The Finest Noir Director

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ken123
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The Finest Noir Director

Post by ken123 »

Is it Siodmak, Dassin, Wilder, Otto Preminger, Edgar Ulmer ( remember Detour ), or someone else.For me Dassin and Siodmak rank 1 - 2, even though my all time favorite Noir is Edmund Gouldings " Nightmare Alley ", with oustanding performances by Tyrone Power, Joan Blodell, Helen walker, and Ian Keith. :D
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Dewey1960
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Post by Dewey1960 »

Finest director of noir films? FRITZ LANG.
FURY (1936) (pre-noir)
YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (1937) (pre-noir)
MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944)
WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944)
SCARLET STREET (1945)
CLASH BY NIGHT (1952)
THE BIG HEAT (1953)
THE BLUE GARDENIA (1953)
HUMAN DESIRE (1954)
BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956)
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956)
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ken123
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Post by ken123 »

Dewey1960 wrote:Finest director of noir films? FRITZ LANG.
FURY (1936) (pre-noir)
YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (1937) (pre-noir)
MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944)
WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944)
SCARLET STREET (1945)
CLASH BY NIGHT (1952)
THE BIG HEAT (1953)
THE BLUE GARDENIA (1953)
HUMAN DESIRE (1954)
BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956)
WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956)
I had another " senior moment " ! How could I have forgotten Frizt Lang ? He was one of, if not the best Noir director. :?
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Dewey1960
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Jacques Tourneur

Post by Dewey1960 »

Ken - Another great director of noir films I would add to that list is JACQUES TOURNEUR. While his noir output is not as voluminous as any number of other directors mentioned, the ones he's resposnible for are immensely pleasurable: OUT OF THE PAST, THE LEOPARD MAN, BERLIN EXPRESS, NIGHTFALL, THE FEARMAKERS. Several of his horror films, like THE CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and CURSE OF THE DEMON all possess strong elements of the noir style. I believe that on the strength of OUT OF THE PAST alone, he would qualify for top ranking.
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ken123
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Re: Jacques Tourneur

Post by ken123 »

Dewey1960 wrote:Ken - Another great director of noir films I would add to that list is JACQUES TOURNEUR. While his noir output is not as voluminous as any number of other directors mentioned, the ones he's resposnible for are immensely pleasurable: OUT OF THE PAST, THE LEOPARD MAN, BERLIN EXPRESS, NIGHTFALL, THE FEARMAKERS. Several of his horror films, like THE CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and CURSE OF THE DEMON all possess strong elements of the noir style. I believe that on the strength of OUT OF THE PAST alone, he would qualify for top ranking.

I agree, but I think a seldom mentioned asset of " OUT OF THE PAST ", is the performance ( Her best ? ) of Rhonda Fleming. A very scary lady as Meta. Perhaps just beneath the level of Jane Greer, who is also giving her greatest perfomance. Jacques Tourneur deserves a great deal of credit for getting the level of performance from the entire cast. As is usual in a Tourneur film the photgraphy is very atmospheric and lends a great deal to the enjoyment of the film. :wink:
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Dewey1960
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Rhonda Fleming

Post by Dewey1960 »

Yes, Miss Fleming was used to maximum effect in OUT OF THE PAST. Frankly, I can't think of another film of hers where she was better used. I seem to associate her with costume pictures and swashbuckling romances which I'm really not all that crazy about. But her breathless allure in OUT OF THE PAST is truly memorable. Man, could she pout!
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Did anyone see Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing" (1956) this morning?

Very interesting and not entirely successful, in my opinion. It's about a heist at a racetrack, with the usual group of misfit participants. The excellent cast featured Sterling Hayden, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Marie Windsor, and the always weird but always watchable Timothy Carey. That guy was really strange. Vince Edwards was a co-star, along with character stalwarts Jay C. Flippen, Joe Sawyer and Ted de Corsia.

The problem with the film was the rather heavy-handed semi-documentary style, and the really unbelievable and very badly conceived heist plan. I'm no criminal mastermind, but I could have planned a better operation than that. It was very complex and interesting to watch, but it wasn't long before it was evident that the plan was full of holes and couldn't possibly work, although it actually did in the film. It was their karma that thwarted the principals in the end.

