Monday, February 27, 2012

FILM NOIR: MY TOP TEN + TWO (Or, FILM NOIR: MY TOP TWELVE)

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This List Is A Construction Zone – The Work Is Ongoing;
Please Pardon Our Dust And Wear Your Hard Hat:
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[If Film Noir were a painting it would be Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’.]
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The very first movie I ever saw that one could categorize as Film Noir was likely ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’. I saw it when I was quite young, probably on television’s The Late Show, or something like that. I remember it scared me pretty good.
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Some years later I made it a point to see Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers On A Train’ because my Ma told me the first time she saw it that movie scared the bejabbers out of her. I believed her, too, because I’d never known her to be in possession of any bejabbers.
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Over the years, I’ve viewed a lot of movies that fit into the Film Noir category, but I’m hardly the expert my dear friend The Flyin’ Aardvark is – she’s become my Film Noir confidante and advisor.
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What, exactly, IS Film Noir? Well, that’s a question easier asked than answered. I don’t think there’s “exactly” a cut and dried response to that, as various opinions are abundant.
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In his commentary for ‘Where The Sidewalk Ends’, Film Noir historian Eddie Muller joked: “With the Venetian blind shadows it’s now OFFICIALLY a film noir. I should do a study on that at some point and see if a movie can actually be Film Noir if it DOESN’T have Venetian blind shadows...”
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Here’s a definition from the 20th Cetury Fox marketing department:
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“Film noir, a classic film style of the ‘40s and ‘50s, is noted for its dark themes, stark camera angles and high-contrast lighting. Comprising many of Hollywood’s finest films, film noir tells realistic stories about crime, mystery, femmes fatales and moral conflict.”
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That’s a pretty good, succinct definition. Except, of course, many of the elements of Film Noir extended well beyond the ‘50s and into the ‘60s, ‘70s, and beyond. But truly the “classic” era of Film Noir is the ‘40s and ‘50s, with its black and white cinematography.
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If you’d like a more detailed description of this type of film, you can read ‘AMC: Film Noir – Part 1’ by clicking HERE. And there’s also some relevant information to be found at Movie Metropolis right HERE.
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In 2004, I wrote a review for a Jazz album, ‘Signature’, by alto saxophonist Richie Cole. I titled the review ‘It Was A Rainy Night In Nineteen Eighty-Eight...’ and I took a Film Noir approach when describing my favorite instrumental on the album. When my good pal (and Film Noir expert) Flyin’ Aardvark read the review years later, she had this to say:
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Wow. I love, Love, LOVE this review. I think you’ve covered all of the key elements of film noir in a couple of paragraphs (rain-swept streets, trench coats and fedoras, dicey transactions in dodgy establishments, tardy and temperamental dames). Such a clever way of reviewing a jazz album.
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[I’ll add a link to that review at the bottom of this blog bit.]
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In a more recent discussion with the Flyin’ Aard about Film Noir, I expressed what it is I find most appealing about the genre (even if some people argue that Noir isn’t really “a genre”)...
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...that wonderful Noir look I like so much, with lots of weird shadows and interesting visual compositions. ... The thing that draws me to the genre more than anything else is the “look” or “atmosphere” of it, and then that hard-boiled style of the detectives with the snappy, cynical dialogue and the now-“cliché” slang like “rod”, “gat”, “dame”, “blow”, etc. But most of all, it’s the dark, shadowy, steamy atmosphere that I like the most.
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My personal definition of Film Noir goes like this: An urban crime story which includes the traditional Noir “high-contrast lighting” (mentioned above). If the movie also features a tough but semi-seedy and unsentimental, fedora-wearing, bourbon-drinking detective, a hot femme fatale and a voice-over narration, all the better!
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Although movies like ‘Treasure Of The Sierra Madre’ and ‘Night Of The Hunter’ contain many of the elements commonly associated with Film Noir, I myself do not count them in the category because their settings are more rural than urban.
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Casablanca’ is a truly great movie and the debate has long raged about whether or not it is an example of Noir. I think it ought to be included in the Noir Canon because it utilizes almost every ingredient associated with the “genre”. And for every element that the naysayers use to argue against ‘Casablanca’ being considered an example of Film Noir, I could point to some other movie that is universally regarded as Noir but which also includes or fails to include whatever element the naysayer is picking on.
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Nevertheless, this is one of the very rare times when I will allow the general “consensus” to influence me. Y’all know I’m a true maverick almost all of the time, but I’ll “give an inch” just this once and disqualify ‘Casablanca’ from my list because I don’t want to have to compose some long, time-consuming explanation for why I have included it, and also because when it comes to this subject, I’m willing to defer to the Flyin’ Aardvark, and she wrote:
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I think [Casablanca] has noir elements … but I have never really thought of it that way.  … at its heart, I think of it as more of a romance picture –
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[See, now in response to that I might write: “But what about ‘Criss Cross’, universally regarded as classic Noir and yet it isn’t any less a “romance” movie than is ‘Casablanca’?” But I won’t write that because I’m just not going to argue for Bogie’s White House.]
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Conversely, plenty of people include ‘Citizen Kane’ on lists of early and classic Film Noir. Although one can make an argument for it when it comes to much of the lighting and camera work, and it is a “detective”/mystery story in a sense, the absence of a crime precludes it from qualifying for my own list.
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Now then, below you will find my personal (but still under construction and open to revisions) list of Top Ten Film Noir Favorites + 2 (and minus Casablanca which would have come in easily at #2 on this list if I had included it) but first . . .
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Here is an entertaining scene of a Film Noir spoof featured in one of the most memorable episodes of the TV show ‘Moonlighting’ with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. As should be clear from the title, the classic they are having fun with is ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’. It’s a comedic look at what Film Noir is all about; this’ll ‘splain the entire style in five minutes time:
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2x04 The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice



