Driscoll was lacking as an actor. Well, he was wrong on both counts as the film was finally released in mid-1949.

The film's basic premise is about a young boy living with his parents in a NYC tenement that witnesses a murder committed by a couple living upstairs. He tells his parents, but they don't believe him because he keeps telling lies. He told so many lies beforehand that his parents have been punishing for telling his daily fibs. This movie scared the crap out of me when I first watched it as a young boy on some local NYC TV station. It along with "The Night of the Hunter" and "The Spiral Staircase" were very creepy film noirs that I watched when I was about 10 years old or so. My film grade for the movie is 4 out of 5. The WA Blu-ray offers an excellent video presentation that grade out as 4.5 out of 5.


#17 of 20 Noirvember titles:

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My second film noir for today was also derived from another Cornell Woolrich work and today was my first viewing of "I Wouldn't Be in Your Show!" (1948). This "B" movie from Monogram is about an innocent man convicted of murder due to circumstantial evidence, specifically, footprints found near the murder scene from specialized dancing shoes that matches up to shoes owned by the innocent man and him finding some of the money stolen from the murder victim. The movie stars Don Castle, Elyse Knox (Mark Harmon's real life mother) and Regis Toomey. Most of the movie is told in flash back as the innocent, but convicted man is reflecting on his predicament just hours before his execution.

Again, I never seen this movie beforehand, but I thought it was okay for a "B" movie with a surprise ending that I suspected earlier in the movie. My film grade is 3 out of 5 while the WA Blu-ray video presentation was quite good at 4 out of 5.


#18 of 20 Noirvember titles:

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My third film noir of today was another first time viewing for me. It was "Step by Step" (1946) starring Lawrence Tierney and Anne Jeffreys. This is another RKO "B" movie that barely runs over an hour. It takes place out in Malibu in which a recently discharged Marine and a secretary are accused of murder. The basic premise of Nazis trying to keep their identities hidden from exposure after WWII has been used beforehand in movies, but I don't think ever around Malibu.;) Tierney and Jeffreys play the two patsies accused of murder and are being sorted after by the Nazis in their plot to retrieve a list of Nazis now living in America. However, their stupid reactions to circumstances just didn't jive with me as it was very difficult for me to accept their stupidity in this 62 minute film. Sure, Anne Jeffreys was good to look at in this movie, but it just didn't work for me. IMO, it's not very good so my film grade is 2 out of 5. The WA Blu-ray's video presentation is excellent with a grade of 4.5 out of 5. Perhaps, I was "film noir" out today but I just thought this movie wasn't that good.
 

Robert Crawford

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19th of 20 Noirvember titles:

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This weekend, Eddie Muller is showing "Tight Spot" on TCM's "Noir Alley".

I haven't been a fan of this 1955 film noir "Tight Spot" (1955) starring Ginger Rogers, Edward G. Robinson, Brian Keith and Lorne Greene. The storyline of a mob moll taken out of prison to testify against a mob chief wasn't the problem for me. It was the casting of Ginger Rogers. I was never a fan of Ginger Rogers. I know some on this forum adored her, but not me. It isn't that I disliked her, but she just wasn't my cup of tea as an actress. I thought her performance in this film was a little over-the-top which negatively affected my appreciation for this movie. However, I watched the movie twice today via my newly acquired Indicator Blu-ray. During my first viewing today, I started to become more lukewarm towards the movie. I liked Edward G.'s understated performance in this movie as the prosecuting attorney trying to persuade Rogers to testify against mob leader, Lorne Greene in order to deport him as an undesirable. Robinson's scenes with Rogers were pretty damn good as these two old pros went at it. During my second viewing today with an audio commentary by Nora Fiore my appreciation for this movie increased even further because of some her comments about Rogers performance. The scenes between Rogers and her estranged sister were powerful as the family dynamics kind of doomed Rogers going down the wrong path as a 16 year old. Furthermore, Fiore pointed out correctly that Rogers altered her acting performance as the movie went along. That change and the last 30 or so minutes of the film really boosted my appreciation for his movie. I'm a big fan of director Phil Karlson and always felt he was underrated as a director. Prior to today's viewings, the screenplay by William Bowers was another impediment to me about the movie. Bowers was a great writer and for the most part really enjoyed his film scripts. However, the "Hillbilly" telethon in the movie didn't work for me until today, when the humor of it started to sink in with me. Furthermore, the first 30 minutes of the movie were a little too talky for me, but I can look over that criticism for now.

My film grade is 3 out of 5 as it's not nearly as good as other Karlson and Bowers films. That being said, my film score jumped one point from what it was before today. The video presentation of the Indicator Blu-ray is 4 out of 5.
 

