Noirsville: New film noir blog

Arouse (1966)
Arouse (US 1966) an intruiging neo-noir featured at Noirsville

 

Film noir aficionado Ray (“Cigar Joe”) Ottulich has launched a new blog where he will collect his film noir reviews from various forums, and post new reviews and noir-related snippets. The blog is appropriately titled Noirsville.

Ray over the past few years has introduced me to a number of b-movies and little-known neo-noirs, and Noirsville is a very welcome addition to the film noir blogosphere.

Click here to read his latest post on Arouse an intruiging and very obscure neo-noir from 1966.

 

NOIR CITY DC: The 2009 Film Noir Festival

Alias Nick Beal (1949)

The Film Noir Fndation is presenting the NOIR CITY DC: The 2009 Film Noir Festival  over October 24 – November 4.

The program features new 35mm prints of these classic noirs:

  • SLIGHTLY SCARLET (1956)
  • ACE IN THE HOLE (1951)
  • GUN CRAZY (1950)
  • WICKED AS THEY COME (UK, 1956)
  • ALIAS NICK BEAL (1949)
  • THE BIG COMBO (1955)
  • SHAKEDOWN (1950)
  • BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (1956)
  • OUT OF THE PAST (1947)
  • THE KILLERS (1946)
  • HOLLOW TRIUMPH (1948)

Full details here.

The First Rule of Film Noir: “A Dame With a Past and a Hero With No Future”

Out of the Past

Check out this recent primer from BBC4:  The Rules of Film Noir.  Odd that it makes no mention of British Noir. I was also disappointed that little attribution was given to the film-makers with most of the attention on the stars.  The talking heads also spoke in generalities.  The best sequence is where a British cinematographer takes you through a series of tracking shots from The Sweet Smell of Success with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in conversation as they walk-stop-walk on a Manhattan street. Pure artistry. But zero credit to the brilliant work of DP James Wong Howe!

A Lighter Shade of Noir: Matinee Double-Bill

A Woman's Secret (1949) Hollywood Story (1951)

A Woman’s Secret (1949) and Hollywood story (1951), two flicks that carry a film noir classification on IMDB which I watched in the past week, I found  to be hardly noir at all.

A Woman's Secret (1949)

A Woman’s Secret, an RKO-feature, has great credentials. The movie is directed by Nicholas Ray from a screenplay from Herman J. Mankiewicz, with photography from George Diskant, and starring Maureen O’Hara, Melvyn Douglas, and Gloria Grahame.  It starts off noir with a shooting off-screen, and the use of flashback in the narrative, but plays out as sophisticated melodrama with a biting wit, and some really funny slapstick when the wife of the investigating cop does her own snooping with a handbag carrying fingerprint powder and a giant magnifying glass. The story of the conflict between a naive young singer (Grahame) and her controlling mentor (O’Hara), has shades of All About Eve but this motif is not taken too seriously.  The two female leads are charming, with Grahame displaying an engaging gift for comedy.  Melvyn Douglas is as debonair as you would expect and takes the role of narrator and referee.  Great fun.

Hollywood Story (1951)

Hollywood Story is a programmer from Universal that has a 50s television feel.  Richard Conte is a producer in LA that wants to make a movie about the murder of a big silent movie director 20 odd years before, and his delving into the past has violent consequences.  A  strictly b-effort that plays well as a whodunit with noir atmospherics, and some really funny lines.

Huzzah!! NOIR: An exciting new graphic novel project

Huzzah!! NOIR
©2009 I.N.J. Culbard. Used with Permission.

A group of nine very talented graphic artists/writers have launched an exciting new blog project titled Huzzah!! NOIR.

Each contributor in turn will be contributing a page that develops the story of a washed-up 40s boxer searching for a dame in a dark noir metropolis. Shades of Murder, My Sweet?

So far four pages are up with stunning noir graphics and a promising pulp noir story-line.

The Sound of Film Noir

Phantom Lady (1944)

Robert Cumbow of the Parallax View blog has posted a very interesting article on film noir music scores discussing its origins, development,  and major composers from the early noirs to recent neo-noirs:

The sound of noir—plaintive sax solos, blue cocktail piano, the wail of a distant trumpet through dark, wet alleyways, hot Latin beats oozing like a neon glow from the half-shuttered windows of forbidden nightspots. You walk the sidewalks of big, lonely towns, with no destination in mind, following only the sounds, guided by them, wondering where they come from, what hurt souls cry out with such tones.

Mr Cumbow also highlights CD compilations of note.

Angel Eyes: Femmes-Noir

This is an elegant homage by Rob in L.A. to some of the iconic femmes-noir. Make sure your speakers are on as the haunting rendition by Bruce Springsteen of Angel Eyes is integral to the experience.

Credits

Song: “Angel Eyes,” music by Matt Dennis, lyrics by Earl Brent. Performed by Bruce Springsteen.

Film clips:

Marie Windsor in THE NARROW MARGIN (1952)
Cleo Moore in ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951)
Claire Trevor in BORN TO KILL (1947)
Veronica Lake in THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942)
Ella Raines in PHANTOM LADY (1944)
Louise Brooks in PANDORA’S BOX (1928)
Jean Gillie in DECOY (1946)
Jane Russell in HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1952)
Anne Baxter in THE BLUE GARDENIA (1953)
Lauren Bacall in THE BIG SLEEP (1946)
Jane Greer in OUT OF THE PAST (1947)
Rita Hayworth in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1948)
Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann in PERSONA (1966)
Lana Turner in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946)
Simone Simon in CAT PEOPLE (1942)
Clara Bow in MY LADY OF WHIMS (1925)
Ingrid Bergman in ARCH OF TRIUMPH (1948)
Monica Vitti in L’ECLISSE (1962)
Marie Windsor in THE NARROW MARGIN (1952)
Anna May Wong in PICCADILLY (1929)
Ella Raines in PHANTOM LADY (1944)
Gloria Grahame in THE BIG HEAT (1953)
Ava Gardner in THE KILLERS (1946)
Lizabeth Scott in DEAD RECKONING (1947)
Hedy Lamarr in ALGIERS (1938)
Ella Raines in PHANTOM LADY (1944)
Gene Tierney in LAURA (1944)
Joan Crawford in MILDRED PIERCE (1945)
Dorothy Dandridge in ISLAND IN THE SUN (1957)
Constance Dowling in BLACK ANGEL (1946)
Mary Meade in T-MEN (1947)
Rita Hayworth in GILDA (1946)
Peggy Cummins in GUN CRAZY (1950)
Lizabeth Scott in DEAD RECKONING (1947)
Fay Helm in PHANTOM LADY (1944)
Louise Brooks in PANDORA’S BOX (1928)
Marlene Dietrich in SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932)