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*** 2nd Annual HTF Noirvember Movie Challenge*** (1 Viewer)

dana martin

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OK. I'm off to a slow start, but at least it's a start. ;)

I am approaching this a bit differently than I did Halloween. I was going for quantity there and I really felt like I should look at the extras and listen to the commentaries to get the most out of the experience. I am doing that now. And it is working out really well. I am not well versed in Film Noir and listening to the commentaries has been extremely helpful so far.

That has been my thing as well, somewhat versed, but not at a level that I might be, with say a "B" horror from the 30's or 40's,. The idea get as much out of it as possible, and dig deeper past the ones that always get talked about, and explore the different mash-ups. I also have the advantage of my service time of keeping me from seeing a lot of these, so almost everything is a new experience. Wanna know what sailors watch at sea, lets just say that in The Fighting Seabee's the Bulldozer's name is Natasha, So this was a late obsession that i am happy to have found. I will say those adult themed Western Noirs are excellent, got a couple of days worth of write-ups to work on tomorrow
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-15-22

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37) 11-15-22 "Loophole" (1954) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
Bank Teller Mike Donovan/Barry Sullivan is falsely accused of stealing almost $50,000 from the bank he works in. Soon, he's fired from his job. His devoted wife Ruth played by Dorothy Malone with dark hair stands by his his side through all of his ordeals. Bonding investigator Gus Slaven/Charles McGraw continues to hound Donovan by telling prospective employers that he's a crook. By chance, Donovan finds the real thief Herman Tate/Don Beddoe and his mistress Vera/Mary Beth Hughes. Frankly, there are too many inconceivable coincidences in this "B" movie that ruins the plausibility of events. However, I must say I enjoyed the cast of actors, especially, Mary Beth Hughes as the cold-blooded mistress. Her scenes brought a smile to my face as I loved her willingness to kill. Also, enjoyed the on-location shooting in metro LA.

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38) 11-15-22 "Tangier" (1946) (Blu-ray) 2/5 Stars
In Tangier, soon after the end of WWII, American journalist Paul Kenyon/Robert Paige gets involved with cafe dancer Rita/Maria Montez, her dancing partner Ramon/Kent Taylor and her dancing understudy Dolores/Louise Allbritton.. What follows is smuggled diamonds, murder and the hunting of a Nazi war criminal. Sabu plays Pepe, a local musician/singer that is buddies with Kenyon while the local police chief is played by Preston Foster. Anyhow, "Casablanca" (1943) this ain't.:laugh: Frankly, it's pretty bad with laughable dialogue and circumstances. It's one of those movies so bad, some people might be entertained by it. I wasn't, but film appreciation varies among us.:) This Blu-ray is part of Kino's "Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema IX".
 

Robert Crawford

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Through November 15th, I've watched 38 movies so far, with 35 of them being first time viewings. Many of those first time movies I was aware of prior to seeing them for the first time. However, circumstances and/or lack of motivation, I never bother to watch them before this month. I'm trying to watch as many of those first time movies as possible during this year's "Noirvember Challenge". Next year, I will take a different approach by watching less movies, but with a more in-depth approach like audio commentaries and such. I'm going to do the same thing with next year's "October Scary Movie Challenge".
 

dana martin

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Day 12: 12 Noirvember 2022

Double Feature Presentations

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11. Native Son (Kino Classics) First Time Viewing


Argentina Sono Film S.A.C.I., Buenos Aires (Release Date Jun 16, 1951) Director: Pierre Chenal, Director of Photography: Antonio Utges Merayo

I wanted to give this film that appeared on Noir Alley the proper context in the writeup, and for that started looking for references, this is what I found. Taken from https://rogersmovienation.com/. This perfectly captures what I was trying to convey, In a way; better that I could have.


It was 1951, and nobody was making movies about racism and African American rage back then.
Much of the cast was local amateurs. As it was filmed in Argentina but set in Chicago, that makes for some odd accents.
The director was French, not exactly an expert on American race relations or African American voices. Sound was looped and dubbed to compensate for that.
The intended star, acclaimed in the Broadway production, was tied up in customs in South Africa and couldn’t make it to the set.
But “Native Son” isn’t just a troubled production of legend, and not just an artifact, a cinematic curiosity. Newly-restored to its most complete version ever, it has crackling moments and blasts of defiance and rhetoric.