Robert Crawford

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20th of 20 Noirvember titles:

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This was my 20th Noirvember movie, but it won't be my last one for this month. I've been meaning to watch "Thunderbolt" (1929) for some months, but I never got around to watching the Kino Blu-ray until today. Sternberg's directed 91 minute precursor to the "film noir" movement that started to gain steam in 1941, with "The Maltese Falcon" has been on my radar for years from reading about it in different movie books. George Bancroft stars as the title character that has murder on his mind as he seeks revenge on a young man that stole his girlfriend away from him. This early talkie is really creaky with its written dialogue and acting, but you can see how Sternberg used sound and stage certain sequences that really enhances this movie. Fay Wray with dark hair plays the young woman in which Bancroft and Richard Arlen are in love with. Bancroft is a notorious criminal that is sentenced to death, but executes a plan to kill Arlen after he's framed for a crime he didn't commit and is sentenced to death in the same prison.

I can see the importance of this early crime movie on later films, particularly, the ones made in the 1930s. For me, the last 5-10 minutes of the film were really good as we get final resolution of the movie's plot as well as a running joke about a guard's name. My film grade is 3 out of 5. The Kino video presentation gets a 3.5 out of 5 score. There is an audio commentary by Nick Pinkerton that I listened for a little bit today. However, it will have to be my next viewing before I listen to the complete audio commentary.
 

Robert Crawford

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More to come later on when I have more time, but I did watch my WAC Blu-ray of "Fury" (1936) which was Fritz Lang's first American movie about mob violence and lynching. This Blu-ray's video presentation is a huge improvement over the 2005 DVD. Tracy and Sidney are excellent!

I don't think it's "film noir" per se, but this ground-breaking film has some noirish elements to it which is why I wanted to watch it again during Noirvember. This was the kind of film you expected Warner to make, not MGM.

Edit: This movie barely scratched the surface in regard to mob violence and lynching. Such actions were very common place during the time this movie was filmed, particularly, as it pertains to blacks in America. These type of actions continued for decades in Southern states after the making of this movie. The production code and MGM trying to placate the "Jim Crow" South restricted how far Fritz Lang could go with this film. How does a mob break into their town jail and burn it down in their attempt to kill an alleged prisoner that they have no idea whether he's innocent or not? Frankly, they don't care if he's innocent, their desire for "blood" is all they care about, as justice and being a civilized society is the farthest thing from their collective mind. So a man is arrested for a kidnapping, that he had nothing to do with, and then a violent mob without any evidence decides to attack their local jail and destroy the structure with the locked up man inside. To say we've come a long way from such times is not correct, as we came very close to similar actions earlier this year in our nation's capital.

My film grade is 3.5 out of 5 because it's not nearly as hard hitting it should have been, but it is a ground breaking film. The one thing I did like about the film is that it placed leaders of the mob on trial for their actions. The WAC Blu-ray video presentation is a 4.5 out of 5. Another excellent effort by the Warner Archive folks.
 

Robert Crawford

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Another movie that I've been meaning to watch, but never got around to was "The Crooked Way" (1949) starring John Payne, Sonny Tufts and Ellen Drew. Six years ago, I purchased the Kino Blu-ray so shame on me. Anyhow, the movie's premise is about a WWII veteran, with permanent amnesia due to battle wound in which some shrapnel is lodged in his brain. From a San Francisco Veterans Hospital, he returns to LA, where he enlisted five years earlier because he hopes it gives him some clue to his former life that he has no memory of. On his arrival at Union Station, he's immediately recognized by the cops and his former criminal cohorts. The cops and his criminal associate tells him to leave town, and of course, he doesn't do that because if he did then there wouldn't be any movie.;) There are a couple of scenes in this film that look really cool lighting-wise because the great John Alton was the cinematographer on this independently produced film noir that was released through United Artists. This movie was filmed on the cheap, but it does have great LA location shots. Also, the movie is rather brutal with its violence for 1949. Payne is good in the lead role and Sonny Tufts gives an effective performance as his former friend and criminal partner that at first wants him to leave town then later on wants him to take the fall for a murder he committed. Good old Percy Helton has a good supporting role in this film as a sleazy low life. Ellen Drew plays his former wife that fingers him for the criminals because he left her holding the bag when he skipped town. For my first viewing, I like this movie more than the reviews I read about it. On my grading scale, I give this movie a 3.5 out of 5. The Kino Blu-ray's video presentation has the same grade.
 

dana martin

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Day 29: 29 Noirvember 2021

well after a two year delay, we finally did our Cruise Vacation, needed the break, so back to finishing out the month.

