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Crawdaddy's "Random Thoughts" about Home Video, Film & TV (1 Viewer)

Walter Kittel

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I swore I thought I talked about it in this thread beforehand. Anybody want to see a really good movie that was directed by Anthony Mann, check out "Men in War" starring Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray and Keith's old man Robert Keith. I believe that movie came out the same year as Nightfall. This movie also has a tremendous supporting cast.

As to Ray himself, my first remembrance of him was in the western "Welcome to Hard Times" with Henry Fonda. Also, his role in the "The Green Berets" with the Duke.

Me and a viewing buddy were browsing Amazon Prime for something to watch and stumbled onto Men in War. It is a pretty solid, gritty action/war film. We both enjoyed the survival aspects of the film and I thought that some of the compositions were very effective in setting the mood of the film. I've been a big Robert Ryan fan every since the first time I saw him on television so many years ago and he doesn't disappoint in this feature. Has the feeling of a 'B' film in most respects, but very entertaining.

- Walter.
 

bujaki

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The Noir City Film Festival has gone virtual this year.


A festival pass is $125 for all 19 films. ($100 for AFI members) Individual films are $12.00 each.
I can't access the titles to all 19 films. Can you? I only see through 22 November and the festival ends on 29 November. I'm an AFI member, so $100 is not bad for 19 films, but I've already seen many of the films through 22 November...
 

Robert Crawford

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Finally, for the first time, I was able to watch "Alias Nick Beal" (1949) starring Ray Milland, Audrey Totter, Thomas Mitchell, George Macready and Fred Clark. Over the years, I heard a lot of good things about the this John Farrow directed movie. It's not a film noir in the traditional sense, but for a movie that reworks "Faust" into a story about an honest district attorney that comprises his integrity/soul for political advancement, the movie is filmed as a film noir. Outstanding camera work with the shadow, lighting and plenty of fog along with a nice little screenplay. Some great lines of dialogue, particularly, by Nick Beal/Devil/Demon. Some splendid acting by Milland, Totter, Mitchell and the rest of the cast.

I thought the video presentation of the "Imprint" Blu-ray was fine, but it's not pristine. However, considering how much fog and reduced lighting was used during the filming of this movie, it looked pretty good to me. I watched it a second time so I could listen to Eddie Muller's commentary that he did during this summer because he referenced the pandemic and California forest fires that were burning around him in the Frisco area. A solid commentary as you can easily ascertain how much Eddie loves this movie. I didn't know that John Farrow passed on directing "The Great Gatsby" so he could film this movie which was a pet project to him. Also, no offense to Milland, but I agree with Eddie that the role of "Nick Beal" was made for Cary Grant. Another thing that I can agree with Eddie about is that Totter can play the sexy dame role with the best of them.
 

Robert Crawford

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There was definitely something wrong with the audio recording of Eddie's intro and outro this week. On the TCM app, it was muffled to the point of not being understandable. On my DVR's recording of the TCM broadcast, the sound was coming out of the rear left speaker only in my set-up.

The movie itself played just fine. I had never seen it before, and I really enjoyed it though the ending was too pat for my taste. The transfer was pretty great, and I enjoyed all the performances. I had NO idea that character actor Robert Keith was Brian Keith's father!! How did that nugget of information escape me all these years?
Out of curiosity, I played back Eddie's comments again from my DVR recording and also the TCM app stream. Both times his commentary came out of my left front speaker. It was clear and wasn't muffled.
 

lark144

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I can't access the titles to all 19 films. Can you? I only see through 22 November and the festival ends on 29 November. I'm an AFI member, so $100 is not bad for 19 films, but I've already seen many of the films through 22 November...
I had a similar problem, that when I went to the schedule, it listed everything except for the Sidomak which was mentioned in the ad copy. Then I discovered if you click on "Film Guide" it shows all 19 films, including the Sidomak that isn't listed in the schedule.


Also, I think the discrepancy in the dates--the 22nd as opposed to the 29th--is that the first showing of the 19 films happens from the 13th to the 22nd, and from the 23rd to the 29th, these films are repeated. At least, that's what appears to be the case if you read the dates under each film, unless there are more than 19 films scheduled.
 
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Robert Crawford

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On Blu-ray from Imprint is "Detective Story" (1951) starring Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Lee Grant and a host of great character actors. This film classic was directed by William Wyler and is the film adaptation of Sidney Kingsley's Broadway play. I can't believe that Ralph Bellamy played Douglas's part in the play.:) I've watched this movie 15-20 times and I never get tired of seeing it. Yesterday, I watched it twice more because I also wanted to listen to Alan Rode's audio commentary. I even watched the the 42 minute video essay "Hollywood Champion: A Tribute to Kirk Douglas" which was recorded after Kirk's death earlier this year. I learned some interesting nuggets from that featurette along with the audio commentary. I didn't know that Kirk turned down the lead in "Stalag 17" and also the part of Messala in "Ben-Hur". He wanted to play another part that a fellow named Charlton Heston was lined up for. Also, by turning down that Ben-Hur and that film's success, it became the motivating factor in Douglas wanting to film "Spartacus".

Anyway back to the movie and this BD release. The Imprint BD's video presentation was excellent and from what I remember even better than the iTunes HD digital. I didn't compare the two different video sources because I hate playing that comparison game as it's always a time consuming activity for me. I have to think that Paramount is going to release this in Region A. This classic film deserves such a BD release. As to the movie itself, Kirk Douglas's character was one "sick" puppy that was in need of some serious psychiatric therapy and had no business being a police detective. Douglas's sequences with Parker, Bendix and even Horace McMahon were outstanding. Can anybody play angst and conflict better than Douglas? Again, what a great cast even with Joseph Wiseman hamming it up.:) I love this movie even though it's a depressing film viewing. Man, Wyler was a great director! Lee Grant is the only surviving actor from this film cast.
 