Richard Wright was 43 and too old to play his greatest creation, Bigger Thomas. He could act, but was never more than adequate in a part that demands charisma, seething resentment and menace. But he took on the daunting role and the film was made, a decade after Wright’s incendiary novel came out, seven years after becoming an Orson Welles Broadway play.

It’s a conventional story — young man with a police record gets a job as chauffeur for the local white slumlord and his family. He takes the rebellious daughter, at her request, to a Black nightclub where his girlfriend (Gloria Madison) happens to be singing. The daughter (Jean Wallace) and her leftist beau (Gene Michael) get drunk.

Bad things happens when Bigger takes her home, and he winds up killing her. He tries to cover his tracks as the cops close in, but we know how this is going to turn out.

Bigger’s already been in trouble with the law, and has hopes of pulling new heists when we meet him. But neither he nor his comrades have the nerve. As he stares off into space, it seems that life itself is an utter dead end.

“When you’re Black, it’s better to keep your dreams locked in your heart.”

There’s nothing sentimental about the film or the novel it’s based on, little “Raisin in the Sun” pathos. Director Pierre Chenal keeps the lighting dark and shadowy, and the tone grim.

Welles wanted to film “Native Son” himself, and never could. Wright probably figured this was his one chance to turn his book into the most popular art form of all. He was right. He died in 1960, just 52 years of age. And nobody else dared film the book until the ’80s.

But this early production, restored with its primitive edges intact, is more than just a relic from an impoverished film shoot in the early 1950s. This “most complete version” has just enough film noir fury about it to hint at the classic it might have been, and plenty of B-movie pop to it even as it is
.”

In my opinion, this one we did discuss in film noir on Blu-ray that maybe a young Sidney Poitier would have played the part definitely better and had this film been directed based on the play and directed by Wells who knows what it could have been. Still the fact that this controversial book got made into a film is impressive.

Highly Recommended



12. Jigsaw (Cohen Film Collection) First Time Viewing


Figaro (Release Date Aug 12, 1962) Director: Val Guest, Director of Photography: Arthur Grant

Ok so from South America back across the Atlantic for a Late era Brit Noir. Val Guest writes a screenplay based on a novel and inspired by the Brighton Trunk Murders of the 1930’s and directs. Also different from so many American noirs where everything is very dark, this is extremely brightly lit sometimes almost to the point of being harsh. Opens in a brightened seaside house next to a bunch of trailers at the beach where we have the touchstone that sets off the film.

This film pits Jack Warner's Senior Detective Inspector tracking down clues to solve a case of a dismembered body found in a trunk in the seaside house. Assisted by his nephew who was actually in charge of the case. He uses old fashioned police work trying to piece the puzzle pieces together to catch the suspect. He's not above using the science and forensics but sometimes footwork and questioning needs to be involved. Everywhere he keeps looking every lead keeps coming up a dead end. Until a very lucky break comes along. And just when you think you have the culprit, turns out he's just another in the long line of dead ends so the inspector detective decides to gather all the personnel in the same room at the same time At that point the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle is solved.

Highly Recommended
 

dana martin

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Day 13 : 13 Noirvember 2022

Double Feature Presentations

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13. The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (Classic Flix) First Time Viewing


Raymond Stross Productions, Josef Shaftel Productions Inc. (Release Date Dec 1952 UK) Director: Harold French, Cinematography: Otto Heller

European color noir, with a very wonderful portrayal by Claude Rains, In the Dutch city of Groningen, Kees Popinga (Claude Rains) has worked for 18 years as chief clerk and bookkeeper for a 300-year-old trading company, now run by Julius de Koster Jr. (Herbert Lom). Kees's life is comfortable but stodgy; he loves trains but has never traveled farther than Amsterdam.

But de Koster unbeknownst to him has a lady friend (Märta Torén), who is after his money, and an inspector from France shows up with questions about the money, and a picture of the girl in question. After reviewing the company books, he says that everything seems to be fine but is still unsure.

Later in the evening Popinga goes by the company, to find de Kaster has embezzled the company's money and is burning the books. the two argue and as they're running away de Koster drops a suitcase full of the stolen money and jumps in the water to commit suicide. But in the struggle, Popinga believes that he has murdered the man. And feels cornered. So he does the only thing that he can think of, jumps a train and heads to Paris.

Walking around Paris he runs into one of the local straight girls who helps to get him into a motel without papers, and the story spreads to the mysterious lady who through her contacts finds him. This appears to be the first time that the man has ever cut loose and tried to live life, or a life that he's always dreamed of but unfortunately, he's on the run.