MY TOP TEN TODAY
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#10: ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (1941)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart; Peter Lorre; Mary Astor; Sydney Greenstreet
Director: Walter Huston
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When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it!”
~ Sam Spade
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A very complex detective story about a collection of connivers attempting to get possession of a jewel-encrusted black falcon statuette – “the stuffS that dreams are made of.”

#9: ‘Double Indemnity’ (1944)
Stars: Fred MacMurray; Barbara Stanwyck; Edward G. Robinson
Director: Billy Wilder
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“Who'd you think I was anyway? The guy that walks into a good looking dame's front parlour and says, ‘Good afternoon, I sell accident insurance on husbands... you got one that's been around too long? One you'd like to turn into a little hard cash?’”
~ Walter Neff
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An insurance salesman helps a woman murder her husband. He does it for the money and he does it for the woman. He doesn't get the money, and he doesn't get the woman.
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#8: Cape Fear (1962)
Stars: Robert Mitchum; Gregory Peck
Director: J. Lee Thompson
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“I got somethin' planned for your wife and kid that they ain't nevah gonna forget. They ain't nevah gonna forget it... and neither will you, Counselor! Nevah!”
~ Max Cady
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By targeting his family, an ex-convict seeks revenge on the lawyer who prosecuted him. This, the original, is 100 times better than the atrocious, comic book “horror” movie remake starring Robert DeNiro in 1991.
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Unlike DeNiro’s caricature performance, Mitchum plays the ex-con with such a subtle, understated but unmistakably brewing anger that the menace is truly palpable, making Max Cady one of the greatest film villains evah!
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#7: ‘The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers’ (1946)
Stars: Van Heflin, Kirk Douglas, Barbara Stanwyck
Director: Lewis Milestone
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Walter O'Neil: “I wasn't going to shoot.” 
Sam Masterson: “I wasn't going to wait and see.”
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Young heiress Martha Ivers is prevented from running away with her friend Sam Masterson, and subsequently becomes involved in fatal events. Many years later, Sam’s car breaks down in his boyhood town and his reappearance draws him into a conspiratorial web of scheming.
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I don’t usually go for the blondes, but there was something appealing about the sultry “bad girl” 'Toni' Marachek that got my attention ...and kept it. Van Heflin – hate his wavy hair, but he played a very charismatic tough guy.
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#6: Key Largo (1948)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson
Director: John Huston
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“Nobody messes with Johnny Rocco, see?”
~ Johnny Rocco
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A group of dissimilar individuals are held captive in a Florida Keys hotel by a gang of hoodlums waiting out a storm so they can make good their escape from the law.
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KEY LARGO
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#5: ‘Murder, My Sweet’ (1944)
Stars: Dick Powell; Claire Trevor
Director: Edward Dmytryk
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“I tried to picture him in love with somebody... but it didn't work.”
~ Philip Marlowe
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Another complex detective story, this one about a stolen necklace and... MURDER!
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Claire Trevor – one of my all-time favorite actresses – plays the femme fatale, and Powell turns in a performance that the story’s author, Raymond Chandler, said was his favorite screen version of Detective Marlowe.
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For a tough private investigator, Marlowe sure takes one beating after another in this movie... but he keeps on ticking.

