Showing posts with label 1940's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1940's. Show all posts

Monday, May 21, 2018

Noir City Austin: The Unsuspected (1947) & The Threat (1949) - Sunday shows




Watched:  05/20/2018
Format:   Noir City Austin at Alamo Ritz in 35mm
Viewing:  fourth/ first
Decade:  1940's

We attended two films on the final day of Noir City Austin, The Unsuspected (1947) and The Threat (1949).  Two extremely different movies, but both a real treat.  The Film Noir Foundation isn't just Eddie Muller, and as he had to depart, we were lucky to have author Alan K. Rode in attendance to introduce the films.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Noir City Austin: The Accused (1949) & The Underworld Story (1950)



Watched:  05/19/2018
Viewing:  First/ First
Format:  Noir City Austin at the Alamo Ritz
Decade:  1940's/ 1950's

Both films were shown as part of Noir City Austin, hosted by TCM Noir Alley host, Eddie Muller and presented in 35mm. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Noir City Austin: I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Quiet Please: Murder (1942)



Watched:  05/18/2018
Format:  Noir City Austin at Alamo Ritz
Viewing:  Second/ First
Decade:  1940's

It's Noir City Austin 2018 down at The Alamo Ritz!  As in prior years, Eddie Muller - the Czar of Noir and host of TCM's Noir Alley series is in attendance.  As he does so well for Noir Alley, Eddie introduces each film, providing Hollywood history and necessary context, as well as any anecdotes he's dug up over the years, often from first-hand interviews.

I can't make it to all the movies this year, but I am trying to make it out to see a few.  Friday night SimonUK and I took in the first two films, I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Quiet Please: Murder (1942).

Monday, May 7, 2018

Noir Watch: Hollow Triumph/ The Scar/ The Man Who Murdered Himself (1948)


Watched:  05/06/2018
Viewing:  First
Format:  TCM Noir Alley on the DVR
Decade:  1940's

If you're wondering why I have three names listed for this movie, it's because this movie was released under three different names at three different times - but I think it was first released under Hollow Triumph (1948).  However, I can't find a poster I like better than the one for The Scar, so.. behold!

This movie was a *lot* of fun.  It's not a glossy studio movie, but acting talent, direction and cinematography carry you really far in a picture.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Melodrama Watch: The Hard Way (1943)


Watched:  04/26/2018
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  first
Decade:  1940's (wartime)

The Hard Way (1943) is a wartime melodrama and probably counts as a "Women's Picture", which was a thing, as it starred women, had them front and center as career-centered ladies with romance as a conflict.

It's not a genre with which I have a lot of experience, and I'm not a huge follower of soapy melodrama.  "So, The League," you say, "Why did you watch it?"

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Classics Watch: Sullivan's Travels (1941)


Watched:  01/30/2018
Format:  Alamo Drafthouse Village (for free!)
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1940's

Writing about Sullivan's Travels (1941), one of the most cited, most referenced movies in Hollywood history, is something that's unnecessary and probably foolish at this point.  But here we go!  (I'll keep it brief)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

It's Just not Christmas Until Audrey Totter is Looking Right Into the Lens

Through not-so-mysterious means, the 1947 film Lady in the Lake has become a perennial holiday favorite for me.  Philip Marlowe detecting, Christmas time and Audrey Totter sorta looking you in the face.


This is the movie directed by (and kinda starring) Robert Montgomery as Marlowe and shot almost entirely from his POV.  Pretty amazing work for the era and size of cameras in 1947.  The book is darker and more grisly than the movie, and not set at Christmas, if memory serves.  The plot is complicated by the fact the movie never visits the key location from the book, keeping everything in the city and refusing much in the way of exterior shooting.

But, hey, Audrey Totter is terrific.  And they actually make Christmas kind of key to the adaptation, so that's fun.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Halloween Watch 2017: Theatre of Blood, Altered States, House of Dracula


Well, it's that time of the year, and we're watching movies about monsters and murders and transdimensional-psychotic states brought on by a rich cocktail of hallucinogens.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Nolan Watch: Dunkirk (2017)


These days, I'm not writing up every movie I've seen.  And I'm not going to write up this one.  But I'm suggesting you catch this one while it's still in theaters.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

TL;DR: We Discuss Our Love of Wonder Woman as Character, Icon and Hero



This isn't a review of the movie, which I'm slated to see in a few hours.  But with the arrival of Wonder Woman in cinemas, I wanted to reflect on Wonder Woman as a character and my road with Diana.

Like most kids of my generation, I grew up with Wonder Woman as the default "superhero for girls".  Sure, DC had a wide array of female characters, but a lot of "team" concepts aimed at boys included 1 or maybe 2 girls on the team no matter how big the roster got (see: GI Joe).  And on Super Friends, Wonder Woman was the all-purpose female character who was not Jayna of The Wonder Twins of Wendy of Super Marv and Wendy (ahhh, the 70's).

but at least they gave WW two villains from her rogues gallery

Friday, March 31, 2017

Noir Watch: Tension (1949)



This is likely the fourth time I've watched Tension, the 1949 pulp-tastic noir I was first introduced to by JSwift during a trip to SF a few years back.  It aired this last Sunday during Turner Classic Movies' new segment, Noir Alley, hosted by Eddie Muller.*

Muller does what he does so well - introduce the movie, give some history and context and talk about the players in unpolished terms.  This screening included an appreciation of co-star Audrey Totter, whom we at The Signal Watch think is absolutely tops, and a closer discussing the complicated life of director John Berry.