The detective knows that he did not commit a murder and his trying to help him just to recover the money as send him back home to his normal life he also knows the woman in question and keeps explaining that he's trying to help the man. She's still after the money, and this gentile man, when pushed may not be as genteel. In an ending they can only show what happens when someone is driven to madness.

This is a great little film, with good performances all around.

Highly Recommended

14. Moonrise (The Criterion Collection) First Time Viewing


Chas. K. Feldman Group Productions, Inc., Marshall Grant Pictures (Release Date Oct 1,1948) Director: Frank Borazge, Cinematographer: Joh L. Russell

OK so I was going through my list and this one came up next, and right now this is probably one of the more topical of the noirs that I've seen lately. Only because the subject matter in it has real world consequences with today's society. What effect does constant bullying have on an individual. What will they be driven to. Unfortunately, the Evening News all too often gives us the sad results.

Throughout his childhood Danny Hawkins (Dane Clark) tormented by the local children as a youth and all throughout his life, about his father being hung for murder in rural Virginia. The film shows the continual abuse that the child takes. As an adult, that abuse continues as Danny is bullied by Jerry Sykes (Lloyd Bridges) where Danny kills him in self-defense. Unaware that he lost his pocket knife in the struggle Danny runs in to the local dance and dances with Gilly Johnson (Gail Russell) who was engaged to Jerry. But has a thing for Danny.

After a few days the body is found and the sheriff starts closing in on the culprit, but Danny believing that he has bad blood, goes on the run Hiding out in a swampy residence of Moses Jackson the dog handler. Danny visits his grandmother who reveals his father felt remorseful after his crime. So when the sheriff and the posse show up Danny turns himself in, in the hopes of giving himself a more optimistic future than his father had.

Highly Recommended
 
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dana martin

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Day 15: 15 Noirvember 2022

Double Feature Presentations


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15. The Naked Spur (Warner Archive Collection) First Time Viewing

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Release Date Feb 6, 1953) Director Anthony Mann, Cinematographer: William C. Mellor

The first of two western noirs for the day. Anthony Mann in there third film together, takes James Stewart to a very dark place, the only other director to ever take him this dark was probably Hitchcock. As Howard Kemp (James Stewart) a rancher who has lost his land and is now a bounty hunter looking to make a score to buy his property back hunts down Ben Vandergroat (Robert Ryan). Along the way Howard accepts the help of two strangers, A dishonorably discharged army officer, and a prospector who helped him capture his prey and want in for 1/3 of the pay for the bounty.

But Ben has ideas, that he keeps putting into everybody's head simple arithmetic, money splits better two ways instead of three trying to pit the men against each other and at the same time. The woman that he has fostered since her father passed away is being manipulated by him as well. The outdoor scenery is just glorious, and the practical stunt work makes this all that much better.

The final showdown shows what brutality people can be driven to.

Highest Recommendation


16. The Tall “T” (Powerhouse Indicator) First Time Viewing

Producers-Actors Corp. (Release Date Apr 2, 1957) Director: Budd Boetticher, Cinematographer: Charles "Bud" Lawton

And in a different part of the west, Budd Boetticher And Randolph Scott pair up for the for the second in the Ranown Cycle.

Ramrod-turned-rancher Pat Brennan (Scott) showing up at his old boss's house for a seed bull. his boss wants him to come back and work for him but he has other ideas of staking his own claim so the boss makes him a bet if he can ride a bull until it's walking, he can have it but if he loses he loses his horse.

Because of this he stranded alongside the Stagecoach line Rd walking when the coach with the accountant and the local copper miner’s daughter is passing by chartered for an early run for their honeymoon. Copper mine heiress Doretta Mims (Maureen O’Sullivan) add her new husband Willard Mims are moving about an hour ahead of the normal Stagecoach run. When they show up at the weigh station, Pat notices something is amiss.

There they are held captive by a sly stagecoach bandit Frank Usher (Richard Boone) and his thick-witted cohorts (Henry Silva & Skip Homeier), while Doretta’s cowardly husband Mims (John Hubbard) seeks a ransom from his wife’s wealthy father.

The bandit Frank refrains from killing Brennan primarily because he’s desperate for intelligent conversation. Like he wants more from life but know what this to compatriots we'll end up doing. The husband rides off with a ransom note, and Brennan is left alone to protect the woman. But he doesn't do this in traditional heroic fashion, when asked if he's scared, he admits that he's scared. He's not going to put his life or his neck out on the line but wait for the right time to do things. Unarmed, he uses the best weapon he has, his brain and the fact that these three men haven't seen a woman in some time to his advantage. A lot darker than the B westerns the Randolph Scott did before. And just entertaining to watch.