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Todays Feature Presentations

20. The Scar (aka Hollow Triumph) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) First Time Viewing


Bryan Foy Productions (Release Date: Oct 3, 1948) Director: Steve Sekely, Director of Photography: John Alton

Paul Henreid and Joan Bennett star in the film gorgeously shot by John Alton.
About a small time crook, With an idea on how to take on the competition and how he's going to rob it, He's a bright guy with a lot of experience in schools for psychiatry but sometimes doesn't think so clearly. The robbery goes off but there's a hitch now there's people on his trail so he stops in at a gas station and takes over one of the jobs as an attendant there until he sees two of the individuals that are hunting him down. Later he gets a job as a cab driver where he notices a resemblance between one of his passengers and himself the passenger gets killed and he ends up taking over the person’s life unfortunately tomorrow his self to look exactly like the individual he mirrored the image and put the scar on the wrong side of his face and only one person mentions it. The two stars are outstanding in this and there's a good deal of tension.

Recommended





21. 711 Ocean Drive (Noir Archive 9 -Film Collection: Vol 1) First Time Viewing

Essaness Pictures Corp. (Release Date: 19 Jul 1950) Director: Joseph M. Newman, Director of Photography: Frank F. Planer

Edmond O'Brien just makes weekly bets with his bookie but, but the bookie tells him there's a better way to make money in this business he works at the phone company and understands electronics so they set him up with a guy who runs the West Coast Gambling Ring he tells him how he can modify an upgrade his system so that it's better than the old way that they were doing things but he wants in as a partner the guy that owns the place only sees him as a hireling.

Through some manipulation of the phone system he makes it so the big boss. loses cash and the only way that he's going to get back in business of making cash is by bringing in O'Brien as a partner but after a while that's not enough and greed keeps getting the better of him as he ascends to the top man level through selective murder.

Unaware the whole time that the gangster squad has had tabs on all these people just waiting for the right moment. At this point the East Coast syndicate wants To come in and take over the West Coast operations. with some of the top men coming out to negotiate with O'Brien's character. After some manipulation he buys in but finds out that he wasn't getting his 50/50 cut. and decides to have one of the bosses rubbed out so that he can move up in the organization and at the same time continue his affair with the murdered gangster's wife.

All this builds to a great climax at Boulder Dam, even when the chance of getting away is futile, O'Brien still tries to make a run for it.

Recommended

* dear God, I wish Criterion or Kino would deliver us a great copy of D.O.A.

on to 22
 
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Robert Crawford

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The first of the last two extra Noirvember titles are the following:

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Another Robert Siodmak classic noir from (1948) starring Victor Mature, Richard Conte, Fred Clark, Hope Emerson, Shelly Winters, Berry Kroeger, Tommy Cook and Debra Paget. Movie takes place in NYC with pits cop killer Martin Rome/Conte against his childhood friend police lieutenant Vittorio Canella/Mature. After killing a cop and being shot in the process, Conte escapes police custody in the hospital with Mature hot in pursuit. After escaping, Conte tries to flee the country with the help of some stolen jewelry. Some of the movie was shot on location in NYC, but a good portion was also shot on the Fox sound stages and back lots. The plot has major holes in it, but that's more than made up with some very interesting characters and acting performances. Hope Emerson as masseuse/thief has a great role in this movie with one memorable scene with Conte. This was one of Shelley Winters first roles as she plays a former girlfriend of Conte's that helps him get some medical attention. Kroeger as a sleezy lawyer is very good with another memorable scene in his law office. This was Debra Paget's screen debut at the tender age of 14 which is kind of creepy with her playing the love interest to Conte's character. Tommy Cook plays Conte's younger brother that idolizes Conte, but Mature is trying to save him from his brother's influence as they battle for the kid brother's soul.

The 2016 Kino Blu-ray has one of the best audio commentaries I have listen to with Eddie Muller doing it, specifically for this BD release. Muller as usual was very informative, but also offer critical appraisal of the movie along with his great sense of humor. The Blu-ray's video presentation is a 4 out of 5 grade. My movie grade is a 4 too.

Near the end of the audio commentary, Eddie offers up his ten favorite Robert Siodmak noirs/suspense:

  1. Criss Cross
  2. The Suspect
  3. The Killers
  4. Christmas Holiday
  5. Phantom Lady
  6. Cry of the City
  7. The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
  8. The File on Thelma Jordon
  9. The Spiral Staircase
  10. Fly by Night (Never released on home video)

I've never seen "Fly by Night" so the following is my ten favorite Robert Siodmak noirs/suspense:

  1. The Spiral Staircase
  2. Criss Cross
  3. The Killers
  4. Phantom Lady
  5. Cry of the City
  6. The Suspect
  7. The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
  8. The Dark Mirror
  9. Christmas Holiday
  10. The File on Thelma Jordon
 

Robert Crawford

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The second of the last two extra Noirvember titles are the following:

