Film Noir

Sladists are media maniacs...I mean lovers. Movies, Books, Music & Sports are all here.

Postby Hydebound » Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:04 am

I have seen it, and it's a gem. And I just picked up THINK FAST, MR. MOTO, the first of the Peter Lorre series.
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Postby Slade » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:31 pm

Hydebound, MM, Judy, Brad, and other Noirists,

I've got one for you.

In the 1950s, the label "Made in Japan" was a joke. In North America, it stood for "shoddy workmanship." In the 1958 version of THE FLY, a bowl is sent through the transporter as an experiment. That things aren't right is conveyed by the bowl that emerges at the other end. The label "Made in Japan" on the bottom is printed backwards.

That got a big laugh in the theater.

Within two decades, Westerners were no longer laughing. They were in a fight to keep their countries from being bought up by powerful Japan. So when Deep Purple called their live album MADE IN JAPAN, that was a not-so-subtle joke on Western ears.

So, how did Japan do it? We're talking Film Noir. The year is 1963. Can you guess the movie?

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Postby MarylandManson » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:09 am

Slade, is this what you had in mind?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_and_Low

"One faction wants to make the company a modern mass market low quality manufacturer while the founder of the company tries to keep it conservative with good quality."

Never saw the movie, but it looks quite intriguing. Well, how could it be otherwise if it has anything to do with McBain?

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:11 am

Indeed it is, MM.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/st ... a0ad69.htm

http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/conte ... d_low.html

The movie is three hours long, and a telling look at what propelled Japan out of defeat. It used to be that our movie heroes were...well, heroes. At some point, we fell in love with the anti-hero, a protagonist who lacks the attributes that would make him a heroic figure, such as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose. In SE7EN, we have a throwback in Morgan Freeman, a cop who spends the time it takes in a library, and Brad Pitt, a cop who wings it.

In HIGH AND LOW, the cops are sent out in teams with a task, and must report with bows and such in front of the squad. Loss of face here means a social knife in the gut, so two by two, they wow us with how they've tackled the problem.

The single-line tram, the phone booth in the sun, the puddle by the fish market...damn, if there's a murder in my home town, these are the cops I want on the case!

Japanese Film Noir, by Japan's foremost director, and Toshiro Mifune, the commandant in BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. "Be happy in your work." I certainly was.

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Postby MarylandManson » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:41 am

Slade, your last post has interesting connections to Homicide: Life on the Street, as well as Swastika and Kamikaze.

Fun! MM
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Postby Slade » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:12 pm

MM,

A year before he died of throat cancer, Ed McBain did an interview with The Reader's Room:

Before we wrap this up, I'd like to know if any of your books have been made into movies adapted by other people and, if so, how they turned out.

Ed McBain: Kurosawa did HIGH AND LOW, a wonderful movie based on KING'S RANSOM.


Watch this sequence in Dope Alley. Is it a zombie film or what? Note how the light plays off the killer's sunglasses, and listen to the soundtrack. The setup is the killer needs to snuff an accomplice with a "hot cap," so he's looking for a guinea pig on which to test its strength:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SbiO2ryIiU

And here's the classic Bullet Train sequence. Trivia: Detective Inspector Kim Rossmo (BURNT BONES, DEATH'S DOOR, and SWASTIKA) was riding the Bullet Train in real life when he got inspiration for the mathematical formula behind Geographic Profiling:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy7G5zUTWyU

And here's the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ketb1jdU ... re=related

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Postby Hydebound » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:52 pm

How could I have failed to include HIGH AND LOW among the favorites I have listed on this forum? A great film on every level- crime drama, political thriller, police procedural- with one of the most abrupt, devastating endings of any film.
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Postby Slade » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:43 am

More than any other Japanese film I've seen, HIGH AND LOW goes a long way to helping me understand that country. McBain's setup is terrific for a an American thriller, but add Japan's obsession with honor - you used to have to gut yourself through harakiri if you were shamed - and the plot takes on volatile meaning.