#4: ‘Touch Of Evil’ (1958)
Stars: Charleton Heston. Janet Leigh, Orson Welles
Director: Orson Welles
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“An old lady on Main Street last night picked up a shoe. The shoe had a foot in it. We're gonna make you pay for that mess.”
~ Police Captain Hank Quinlan
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A Mexican narcotics officer attempts to solve a murder while simultaneously having to combat a corrupt American police captain and his Good Ol’ Boy network.
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Imagine a Film Noir story constructed by the same man who directed and starred in ‘Citizen Kane’. Well, that’s what you have here, and so naturally it is “Grand” in every sense of the word!
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As seems to be the case in much Film Noir, there is a convoluted storyline, a couple of plot holes, and some weird stuffs goin’ on (like Marlene Dietrich in the role of a Mexican madam, and some White dudes trying to play young Mexican thugs, etc.)
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Charleton Heston may not be entirely believable as a Mexican official, but damned if he doesn’t look almost exactly like Vicente Fox! However, there are some wildly interesting performances here, one by Welles, but also by a couple of minor players.
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The real star of the movie in my book, though, is the atmosphere and cinematography, beginning with one outrageously creative, fantastic, single-shot street scene of nearly three and a half minutes duration – the greatest cinematic opening I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch!
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Many viewers probably wouldn’t even notice what an amazing shot ‘Touch Of Evil’ starts with, and most have no idea what sort of work, plotting, timing, camera-crane/dollying action went into creating that editless opening (right up until the moment the car explodes), but I sat there astonished by it. I even had to go back and replay that opening scene again after the movie was over to relive the genius of it!
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No question, Orson Welles was an over-the-top brilliant director, and how he was able to conceive using Venice Beach, California, in the role of a small, decrepit town on the American/Mexican border, and make it look so gosh-darned “Film Noir-y” is testament to his rare cinematic vision. Venice Beach? - A Mexican border town? On the surface it sounds preposterous but . . . only the mind of Orson Welles:
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If for no other reason, ‘Touch Of Evil’ should be seen just for the astounding sets, classic Noir atmosphere, and ingenious cinematography. This is the stuffs I watch Noir for!
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#3: ‘Night And The City’ (1950)
Stars: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney
Director: Jules Dassin
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"No, dear boy, I am not giving you two-hundred quid. I am giving you the sharp edge of the knife."
~ Philip Nosseross
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No Film Noir looks better than 'Night And The City'. This one takes place in London, where indebted, on-the-ropes hustler Harry Fabian turns family members against each other as he attempts to gain control of the professional wrestling racket and finally make his mark in the world.
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There are several characters with various agendas that collide in this fabulously moody, atmospheric movie. This is exactly what I want my Film Noir to look like! The cinematography is artful and beautiful and but for a too-long and somewhat too hysterical wrestling scene, ‘Night And The City’ would probably have scored the #2 spot on my list. It could easily have been titled ‘Loser On The Run’.
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#2: ‘Where The Sidewalk Ends’ (1950)
Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney
Director: Otto Preminger
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“I could use a drink.”
~ Detective Mark Dixon
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Sgt. Mark Dixon is trying to be something his dad wasn’t: a guy on the right side of the law. But his zeal and his ability to rough up the bad guys gets him in hot water with his boss at the police precinct.
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After he’s warned to cease his violent crusade against the criminal element, fate pulls Dixon in further. He becomes responsible for an accidental death which he covers up. Afterwards, the father of the woman Dixon has fallen in love with is accused of the murder and all the evidence points to the old man’s guilt. What’s a cop to do?
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This one might well be the template for all the ‘semi-bad good cop’ / “I’m taking you off the case, McCallahan”-type police movies that came later.
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Dana Andrews makes an ideal hard-boiled, tough-as-nails Film Noir detective; Andrews looks the way I want my detectives to look, and the movie puts New York in the perfect Noir light! The sets, the atmosphere, the cast... picture perfect!
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‘Where The Sidewalk Ends’ is one of three on my list [along with #6 and #8] that my friend the Flyin’ Aardvark recommended to me.
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#1: ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950)
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson
Director: Billy Wilder
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“Alright, Mister DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up”.
~ Norma Desmond


