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Film Noir Appreciation

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  • Film Noir Appreciation

    Recently my fondness of film noir has grown from a passing interest to a full fledge hunger to seek out the best of the best, and subsequently in time view them all. Now considering there were literally hundreds of these made in a relatively sparse amount of time, sifting through to the cream of the crop and tracking them all down is obviously proving to be a bit of a chore.

    For those unaware of what exactly constitutes a proper film Noir, they're usually considered to be highly stylized black and white American made crime drama's from the 40's and 50's. Generally gritty, blatantly sexual and most often fueled by murder, greed and deceit. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and some wonderfully crafted foreign plays at the genre.

    For reference, i'm posting a link to a list of 250 "Quintessential Noir Films".

    So to the point, post your thoughts on and list your favorite film noir here. Whether it be the most notables, or an under looked gem. Foreign works such as Kurosawa's High and Low, Reed's Odd Man Out, The Third Man or the later efforts of Jean Pierre Mellville are welcome as well, but it would be best not to deviate too far from the main focus of the American Noir of the 40's and 50's.

  • #2
    I haven't seen as much as I would like to have seen, but I've seen a few of the big names (especially Hitchcock's)


    • #3
      Gotta' love Mitchum in Cape Fear.
      Always wanted to see Gun Crazy too. Seen it Drags?
      2014 Horror Draft:

      Psycho (1960) - Alfred Hitchcock
      Bride of Frankenstein (1932) - James Whale
      I Saw the Devil (2010) - Kim Jee-woon
      Body Bags (1993) - John Carpenter
      Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010) - Panos Cosmatos
      Halloween II (1981) - Rick Rosenthal
      Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) - David Lynch
      The Descent (2005) - Neil Marshall
      Cemetary Man (1994) - Michele Soavi
      Cabin Fever (2002) - Eli Roth


      • #4
        One of my favorite Film Noirs stars a young John Carradine and was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer

        It's not your typical Noir plot, or setting, but it's Ulmer and has noir qualities.

        BlueBeard (1944)

        It's 19th-century Paris. Puppet shows are in, murder is afoot, and there's a body floating in the Seine River. The killer, dubbed "Bluebeard" by police, preys on defenseless young women by way of strangulation, then dumps them in the drink. Undaunted by the dogged pursuit of one dashing Inspector Lefevre (Nils Asther), Bluebeard is, in fact, suave puppeteer/artiste Gaston Morrell (Carradine). Disillusioned by the tainted heart of a model he had once painted, he killed her and every other model he used after that, in a string of repeated psychotic actions. It isn't long before Gaston's penchant for choking gets the better of him, as Lefevre enlists the help of Francine (Teala Loring), sister of Lucille (Jean Parker). Lucille happens to be Gaston's love interest, and, as fate would have it, his next victim.


        • #5
          I need to see more of these too. I've seen mostly the Hitchcock, the Welles, Bogart, Kiss Me Deadly, Kiss of Death, a handful of others. The noir movies have such a great look and feel to them. Some modern movies try to copy it, but it's just not the same as the real thing. Looking at the list, it's surprising to see so much of Fritz Lang - you forget a bit his career in Hollywood after his classic German movies.


          • #6
            Originally posted by I am a HORROR movie!!! View Post
            Always wanted to see Gun Crazy too. Seen it Drags?
            Actually yes, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

            Haven't seen Blue Beard, but vaguely remember reading up on it a while back. It's something i'll have to look further into.

            Admittedly, in the grand scheme of noir aficionado's I don't even rank. I do intend to remedy that shortly though, which of course was the leading purpose of the this thread. To increase the awareness of myself and other members of the board. So keep it up bitches, thoughts on particular films, lists of favorites, the underrated, the overrated, the genre's unsung heroes, notable heavy weights and lovable/loathe-able vixens. Lets hear it.

            Where's that cunt Shed? He's always crying about early Hollywood classics not getting their proper recognition, here's his chance to shed some light on the situation.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Count Dragula View Post
              Where's that cunt Shed? He's always crying about early Hollywood classics not getting their proper recognition, here's his chance to shed some light on the situation.
              Here I am you filthy whore.

              I love noir. I don't have like the biggest knowledge on the genre but from what I've seen, it might be my favorite. I love almost anything that has to do with crime and detective stories (I even thought about becoming a real detective but I don't want to do the beat) so these kind of films are right up my alley. Just trying to put the pieces together by yourself or with the characters in the film to find out whodunit or the answer to the big mystery is what draws me in. In my opinion, the best Mysteries come from this genre.

              I love how the "good guys" are pretty much always flawed and are not above breaking the law. They'll toss a wise guy down the stairs or break into an a residence if they know it will get them what they want. They look out for their own and even hide crimes of lovers or friends from the police. Detectives can pick up on almost any woman they please. They are not pure or innocent in any real sense and I see them as more realistic characters to an extent.

              The thing I think should be mentioned is lighting. Beyond story and characters, lighting is what also draws me to this genre. It is a pretty huge element to noir. If you have an interest in lighting (Argento fans!) you should check out noir.

              The dark shadows make the viewer (or at least me :P) think as if something (or anything) can lie behind the next corner, physically and storywise. And it also helps get the point across that the individuals involved in the film are "shady" characters (ba-dum-chi!)

