Film Noir

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Film Noir

Postby Hydebound » Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:58 am

Welcome, cinema buffs, to a new thread suggested by Slade himself. Film Noir ("Black Film"), a style christened and championed by the French (obviously), can be recognized not only by its stark black-and-white photography, but more definitively by a generally downbeat, existential point of view. Film Noir examines a dangerous, morally ambiguous world often populated by doomed anti-heroes, predatory femmes fatale, victimized innocents, and soulless human beasts. The film of SIN CITY, while based on a series of graphic novels, may be considered a tribute to (and parody of) the conventions of Film Noir.

But enough definition and analysis. If you want to know what Noir is all about, I suggest you start with these films:

OUT OF THE PAST- Robert Mitchum, the ultimate Noir hero in the ultimate Film Noir, directed by the great Jacques Tournier.

DOUBLE INDEMNITY- A legendary, all-but-perfect film by Billy Wilder, starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN- Hitchcock at his best, with a nightmarish plot and one astonishing shot after another, starring Farley Granger and Robert Walker.

KISS ME DEADLY- Robert Aldritch directs; Ralph Meeker plays a Mike Hammer that makes Spillane's original creation seem like a creampuff. The French particularly loved this one, and rightly so. An outrageous, mean-spirited knockout.

Have you seen these? Do you have some favorites of your own? Come on, take a walk with me down these shadowed streets, and let's keep this thread alive.
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Postby raasnio » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:47 pm

Not really my genre, but here's one:

M - Young girls are being murdered by a killer. Police are so intent on catching the killer that all other criminals in the city don't feel safe and feel compelled to stop the serial killer themselves to return things to normal.

Directed by: Fritz Lang (1931)
Starring: Peter Lorre
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Postby Slade » Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:47 pm

Those are all great selections, and must-sees. Mike Hammer - the name says it all - is the ultimate tough guy. I've lost track of how many actors have played him, there are so many. KISS ME DEADLY is the best of all: you're in for pistol whipping.

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Postby Hydebound » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:35 pm

Just off the top of my head, Hammer was played by Darren McGavin, Kevin Dobson, and Stacy Keach on TV; by Armand Assante and Spillane himself (in THE GIRL HUNTERS, I think) on the big screen. I also seem to recall someone named "Biff" taking on the role at some point...
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Postby Hydebound » Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:41 pm

Raasnio, M is a true masterpiece that made an unlikely international star of the remarkable Peter Lorre, who reportedly despised Lang.
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Postby raasnio » Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:05 am

Hydebound wrote:Raasnio, M is a true masterpiece that made an unlikely international star of the remarkable Peter Lorre, who reportedly despised Lang.


It was the first film that popped in my head after reading your post. It's also a film I enjoyed. I haven't seen many of these kinds of films, though.
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Postby Hydebound » Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:53 am

Then you've come to the right place. Watch the four films listed above and you're on your way to Film Buff status.
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Re: Film Noir

Postby MarylandManson » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:10 pm

Hydebound wrote:Film Noir examines a dangerous, morally ambiguous world often populated by doomed anti-heroes, predatory femmes fatale, victimized innocents, and soulless human beasts.

Do you have some favorites of your own?


Edgar Ulmer's DETOUR...a man on the road, and "the world's most dangerous animal--a woman."

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Cheers! MM
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Postby EZ Rhino » Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:00 pm

I haven't seen too many black and white movies but here's the closest to flim noir I've probably seen.

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Great movie. You don't get more 'anti-hero' than Bridget Gregory. The Last Seduction is one of my all-time faves.
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Postby steelclaw32 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:02 pm

Here's the website of a really brilliant movie station, and flim noir IS what their A L L about 24/7. http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/index.jspa
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Postby Hydebound » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:38 am

MM, thanks for coming to the party, and bringing the good stuff!

1945's DETOUR is the distilled essence of Noir; short (but far from sweet), low-budget, and so laden with life-is-out-to-get-me fatalism that some of it seemed to rub off on star Tom Neal, who was later involved in a romantic triangle with actor Franchot Tone (featured in PHANTOM LADY; stay tuned for more about her) and some time after that served six years in prison for manslaughter, dying the year after his release. Look him up, everybody, and SEE THIS FILM if you want to know what Film Noir is all about.

EZ, it isn't "EZ" to do, but you have discovered one of the few films I consider a legitimate modern Noir, as opposed to self-conscious pastiches by the likes of Quentin T. (who "borrowed" PULP FICTION's "Whatzit-in-a-box" from the aforementioned KISS ME DEADLY). No 40's Noir ever featured a "femme" more "fatale" than Bridget.

Haven't seen too many black-and-white movies, you say? Well, there's a way to remedy that sad situation, isn't there? And leave it to my main man Steelclaw to offer help in that regard. Thanks, Brother.
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Postby steelclaw32 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:57 am

Thanks for that Hyde. I'm a Sladist and if I can help...I'm there.! :)
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Postby Hydebound » Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:03 am

Good man. Now, do YOU have a favorite Noir?
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Postby Vcela » Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:06 pm

I'm going to copy my post verbatim from the Good Films thread. I'm glad this thread was created!

I've been ransacking Archive.org lately and wanted to point out that they have a great film noir archive here:

http://www.archive.org/details/Film_Noir

I highly recommend Detour:

http://www.archive.org/details/Detour

There are many films everyone will recognize such as the original D.O.A. and Suddenly but the hidden gems are what's doing it for me. Two examples: Quicksand with a young Mickey Rooney and Panic In The Streets with a young Jack Palance.

These films are all part of the public domain now so no need to be nervous about downloading. M is also available to watch but isn't the best quality.

They also have a Sci-Fi/Horror section but I haven't picked through it yet. It is here:
http://www.archive.org/details/SciFi_Horror
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Postby steelclaw32 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:23 pm

Hydebound wrote:Good man. Now, do YOU have a favorite Noir?


God that's a toughie.! There's so many of them, at a pinch off the top of my head...He Walked By Night (1948) and the original version DeadOnArrival (1950)

On books to film it's got Charles Dickens's Great Expectations (1946 film) the lighting of the sets and the gradual build up of tension, oh dear God!, and the web enshrouded wedding cake of Miss Havisham and she meanwhile still dressed in her wedding dress AWWWWW that was knee jerk and and half.
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