The motive is pure McBain:

Kingo Gondo: Why should you and I hate each other?
Ginjirô Takeuchi, medical intern: I don't know. I'm not interested in self-analysis. I do know my room was so cold in winter and so hot in summer I couldn't sleep. Your house looked like heaven, high up there. That's how I began to hate you.


"Mansion on the Hill":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPABXtozgS0

"Now go get him. Be bloodhounds."

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Postby MarylandManson » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:02 am

Slade, are you familiar with Ooka the Wise as told by I.G. Edmonds?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Coka_Tadasuke

Per this link, the real Ooka was "mayor, police chief, judge, and fire marshal" of Edo city, and "He was highly respected as an incorruptible judge." As for the fictional Ooka, Scholastic Books' The Case of the Marble Monster was quite memorable, a nice blend of Japanese culture and detective fiction.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Dx9axOCCMBk/S ... bleMonster

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:09 pm

MM & Hydebound,

Ed McBain captured Noir in his setups and motives. Just as Frankenstein's Monster comes to life because of that jolt of electricity, it was the motive in LADY, LADY, I DID IT! that galvanized Slade into being. McBain had a way of capturing the Zeitgeist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qfBjrHc7H4
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Postby Hydebound » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:05 pm

Here's a slightly off-thread McBain tie-in: THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST CRIME COMICS features a truly bizarre 87th precinct story for completists only.
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Postby Slade » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:25 pm

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Postby MarylandManson » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:56 pm

Slade wrote:Just as Frankenstein's Monster comes to life because of that jolt of electricity, it was the motive in LADY, LADY, I DID IT! that galvanized Slade into being. McBain had a way of capturing the Zeitgeist:


Slade,

I just re-read LADY, LADY, I DID IT! (again), and here's a question:

Which component of the motive galvanized Slade into being?

To explain (in vague language so as not to be a spoiler)...

One component of the motive is a base, negative emotional response that is unfortunately quite widespread among people the world over--and was certainly relevant at the time of the novel's publication.

The other component of the motive is a kind of hair-trigger response to something mundane that no reasonable person would consider a legitimate basis for the scope of the crime.

In other words, if a murderer said, "I killed her because I was jealous," that's one thing. If the murderer said, "I killed her because that other guy laughed at the joke she told," that could be another thing altogether.

Just curious about which component (or both together) fired up Slade, because they're both indicative of someone with deep problems, but perhaps of different sorts. Or maybe you see them as stemming from the same deep-seated problem. At any rate, it seems there's some interesting Sladey psychology at work in McBain's story.

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:46 am

The two aspects combined is what floored me. And the cops' reaction to what Kling does. Remember, I was 13, and had never encountered the one-two punch of a motive like that in the Hardy Boys and the Golden Age novels of Christie/Carr/Queen. I venture to say there's no motive like that in Hammett/Chandler either. Following on LADY! and the backlist books before it...

Like Love (1962)
Ten Plus One (1963)
Ax (1964)
He Who Hesitates (1964)

...sealed the deal. Then when Jigsaw (1970) did its number on He Who Hesitates, my jaw dropped.

People read a McBain and say, "It was good. But I don't see why you're a rabid fan?" My reply: "McBain all but invented the police procedural, and it has dominated ever since. One book is but a chapter in the larger novel of almost sixty chapters that span fifty years. Carella ages two years in all that time."

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Postby MarylandManson » Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:14 am

Slade wrote:People read a McBain and say, "It was good. But I don't see why you're a rabid fan?"


Slade,

My answer to that would be the same as my answer to what I enjoy about Slade novels, and about film noir (as well as other off-topic things). In all cases, there's a simultaneous visceral impact and intellectual complexity that is highly appealing. And then there's the balance between darkness and light--I think you've summed that up as chiaroscuro, which fits well. Adult themes, some fun, and philosophical observations on the human condition. What more could one want?

Thanks for shedding light on the "motive" question.

Cheers! MM
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