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Peace through
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Beginning at 10 AM EST today, TCM has a new series with Eddie Muller- Noir Alley.

Muller is the most passionate film authority on the canon of Film Noir and even without looking at his list of top 25 noir films, I knew he picked the films for TCM's Noir Alley schedule.

I understand why he felt the need to lead off with The Maltese Falcon, as it is considered by most aficionados to be the first film noir. I am of the opinion that this film belongs more to the Warner Brothers pre-war crime film cycle, and it certainly is the absolute best of that, thanks to director John Huston. The characters in Hammett's story are certainly archetypal for film noir, I'll say that.

After many years of watching these films, my feeling is that the first identifiable film noir to come out of Hollywood was a 1940 film- William Wyler's The Letter.

That having been said, I think this series actually begins in earnest next Sunday, with Edgar G Ulmer's ultra-low budget and hopelessly bleak Detour.
This is followed on the 19th with Fred Zinnemann's Act of Violence with Van Heflin and a menacing Robert Ryan, a truly superb example of the style of film noir. Great LA locations- Angel's flight, Clay Street, Bunker Hill.
On the following Sunday is an example of what happened to film noir when it had fully matured- Tension from 1949. It goes on from there, with too many fine choices to name.


So, every Sunday morning at 10 AM


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There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it. ― George Bernard Shaw
 
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Looking forward to this.
Started off right with one of my big faves:
The Maltese Falcon
"The stuff that dreams are made of".


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Posts: 4595 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I like noir, but never really thought of the Maltese Falcon as noir, myself. Maybe it is because it was such a big film? Maybe not, because there is another Bogie/Bacall film that I do consider Noir, the Big Sleep.


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Filmstruck added a few that fell under the banner of Anthony Mann / John Alton Noir a couple weeks ago:

Border Incident (1949)
Devil's Doorway (1950)
He Walked By Night (1948)
Raw Deal (1948)
T-Men (1948)

along with the short: Master of Noir: The Cinematography of John Alton.

All are excellent (watched all except for Doorway) - especially Richard Basehart in He Walked By Night, scuttering through the underbelly of LA one year before The Third Man.
 
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Thanks for the heads up. I wonder if we can watch it "on demand" at a later time. Hope so.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by FishOn:
Thanks for the heads up. I wonder if we can watch it "on demand" at a later time. Hope so.


Not in the xfinity sense, but you could record on the DVR it and watch it later. Alternatively you can go on TCM's website and login with your Xfinity ID and watch it from there.





"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
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So, tomorrow morning, we get Detour. Edgar G. Ulmer was a fascinating director. He also directed one of my horror favorites- The Black Cat, with Karloff and Lugosi. Ulmer really knew how to get the most out of a small budget.

I can't say that Detour is one of my favorite noir films. In terms of examples of B-film noir, this film demonstrates that film noir is all about the atmosphere (because in terms of sets, props and extras, Detour is super sparse), and man, it's bleak. From a scholarly point of view, I find Detour interesting to discuss, but not to watch much.

Basically, the theme of the film is fate. If stuff is fated to go badly for you, it's going to go badly, no matter what you try to do to counter it. This is one of the primary themes of film noir.


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There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it. ― George Bernard Shaw
 
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I am surprised that Muller did not include another of my favorites in his list:
Kiss of Death.
Richard Widmarks portrayal of Tommy Udo is still extra creepy even today!


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Since it was mentioned, I'll say I've always been very fond of The Letter. I like the atmosphere, the cinematography, the cast, the story, and Somerset Maugham.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by amals:
Since it was mentioned, I'll say I've always been very fond of The Letter. I like the atmosphere, the cinematography, the cast, the story, and Somerset Maugham.
Coming on in about an hour on TCM.


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There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it. ― George Bernard Shaw
 
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I watched it while I was cleaning the kitchen and thoroughly enjoyed it. This series very cool and worth following.



When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth. - George Bernard Shaw
 
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Well, The Letter was aired yesterday as Part of TCM's normal programming, not as part of the Noir Alley series.

