A Threat to Justice Everywhere

A Threat to Justice Everywhere

16

Nov

2014

When I went to sleep last night, Ferguson, Missouri was on fire.The (highly unusual) decision of a grand jury not to bring Officer Darren Wilson up on charges stemming from his killing of a young black man named Michael Brown was, while not unexpected -- one could, indeed, infer from its timing as well as the decision to ra ...
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Noirvember: Follow Me Quietly

Noirvember:  <i>Follow Me Quietly</i>

14

Nov

2014

Everybody's got to start somewhere.  Richard Fleischer, who would become a Hollywood fixture without ever reaching star status among directors, had a very curious beginning to his career:  after the usual short subjects, he directed a critically acclaimed WWII documentary, a tight little noir picture written by a young Ro ...
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Noirvember: Blonde Ice

Noirvember:  <i>Blonde Ice</i>

12

Nov

2014

Blonde Ice announces right off the bat what kind of movie it's going to be when we drop in on the wedding of society reporter Claire Cummings (Leslie Brooks) to well-heeled Carl Hanneman (John Holland).  A handful of her male co-workers at the newspaper are wondering how a woman who was in the steno pool only a few years ...
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Noirvember: High Wall

Noirvember:  <i>High Wall</i>

10

Nov

2014

Portraying insanity in the movies is a pretty tricky proposition, particularly when it comes to protagonists.  You want to make your characters crazy enough to be interesting to the audience, but not so vividly mad that they become impossible to identify with, or that they seem to be cruel caricatures of the mentally ill t ...
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Noirvember: Nightfall

Noirvember:  <i>Nightfall</i>

8

Nov

2014

Nightfall was David Goodis' metier.  It was his primary compositional material, his inspiration, his preferred period to work.  Of all the noir writers of the classic period, he was perhaps the darkest; while his books didn't feature the raw, violent edges or the grotesque details of Jim Thompson, no one could touch him f ...
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Noirvember: Hell’s Half Acre

Noirvember:  <i>Hell’s Half Acre</i>

6

Nov

2014

Today's Noirvember entry carries on a few themes from the last review of The Prowler:  the presence of Evelyn Keyes (who I am assured ran a kicky newspaper column in the 1980s in Los Angeles full of takes on debauched Hollywood), the use of exotic locations (it's the only classic-period noir I can think of that takes plac ...
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Noirvember: The Prowler

Noirvember:  <i>The Prowler</i>

4

Nov

2014

The Prowler, a taut and cruel thriller that's both insightful and deeply disturbing, begins with an unsettling scene that can't help but remind viewers who have seen both of Michael Powell's Peeping Tom:  Susan Gilvray (Evelyn Keyes) is preening in front of her vanity when she spots a creep lurking outside her bathroom ...
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Noirvember: The Man Who Cheated Himself

Noirvember:  <i>The Man Who Cheated Himself</i>

2

Nov

2014

If nothing else, The Man Who Cheated Himself -- released at Christmas in 1950 and capably directed by Felix Feist -- is a good reminder of what, exactly, most noir films were supposed to be:  cheaply made B-grade crime pictures to be stuck in second or third place before the main attraction.  Although it was helmed by J ...
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