Highly Recommended
 

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Bold - Denotes first ever viewing

Rating - Out of a possible 4
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26) 11/15/2022 The Glass Key (1942) 1668629323136.png 1668629323136.png 1668629323136.png

Brian Donlevy is a powerful but corrupt political figure who, in the past, has thrown his support towards candidates who'll make life easier for the criminal class. But he's decided this time to back a reform candidate, much to the chagrin of both his right-hand man Alan Ladd and gangster Joseph Calleia, whose gambling joints used to enjoy protection from police raids. Donlevy's motivation is his attraction to the candidate's protective daughter, Veronica Lake, who smacks Donlevy after overhearing him put her father down. It's love at first whack. Also in the mix is Donlevy's kid sister Bonita Granville, who's dating Lake's loser brother Richard Denning. Denning's the one who ends up dead, with Donlevy the prime suspect. Based on a Dashiell Hammett novel, this film feels as relevant as ever. The mystery is sufficiently complicated, the cast especially fine. At one point Ladd takes a beating from one of Calleia goons, chillingly played by William Bendix, who steals the film with his gleefully masochistic performance. And boy, does Ladd get it, spending a not insignificant amount of time in a hospital bed. The plot works itself out nicely, leading to one of film noir's happier endings.

27) 11/15/2022 Detour (1945) 1668629323136.png 1668629323136.png 1668629323136.png

A gritty, low-budget noir that features one of the nastiest femme fatales you'll ever encounter. Tom Neal plays a New York musician who's hitchhiking his was to California, where his fiancée is pursuing her career. He gets picked by a friendly sort but then things take a bizarre turn. Enter, then, Ann Savage as a vicious piece of femininity who puts the screws to Neal in increasingly alarming ways. A real original, with mostly unpredictable twists and galvanizing perf from Savage. Neal's voice-over narration could have used some work but that's a minor complaint.

28) 11/15/2022 Criss Cross (1949) 1668629323136.png 1668629323136.png 1668629323136.png

Burt Lancaster returns to his hometown Los Angeles allegedly to attend to his aging mother and younger brother. But it's not long before he's checking in with ex-wife Yvonne De Carlo, who's now pitching woo with thug Dan Duryea. In hopes of both covering up his rekindling with De Carlo and getting enough dough so the two of them can scram, Lancaster suggests he and Duryea rob the armored car company for which Lancaster works. Let the double crosses begin. Solid noir with De Carlo getting top marks for her sinister performance. There are also several fine supporting roles for Percy Helton as a helpful bartender, Stephen McNally as a detective pal of Lancaster's, Alan Napier as a seasoned heist planner, and Robert Osterloh as one of Duryea's henchmen. The wrap-up is quintessential noir.
 
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Michael Elliott

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Fear No More (1962) **

Sharon (Mala Powers) boards a train and walks into her room where a man is there with the body of a dead woman. Sharon wakes up later with a detective questioning her but she manages to make an escape and soon she's questioning what exactly happened.

There are some really dumb elements in this film including how the Sharon character is being chased for a murder she didn't commit yet she stops running to go on a date. This is a rather minor "B" picture that offers up a couple good performances as well as a nice pace. Bernard Wiesen only made one feature film in his career and this was it. He manages to keep it moving and keeps the viewer interested but the lack of suspense or drama really hampers it.

The Accused (1949) *** 1/2

Wilma Tuttle (Loretta Young) is a psychology professor who goes out with a student so that she can give him advice on his future. Soon the student forces himself on her and Wilma kills him in self-defense. Afraid no one will believe her, she makes the death look accidental and heads off but soon her fear of being caught starts to haunt her.

