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Noirvember Challenge (Official, November 2022)

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blocho
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Noirvember Challenge (Official, November 2022)

#1

Post by blocho »

Noirvember Challenge

Image
Desert Fury, 1947
“As the Depression shattered broad strata of the dream-addicted Los Angeles middle classes, it also gathered together in Hollywood an extraordinary colony of hardboiled American novelists and anti-fascist European exiles. Together they radically reworked the metaphorical figure of the city using the crisis of the middle class (rarely the workers or the poor) to expose how the dream had become nightmare.”
- Mike Davis, City of Quartz

Welcome to Noirvember -- an alluring but deadly month when the surface splendor of modern life erodes until you can see the moral decadence lying beneath.

Goal:
Watch noirs. Discuss them.

Rules:
- I leave eligibility up to the discretion of participants. I ask only for good-faith submissions and the understanding that not all crime movies are noirs.
- Challenge runs from November 1, 2022 to November 30, 2022.
- A feature film (at least 40 minutes) counts as one point.
- 80 minutes of short films or miniseries/TV episodes counts as one point.
- Films/episodes must be watched one at a time, at single speed (not sped up), and in their entirety.
- Not a rule but a request: When you post what you have watched, please include your reaction or at least a rating so that other people can learn about movies they might not know about. Also, the challenge is more fun and interesting when discussion is ample.

Stats & Formatting:
- Title (Year) is the preferred format.
- Don't edit posts to include new movies you've watched. Always make new posts.

Previous Editions:
2011 - Led by ormazd with 115 points
2013 - Led by WalterNeff with 109 points
2014 - Led by frbrown with 84 points
2015 - Led by PeacefulAnarchy with 111 points
2016 - Led by flavo5000 with 96 points
2017 - Led by WalterNeff with 160 points
2018 - Led by Simba63 with 122 points
2019 - Led by flavo5000 with 147 points
2020 - Led by WalterNeff with 156 points
2021 - Led by flavo5000 with 121 points

Official Lists:
IMDb Top 50 Film-Noir
TSPDT 100 Essential Noir Films
TSPDT 1000 Noir Films

Other Links:
Discussion of non-American film noir

Bonus Challenge - Directors
See one movie directed by each of the 20 notable noir directors listed below. Once you have seen all 20, you win the challenge. Indicate your choice in the same manner as the following notation:
3. Road House (1948) #JeanNegulesco
4. Confession (1955) #KenHughes
Directors
Alfred Hitchcock
Jean Negulesco
Robert Siodmak
Fritz Lang
Robert Wise
Anthony Mann
John Farrow
Nicholas Ray
Joseph H. Lewis
Joseph Losey
Phil Karlson
Richard Fleischer
Don Siegel
Lewis Allen
William Castle
Jean-Pierre Melville
Claude Chabrol
Basil Dearden
Ken Hughes
Terence Fisher


Scoreboard
RankParticipant# of PointsBonus Challenge - Directors
1WalterNeff122---
2flavo50008620 (Completed!)
3Traveller74---
4airdolll657
5maxwelldeux6020 (Completed!)
6Good_Will_Harding43---
6gunnar4310
8frbrown426
9ororama378
9OldAle1375
11Silga342
11burneyfan342
13Fergenaprido3220 (Completed!)
14sol2820 (Completed!)
15klaus7820---
16DudeLanez191
17jdidaco18---
17RogerTheMovieManiac88182
19AB537163
20monclivie13---
21beasterne112
21blocho112
23Hunziker91
23Lonewolf20039---
25Arkantos83
26jonas2k6---
27VincentPrice4---
28kongs_speech2---
28Minkin2---
301SO1---
Last edited by blocho on November 29th, 2022, 1:01 am, edited 21 times in total.
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#2

Post by gunnar »

I'm 4 away from platinum on the IMDb Film Noir list and 42 away from platinum on the TSPDT 100 Essential Noirs list so I'll try to reach both of those goals plus maybe a few extra.
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#3

Post by 3eyes »

as most of you know, I don't get the love for noir but I do have some faves - my TV is broken and my laptop has no sound, but if either gets fixed I might watch a few. (ipad works)
:run: STILL the Gaffer!
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#4

Post by airdolll »

I'll join but I don't know if I'll end up watching many, didn't realize that the Eastern European challenge would be running alongside and I'm also interested in that one...