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William Holden (one of my very favorite actors, along with James Dean and John Wayne) plays down-on-his-luck screenwriter Joe Gillis who uses the body, money, and mansion of Norma Desmond, a forgotten silent film star who dreams of making a comeback “return” to the silver screen. Gillis becomes increasingly uncomfortable with his lifestyle while Desmond clings more and more desperately to him as she dives deeper and deeper into her delusions.
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Gloria Swanson gives a performance for the ages as Norma Desmond, which Harriet Sansom Harris hilariously channeled decades later in her TV role as Bebe Glazer, Frasier Crane’s conniving agent.
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Look, any movie that begins with the image of a man floating face down in a swimming pool while the voice-over narration of the dead man himself begins explaining to the viewer how he ended up in this condition couldn’t be anything but great!
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‘Sunset Boulevard’ is Hollyweird self-criticism, black comedy, and Noir at its “noirest”. It’s also an absolute classic, a genuine masterpiece that was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry due to its being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


[Joe Gillis: “The poor dope - he always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool.”]
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HONORABLE / DISHONORABLE MENTION
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‘Out Of The Past’ (1947)
Stars: Robert Mitchum; Kirk Douglas
Director: Jacques Tourneur
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Kathie Moffat: “Oh, Jeff, you ought to have killed me for what I did a moment ago.”
Jeff Bailey: “There's time.”
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A private detective is hired by a gangster to investigate the disappearance of his girlfriend. In many ways, this is the quintessential example of Film Noir, with some of the snappiest dialogue you’ll find in a movie of this type.
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Unfortunately, I have rarely seen a movie fall so quickly and so completely apart as this one does: the last 3-5 minutes contains three preposterously illogical plot holes/dumb character actions. It’s almost as if the filmmakers said: “We MUST find a way to make this story end badly!”
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Even so, ‘Out Of The Past’ contains everything anyone would watch a Film Noir for, and the first 92 minutes were so good that I simply had to mention it here despite the utterly ridiculous ending.
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TWO FILM NOIR SPOOFS I DIG
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'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' (1988)
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Roger Rabbit, Baby Herman
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“I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.”
~ Jessica Rabbit, cartoon femme fatale extraordinaire
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In ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, real actors and actresses play out their scenes while interacting with animated cartoon characters; it’s a world inhabited by both people and ‘toons.
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The movie is really a takeoff on or a burlesque of Jack Nicholson’s 1974 neo-Noir film ‘Chinatown’. In ‘Roger Rabbit’, Chinatown becomes Toontown, and the mystery pertaining to Los Angeles water rights becomes a mystery concerning the acquisition of land to be used in the construction of L.A.’s first freeway system. If ‘Roger Rabbit’ is not Noir, then neither is ‘Chinatown’.
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I suspect everyone has already seen ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, but shame on anyone who hasn’t. It’s one of my all-time Top 25 Favorite Movies, made all the more enjoyable by a viewer’s knowledge of ‘Chinatown’ which this half-animated 1988 classic “drew” from.
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‘Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid’ (1982)
Stars: Steve Martin, Rachel Ward
Director: Carl Reiner
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In this very clever, imaginative comedy, Martin plays private investigator Rigby Reardon, who is hired by a woman to… whatever… investigate something.
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What makes this so much fun is that a bunch of clips from old Film Noir movies have been edited into the scenes with Steve Martin, making it appear as if he is really interacting with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, et al.
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Here’s an example of one of my very favorite moments:
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Charles Laughton: “We know who you are, Mr. Rigby.” 
Rigby Reardon: “I'm interested. Who am I?”
Charles Laughton: “You could be a guy who collects 10,000 dollars, just to leave this stinking town.”
Rigby Reardon: “I could, could I?”
Charles Laughton: “You know who I could be?”
Rigby Reardon: “The Hunchback of Notre Dame?”