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A Robert Siodmak directed film noir with Barbara Stanwyck. What can go wrong? The leading man for one. :) Wendell Corey is a good actor, who I like in supporting roles, but he isn't lead actor material. Anyhow, this movie was filmed in 1949, and released in January, 1950. It's about an assistant district attorney in a small California town that got himself morally corrupted by a woman, thus involved with a murder case she is accused of committing and then gets himself appointed as the prosecuting attorney in order to get her found innocent. The movie basically comes down to whether Corey's character is being setup as the patsy or is Stanwyck really innocent of killing her rich aunt? IMO, Van Heflin or Kirk Douglas would have been better cast in Corey's role. Furthermore, this is another movie with some plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, but Stanwyck is so good in this movie. As is Paul Kelly, Stanley Ridges and Richard Roper are fine in their film roles. The thing about this movie that has always bothered me besides Corey's casting is the ending. The production code probably turned its ugly head again because I couldn't accept the motivation for what took place in those final sequences. It just doesn't feel right for that particular character for such a sacrifice.

This 2013 Olive Blu-ray's video grade is a 3.5 while the movie's grade is 3.25.
 

Robert Crawford

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My final Noirvember viewings with the bolded titles being for the first time:

  1. Five Steps to Danger
  2. The Bitter Stems
  3. Night Has a Thousand Eyes
  4. Among the Living
  5. The Amazing Mr. X
  6. Deported
  7. The Accused
  8. Fury
  9. The Lineup
  10. Thunderbolt
  11. The Window
  12. I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes
  13. Step by Step
  14. Blood on the Moon
  15. The Reckless Moment
  16. Johnny O'Clock
  17. Tight Spot
  18. Obsession
  19. Cover Up
  20. The Blue Lamp
  21. The Velvet Touch
  22. The Crooked Way
  23. Cry of the City
  24. The File on Thelma Jordon
 

dana martin

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As hard as I tried yesterday, the day sort of just spun out of control and I never found a momentary block of time where I could sit down and watch anything. Sometimes it just happens that way between work and everything else. But I will still say that I consider this Noirvember Challenge a success, as I got to see 21 Noir titles that I had never viewed( after going through the thread, realized I had mis-numbered one of the titles and was off by 1. Then again just coming off of the Scary Movie Challenge also had me a little burnt out. And after we got back from our trip, the wife ask to see Christmas in Connecticut, so I knew then that for her the Holiday Season had started!

My Viewings for the Challenge

1. Blood on the Moon (Warner Archive Collection) First Time Viewing
2. Where the Sidewalk Ends (Twilight Time) First Time Viewing
3. A Life at Stake (The Film Detective: Special Edition) First Time Viewing
4. Crashout (Olive Films) First Time Viewing
5. Riot in Cell Block 11(The Criterion Collection) First Time Viewing
6. Ramrod (Arrow Academy) First Time Viewing
7. Sleep, My Love (Olive Films) First Time Viewing
8. I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes! (Warner Archive Collection) First Time Viewing
9. I Want to Live! (Twilight Time) First Time Viewing
10. This Gun for Hire (Shout! Select) First Time Viewing
11. Yellow Sky (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) First Time Viewing
12. Hangmen Also Die! (Cohen Film Collection) First Time Viewing
13. I Walk Alone (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) First Time Viewing
14. Odd Man Out (The Criterion Collection) First Time Viewing
15. Nightmare Alley (The Criterion Collection) First Time Viewing
16. Phantom Lady (Arrow Academy) First Time Viewing
17. The Black Book (aka Reign of Terror) (Noir Archive 9 -Film Collection: Vol 1) First Time Viewing
18. The Miami Story (Noir Archive 9 -Film Collection: Vol 1) First Time Viewing
19. The Reckless Moment (Powerhouse / Indicator) First Time Viewing
20. The Scar (aka Hollow Triumph) (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) First Time Viewing
21. 711 Ocean Drive (Noir Archive 9 -Film Collection: Vol 1) First Time Viewing


And from Crawdaddy’s list, I see there are titles that he's seen during this challenge that I have that I haven't seen yet either and gave high marks for so, as always, a good recommendation is worth it's weight, plus I have those Kino box sets that I haven’t even made a dent in yet and more on the way. For anyone else that has participated, please list at least what you have watched no one needed to hit a special mark, but I'd least like to know that there's some interest so that we can continue this next year. It's a lot of fun, and the reads are great, and I value other people's opinions because everybody gets something different out of a film.

Maybe, just maybe I'll sit out next year’s Scary Movie Challenge, so I won't be so burnt out, and jump into this full force.
 

Robert Crawford

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Even though I haven't participated, I have been enjoying the reviews and making notes. I hope we do it again next year.
Absolutely!
I hope so, but don't restrict it just to physical media because too many classic film noirs still haven't been released on that video format here in the States.
 

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