Showing posts with label 1950's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1950's. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2020

Noir Watch: The Crimson Kimono (1959)



Watched:  05/24/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Samuel Fuller

One of the deep dives I'm likely to do in the next couple of years is dive into the filmography of director Samuel Fuller.  I've never seen a Fuller film I didn't like *a lot*.  Pickup on South Street, Shock Corridor, The Naked Kiss...  all solid films.  A while back The Crimson Kimono (1959) played the Austin Noir City film festival, but I wasn't able to stay for the movie, and now I'm very mad at myself for not sticking around for the movie (I think Paul saw it). 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Noir Watch: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)



Watched:  05/01/2020
Format:  Noir Ally on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Fritz Lang

This one hadn't really been on my radar, but with Fritz Lang directing - his final American film, no less - and starring Dana Andrews, and both coming off the heels of a movie I thoroughly enjoy, While the City Sleeps, I saw no reason not to give it a spin.  In some ways, and from an elevator pitch angle, the plotting is very similar to 1963's Samuel Fuller directed Shock Corridor, but Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) is a different type of movie, even if the two films definitely share significant DNA.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Noir Watch: Night and the City (1950)



Watched:  04/30/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  2nd or 3rd
Decade:  1950
Director:  Jules Dassin

I've seen this movie before, and, if someone asked me what I think makes for a pure distillation of one of my definitions of "film noir", ie:  a character who is deeply in over their head because of a character flaw - you have Double Indemnity and you have Night and the City (1950).  And it's possible Night and the City is the even purer dose of the idea - because unlike Double Indemnity, there's no sex tangled up in the question - this is just a broken guy who, as Gene Tierney's character Mary says "You could have been anything. Anything. You had brains... ambition. You worked harder than any 10 men. But the wrong things. Always the wrong things..."

The only mistress in this movie, which absolutely does have the "good girl" in the form of Tierney waiting on our protagonist, is his own sense of destiny and overconfidence in his ability to play the grift. 

But, man, fate is a bitch.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

PODCAST: "The Killing" (1956) and "Asphalt Jungle" (1950) - Noir Watch! w/ JAL and Ryan



Watched:  04/03/2020 (Killing)/ 04/06/2020 (Asphalt)
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1950's
Directors:  Stanley Kubrick/ John Huston

More ways to listen

JAL and Ryan watch two noir classics. Both heists. Both starring Sterling Hayden. One directed by a young Stanley Kubrick, the other by John Huston. We dive into what makes them work, some terrific performances and which director was in his prime and which was sorting things out. It's a journey into movies that set the stage for every heist movie to come after.





Music:
Noir Watch Theme - The Unsuspected Main Theme - Franz Waxman
The Killing, Main and End Theme - Gerald Fried
The Asphalt Jungle Theme - Miklos Rosza


Noir Watch Playlist:


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Russell Watch: The French Line (1954)


Watched:  04/23/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director: Lloyd Bacon

Hoo-boy.  Apparently Howard Hughes realized, after loaning out Jane Russell to Fox for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1952) and watching them make a mint, *he* had a Jane Russell under contract at RKO that he didn't need to loan out at all.  So, he decided to make another splashy musical about Jane Russell on a boat headed for Paris all on his own.  And if people liked a bit of sexiness, he was going to shove Jane Russell into even sexier outfits!  And he'sdrelease the movie in 3D!  Jane Russell would be dancing and standing around as if she were in the room!  You guys get it?  wink wink nod nod need I say more?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Russell/ Noir Watch: The Las Vegas Story (1952)



Watched:  04/18/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director: Robert Stevenson

Pivoting from the exotic locale of Macao to the oasis in the desert that is Las Vegas, Nevada, Jane Russell drops Mitchum and picks up Victor Mature, Vincent Price and "the guy who will be a bad guy", Brad Dexter.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Noir/ Russell Watch: Macao (1952)


Watched:  04/15/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director: Josef von Sternberg/ Nicholas Ray


I've been trying to track this movie down for years.  Fortunately, this month on TCM, Jane Russell is Star of the Month on TCM.  And, in any circumstance, Jane Russell is just an excellent idea.

This one has not just Russell as a lounge singer, she co-stars with Robert Mitchum, with whom she was apparently pretty good pals.  It also has Thomas Gomez and Gloria Grahame in an oddly small role for her chops (this is five years after Crossfire and the same year she got an Oscar nom for The Bad and the Beautiful).   Throw in William Bendix (as one always should) and Brad Dexter, and you've got an interesting cast.  Not to mention the large cast of Asian and Asian-American extras and supporting roles.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pirate Watch: Against All Flags (1952)




Watched:  03/29/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  fourth
Decade:  1950's

Ah, Maureen O'Hara in technicolor as a pirate captain.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Musical Watch: It's Always Fair Weather (1955)


Watched:  03/23/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

This movie had a lot of things converge to recommend it.  It's from the same writing team that did On the Town from a few years prior, it was directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, it *starred* Gene Kelly, and, if I'm being honest, Cyd Charisse.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Lockdown St. Patrick's Day Watch: The Quiet Man (1952)


Watched:  03/17/2020
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1950's

Not to be weird about it, and no surprise to longtime readers, but Maureen O'Hara was a screen-crush for me since catching Miracle on 34th Street back in high school.  Watching The Quiet Man (1952) did nothing to slow that train down.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Western Watch: Shane (1953)


Watched:  03/02/2020
Format:  Alamo Mueller
Viewing:  Unknown - more than 5
Decade:  1950's

It was a delight to see Shane (1953) on the big screen at Alamo Mueller this evening with SimonUK.  Si had never seen it, so that was kind of cool. 