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‘Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid’ is as insane and loony as its title indicates; it’s funny in a very screwball, wacky way. I recommended it to my friend the Flyin’ Aardvark and she didn’t like it at all. ...But I still refuse to believe that about her: 
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As I said at the top, my list isn’t necessarily etched in stone yet. As I view more Film Noir over the years my selections might change slightly. Someday I’d like to see ‘City That Never Sleeps’, in which the city of Chicago narrates the story that takes place on its own turf (gotta see how they pull that off!)
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If any of y’all know of other must-see Film Noir productions that ya think I may not have already watched, please sing out! Yer recommendations will be appreciated.
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[‘I Can Has Cheezburger’ LOL created by ProvDog – that’s this STMcC cat whose Stuffs you’ve been reading!]
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THE FLYIN’ AARDVARK’S FAVORITES
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Here is an alphabetized list of my Pal’s first 11 Film Noir choices:
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‘Black Angel’ – “Dan Duryea, Peter Lorre, Broderick Crawford and based on a Cornell Woolrich story.”
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‘Double Indemnity’
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‘M’ – “I guess the original would top the list.”
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‘The Maltese Falcon’
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‘Murder, My Sweet’ – “Dick Powell playing Philip Marlowe, along with the great Claire Trevor.”
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‘Night of the Hunter’
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‘Out of the Past’ – “Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas.  Great classic noir.”
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‘Phantom Lady’ – “Gorgeous Ella Raines tries to prove her boss didn't kill his wife by tracking down the elusive woman he spent the evening with. … A wonderfully deranged performance by character actor Elijah Wood, Jr.”
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‘Shadow of a Doubt’ – “Joseph Cotton as a wonderfully evil Blue Beard uncle visiting his adoring sister's family.”
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‘The Strange Love of Martha Ivers’ – “Completely weird, but great performances by Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizbeth Scott and Kirk Douglas.”
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‘Sunset Boulevard’
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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LINKS
Flyin’ Aard’s Review Choice:
“It Was A Rainy Night In Nineteen Eighty-Eight…” 
[‘Signature’, a Jazz album by Richie Cole]


Hats And Gats


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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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13 comments:

mousiemarc said...

Sad to say after reading this that I now know how unedjumucated I am. At least in the world of film. Looks like I need to start renting some older films quick.

Br'er Marc

YeamieWaffles said...

Okay Stephen, just to tell you buddy I've been wanting to get into film noir for such a long time so thanks for sharing this list. I've bookmarked this page for future reference, cheers buddy.

Rae said...

First of all, let me say that the Edward Hopper painting is one of my favorites.
As for Film Noir, I'm sure I've seen a few on your list- and more. My TV station to go to- when I watch- is TCM. I love old classics.
Great review.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BR'ER MARC ~
Well, Noir isn't going to be everyone's choice of film style, but that word - "style" - is the primary reason I like it.

I'm not such a big fan of crime stories per se, but I just love the moody atmosphere that many of the classic Film Noir stories have been wrapped in. I watch them first and foremost for that ultra-cool look... a misty night, a shadowy figure, the blast from an ocean liner somewhere "out there" in the distance, a scuffle on the pier... and the big black sedan pulls away, the tires making a "Shhhhh" sound on the wet pavement...

...That sort o' thing.


MATTHEW ~
Thanks for coming by and commenting , Bro.

There's a lot of Noir to choose from, and a good portion of it I have yet to see. But certainly most of the selections on Aard's list and mine will give you a very good foundation to build upon.

Perhaps the best way to begin would be by watching first those particular titles that appeared on BOTH of our lists, the Aard's and mine.

Of course, there are also some that are considered true "classics" of the style that did not even get mentioned on either of our lists... stuffs like 'The Big Sleep' and 'The Postman Always Rings Twice', etc.