A request: could we have this thread - viewtopic.php?p=783987#p783987 - linked in the OP for quick access? I'd like to use it as a reference, and maybe more people would like to do that too, or add their own recommendations.
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#5

Post by blocho »

airdolll wrote: October 31st, 2022, 5:09 pm A request: could we have this thread - viewtopic.php?p=783987#p783987 - linked in the OP for quick access? I'd like to use it as a reference, and maybe more people would like to do that too, or add their own recommendations.
Sure, no problem.
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#6

Post by burneyfan »

I'm in, going for one noir a day, though my randomizer might pick a few more by chance.
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#7

Post by sol »

Well, this is a weird film to open the challenge with, but as per the OP, this is a good-faith submission. Thanks for hosting, blocho.

1. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020)

Image

An experimental film that, true to the title though, is best thought of as a rebus puzzle where nothing is straightforward. While a bit frustrating, the film is such an amazing visual feast that immersion comes easily. The movie is mostly rotoscope animated with unusual supersaturated colours. The project has a noir vibe too with men in hats and overcoats, but with intense red, blues, oranges and pinks, the whole thing almost appears painted pop art in style.

Not looking noirish enough yet? Here are some other screenshots:
Spoiler
Image
Image
Image
It's a noir in crazy colours! :woot:
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#8

Post by sol »

Spoiler
1. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020)
2. You Only Live Once (1937) #FritzLang

Image

Henry Fonda excels in the lead role here with his every frustration and longing sigh heartfelt, especially as he is re-arrested for a crime that he did not commit, and some of the best scenes involve Fonda brewing in jail with his bitterness towards the world gradually getting to him. Tensions truly simmer in amazingly fog-filled climax at the jail (see above), and the disappointment here is how long it continues after this, becoming melodramatic in the process.
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#9

Post by Good_Will_Harding »

I'm in! I probably won't get to nearly as many as the October challenge, and there might be a few repeats from previous years, but I'll still give this an honest go.
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#10

Post by sol »

Spoiler
1. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020)
2. You Only Live Once (1937) #FritzLang
3. Pool of London (1951) #BasilDearden

Image

While both male leads here do fine with their roles and have interesting tales of their own, the film's juggling of what is essentially two separate plots never quite felt right to me. The two stories eventually converge, but it felt jarring whenever the movie switched between the two sailors, especially given how different their adventures are. The heist in the film is certainly gripping and exciting either way, especially as things do not exactly go to plan.
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#11

Post by Arkantos »

I'm in. Thanks for hosting, blocho

1. Out of the Past (1947)

I gave this one a 3/5. I liked Mitchum but, I dunno, I couldn't quite get as invested in this film as I'd have wanted to.
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#13

Post by jonas2k »

I'm in, aiming for at least 15 movies this time
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#14

Post by Traveller »

Gonna aim for Bronze on the bigger list (56 left), and maybe some more.

01. Strange Impersonation (1946) - 5/10
02. Strange Bargain (1949) - 6/10
03. The Clay Pigeon (1949) - 4/10
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But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!
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#15

Post by Silga »

1. The Face Behind the Mask (Robert Florey, 1941) 8/10
2. Among the Living (Stuart Heisler, 1941) 7/10

The Face Behind the Mask is wonderful and exciting film! There are two scenes that feel reminiscent of those in Tim Burton's Batman and Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. Maybe Burton and Coppola also saw this great film featuring a masterful performance by Peter Lorre.
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#16

Post by klaus78 »

1. Black Angel (1946) 6/10
2. The Dark Corner (1946) 7/10
3. Desperate (1947) 5/10

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#17

Post by burneyfan »

01. Strange Fascination -- Haas, 1952 -- 6.5/10

#488 on TSPDT Noir 1000. Haas is a concert pianist brought low by a femme fatale.

I completely respect sol's view on Pool of London -- I think he's got great taste -- but personally, I find Pool of London one of the most underrated, lesser-known British noirs, and highly recommend it, along with The Informers (Annakin, 1963) and Nowhere to Go (Dearden, 1958). (There are plenty of other great British noirs, but I tend to think of these three as particularly underseen for how good they are...)
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#18

Post by jonas2k »

1. Betrayed (1988)
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#19

Post by OldAle1 »

burneyfan wrote: November 1st, 2022, 7:39 pm 01. Strange Fascination -- Haas, 1952 -- 6.5/10

#488 on TSPDT Noir 1000. Haas is a concert pianist brought low by a femme fatale.