This past Sunday, we should have had Act of Violence, but all regular programming was pre-empted for a tribute to Robert Osborne.

TCM will air Act of Violence before too long, as part of their regular programming. Any of you guys wanting to learn about film noir should make an effort to catch this film, as it is a prime example of the style.

This coming Sunday, we get Tension as part of the series, which is an example of what happened to film noir when it started to become aware of itself.

There is a line of dialogue in Tension which tells you everything you need to know about the mindset of men in the early postwar era.

More on that later this week.


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There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it. ― George Bernard Shaw
 
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quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:

After many years of watching these films, my feeling is that the first identifiable film noir to come out of Hollywood was a 1940 film- William Wyler's The Letter.



That was a good movie and I didn't really know anything about Film Noir or the like.
I went to look it up and remembered I have seen it recently, I didn't even recall the name but I will remember it now.
And will seek out some more, thanks.
 
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I have to resurrect this thread just to say
that I got the book Para recommended regarding Film Noir. It is sitting on my bedstand next to my protection. It is heavy stuff! This is not light reading. I think I will learn a few things....
 
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I got it also. My problem is there's a lot of films that he discusses that I've never seen. I'm having to stop periodically and watch several of them. At this rate I'll been worm food before finishing the book. Frown



When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth. - George Bernard Shaw
 
Posts: 12346 | Location: Virginia | Registered: July 03, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I keep meaning to come back to this, but the subject is massive and nebulous.

I've said at least two things about film noir recently that I have not explained. The first was in the other thread on noir- the Best Film Noir thread. I mentioned in that thread that Sunset Boulevard and The Killers share a key structural element, and when I point it out, it's going to be a big aid for you guys in identifying some films noir.

The second is in this thread, and it has to do with the film Tension, which TCM aired this past Sunday for Noir Alley. There is a line of dialogue, designed to advance the story, but which says so much about the mindset of men who've returned from WWII.

I'll try to get to those things in the next day or two, as well as the 1.99 essential elements of film noir. That's not 2 essential elements, mind you, that's 1.99. It took years of watching and re-watching these films, reading about these films and thinking about these films to come up with that, and I'll share that as well.

Also, I intend to start a thread to compare and contrast the 1929 and 1940 versions of The Letter, as I've come to the conclusion that the 1940 version is the first identifiable film noir.
And no, I'm not forgetting about Stranger on the Third Floor (which premiered three months before The Letter).


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There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it. ― George Bernard Shaw
 
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Awesome! Can't wait to continue to learn… Even if just a little. Many of the films that you mentioned are clear winners; enjoyable to watch. I usually find the notices, albeit I'm not fast enough, but please keep doing what you do. It helps a lot.





"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
~Robert A. Heinlein
 
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Enjoy the Noir discussion!


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186,000 miles per second.
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quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:
I keep meaning to come back to this, but the subject is massive and nebulous.

I've said at least two things about film noir recently that I have not explained. The first was in the other thread on noir- the Best Film Noir thread. I mentioned in that thread that Sunset Boulevard and The Killers share a key structural element, and when I point it out, it's going to be a big aid for you guys in identifying some films noir.

The second is in this thread, and it has to do with the film Tension, which TCM aired this past Sunday for Noir Alley. There is a line of dialogue, designed to advance the story, but which says so much about the mindset of men who've returned from WWII.

I'll try to get to those things in the next day or two, as well as the 1.99 essential elements of film noir. That's not 2 essential elements, mind you, that's 1.99. It took years of watching and re-watching these films, reading about these films and thinking about these films to come up with that, and I'll share that as well.

Also, I intend to start a thread to compare and contrast the 1929 and 1940 versions of The Letter, as I've come to the conclusion that the 1940 version is the first identifiable film noir.
And no, I'm not forgetting about Stranger on the Third Floor (which premiered three months before The Letter).


I would enjoy a sticky on this topic. I would like to continue to read Para's comments. I don't know much, and I really would like to know more about it. The films are really great!
 
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Agreed! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Smile





"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
~Robert A. Heinlein
 
Posts: 22725 | Location: Row 2F | Registered: February 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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