Warner's Film Noir Classic Collection Vol.2

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Brent Avery, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    I actually tried getting an early copy of Point Blank but failing that found the Vol.2 Film Noir. At this point I am about to check over the 5 titles but if anyone would like me to get some thoughts (video quality etc.) on a particular film in the set post your request and I will do what I can. It will take some time but for now I'll start with Crossfire and report back tonight.
     
  2. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    They're all excellent titles, but NARROW MARGIN and BORN TO KILL should be your next stops. Both will astound you, and show you why RKO was THE NOIR STUDIO .
     
  3. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    Thankyou for the suggestion Roger - I'll be sure to watch them next. Crossfire must have seen a lot of use over the years or the negative is no longer around as there was alot of speckling at times and definite signs of damage in the form of the odd tear etc. Certainly the image suffers with some softness as well but it also managed to look quite good on occassion.Black levels were not that great overall either but given its age the passage of time obviously has not been too kind. On the other hand the audio was clean and free from any distractions. Still, I did enjoy it but when you get spoiled by say White Heat as an example of a beautiful transfer it is a bit of a letdown but Warners must have tried as best they could and you cannot really argue with the price. A 10 minute Featurette entitled "Crossfire:Hate Is Like A Gun" was informative and a nice addition.

    Also watched Dillinger and found the transfer to be an improvement in comparison to Crossfire in that there was minor speckling but otherwise not outstanding - but I am not complaining because just getting them released in reasonable condition is worth it and lets face it - some of these films have not been very well preserved over the years and in that sense it is unfortunate that it took so long for them to be truly appreciated as even modern technology can only do so much if your dealing with less than perfect elements.Some may find them better than described but I try to be objective and hope it will give others a general idea of what to expect. Still a must have addition.
     
  4. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    I haven't seen any of the new WB Film Noir 2 yet, but I know WB, and I know they are the best DVD label when it comes to classics. A magazine-reviewer pal of mine has the set, and says all the transfers all quite amazing, compared to anything he's seen before.

    Lest we forget that the RKO library was the worst-maintained of any studio's assets (although United Artists likely runs equal until the late '60s). With General Tire and Rubber being the "owner" until Ted Turner bought the library outright, stories have lingered for years about how in the 1980s, yes, only 20+ years ago, they sold nitrate o-negs off to get the money out of the silver content.

    I'm sure WB gave their all to these, and I can't wait for he box AND Point Blank, which is one of my favorite films.
    It's a testament to Warner's intelligence that they didn't package a COLOR film like POINT BLANK in a film noir boxed set, as a COLOR film really can't be considered FILM NOIR.
    Films like CHINATOWN or even POINT BLANK can be considered Noir-inspired, but not NOIR. Tell that to the people at Fox who sold the DeLuxe Color/ CinemaScope HOUSE OF BAMBOO as a noir. No knock against Fuller or the great film, but it ain't Film Noir.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Not to hijack this thread, but I don't agree with your assertion that House of Bamboo isn't "film noir". Just because it's filmed in color and the cinemascope process doesn't eliminate it from being considered film noir. As many of us have different definitions as to what constitutes "film noir", I seriously doubt any middle ground can be achieve beyond agreeing to disagree so I defer to discussing this difference of opinion any further to another time and place. Also, is it necessary to praise Warner by infering another studio's lack of intelligence? I'm sure Warner's outstanding performance can stand on it's own accord.







    Crawdaddy
     
  6. Simon Howson

    Simon Howson Screenwriter

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    Not another one of these debates :)

    I think the fact film noir can at least partially be defined as a style means that it can transcend generic conventions. To me in House of Bamboo Fuller seems to be interested at mixing different styles, thus in parts he opts for documentary realism (as in many 40's film noir) yet he acheives them within colour and CinemaScope. The commentary track refers to this a lot, how the film is a walking contradiction, I think the example used is the long jacket the protagonist wears is rather anachronistic as it look slike a jacket from a 40's film noir, not a film set in post war Japan.

    Fuller seems continually interested in mixing film genres, for example to me Forty Guns feels more like a gangster or film noir than a Western, and of course it too features a stylistic contradiction in that it was photographed in black and white CinemaScope.
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  8. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    I'm presently working on this (terrific) set. I've watched 3 of the 5 films thus far and I am very impressed. I wasn't expecting much from the Monogram picture (Dillinger), but it too, looks terrific. Narrow Margin (one of my all-time favorite noirs), looks very good and is on par with many of the better RKO titles we've seen released thus far and as Roger points out, the RKO prints appear to have weathered the storm, the worst. I also have the R2 version of Narrow Margin and this new release is considerably better - particularly in terms of detail.

    One thing however I don't agree with...