I completely respect sol's view on Pool of London -- I think he's got great taste -- but personally, I find Pool of London one of the most underrated, lesser-known British noirs, and highly recommend it, along with The Informers (Annakin, 1963) and Nowhere to Go (Dearden, 1958). (There are plenty of other great British noirs, but I tend to think of these three as particularly underseen for how good they are...)
Agree with you on Pool of London; only vaguely aware of the other two you mention but I may get to them this month as I plan to focus on 50s-60s stuff instead of going with my usual start-at-the-beginning approach.
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#20

Post by Good_Will_Harding »

1. Crime Doctor (1943)

A decent kickoff to this year's challenge. I liked the premise and it was paced pretty well, but on the whole this didn't quite get its hooks into me with as much ease as most of the earlier noirs I've seen were able to.

2. Swamp Water (1941)

Really intriguing and visually accomplished, with the titular swamp setting helping this stand out and keep things varied on an aesthetic level. I had apparently seen this before and rated it on IMDB already, but had practically no recollection of it. In any case, this was a nice refresher, thanks in large part to some accomplished directing from Jean Renoir.
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#21

Post by frbrown »

1. Backfire (1950)

Nicely convoluted plot, with a lot of flashbacks and a high body count. Good start to the challenge.
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#22

Post by frbrown »

OldAle1 wrote: November 1st, 2022, 7:54 pm
burneyfan wrote: November 1st, 2022, 7:39 pm I completely respect sol's view on Pool of London -- I think he's got great taste -- but personally, I find Pool of London one of the most underrated, lesser-known British noirs, and highly recommend it, along with The Informers (Annakin, 1963) and Nowhere to Go (Dearden, 1958). (There are plenty of other great British noirs, but I tend to think of these three as particularly underseen for how good they are...)
Agree with you on Pool of London; only vaguely aware of the other two you mention but I may get to them this month

Not familiar with The Informers, but let me add another recommendation for Nowhere to Go

A few surviving screenshots from when I watched it years ago
viewtopic.php?t=2252&start=520#p350974
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#23

Post by WalterNeff »

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir + ICM Forum's 500<400

1. L'horloger de Saint-Paul (1974) A watchmaker's son becomes a murderer, so he wants to understand what makes him tick.
2. Le septième juré (1962) After a crime of passion, a murderer becomes the seventh juror judging an innocent man for the crime he committed.
3. L'oeil du malin (1962) Journalist tries to seduce the wife of a successful author, but it doesn't go quite as expected.
4. Police (1985) Un flic falls for a small time drug dealer's girl, but she has other plans
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#24

Post by sol »

OldAle1 wrote: November 1st, 2022, 7:54 pm
burneyfan wrote: November 1st, 2022, 7:39 pm I completely respect sol's view on Pool of London -- I think he's got great taste -- but personally, I find Pool of London one of the most underrated, lesser-known British noirs, and highly recommend it, along with The Informers (Annakin, 1963) and Nowhere to Go (Dearden, 1958). (There are plenty of other great British noirs, but I tend to think of these three as particularly underseen for how good they are...)
Agree with you on Pool of London; only vaguely aware of the other two you mention but I may get to them this month
Pool of London was a film that took me ages (years) to track down, and knowing how highly regarded it was around here, and knowing how good Basil Dearden's films can be, it was probably an inevitable disappointment with my anticipation being so high. I think I might have liked it more if I knew beforehand that it was going to constantly jump between two parallel plotlines, and maybe knowing that, it would work better for me upon revision. As it is though, I unfortunately found the film more frustrating than I would have liked it, and I wouldn't place it on the same level as the stuff that Dearden was making in the 1960s and late 50s, or The Man Who Haunted Himself, which is my favourite Dearden film after Victim.
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#25

Post by Good_Will_Harding »

3. The 39 Steps (1935)

Early Hitch classic, which hardly needs any introduction from me. Probably my favorite of his post-silent/pre-USA career cul-de-sac, though there's a few others I need to revisit too. Maybe as future entries in this month's challenge? :think:
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1. Crime Doctor (1943)
2. Swamp Water (1941)
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#26

Post by burneyfan »

