Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here it is, the final movie for Noir Month. Are you feeling wistful yet?

Notable Talent: I wouldn't have heard of a single one of these motherfuckers, if it weren't for the fact that Audrey Totter was in The Set Up.

Detective Story: It opens up with a homicide detective talking right into the camera, but then it pulls a Side Street style fake out and he's not the main character. But he does feature prominantly in the film. So yeah, you know what, fuck it, this is a detective movie. In fact, I'm going to retroactively state that any of these noir movies I watched that featured a detective in any fashion are detective stories. This was an awesome category for me to chose; the best, really. I'm awesome.

Twisty, Turny Plot: Yeeeeeah, buddy, we got another weird one. It was on the same disc as Where Danger Lives, and I can see why because they'd make a good double feature. This is about a meek loser whose wife leaves him for another man. He loses it and decides to craft a new, cooler personality for himself and begins to lead two lives under two different names, with the plan that his new personality will kill his wife and her new lover. He breaks into their place in the middle of the night and confronts the man, but realizes he's happier without his wife and doesn't really want to kill them. Except then her lover turns up dead any way, and all clues point to the main character as the killer. And then more complications ensue as the wife becomes involved with the investigating detective. I can barely make sense of any of this, it's great.

Moral Ambiguity: All over the place. The main character plots to murder his wife, but we are made to sympathize with him. The homicide detective becomes involved with the wife and plans to run away with her, which seems like questionable behavior for someone in his profession, but then it turns out that he was just manipulating her so that he could prove that she's the killer. And it's presented at the end like it was a good thing, but I'm pretty sure that's just as sleazy as if he actually ran off with her.

Sweet-ass, Shadowy Black and White Cinematography: Good looking for what I assume was a low budget movie, broadly done in a lot of places, but that adds to the fun.

Overall Quality: For the first half or so I was convinced this was going to be a klassik. But then it's broadly stylized weirdness calms down a bit and it settles in to a more typical murder mystery type thing. I liked it overall, but I'm convinced it had potential to be the Commando of it's time... seemingly corny and bad but actually just really fun.

Ultimately it falls on the lower end of the list, but I have a lot of affection for certain parts of it:

1) The Set Up

2) Act of Violence

3) Crime Wave

4) Night and the City

5) The Big Steal

6) The Wrong Man

7) Where Danger Lives

8) Illegal

9) Angel Face

10) Shoot the Piano Player

11) Gun Crazy

12) Tension

13) Mystery Street

14) Side Street

15) Decoy

16) They Live By Night

All in all, I think the results of noir month were mixed. I guess 16 movies ain't bad, but I feel like I could have buckled down and watched more. Then again, I also feel like spending time with my girlfriend.

I basically watched the set I bought, plus a weird, eclectic mix of others, and perhaps it would have been smarter to try to seek out some more famous ones. I mean, I guess I've seen a lot of the obvious ones, but a couple of these were sorta blind choices, and I could have done more research.

And of course that detective category was a bad idea. I guess that shows my ignorance of the genre that I assumed I'd be watching a bunch of Phillip Marlowe type stories. I don't think there was a private eye in any of these movies, or if there was they didn't play much of a role.

Did I learn anything? Not really, and I didn't do much comparison or any broad analysis, but I did see a lot of decent movies, and that's cool with me. We'll save the detailed dissections for another day.

1 comment:

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