The only thing I would strongly suggest is that you not watch one of the comedic Film Noir "spoofs" until you've seen a pretty good handful of the "real thang". A spoof won't be funny unless the viewer has a really good understanding of just what it is that's being exaggerated, mocked, or burlesqued.

Please return some day, McBuddy, and tell me which films turned out to be your own favorites.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

RAE ~
Thanks! Edward Hopper is my favorite artist, and although 'Nighthawks' would be the one I'd choose if I could own one of his originals, there are a few more that I love almost just as much.

Yeah, if you watch TCM then you've seen your share of Noir and more! The Flyin' Aardvark's TV is often tuned to that channel as well.

Thanks for checkin' in!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

A Beer for the Shower said...

I saw Nighthawks firsthand at the Art Institute in Chicago. Beautiful piece, and one of my favorites of the museum.

farawayeyes said...

"a misty night, a shadowy figure, the blast from an ocean liner somewhere 'out there' in the distance, a scuffle on the pier...and the big black sedan pulls away the tires making a 'Shhhhh' sound on the wet pavement...

Oh Stephen,I think I'm in love. That was very good. Has anyone ever told you, you should write. A screenplay maybe?

I'm procrastinating from what I should be doing. When I read that comment I just couldn't resist. I DO love it. With the 'new' comment block, I didn't think it was you at first, but one of your friends. I should have known. Still haven't followed all of the links, so I'll be back.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BEER SHOWER ~
Ahh, nice! I saw my first "original" Van Gogh painting ('Irises') just last year at the Getty Museum in L.A.

A real thrill for me because during the "intense" years of my youth I was greatly captivated by the work and life of Vincent.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

N.W. BABSKIDDO ~

>>..."Oh Stephen, I think I'm in love. That was very good."

Ha! THANKS! (A heart of love in payment for about 15-seconds worth of thought and typing. Not a bad return on my investment! ;o)

>>..."Has anyone ever told you, you should write?"

Yeah, my Mother did, but I could rarely afford the first-class postage.

Speaking of writing... don't you have a story contest to win? Get to work, Nitro! That story ain't gonna write itself, ya know.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Karen Peterson said...

I quite enjoy Noir, but for some reason haven't seen very much of it. I don't know why.

I do love Cape Fear. The original is much more frightening and twisted, I think, than the weird Robert DeNiro version.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

KAREN ~
Oh yeah, in my opinion, 'CAPE FEAR' was one of the worst remakes of a classic that I've ever had the misfortune to sit through.

In fact, if there wasn't such a dearth of storytelling talent in Hollywood these days, they wouldn't be feeling compelled to "remake" classics at all (and movies about comic book characters, also).

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Birgit said...

Love what you wrote here! Casablanca is a hard one to pin down which is one of the other many reasons I love this film. It has romance but I can't put it down as only a romance film. It is a war film and yet...isn't. It has action, adventure and could be called a thriller but, apart from 4 short scenes, most of it takes place at his bar. I hate the remake of Cape Fear and I was rooting for the bad guy to kill the girl. He also just would not die. Ok, always having the shadow of blinds in the film made me laugh...reminded me of the "Kitchen sink" films from late 50's and 60's

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BIRGIT ~
I'm glad you liked this blog bit. I figured you would because, you know... old movies.

Yeah, CASABLANCA is a lot of things -- spy thriller, romance, mystery, adventure. But I think it includes every element necessary for Film Noir. And like I said in the blog bit, there is nothing IN 'Casablanca' that one can't also find in some other acknowledged Film Noir classic. Heck, it even has that "lost love" / "loser" ending that so many Noirs have. To me, it's really unquestionably Noir, and the "real" reason I gave in to the naysayers here was so I could include an extra movie that way. (I was a sneaky guy with an ulterior, self-serving motive. Ha!)

Yeah, that CAPE FEAR remake was atrocious. And like you said, Max Cady "just would not die", making the whole thing just seem like some preposterously bad horror movie where the monster keeps coming back over and over. Terrible, terrible movie. The two worst remakes I've ever seen were CAPE FEAR and THE WICKER MAN (the original being one of only a small number of Horror movies that I really dig).

Thanks for stopping by, BIRGIT.

~ D-FensDogG
Check out my new blog @
(Link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...