Showing posts with label lupino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lupino. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Noir Watch: While the City Sleeps (1956)



Watched:  07/30/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1950's

I'm always going to support a movie that features Ida Lupino slinging back drinks, dropping snappy dialog and not exactly being coy about her interests.  She's, however, just one of many name talents in While the City Sleeps (1956), an ensemble drama about the women and men at work in a major metropolitan newspaper.  Directed by Fritz Lang, this one features:  Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Thomas Mitchell, John Drew Barrymore, Sally Forrest and more, all bringing their A-game and making for a fun, unsentimental look at how the sausage is made in the big news game.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Noir/ Lupino Watch: On Dangerous Ground (1951)


Watched:  07/10/2019
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950s

If I were to buy this movie on Bluray (and it's Lupino, so don't count me out), I would wish it had Eddie Muller's conversations which bookended the showing on Noir Alley.  Muller says he's doing "barroom, not classroom", but I'll argue that by showing a wide variety of films on Noir Alley and talking about why we should pay attention, discussing what happened during production, etc... and not just lauding whatever it is we're about to see, Noir Alley is one of the best movie-watching experiences and educations you can hope for.  And, yeah, he makes it all as casual as a talk over cocktails. 

On Dangerous Ground (1951) is directed by Nicholas Ray and stars two of my favorite denizens of Noir Alley, Ida Lupino* and Robert Ryan (here wearing a coat and hat and a tough cops face in a way I wish with all my heart I could pull off).  I'd meant to watch it some time ago, and I can't recall why it fell off the list - but now was the time!  Muller certainly discussed details of the film and production, but his real focus was on the Bernard Herrmann score.  And it is very, very much a Bernard Herrmann score, which is almost off to see against an RKO b&w cop picture. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Seafaring Watch: The Sea Wolf (1941)


Watched:  06/21/2019
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1940's

For some reason folks try to file this movie under "noir", and... maybe...?  But I'm going to just go ahead and say "drama".  I'm not willing to do mental the work to turn a Jack London story on a boat into a noir.

I actually broke one of my own rules and purchased this BluRay a couple of months ago having had never seen the movie.  Honestly, I looked at the starring names, looked at the source material and the name of the director and figured "I've spent money on far worse films".

A wildly timely movie - perhaps depressingly so - as the original story by novelist Jack London was adapted to reflect the times.  A man on the run played by John Garfield joins up with a ship (agreeing after almost getting shanghied).  Meanwhile, an escaped convict (Lupino) is hiding on a ferry to San Francisco when it's struck by a steamship.  She and a writer (Knox) are rescued by the crew of The Ghost, but with no intention of setting them back to land.  The Ghost is a 1900-era pirate ship, and those aboard are a crew of the worst of society, who hate themselves almost as much as they hate each other (and assume the worst in everyone).

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Noir City Austin - Day 2: "City That Never Sleeps" (1953) & "Private Hell 36" (1954)






Watched:  05/18/2019
Format:  Noir City Austin at Alamo Ritz
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

Long ago I had purchased tickets to see a baseball game in the evening, so I was only scheduled to see two films for Noir City Austin, Day 2.

The theme for 2019 was a follow up on 2018, which was Noir in the 1940's, year-by-year.  This 10 film cycle was tracing noir as we left the 1940's and how and why the films changed as we hit the 1950's as cultural issues crept into the films and television competed with the big screen and informed the lives of characters on screen.  And, by the mid-to-late 1950's, began influencing how movies were shot so they'd work on the television sets of the era as Hollywood looked to cash in on the secondary income stream.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Noir Watch: The Hitch-Hiker (1953)


Watched:  02/25/2019
Format:  BluRay from Kino Lorber
Viewing:  first
Decade:  1950's

I told myself that this year I was going to watch all of the films I could obtain which were directed by Ms. Ida Lupino.

I primarily know Ida Lupino as an actor who sort of radiates a certain razor sharp intellect in roles as hero or villain, whether she's vicious or kind.  She's up there in my list of actors whose films I'll give a go even if the movie isn't to my taste.*

But as she is not *in* the movies she directs (understandably), I've not gotten around to seeing what she did standing behind the lens (less understandably).  Of the films, the most famous is likely the 1953 noir thriller, The Hitch-Hiker, which I recently picked up as a BluRay edition released by Kino Lorber, made from a restoration print struck at the Library of Congress.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Ida Lupino at 101


Today marks what would have been the 101st birthday of screen actor, director and producer Ida Lupino.  Ida Lupino passed in 1995.

I first came to note Lupino in High Sierra, I believe (I can't recall anymore), and have gone on to try and watch whatever I see going by on TCM.  Yes, she's a terrific actor and has a presence that stills like the one above don't always capture.  There's an intelligence to her work that - when I learned she had gone on to do work behind the camera and established her own production company, just sort of made sense.  She had the misfortune of being a woman born two or three decades too early, who still managed to carve out a place for herself in a field controlled by men.