I was really enjoying this picture and for a while I was thinking I was having such a good time because I love Loretta Young. Then, it finally hit me that this William Dieterle film is actually pretty damn good. The director keeps it moving at a great pace and he keeps the suspense high throughout. The "mystery" isn't whether or not Young killed him because we know she did. The mystery comes from how she's going to keep avoiding the police. Young gives one of the best performances of her career Robert Cummings and Wendell Corey add great support.
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-16-22

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39) 11-16-22 "Touchez Pas au Grisbi" (1954) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
Aging gangster Max/Jean Gabin with his partner Riton/Rene Dary stole some gold bullion ingots. As they prepare to fence the gold ingots, Riton told his girlfriend Josy/Jeanne Moreau about the theft. She tells her other boyfriend, rival gangster Angelo Frasier/Lion Ventura about the theft. When Angelo's thugs kidnap Riton, it's the first step in Angelo's scheme to extort the gold from Max. Max tries to complete the exchange with the help of his protege Marco/Michel Jourdan and an old friend Pierrot/Paul Frankeur. Needless to day, Angelo attempts a doublcross and all hell breaks out. A fine French crime film that I finally can cross off my list of films to watch. Gabin is one smooth operator in this movie and gives another commanding performance in this particular film. Another Kino Blu-ray that I need to revisit in order to explore the bonus material including an audio commentary.

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40) 11-16-22 "Cry Vengeance" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
Framed for a crime he didn't commit and scarred by the car bombing that killed his family, ex-cop Vic Barron/Mark Stevens is at last out of San Quentin and looking for vengeance on Tino Morelli/Douglas Kennedy, the gangster he believes responsible for his predicament. His quest takes him from San Francisco to Alaska, where he finds Morelli trying to go straight as Al Corey. In Alaska, Barron meets Peggy Harding/Martha Hyer and Morelli's little daughter, Marie/Cheryl Callaway. Both females start to change Barron's mind about killing Morelli. In the meantime, Barron has to deal with psycho hired killer Roxey/Skip Homeier with bleach blond hair. Mark Stevens not only starred in this "B" 1954 film noir, but also directed it. An entertaining movie with some nice location shooting in San Francisco and Alaska. I'm glad I finally got around to watching my 2013 Olive Blu-ray.

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41) 11-16-22 "Private Hell 36" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
LA cops Calvin Bruner/Steve Cochran and Jack Farnham/Howard Duff, assisted by nightclub chanteuse Lilli Marlowe/Ida Lupino, track down partial proceeds of an old NYC heist of some hot money. Bruner, in love with Marlowe, forces an unwilling Farnham's collaboration in the theft of some that stolen money. They store the money in a unit #36 of a nearby trailer park. However, their boss, Capt. Michaels/Dean Jagger suspects something is wrong as he knows some of the stolen money has not been accounted for. Lupino produced and co-wrote the screenplay with her former husband, Collier Young. Also, she was married to Howard Duff at the time of filming this movie. Dorothy Malone plays Farnham's wife. Don Siegel directed this 1954 film. Not a bad movie with some entertaining sequences. Another Olive Blu-ray that I finally got around to watching today.

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42) 11-16-22 "Hidden Fear" (1957) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
Of the four movies that I watched today, this was my least favorite of the four. I thought the movie was kind of dull. An American cop Mike Brent/John Payne arrives in Copenhagen to investigate after his kid sister, Susan/Natalie Norwick, a nightclub entertainer, is arrested for murdering her boyfriend. As Brent and Danish cop Lt. Knudsen/Kjeld Jacobsen investigate, it becomes evident that Susan is innocent and that the deceased was connected to a counterfeiting ring led by Hartman/Alexander Knox. Brent becomes enamored with Susan's friend and fellow performer, Virginia Kelly/Anne Neyland. Her older and married boyfriend, Arthur Miller/Conrad Nagel proves to be part of that counterfeit gang too as they try to retrieve some counterfeit money that Brent got a hold of that was hidden in his sister's apartment. IMO, this is more of a mediocre European crime drama that Andre de Toth directed and co-wrote the screenplay. Even Payne's performance was lesser in this movie than some of this prior film noirs. I watched this on Kino's 2016 Blu-ray.
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-17-22

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43) 11-17-22 "Razzia Sur La Chnouf" (1955) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
Wow, talk about an anti-drug film classic! I have more to say later on today after I get some sleep, but this is one fine movie. My appreciation for Jean Gabin has always been high, but this movie does even more justice to his film persona. Anybody that loves film noir and don't mind subtitles, need to grab this 2019 Kino Blu-ray as it's on sale at Kino for $14.97.

Edit:
Henri Ferre/Jean Gabin has returned to France after ten years spent looking after the US operations of the drug cartel headed by Paul Liski/Marcel Dalio. Liski gives Ferre a restaurant to work out of. Two tough enforcers/hit men Roger/Lino Ventura and Bibi/Albert Remy are sent to help him stamp out slackness and corruption with the operation. Soon, Ferre starts to have an affair with the restaurant's cashier, Lisette/Magali Noel. From there, things get a little messy which climaxes with a couple of shoot-outs and a major reveal near the end of the film. This film really details the Paris underworld in regard to drug trafficking and the human degradation from drug addiction. This movie had a very limited US release due to the subject matter and level of violence in the film. An excellent French noir!
 

