Favorite Noir

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inglis
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film noir

Post by inglis »

My favorite is Laura .I always thought it was noir and I am not all that educated on what makes noir but if its dark and mysterious I guess that makes it for me. I just watched Union Station on tcm this morning .Is that noir ? I thought it had a bit of comedic touch though with Barry Fitzgerald
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Alan K.
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Post by Alan K. »

I have a bootleg DVD of this film. Really an interesting picture. Lewis elicits convincing performances out of an extremely young Nina Foch, with Dame May Whitty and George Macready as a bizarro Mother and son tandem with unusual habits.

Lewis also uses a number of innovative camera techniques such as over-the-shoulder close-ups that serve as a cloaking device for the bare-bones production values of what is nominally a Columbia "B" programmer. With his proclivity for camera movement and lengthy resume of oaters, no wonder Joe Lewis was known as "Wagon Wheel Joe".

Despite his obvious talent and affinity for actors, Lewis never made it into the upper tier of film directors and resigned himself to television exclusively by 1959. Arthur Gardner told me that Lewis was superb, just perfect for The Rifleman series. As for Lewis, the director indicated that one of the happiest days in his life was when he finished his last episode of The Big Valley and retired to his boat in Newport Beach in 1966.

For an insightful interview with Lewis-particularly about Gun Crazy and The Big Combo-yes that shot of Nick Conte disappearing out of the frame downward and Jean Wallace's face emoting pure pleasure WAS deliberate-check out the interview anthology, Film Noir Reader 3.

FYI-Gun Crazy, written by Dalton Trumbo and produced by the King Bros. will be screened at Noir City 6 in San Francisco.
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

For an insightful interview with Lewis-particularly about Gun Crazy and The Big Combo-yes that shot of Nick Conte disappearing out of the frame downward and Jean Wallace's face emoting pure pleasure WAS deliberate-check out the interview anthology, Film Noir Reader 3~ moxie
.

Re: James H. Lewis
Readers can also discover the thoughtful and gentle personality of this imaginative director in Peter Bogdanovich's Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Directors, which I've recently been re-reading. I found the mild-mannered Lewis' personality to be an amusing contrast to some of his more groundbreaking, appealingly hard-boiled movies. I'll try to track down the Film Noir Reader 3 too. Thanks for the heads up, Moxie!
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

Silver and Ursini's Film Noir Reader 4 has two essays on Gun Crazy, Gun Crazy and Violently Happy: Gun Crazy, plus Covert Narrative Strategies to Contain and Punish Women in The Big Heat and The Big Combo.

In Film Noir (Robson 2005), the author analyzes the eighteen movies that he argues advanced film noir, not necessarily the "best" or his favorites, starting with Stranger on the Third Floor and ending with Touch of Evil. Three directors each have two movies represented: Welles (The Lady from Shanghai and Touch of Evil), Wilder (Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard) and Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy and The Big Combo). Pretty heady company.
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Post by benwhowell »

The pros at MGM really crafted a tense and visually stunning noir with "Act Of Violence" from 1949.
Great direction from Fred Zinneman and well acted too. I especially liked the performances from the women-Janet Leigh, Phyllis Thaxter, Connie Gilchrist (I always love seeing-and hearing-her "pop up" in a movie) and, last but not least, Mary Astor. I love her more and more. She's played so many fascinating characters and I admire her choices.
The movie was a thrill ride-however, the ending was a little "safe."
The house (belonging to Heflin and Janet) is yet another of my dream houses! I would love to have had Cedric Gibbons design my house...
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

That is a great looking house. Heck, Van Heflin was playing a contracter, so he probably designed it for Janet! :wink:

Seriously though, Act of Violence is one of my favorite films and it's definitely different in motives and how it's paranoia plays out than conventional noirs. I love Mary Astor's performance as well. Hers is definitely one of the most jaded characters in film.

I also get a laugh out of the fact that it cost Robert Ryan 6 dollars to rent a rowboat, while Van Heflin's bill which included a motorboat and two beers came to $6.65! Anyone else notice this?
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