              To me, noir is also a broad, yet narrow genre...if that makes sense? It crosses a few genre boundaries which is another plus to the genre!

              Sorry if I kind of rambled on...I'm tired, school is over and I don't much feel like thinking.

              Anyway, here's some of my favorites/recommendations with random insomnia motivated blurbs:

              Strangers on a Train - Probably my favorite movie ever.
              The Big Sleep - The story can get kind of confusing at times because it has a lot of twists and turns and even loose ends (due to multiple writers) but it's so incredibly awesome, I don't care.
              Kiss Me Deadly - I described this earlier to drags as noir with a slice of cheese. Total B-Movie noir but it kicks ass.
              Laura - Just an all around awesome flick. Not talked about very much but it's great.
              The Maltese Falcon - A film anyone who is interested in noir should see.
              Sunset Blvd - Gloria Swanson is fucking amazingly, frightening in this movie.
              Touch of Evil - The continous first shot is awesome.

              Just a few........

              I really hope this thread doesn't get ignored. Not only because I spent a bit of time on this post but because I feel like noir is pretty ignored by a lot of film fans I run into...I am hoping this thread just got over looked and that people may actually be interested in this. It's a pretty important genre and a very interesting one at that.

              More later!
              Last edited by Tool Shed; 06-06-2007, 01:31 PM.


              • #8
                Blood Simple.


                • #9
                  Damn Shed. Good post.

                  I'm not sure that Noir is overlooked so much as there are a lot of people out there who think it's okay to overlook older movies in general, which is unfortunate.


                  • #10
                    Film Noir

                    Two of the best that I have seen lately are The Stranger starring Orson Welles and the Hitchhiker. The Stranger is the story of a Nazi hiding out in America and what he will do to protect his identity. The Hitchhiker is yet another reason not to pick up strangers on the highway.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tool Shed View Post
                      Sunset Blvd - Gloria Swanson is fucking amazingly, frightening in this movie.
                      She sure is. The scene where she comes down the stairs is absolute gold, platinum even.

                      Originally posted by Doc View Post
                      I'm not sure that Noir is overlooked so much as there are a lot of people out there who think it's okay to overlook older movies in general, which is unfortunate.
                      I agree. I love watching them myself, and I actually prefer older films over the newer. My friends never watch them because theyre "boring" or "not in color".


                      • #12
                        My faves:D.O.A.


                        ...ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS!


                        • #13
                          I'm buying a bunch of noir from the DDD sale. It's going to be a black summer.

                          I'm thinking of profiling films and actors once a day or something just to keep this thread going.


                          • #14
                            Ida Lupino

                            Interesting Woman and Early Female Film Noir Director (As well as Actress)

                            Encouraged to enter show business by both her parents and an uncle, Lupino Lane, Ida Lupino made her first film appearance in 1931, in The Love Race and worked for several years playing minor roles.
                            It was after her appearance in The Light That Failed in 1939 that she was taken seriously as a dramatic actress.
                            Her parts improved during the 1940s and she began to describe herself as "the poor man's Bette Davis". While working for Warner Brothers, she would also refuse parts that Davis had rejected, and earned herself suspensions.
                            During this period she became known for her hard boiled roles and appeared in such films as They Drive by Night (1940) and High Sierra (1941). She acted regularly and was in demand throughout the '40s without becoming a major star.
                            In 1947, Lupino left Warner Brothers to become a freelance actress. Notable films around that time include Road House and On Dangerous Ground.

                            It was during a suspension in the late 1940s that she began studying the processes behind the camera. Her first directing job came when Elmer Clifton became ill during Not Wanted, a 1949 movie which she co-wrote.
                            Lupino often joked that if she had been the "poor man's Bette Davis" as an actress, then she had become the "poor man's Don Siegel" as a director. From the early '50s she began directing films, mostly melodramas and was one of the few women of her era to achieve success in this field.
                            She directed Outrage in 1950, and tackled the extremely controversial subject (at that time) of rape. In addition to acting in many films noir, she also directed The Hitch-Hiker (1953). The film was the first film noir directed by a woman.
                            She continued acting throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and her directing efforts during these years were almost exclusively television productions such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Donna Reed Show, Gilligan's Island, 77 Sunset Strip, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, and Bewitched.
                            After guest starring in popular TV shows, she retired after making her final film appearance in 1978.

                            Hitch Hiker Trailer Teaser

                            Teaser for The Masks, a Twilight Zone Episode Directed By Lupino
                            Last edited by licata1708; 06-06-2007, 01:49 PM.


                            • #15
                              I love Noir, it's probably my second favorite genre (after horror, and some days...horror takes second place), and as a lover of Noir...I can't fucking believe no one's mentioned Out Of The Past yet (at least not that I noticed). It's probably the best noir ever. As much as I'd like to ramble on...Shed's post is a better version of most of what I'd probably say anyway, so my message is simply: watch Out Of The

                              ...and after that: the shit that's been mentioned by Shed, along with Chinatown, Miller's Crossing, maybe Brick and Following as well ("neo-noir", but damn good as far as I'm concerned).
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