Robin9

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-15-22

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37) 11-15-22 "Loophole" (1954) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
Bank Teller Mike Donovan/Barry Sullivan is falsely accused of stealing almost $50,000 from the bank he works in. Soon, he's fired from his job. His devoted wife Ruth played by Dorothy Malone with dark hair stands by his his side through all of his ordeals. Bonding investigator Gus Slaven/Charles McGraw continues to hound Donovan by telling prospective employers that he's a crook. By chance, Donovan finds the real thief Herman Tate/Don Beddoe and his mistress Vera/Mary Beth Hughes. Frankly, there are too many inconceivable coincidences in this "B" movie that ruins the plausibility of events. However, I must say I enjoyed the cast of actors, especially, Mary Beth Hughes as the cold-blooded mistress. Her scenes brought a smile to my face as I loved her willingness to kill. Also, enjoyed the on-location shooting in metro LA.

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38) 11-15-22 "Tangier" (1946) (Blu-ray) 2/5 Stars
In Tangier, soon after the end of WWII, American journalist Paul Kenyon/Robert Paige gets involved with cafe dancer Rita/Maria Montez, her dancing partner Ramon/Kent Taylor and her dancing understudy Dolores/Louise Allbritton.. What follows is smuggled diamonds, murder and the hunting of a Nazi war criminal. Sabu plays Pepe, a local musician/singer that is buddies with Kenyon while the local police chief is played by Preston Foster. Anyhow, "Casablanca" (1943) this ain't.:laugh: Frankly, it's pretty bad with laughable dialogue and circumstances. It's one of those movies so bad, some people might be entertained by it. I wasn't, but film appreciation varies among us.:) This Blu-ray is part of Kino's "Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema IX".
I don't think Tangier is as bad as you do but it could certainly have been better. It should have made the two women played by Maria Montez and Louise Allbritton look-alike sisters who were subconsciously instinctive rivals, both artistically and romantically. The film needed a charismatic leading man, not Robert Paige. It should also have abandoned any attempt to mimic Casablanca and it should have dropped the Sabu character who was a real pain in the neck waste of time and space. I thought the surprise twist at the end was good.
 

Robert Crawford

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I don't think Tangier is as bad as you do but it could certainly have been better. It should have made the two women played by Maria Montez and Louise Allbritton look-alike sisters who were subconsciously instinctive rivals, both artistically and romantically. The film needed a charismatic leading man, not Robert Paige. It should also have abandoned any attempt to mimic Casablanca and it should have dropped the Sabu character who was a real pain in the neck waste of time and space. I thought the surprise twist at the end was good.
It didn’t work for me, but as I acknowledged I expected some people might like it more than I did.
 

dana martin

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Day 16: 16 Noirvember 2022

Feature Presentation


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17. Dementia (Cohen Film Collection) First Time Viewing

J.J. Parker Productions Inc. (Release Date Dec 22, 1955) Director: John Parker, Cinematographer: William C. Thompson

Okay so what's to be of probably the oddest film of anybody's on this list in this challenge. Found time today to sit down and watch Dementia. Which i could have used also during the Scary Movie Challenge, but specifically saved for this one instead.

And with a run time of only 56 minutes for the most restored version of it that they have. I guess it's close enough to count it as a feature. Imagine if film noir had no dialogue, only images and occasional sounds, music with the haunting vocals of Marni Nixon sounding very Star Trek throughout the film.

If the Maltese Falcon is the “stuff that dreams are made of”, then this is where hellscape phantasmagoric nightmares start. Maybe 40 years ago, the odd predicaments of shadow play, twisted faces and everything else would have seemed completely out of place, but time in its own unique way has caught up with this oddity. It bears some resemblance to the works of David Lynch, possibly an influence on some of his storytelling. The closest thing that I can compare it to, that I have personally seen is the one short film that has the distinction of appearing on the Twilight Zone, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”.