Matt Hough

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Many thanks for your thorough write-up of Detective Story, one of the great classics from William Wyler. Looking forward to having it on Blu-ray one day.
 

bujaki

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I don't disagree, but I thought I'd mention Montgomery Clift and Willem Dafoe. I think all three actors handle this particular type of acting about as well as anyone who comes to mind. Well, at least for me.

- Walter.
And without clenched teeth. :D BTW, I do like Douglas, but he can be too intense sometimes.
I always want to shower after watching Ace in the Hole. He really is a tremendous presence.
 

Robert Crawford

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And without clenched teeth. :D BTW, I do like Douglas, but he can be too intense sometimes.
I always want to shower after watching Ace in the Hole. He really is a tremendous presence.
Douglas had a level of intensity that those two other actors could never match. Sure, it can be too much at times, but, I usually enjoy that intensity because most of the time, he's playing a "bad" and/or "screwed up" character.
 

Robert Crawford

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The third of the four movies included in Imprint's Essential Film Noir collection is "Framed" (1947) starring Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan and Edgar Buchanan. An underrated film noir that features Ford as the patsy in a criminal scheme planned by Sullivan, but baited by the delightful Janis Carter. I must say that over the last year or so, my opinion of Janis Carter has gone up. She doesn't quite have the sex appeal of Gloria Grahame, but she's not that far off in that department. It's too bad she didn't have a bigger career, but man she was good playing the femme fatale, usually in these lower budgeted films. Quite a departure from playing the Duke's wife in "Flying Leathernecks".;) She's been underappreciated to say the least.

The Imprint BD is another impressive video presentation in which I can retire my 2013 DVD that was part of the "Glenn Ford Undercover Crimes" DVD box set. Another fine audio commentary by Alan Rode, who gave me a few insights that I didn't know about beforehand. Evidently, Ford and Buchanan were close friends in which they did 14 movies together.
 

Robert Crawford

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This week's "Noir Alley" movie is "Fear" (1946) starring Peter Cookson, Warren William, Anne Gwynne and James Cardwell. This will be a first time viewing of this 68 minutes "B" movie. I'm really looking forward to it and to see how it compares to "Crime and Punishment" the 1935 movie starring Peter Lorre and Edward Arnold.

Updated TCM's Noir Alley 2020 schedule:

03-07-20: Ride the Pink Horse (1947)
03-14-20: I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
03-21-20: Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
03-28-20: Crime Wave (1954)
04-04-20: Address Unknown (1944)
04-11-20: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)
04-25-20: Wicked Woman (1954)
05-02-20: Fallen Angel (1945)
05-09-20: Mildred Pierce (1945)
05-16-20: The Crimson Kimono (1959)
05-23-20: Cornered (1945)
05-30-20: A Kiss Before Dying (1956)
06-06-20: The Underworld Story (1950)
06-13-20: Murder by Contract (1958)
06-20-20: Underworld U.S.A. (1961)
06-27-20: The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
07-04-20: The Sign of the Ram (1948)
07-11-20: Bodyguard (1948)
07-18-20: Three Strangers (1946)
07-25-20: The Breaking Point (1950)
09-06-20: Night Editor (1946) "Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Only"
09-12-20: Danger Signal (1945)
09-19-20: Gilda (1946)
09-26-20: They Won't Believe Me (1947)
10-03-20: Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
10-10-20: The Racket (1951)
10-17-20: Destination Murder (1950)
10-24-20: Macao (1952)
10-31-20: The Seventh Victim (1943)
11-07-20: Nightfall (1957)

11-14-20: Fear (1946)
11-21-20: Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
11-28-20: Suspense (1946)
12-05-20: Tomorrow is Another Day (1951)
12-12-20: The Burglar (1957)
12-19-20: The Unsuspected (1947)
12-26-20: Detour (1945)
 

Matt Hough

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I just set my DVR right before coming on-line for my afternoon surf. Another first time viewing for me, but I won't get to it until Sunday night! I'm in the midst of reviewing a TV box set.
 

Robert Crawford

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Yes, Eddie I agree with you about Gloria Grahame. We're also simpatico about our thoughts on the following lovely ladies of film noir:

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Robert Crawford

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I just set my DVR right before coming on-line for my afternoon surf. Another first time viewing for me, but I won't get to it until Sunday night! I'm in the midst of reviewing a TV box set.
As I was watching "Fear" this morning, I thought I was watching another East Side Kids movie with it's horrible video-presentation that many Monogram movies suffer from. I'm only comparing the poor video presentation. I'll have more to say about the movie later on today. I thought Eddie's comments were mediocre at best because of his failure to talk about some of the supporting actors.
 

Bert Greene

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For a 1945-46 vintage Monogram, "Fear" was rather nicely produced. Better photographed than most of its studio's concurrent output, and a little more attention to set decoration than usual. Even a few larger sets, filled with more extras. And a cast including some reliable pros. Yet I still didn't find the film particularly riveting, nor even all that engaging, a common pitfall when your main character is rather aloof and arrogant. The ending was for the birds. I mostly just had fun spotting a lot of familiar old faces in the bit parts, like Ernie Adams as the painter, and Paul Newlan as a bartender. I'm almost certain that old-time vaudevillan and medicine-show veteran Lee 'Lasses' White was the janitor. But it was such a brief shot of him, I couldn't identify him for certain. Sure sounded like his voice.

If Muller wants to show a really wild film about an arrogant murderer trying to cover up his traces, he should show the proto-noir "Crime Without Passion" (1934-Paramount) with Claude Rains. That ones a real doozie.
 

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