I'd never seen this movie before. It's hardly the best noir I've ever seen, but I watched it through to the end. Worth a look.
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Dewey1960
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the KILLING

Post by Dewey1960 »

Hi Judith - Glad you had an opportunity to see THE KILLING this a.m. And while you might not have been completely knocked out by it, it's a movie that definitely benefits from multiple viewings. The intricate (and at the time fairly revolutionary for American movies) method Kubrick utilized to unravel his tale is really interesting. Lots of modern filmmakers (Tarantino comes to mind) owe a debt of gratitude to THE KILLING. It should also be noted that Kubrick in turn owes a debt to Kurasawa's 1950 film RASHOMON. Kurasawa owes nothing to anyone; he is a giant among directors. Speaking of Kurasawa, one of my all-time favorite noir films is HIGH AND LOW, a 1963 black & white widescreen film directed by Kurasawa and starring Toshiro Mifune. Strangely enough, it's based on an American crime novel written by paperback pulpster Ed McBain. Criterion has issued a beautiful DVD on it; I strongly recommend it!!
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

It's hard to pick, but I would say a huge influence would obviously be Orson Welles who pulled from the German Expressionistic era (which also continued to flow through horror films of the 30's) and his considerable knowlege of the stage and lighting.

Though his first 2 films were not the first to use the flashback (Kane) or voiceover (Ambersons), they certainly did so in grand style and those 2 films alone are a roadmap for later Noir films that followed.

Kane and Ambersons were also precursors of the downbeat Noir ending and of men who find themselves brought low by their own selfish desires. Betrayal which is a Noir staple (the double cross) is at the heart of all Welles work and is a theme he used over and over.

Many people view films like Kane, The Trial, or Falstaff as drama while considering Touch of Evil or Lady from Shanghai Noir, but they are basically all extenstions of the same style he always used.
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Re: the KILLING

Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Dewey1960 wrote:Hi Judith - Glad you had an opportunity to see THE KILLING this a.m. And while you might not have been completely knocked out by it, it's a movie that definitely benefits from multiple viewings. The intricate (and at the time fairly revolutionary for American movies) method Kubrick utilized to unravel his tale is really interesting. Lots of modern filmmakers (Tarantino comes to mind) owe a debt of gratitude to THE KILLING. It should also be noted that Kubrick in turn owes a debt to Kurasawa's 1950 film RASHOMON. Kurasawa owes nothing to anyone; he is a giant among directors. Speaking of Kurasawa, one of my all-time favorite noir films is HIGH AND LOW, a 1963 black & white widescreen film directed by Kurasawa and starring Toshiro Mifune. Strangely enough, it's based on an American crime novel written by paperback pulpster Ed McBain. Criterion has issued a beautiful DVD on it; I strongly recommend it!!
I have The Killing. Decent film, a little rough, but Cook and Windsor are great. Hayden is a bit less wooden than some of his other roles in this film and we actually see some of his underlying feelings which is nice. Haven't seen High and Low will check it out.

Speaking of Japanese film, ever seen Hoshi Teshigahara's Face of Another (1966)? Incredible work.
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Post by MikeBSG »

I vote for Robert Siodmak. With the jazz scene in "Phantom Lady" he created an American expressionistic nightmare. "The Suspect" is a fine gaslight film noir, and "The Spiral Staircase" surpasses it.

But the heart of his work is "The Killers" and "Criss Cross" which epitomize the heist gone wrong, heartbreaking femme fatale, nobody gets out alive ethos of mainstream film noir.
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Dewey1960
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FACE OF ANOTHER

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Re: FACE OF ANOTHER.

Hi Mr. Ark - Have never seen FACE OF ANOTHER. I take it it's available on DVD. If so I will track it down! Thanks for tip!
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Rusty
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Post by Rusty »

Hello,

Quote from MikeBSG...
"I vote for Robert Siodmak. With the jazz scene in "Phantom Lady" he created an American expressionistic nightmare."

I agree with MikeBSG...Robert Siodmak. If anyone asked me, "recommend one film I can watch and get a good idea of 'film noir'...". I would answer, "Phantom Lady". Phantom Lady has everything (film noir-wise).

About Fritz Lang. He made movies of every genre (drama, melodrama, suspense, crime, western, science fiction, etcetera)...uh, except a comedy. Fritz Lang did not make a comedy...did he? Whatever type of movie he was hired to direct, Lang always made a good to great film. Fritz Lang is one of the five best directors and his film M is one of the best movies ever made...so there. However, Siodmak edges out Fritz Lang as best of the film noir directors.

Rusty
Mr. Arkadin
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Re: FACE OF ANOTHER

Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Dewey1960 wrote:Re: FACE OF ANOTHER.

Hi Mr. Ark - Have never seen FACE OF ANOTHER. I take it it's available on DVD. If so I will track it down! Thanks for tip!
It's on an R2 DVD right now, but the print is great:


http://tinyurl.com/2v3mzx


A very interesting film. TCM showed this one night last year for the Foreign Sunday film and I was so blown away I ordered a copy the next day!
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