Alone in a room a girl has nightmares waking up she pulls a knife out of her drawer and starts to walk on the streets she picks up a newspaper talking about local stabbings. Has she's walking down an Alleyway she meets a drunk who tries to accoster but a policeman shows up and brutally beats the drunk down then she's met by another man, who walks her to wear his bosses parked a mysterious man sitting in the back of a car smoking a cigar offering her drink for an evening out. Close attention is paid to the motif of the newspaper floating around town talking about the stabbings the shadows aren't what they quite seem to be. Nothing is quite what it seems.

I did two complete viewing of this film and picked up more each time and ended up with 4 pages of notes for the write-up, then realized it looked like I was just writing the shooting script. But film as it is being a personal medium, it either clicks or doesn’t with the viewer. And this one definitely clicked with me. But at the same time, when you get to the end and say to yourself what the hell did I just watch, and want to see it again just for clarification.

Recommended*

but with a warning and a caveat that you like films that don’t always follow the norms, think “Eraserhead”.
 

Wayne_j

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Yesterday I found this video on youtube of a guy talking about his favorite Noire available from the Criterion Collection.

 

Robin9

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Bold - Denotes first ever viewing

Rating - Out of a possible 4 View attachment 162147

18) 11/10/2022 Rogue Cop (1954) View attachment 162147 View attachment 162147 View attachment 162147

Crooked cop Robert Taylor's kid brother Steve Forrest (also on the force) is in the right place at the right time to identify a killer. Crime boss George Raft wants the identification squashed and will pay Forrest $15K to keep his mouth shut. But Forrest isn't like his brother, and if Taylor can't change Forrest's mind, the consequences could be fatal. Raft and Taylor, especially, are great in this engrossing, tension-filled drama. Highlights include a brawl between Taylor and Alan "Skipper" Hale, Jr. and the climatic shootout. Anne Francis does nice work as Raft's lush of a girlfriend.

19) 11/10/2022 I, the Jury (1953) View attachment 162147 View attachment 162147 1/2

When his good friend is killed, Mike Hammer (Biff Elliot) pulls out all the stops and no punches to find the killer. Mixed up in the plot are a sexy psychiatrist, a gang of jewel thieves, the victim's neurotic girlfriend, and a pair of amorous twins. Elliot takes some getting used to but is totally convincing when fists start flying. The plot is sufficiently complex and John Alton's camerawork is glorious. But the dialogue is sometimes unintentionally funny, and Hammer isn't the easiest guy to warm up to.
Where and how did you manage to watch Rogue Cop?
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-17-22

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44) 11-17-22 "The Gun Runners" (1958) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
This movie is the third film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's novel "To Have and Have Not". It's not as good as the previous two films, but it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be based on reading some reviews. In this film version, Sam Martin/Audie Murphy is an in-debt charter boat captain that owes money to everybody that he does business with. His alcoholic first mate Harvey/Everett Sloane is more problem than help on the boat, but Sam keeps him around. Sam's understanding and devoted wife Lucy/Patricia Owens stands by her man. Anyhow, Sam accepts an offer from Hanagan/Eddie Albert to ferry him to Cuba and from there, Sam gets deeper into trouble as Hanagan is attempting to run guns to Cuban Revolutionaries. Or, is he? Albert is excellent at this movie's villain with a lively and charismatic performance. Murphy is fine in this movie as he's a better actor than most people gave him credit for. This movie doesn't measure up to Michael Curtiz's "The Breaking Point" (1950) which is one of the finest noirs ever made with John Garfield's acting performance and poignant film ending. I consider "To Have and Have Not" (1944) a good film, but it doesn't have the same noir gravitas as "The Breaking Point" nor even this film version. I wish this 2019 Kino Blu-ray had an audio commentary as it would have been an opportunity to discuss all three film versions.


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45) 11-17-22 "Storm Fear" (1955) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
The snowbound New England farmhouse home of novelist Fred Blake/Dan Duryea is invaded by his criminal younger brother, Charlie/Cornel Wilde, his psycho henchman Benjie/Steven Hill and the boozy Edna Rogers/Lee Grant. They're fleeing from a bank robbery in which Charlie got shot in the leg and two people got killed including a cop. This family reunion opens up old wounds involving Fred, Charlie and Fred's wife Elizabeth/Jean Wallace. This movie has as much soap opera elements as noir ones. I mean there is some deep-seeded family drama in this noir, including the question of who's the actual father of Fred and Elizabeth's 12 year old son, David/David Stollery. Throw in handyman Hank/Dennis Weaver having the "hots" for Elizabeth, we almost have an episode of "The Days of Our Lives" soap opera. Wilde also directed this film with Horton Foote writing the screenplay. As some of you know, Jean Wallace was married to Cornel Wilde for a number of years so this isn't the first movie they starred together in. Yet, another Kino Blu-ray that was released in 2015, that could have used a good audio commentary. Some of the family drama does drag the movie down somewhat, but overall it's not a bad movie. More mediocre than good.
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-18-22