    To exclude color films from the movement (or genre, if you prefer) just because they are color, is to exclude films like Desert Fury, Slightly Scarlet, Second Chance, Party Girl, Niagara, Leave Her To Heaven, A Kiss Before Dying, Inferno, I Died a Thousand Times, Hell on Frisco Bay and Black Widow (just to name a few), all of which I strongly consider film noir. And as much as I like Point Blank, I do agree it is not noir, but for different reasons...

    I definetely agree however, that by a landslide, RKO as a whole, were responsible for the greatest amount of (better) noirs produced during the classic years.
     
  9. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Not to mention other films which I think have an even stronger claim to being Film Noir: Chinatown, Body Heat and L.A. Confidential.
     
  10. Chris Cheese

    Chris Cheese Stunt Coordinator

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    I wouldn't argue with the ones Herb posted, but I will argue with yours. They're surely neo-noir (as is Point Blank), but I personally think that these are too far outside the original time period during which noirs were made. If it's not from the 40's or 50's (with a few exceptions of course) it's not really noir.
     
  11. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Neo-noirs.... yes. Film-noir.... no.
     
  12. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    It's the old "agree to disagree". For me time a film was made has NOTHING to do with whether a film is film noir or not, and I stand firmly that those three films are film noir.
     
  13. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    Agreed. Obviously these films are tributes to an earlier style of filmmaking, but that doesn't mean they aren't part of that style.

    BTW, there was some talk of making Chinatown in black and white (I think the producer, Robert Evans, wanted to do it that way), but Roman Polanski insisted on doing it in color and Panavision. But to me that doesn't mean it's not a noir, and indeed it probably has more of the elements we associate with noir than something like Clash By Night, which certainly looks like a noir (because of Fritz Lang and Nick Musuraca) but is more of a soap opera in terms of plot.

    Ultimately, film noir isn't a real genre, like a musical or a Western, and you can't really say what it is or isn't. A musical isn't a musical without singing, but film noir is more of a vague descriptive term than a genre, and a lot of different kinds of films can fit under that umbrella.
     
  14. Brent Avery

    Brent Avery Supporting Actor

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    I get the feeling I perhaps expect too much, especially in light of the fact that having bypassed films of the late 30's to early '50's - for the most part for many years and now appreciating them for the cinematic art that defines a great number of them, I admit to not having had to endure less than stellar prints in the past that make the current releases so highly praised by many of you. It must be the repressed analytical part of my brain that sometimes gets the best of me and turns me into THE CRITIC. Say, sounds like it would make a great film! So please continue to put me in my place if you disagee - do you think I should take my sunglasses off before viewing?
     
  15. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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  16. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    "Savant has already described his own run-in with Tierney, which happened in 1987 when the actor came to Cannon pictures, probably to muscle somebody for money he was owed. I met him on the stairs - by then he was bald and overweight but it was obvious that he could punch his way through a wall if he wanted to. I asked him about Val Lewton because at that time one of his first films, The Ghost Ship, was still unavailable and unseen. Tierney perked right up and responded (read: shouted) : "That Val Lewton was a sweetheart! Nicest guy I ever met at RKO! (pointing to the top floor) Not like these &*#'s you got here!" Tierney wrote down his phone number and told me to call him up and we'd have a beer. I asked the feature editors about him and they said to only go out with him if I was a hard drinker (no way) ... and not to let him know where I lived. He had once shown up at a production assistant's house at midnight, got mad because there was nothing to drink, and started breaking things! I never used the phone number. No guts." [​IMG]
     
  17. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    This box just doesn't have the attraction that the 1st did for me. I probably won't purchase any except for possibly "Narrow Margin".
     
  18. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Actually, of the Fox noir releases to date, I consider "House of Bamboo" closer to the idea of film noir than either "Laura" or "Call Northside 777", although I like both of those films better.

    Regards,
     
  19. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    this box sounds pretty great. I'm glad I blind bought both this and Point Blank. I've also held out on watching the first wave of Fox Noirs, with the second wave of Fox noirs arriving at the time of this set. Yes, July is Noir month at my house (provided I get Warners Musicals, comedies and Controversial classic boxes finished!)
     
  20. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    I was lucky enough to find one of these for sale and a B&M store today....an early holiday present. I already ordered a set online, but it will become someone else's birthday present.

    WB has done it again. This set is nothing short of amazing. 5 terrific films, which look better than I've ever seen them. I'm surprised and a little disturbed that this set streets Tuesday and I've seen very little in the way of reviews.

    From what I've watched (3 of the 5 features), this is a MUST-BUY. Support noir and support Warners valiant efforts.
    This box is a steal at the prices Amazon and DDD are selling it for! You won't regret it!

    [​IMG]
     

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