In addition to Totter, the movie also stars Richard Basehart, William Conrad, Lloyd Gough, Barry Sullivan - and, oddly, Cyd Charisse in a role where there is not a single step of dance.  I mean, she's terrific - she's got some straight acting ability, but it's an odd fit for someone who appeared in roles with not a single line but a lot of dancing.  That's sort of her deal.

It's a bit of a small-scale production, a tight cast working with a rat-a-tat script by Alan Rivkin, and good, twisty fun with some severely dated bits that don't seem aware they've inverted the Superman paradigm.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Noir Watch: They Live By Night (1948)



I remember trying to watch They Live By Night (1948) a decade or more ago when I was still narrowly defining "noir" as folks in hats in urban settings with tough-talking dames.  Truthfully, I didn't get it.  I made it about 40 minutes in and then threw in the towel.

But along the way, I've heard They Live By Night referred to so often, I began to feel downright guilty I'd never finished the movie.  Maybe it's been in context of the career of Nicholas Ray, or a post WWII film that was reflective of the Depression-era storytelling that was still happening in the first years after the war.   It's never given a top-billing-of-noir placement, but when writers who know noir start talking, eventually this movie gets a mention.  And, as it turns out, deservedly so.

Three convicts escape from prison and hole up with the brother of one of the convicts.  The youngest convict, Bowie - in for killing a man - seems to just want to get away, even as his colleagues want him as the third man necessary for committing bank heists.  Bowie meets Keetchie, the daughter of the guy they're hiding out with, and they begin to fall for one another.

After the three convicts pull another heist, Bowie and Keetchie go on the lam together, splitting off for the other two.  And, of course, things get complicated as the two bounce across the middle of America trying to keep ahead of both criminals and the law.

In many ways, They Live By Night is ground zero for the films that would come after it.  Bonnie and Clyde.  Badlands.   Hell, even Gun Crazy is a funhouse mirror version of this movie in which morals are turned upside down.   

Farley Granger who plays Bowie would also appear most famously in Hitchcock's Rope and Strangers on a Train.  And you can see why Ray wanted him in the film.  He's got a certain innocence and you can believe he really does want to do what's right if he had the slightest clue what that looked like.  And, just as much, you can believe that Keetchie is the best thing that ever happened to him - maybe the only good thing.  Keetchie is played by Cathy O'Donnell, who had previously appeared in The Best Years of Our Lives (an amazing post-war film), and would later appear in Ben-Hur.

Because the story has been copied over and over in many forms since, there's something weirdly modern but all-too-familiar about the movie.  It's noir, so one can expect that things won't end well for the players involved, who can't make the right moves at the right times as forces bigger than them work against them.

Even the roadside wedding chapel bit reappears in a number of noir films - a sign of hope and purity made a little cheap and tawdry, something compromised about what's supposed to be a grand occasion.

Visually, the film has a few components that make it stand out, not the least of which is helicopter-mounted camera shots already in 1948, following cars blasting through prairies and dirt roads of rural America.

They Live By Night is a movie well worth checking out and I much more get how it fits in with the genre, especially in the non-urban branch of the genre, the hidden back alleys just off Main Street USA.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Crawford Watch: Humoresque (1946)



As mentioned, I'm listening a bit to the You Must Remember This podcast during my commute, and moved on to a 6 episode run on Joan Crawford.  One of the topics covered toward the end of the series is how much of an impact Mommie Dearest (starring Faye Dunaway as a cartoonish Crawford) had on the popular conception of Joan Crawford, surpassing the image the actress had worked tirelessly for decades to make herself a star and retain her star status for decades past those of her contemporaries.

Humoresque (1946) should probably be thought of as a John Garfield picture, first and foremost.  He's certainly got the most screentime and the longest character arc.  The actions of the other characters in the film are focused upon what focused on their relationship to Garfield.

He plays Paul Boray, a violinist who rose from working-class roots in the streets of New York to become a national sensation within the high-class world of classical performance.  The film is a melodrama, no doubt, and an examination of a man of extraordinary talent and passion and the women in his life, including the girl-next-door, his mother and the wealthy society woman who elevates him from nothing to star status, but who carries an incredible amount of baggage.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Noir Watch: Road House (1948)




Before all of you get excited, I did not watch the Patrick Swayze movie of the same name.  So settle the hell down.

Instead, I spent part of my Saturday watching the Ida Lupino starring noir, Road House (1948).  And, coincidentally, I finished the movie, looked at facebook and the Film Noir Foundation informed me that it was Lupino's birthday.  So, happy birthday, Ida.

I'd heard some good things about Road House, and I'm becoming a bit of a fan of Lupino.  Add in that the cast included Richard Widmark in crazy-villain mode, and it was one of my two rentals from Vulcan Video on Friday night.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Watch: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


I've seen Miracle on 34th Street (1947) probably a dozen times, so it seems unlikely I haven't written it up before.  If you've never watched it, or the 1990's version, you should know that the 1990's version is mostly a treacly, charmless exercise in unearned sentimentality.  Which is weird, because the cast is pretty good, so you have to just dislike the changes to the story and the bland direction.