Back in 7th grade my Reading teacher, Ms. McDowell, had us read the original novel, and then we watched the movie.  I've been a fan ever since and am not objective in any way about Shane.  I will say, seeing it on the big screen was stunning - the Grand Tetons loom large in the background and Wyoming's magnificent landscapes provide epic sweep to the story. 

And while it's no mystery that Shane is largely about violence, the impact of the sound in the theater versus confined to my TV speakers provided an intensity to the film I wasn't expecting. 

If it's been a while or you've never seen it, give Shane a shot.  It's been endlessly ripped off and borrowed from, but the original holds up amazingly well.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Noir Watch: The Captive City (1952)



Watched:  01/26/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

The Hayes Era produced some interesting bedfellows between Hollywood and public officials.  Esepcially as we headed into the HUAC years and Hollywood watched as colleagues were dragged out in front of cameras or placed in rooms to testify, naming names.  An odd side-effect was the over-compensation and big hug some movies gave law enforcement in some movies as they attempted to illustrate the complicated scenarios the officials were on about.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Noir Watch: The Big Night (1951)



Watched:  01/20/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

A movie full of interesting ideas and what I'd give a solid B- for execution, The Big Night (1951) follows a sweet kid as he spends a long night trying to get back at the man who humiliated and beat his father in front of a crowd of people.

On his 16th birthday and believing himself to be entering the world of manhood, Georgie LaMain returns home to his father's Bar & Grill where he's met with a small, sad party made up by the tavern dwellers.  Moments after the candles are blown out on his cake - with little explanation - local sports writer Al Judge enters the place and orders Georgie's father from behind the bar and to remover his shirt.  He then beats him mercilessly with a cane and takes his leave.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Holiday Viewing: White Christmas (1954)


Watched:  12/21/2019
Format:  Netflix streaming
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1950's

I am pretty sure I've written up this movie a half-dozen times, because I watch it every year or two. 

I will say this for this viewing - the last time I watched it, I was watching a restored version, and I don't think that's what Netflix has.  And, it's weird.  The cast looks way rougher with the tint in the film.  Look for the restored version. 


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Noir Watch: Kansas CIty Confidential (1952)


Watched:  11/27/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

Somehow I'd never seen Kansas City Confidential (1952), but if I'd known it starred John Payne, Coleen Gray, Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam, I would have tried a lot harder to see it sooner.

A windy, twisty heist caper - this one is told from the outside as John Payne plays an ex-con who is accidentally/ sorta framed for a bank heist when masked robbers pull a job worth $1.2 million (that's about $11.6 million now), using a duplicate of his flower delivery van.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Noir Watch: The Harder They Fall (1956)



Watched:  10/20/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

Noir Alley host Eddie Muller knows a thing or three about boxing.  His father (the senior Eddie Muller) was a longtime sports writer for the Examiner, and a prominent boxing reporter.  As he said in talking about this movie - there are movies about boxers and which occur around boxing (Wise's The Set-Up is straight up a great film), but The Harder They Fall (1956) is *about* boxing.  And, hey, bonus, it's a really good movie.

The movie features a dynamite cast of actors pulling from old school and modern traditions, as well as former boxers and players from the boxing world all working from a tight script and with a terrific crew behind the camera.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Thriller Watch: A Kiss Before Dying (1956)




Watched:  09/30/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

I tell you kids, sometimes mid-century cinematic gender roles are a real killer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Hitch Watch: The Wrong Man (1956)



Watched:  08/21/2019
Format: TCM on DVR
Viewing: First
Decade:  1950's

I had no idea what this movie was about prior to giving it a watch, so real quick:

Directed by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, this is based on a true story (apparently?) of a musician who goes to his insurance company to see if he can take out on a loan his wife's life insurance for some dental work, only to be identified by the clerks as the man who committed two robberies of the company in the prior 9 months or so.  The police pick him up, assuring him that if he didn't do it, there's nothing to worry about, but in a line-up, he's identified by multiple witnesses (the robber also hit a few stores) and even his handwriting sample seems to match.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Noir Watch: In a Lonely Place (1950)



Watched:  08/02/2019
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  Second or third
Decade:  1950's

Nicholas Ray has an earned reputation as a director, if, for no other pop cultural reason than Rebel Without a Cause and - for noiristas - They Live By Night.  I hadn't realized, til watching the extras on this Crtierion disk, how much Ray's work helped spawn the thinking in Europe that led to auteur theory of film.  It's not a theory I necessarily subscribe to anymore, but like anything - some directors are better in general, are more attuned to their work and/ or manage to find work that better suits their sensibilities than other directors.  I do get excited when the names like Fritz Lang, Edward Dmytryk, Robert Wise and Jules Dassin (and many, many others) cross the screen.*

And, in some productions, those reputations as the driving force behind the movie makes sense.  There's no doubt whose movie you're watching when you're watching a Tarantino movie or a lot of Spike Lee's features, especially when they wrote the thing to begin with.