02. L'accident a.k.a. The Accident -- Gréville, 1963 -- 6.5/10

Listed on Lilarcor's Timeline of Pivotal French Film Noir (not sure if this is a personal list or taken from a book) and John Grant's Noirish encylopedia annex. Bonus noir today -- my randomizer picked it. Magali Noel is a principal's wife at a remote island school; she grows jealous when her husband gets involved with a new, pretty teacher. There's suspense and dark emotion, but it's quite sunny, or at least brightly overcast. Still, the remote location adds to the bitterness and tension.
Spoiler
01. Strange Fascination -- Haas, 1952 -- 6.5/10
Last edited by burneyfan on November 2nd, 2022, 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#27

Post by DudeLanez »

1. One False Move (1992, Carl Franklin) 6,5/10
2. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995, Carl Franklin) 6/10
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#28

Post by VincentPrice »

1. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers-1946: 9/10

Not sure any actress was as great at portraying absolutely heartless women like Stanwyck was, that chick could get a man to kill his own mom if she wanted to.

And that ending is something else, gotta love that old Hollywood rule of "No crime goes unpunished".
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#29

Post by blocho »

WalterNeff wrote: November 1st, 2022, 3:46 pm I'm in, of course!
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#30

Post by gunnar »

1 - D.O.A. (1949) - 7.5/10 - A man has been murdered. He just hasn't died yet. Frank Bigelow walks into a police station and tells the story of how he solved his own murder. A good twist on the genre and a solid film

2 - He Walked by Night (1948) - 6.5/10 - A police procedural about the hunt for a man who shot a cop. They use a variety of investigative techniques to track him down. It wasn't bad, but you never really get to know the villain.
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#31

Post by blocho »

1. Cry of the City (1948) #RobertSiodmak
What an immense pleasure it is to watch a compelling, sophisticated noir like this. This is unusually slow-paced for the genre. Even the tense sequences take their time to build excitement. But the focus is really on developing the characters and the tangled themes of the story. Though Victor Mature, as usual, is solid as the cop, this movie really belongs to Richard Conte. He’s one of the superlative noir actors, and I’ve never seen him give a better performance. As for the direction, Siodmak said this wasn’t one of his better efforts, but I respectfully disagree. He has an eye for the smaller details. Like the sequence beginning below at 1:05:17. Most directors would have just had the woman answer the door immediately. Siodmak knows how to make the moment special.



As an aside, although this movie was released 74 years ago, two of the supporting actors are still living. Tommy Cook, who plays Conte’s younger brother, is 90 and recently returned to acting after 35 years. And Debra Paget, who made her debut in this movie as Conte’s love interest (it’s kinda weird that she played that role when she was 14).
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#32

Post by ororama »

1. The Big Easy (1986) 100 min.
One of my favorites. Great cast, probably the best music ever in a noir.
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#33

Post by Arkantos »

2. The Glass Key (1942)

Started off pretty fun with a defenestration, but overall it seemed a pretty paint-by-numbers entry in the genre.
Spoiler
1. Out of the Past (1947, Jacques Tourneur)
2. The Glass Key (1942, Stuart Heisler)
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#34

Post by Hunziker »

1. Lady in the Death House (1944)
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#35

Post by airdolll »

sol wrote: November 1st, 2022, 9:03 am Well, this is a weird film to open the challenge with, but as per the OP, this is a good-faith submission. Thanks for hosting, blocho.

1. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020)
Thank you sol! This looks really good, I hope it will become available to me soon.

1. Beauty and the Dogs | Aala Kaf Ifrit (2017)

My first film to kick off this challenge is this Tunisian forum favorite. Made me think much more of The Death of Mr Lazarescu than of noir aesthetics, both being a burocratic nightmare contained in one single night, but the themes of hopelessness and corruption are definitely there. It's a very bold and powerful film with constant tension and so much at stake. Good performances especially from Mariam Al Ferjani.

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#36

Post by sol »

airdolll wrote: November 2nd, 2022, 9:14 am
sol wrote: November 1st, 2022, 9:03 am Well, this is a weird film to open the challenge with, but as per the OP, this is a good-faith submission. Thanks for hosting, blocho.

1. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020)
Thank you sol! This looks really good, I hope it will become available to me soon.
I forget which country you're in, but it's streaming on Mubi in many countries right now: https://whatsonmubi.com/film/accidental ... tery-rebus

Hope you like it. Not an "easy" film but an incredibly interesting one for sure. Recommended for fans of experimental cinema and noir.
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#37

Post by sol »

Spoiler
1. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020)
2. You Only Live Once (1937) #FritzLang
3. Pool of London (1951) #BasilDearden
4. The Whistlers (2019)

Image

Revolving around the experiences of a corrupt cop who has to learn a whistling language to covertly communicate, this Romanian neo-noir sounded interesting to me on paper. The language learning though is pretty much a secondary concern though, which is a shame because I wanted to know more about the language rather than work out who is double-crossing who and why the corrupt cop is so unfazed about his mother donating his stolen money.
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#38

Post by Good_Will_Harding »

4. The Stranger (1946)

First saw this about a decade ago, back in college. I remember liking it a lot back then and still found it very strong now. In terms of the film noirs of Orson Welles, I'd place this behind Touch of Evil, but far ahead of The Lady from Shanghai, although this one has less immediately clear evidence of studio meddling to break up and hinder the viewing experience.
Pinot Noir
1. Crime Doctor (1943)
2. Swamp Water (1941)
3. The 39 Steps (1935)
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#39

Post by OldAle1 »

As usual I'm going to go mostly chronologically, but this year I'm starting with the mid-50s and going forward.

1. Female Jungle (Bruno VeSota, 1955)
2. A Bullet for Joey (Lewis Allen, 1955) #LewisAllen

Image

That image - and most I could choose - give you a good idea of the visual quality on display here - it's DARK! One of the darkest feature films I can remember seeing, actually, with almost the whole film shot at night and with apparently as little light as possible. This might normally be seen as a good thing for "film noir" and indeed I liked the deep shadows and the frames where only the light under a doorway could be seen and such - and DP Elwood Bredell was a reliable noir cinematographer who shot The Killers and Phantom Lady among others - but it's also clear that much of the darkness here is used to disguise the very low budget sets here, and in the end it kind of overpowers the narrative a bit, making some scenes almost unintelligible. So watch a decent copy and turn the lights off! As to that narrative, it's an all right murder-with-many-suspects story. A beautiful young starlet is found dead outside a club - was it the drunken cop (Lawrence Tierney) who did it? Or the snotty, wealthy critic and promoter (John Carradine) who had been seen fighting with her earlier? Then there's the caricature artist (Burt Kaiser - who also co-wrote the screenplay with the director) - how does he fit into it? And why is Jayne Mansfield (in her first role) on the scene? None of it is particularly convincing but Tierney and Carradine are always fun to watch and the resolution was amusing for seeming to come out of nowhere. Director/writer (and bit-part actor here as well) VeSota was a Roger Corman associate from this period on through the 60s but this film exhibits little of Corman's usual flair in his crime films. Overall, pretty average.

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But it's better than A Bullet for Joey, though for the first half or maybe 2/3 this bigger-budgeted, widescreen example seems like it's going to add up to something a bit more special than it does. You would think that with two of the absolute titans of American crime films, going back to the pre-code days, in Edward G. Robinson and George Raft, that you couldn't go wrong, but you'd be mistaken. Robinson is a Montreal police inspector trying to figure out a couple of murders that at first seem unrelated, which eventually lead him to a physicist (George Dolenz) and a plot involving stealing atomic secrets, with criminals including Raft and Audrey Totter instigating a complex scheme to get ahold of said scientist and smuggle him out of the country or get his secrets. When Robinson is on the screen it's reasonably fun - the guy was always professional and always delivered; Raft on the other hand is at his dullest (which is saying something) and neither Totter nor most of the rest of the cast seem all that committed either. Still it goes along reasonably well until the last act, which seems very slapdash and actually looks visually cheaper than the rest of the film - like they ran out of money or something. In the end it becomes obvious where it's going and I just didn't give a crap. Some of the exteriors were shot in Montreal but the film only has one Québec actor in a small role and doesn't really make any attempt to feel authentic.

A mediocre start, let's hope it's uphill from here.
Last edited by OldAle1 on November 2nd, 2022, 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion..
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flavo5000
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#40

Post by flavo5000 »

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1. Railroaded! (Anthony Mann, 1947)
List: TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films #164

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2. Shade (Damian Nieman, 2003)
List: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir: The Essential Reference Guide

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3. The Midnight Story (Joseph Pevney, 1957)
List: TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films #745

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4. The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Francis D. Lyon, 1969)
List: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir: The Essential Reference Guide
It's always a dame...
1. Railroaded! (Anthony Mann, 1947)
2. Shade (Damian Nieman, 2003)
3. The Midnight Story (Joseph Pevney, 1957)
4. The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Francis D. Lyon, 1969)
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