In 2018, a few retrospectives took place honoring her work and legacy.  Did I watch any of her films from these retrospectives on my own time?  No.  Something I need to rectify.

But I am glad that Lupino's reputation is getting elevated and the strides she made during her career are being seen by today's film fans and makers.

Anyway, I hereby pledge that before Ms. Lupino's 102nd, and pending availability, I will watch the following projects which she directed:


  • Never Fear (1950)
  • Outrage (1950)
  • Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951)
  • On Dangerous Ground (1951)
  • The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
  • The Bigamist (1953)
  • The Twilight Zone: The Masks (1964)

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?"

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.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Birthday, Ida Lupino


Today is the birthday of Ida Lupino, born this day in 1918.

If you've never heard of Lupino, now is the time to look her up.  An actress from toddlerhood, Lupino appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, alongside Bogart (High Sierra) and a host of other notables, and was wildly talented, but somehow never passed into modern ideas of classic-film royalty.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Noir Suspense Watch: Beware, My Lovely (1952)


There's nothing much complicated about Beware, My Lovely (1952).  But it works.

Based on a short story and play by the same person who wrote the screenplay, Mel Dinelli, the movie takes place in 1918 in the wake of WWI.  Ida Lupino plays a war widow who now runs a boarding house (so, don't actually expect to see Lupino's plunging neckline as in the poster, which... tamp it back a bit, poster artist.).  Robert Ryan, an actor who I like more and more with every movie, is a day-laborer she's hired to get some cleaning and work done around her gigantic Queen Anne-style house.

Oh, and he's totally crazy.  Memory lapses and a desire to kill perfectly nice ladies seems to be the overriding set of symptoms of whatever's ailing him.  So, it's more or less a good hour of Lupino realizing this dude is going to kill her and keeping herself alive by managing to stay a step ahead of him and trying to tell her idiotic neighbors that this dude is going to kill her.

It's pure suspense, has a brief running time and Lupino and Ryan, so what's not to like?

It does seem this movie has been made over and over, with a recent example being the Idris Elba/ Taraji Henson film, No Good Deed (2014).  But, you know, it's a pretty primal fear, so it's inherently interesting.  I mean, every time Jamie has to let someone into the house to fix the AC or whatever, I'm always like "oh gosh, what if they do something to my comics?".

Poor, helpless comics.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Noir Watch: They Drive By Night (1940)


Released in that precarious period as the Depression wore on, but while America hadn't yet stepped up and become involved in the wars brewing across the rest of the planet, They Drive By Night (1940) sits at an interesting crossroads.  It certainly features the sort of crime-story from the pulps of the 20's and 30's, but doesn't delve as deeply into moral ambiguity of the post-war film noir pictures nor a good Chandler or Hammett story.

Even the actors are at an interesting period in their careers.  Raft plays the lead and Bogart takes the back seat as his brother, Bogart becoming Hollywood royalty only a year later with The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca in 1942.  Raft certainly continued on as a popular actor for some time, but only one would remain a household name.  Ann Sheridan was also very popular during the era, but Lupino was just breaking out from the blonde dye and good-girl roles she'd been playing.  And she's really damn good here in a Femme Fatale role that casts the movie squarely into the categorization of film noir, even if it's a bit early for the genre (no doubt a version of this in the 1950's would have allowed Raft and Lupino to knock-boots off screen).

Friday, April 17, 2015

SW Watches: While the City Sleeps (1956)

I DVR'd While the City Sleeps (1956) off of TCM because I saw it starred Rhonda Fleming and Ida Lupino, and that Dana Andrews is no slouch.  But I like Lupino in particular, and while her part is not gigantic in this movie, as always, she nails it.  And, hey, it also features Vincent Price in another playboy-layabout role, because that's more or less what he always did until he got recast as the master of horror.

Also, turns out this was directed by the always terrific Fritz Lang, and was one of his final projects as a director.

Rhonda Fleming = Production Value


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Noir Watch: Women's Prison (1955)

I think we're all friends here, and so it's in that spirit that I confess to a great love of the film Reform School Girls (1986).  It's high 80's cheese, completely self-aware, and has one of the most satisfying conclusions in cinema history.  If you haven't seen it, you likely believe it's some sort of pay cable late night hoo-hah, but it's a pretty straight up prison movie played for camp and some (intentionally) cheap thrills.

Man, someone was trying to sell a much racier movie than the one delivered.

Neither prison movies nor women's prison movies are something I seek out, and I was surprised that Eddie Muller had included a whole section on prison flicks in his book, Dark City.  I'm not going to argue with Muller over how or why prison films are considered part of the genre, so there you are.  And as this film was included in a set of "Bad Girls of Film Noir", I'm just going to deal.