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46) 11-18-22 "The Devil Strikes at Night" (1957) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
This is one of the most disturbing "noir" films I have ever seen. Directed by the great Robert Siodmak in 1957, after he returned to Germany once the Nazis were defeated. It's an indictment not only on Nazi Germany, but illustrates how good people can be corrupted even after trying to do the right thing. The film is about a real serial killer in Nazi Germany that was killing women for over 11 years before he got caught and how the Nazis covered up his crimes because it would have been an embarrassment to Hitler, the Gestapo and their form of government and so-called justice. The movie doesn't pull many punches. I give it my highest recommendation!

Below is what Eddie Muller wrote about this film which is on the back of the 2022 Blu-ray that Imogen Sara Smith provided an audio commentary which I haven't listen to yet, but will do so in the near future.

"The murder of a Hamburg barmaid seems an open and shut case until a recently demobilized Nazi soldier, reassigned to the police force, suspects it's the work of a serial killer. His efforts to bring the murderer to justice runs afoul of the Reich, which fears the culprit is Aryan and not a foreigner, gypsy or Jew they would prefer. This was Robert Siodmak's most powerful film after he returned to Germany. It's a subtle yet scathing payback to the Nazis that chased him from his homeland. Based on the true story of murderer Bruno Ludke, Siodmak creates a tense policier that's also a psychological drama exploring how some of those who did not flee the Reich struggled to maintain their integrity and morality in the face of overwhelming corruption and evil."


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47) 11-18-22 "Black Gravel" (1961) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars

This was my second German "noir" film this morning. Damn, this movie was darn right depressing. It's a really good film, but talk about a downbeat ending. This movie evolves around corruption and the black market near an American Air Force base in Germany. That area might as well be a "red light" district because it has so much vice activities going on there. Some bad decisions being made by people that seem to have a good head on their shoulders that deepens the hole they dug for themselves. A few implausible coincidences, but it's only a movie. This film had been cut due to some anti-Semite dialogue that would be considered tame in today's cinema. The 2020 Kino Blu-ray has both the uncut and cut versions of the film on it along with an audio commentary. IMO, the film is properly named "Black Gravel" as it's a very dark film with horrible consequences for most of the main characters. This is what you call a true "film noir"!
 

John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4
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29) 11/16/2022 Kiss the Blood off My Hands (1948) 1668788977671.png 1668788977671.png 1/2

Terrific title for a not-so-terrific film. Burt Lancaster, having physically survived a Nazi prison camp, has serious anger issues. He accidentally kills a London pub owner during a brief brawl, and then hides out in nurse Joan Fontaine's apartment. For various reasons, including loneliness, love blossoms. Enter hood Robert Newton who knows who Lancaster is and what he's done. Perhaps if Lancaster helps steal medical supplies from Fontaine's place of employment Newton will keep his mouth shut. Newton steals the movie as the overly-friendly villain. Fontaine has played this role before in Rebecca and Suspicion but does it well. The stars' fine work keeps one watching but the story could have used some punch.

30) 11/16/2022 Lady in the Lake (1946) 1668788977671.png 1668788977671.png 1/2

How's this for a gimmick? Director Robert Montgomery cast himself as Phillip Marlowe and decided to shoot most of the movie from Marlowe's point of view; we occasionally catch glimpses of him in mirrors or when he speaks directly to the camera as the narrator. It makes for an awkward experience, as Marlowe interviews various suspects including Audrey Totter, Leon Ames, Jane Meadows, and Dick Simmons. One is made very conscious of overly-written dialogue scenes when you're forced to watch a performer unnaturally go on and on. The mystery itself involves a missing adulteress whose husband doesn't want her found. She may or may not have killed the titular lady. The mystery is fine and Totter is a treat. But, in addition to the aforementioned missteps, the "talking villain" scene at the end goes on far too long, becoming absurd. And for the life of me, I couldn't help but imagine that if Bugs Bunny every played a straight dramatic role it would be something like Montgomery's part here. I guess Montgomery kind of sounded like the rascally rabbit on this viewing, and without seeing him my mind wandered. Of course it could be because I'm just nuts.
 

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