Get me started on film noir.

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Melvin Butterworth
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Get me started on film noir.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:59 pm

Required viewing? In what order? Why are the essentials the essentials?
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crumbsroom
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:08 pm

Sweet Smell of Success
Kiss Me Deadly
The Naked Kiss
Ministry of Fear
Sunset Blvd

All very different, all essential
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Takoma1
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:29 pm

If you are truly a beginner with film noir, I'd recommend this site (from TCM) about noir: http://noiralley.tcm.com/noir-101

My advice would also be to (1) not worry too much about whether or not a movie is noir. There can be some petty arguments about what movie is which genre. Don't get too fixated on that. (2) Watch what interests you first. Don't dive straight into Out of the Past if the plot doesn't sound interesting to you.

Some recommendations are:
Double Indemnity
The Maltese Falcon
Sunset Boulevard
The Big Sleep
Night of the Hunter
Notorious
Pickup on South Street
The Set-Up


From that list, The Big Sleep, Pickup on South Street, and Night of the Hunter are my personal favorites.
It's also worth noting that quite a few noirs have really decent remakes. For example, I really like both versions of The Killers, both the 50s and 70s versions. The Raymond Chandler/Dashiel Hammett books have quite a few versions of them, so just make sure you're watching the version you intended to watch.

Outside of the stuff from the 40s/50s, there are also some great neo-noirs to explore.
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crumbsroom
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:33 pm

Yes, The Big Sleep is amazing, and the best of all the great Bogart noirs.
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Evil Prevails
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Evil Prevails » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:26 pm

The motherfucking Third Man.
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ski petrol
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by ski petrol » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:46 pm

Sunset Blvd.
D.O.A.
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Jinnistan
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:07 pm

Postman Always Rings Twice
Lady From Shanghai
Touch of Evil
M
Laura
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
The Wrong Man
Shadow of a Doubt
Night and the City
The Naked City
Scarlet Street
Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
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Thief
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Thief » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:16 pm

Detour is not a perfect film, but it's really a perfect template of what film noir is.

Out of the Past is just an excellent film. I saw it about 2 years ago, and it has become one of my all-time favorites.
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ski petrol
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by ski petrol » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:00 pm

There's a Hungarian version of The Postman Always Rings Twice that is even more darker noir than any of the others I've seen. Try and track it down.
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Thief
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Thief » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:04 pm

Takoma mentioned neo-noirs, and I think that watching a couple of them might help ease you down the path of the classics. Stuff like LA Confidential or Chinatown? Maybe even Memento.
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ThatDarnMKS
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:24 pm

Gun Crazy
The Killers
Kiss Me Deadly
Gilda
Out of the Past
High Sierra
Melvin Butterworth
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:39 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I've seen neo-noir stuff, so I am looking the old-school stuff, particularly the earliest, best, and middling example that are good representative anecdotes.
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Wooley
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Wooley » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:21 am

Thief wrote:
Out of the Past is just an excellent film. I saw it about 2 years ago, and it has become one of my all-time favorites.
After Double Indemnity, this was the first one that came to mind.
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Wooley
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Wooley » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:23 am

Thief wrote:Takoma mentioned neo-noirs, and I think that watching a couple of them might help ease you down the path of the classics. Stuff like LA Confidential or Chinatown? Maybe even Memento.
Adding Body Heat to this.
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BL
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by BL » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:46 am

If you want a real primer for noir, you need to start with proto-noir films, namely German Expressionist and post-Expressionist movies. I'd start here:

Ze Germans:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Nosferatu
Metropolis
Faust
The Last Laugh
M

While hardly comprehensive, that should give you a basic sense of the stark lighting and seedy subject matter that Hollywood noir would eventually engage in. From there, you should proceed to the true noirs, starting with The Maltese Falcon, which is widely regarded as the first real entry in the genre:

The Maltese Falcon
Double Indemnity
Detour
The Big Sleep
Out of the Past
Gun Crazy
The Big Heat
Kiss Me Deadly
Touch of Evil

The French New Wave and its antecedents can't be ignored as a bridge to neo-Noir:

Rififi
Bob le Flambeur
Elevator to the Gallows
Breathless
Shoot the Piano Player
Alphaville

And neo-Noir itself:

The Long Goodbye
Chinatown
Night Moves
Body Heat
Blood Simple
L.A. Confidential
Memento

After that, you should be broadly familiar with the genre and completely equipped to put every other movie suggested here into context.
"It's OK to have beliefs, just don't believe in them." — Guy Ritchie
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Jinnistan
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:45 pm

I should point out that there's a small controversy in the noir-verse over whether or not Alfred Hitchcock should be considered "noir" or not. I'm pointing this out for the purposes of full disclosure. I, for one, think that these people are fools in sheep's clothing. This is why I added a disproportionate amount of Hitchcock in my list.

I also prefer to put Les Diaboliques in the noir category, although it is more frequently considered horror.
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Apex Predator
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:05 pm

BL already got you off to a good start on predecessors, although I'd toss in Fritz Lang's Destiny as another option. Although it's more on photography and mood than noir itself, it does capture some of its spirit.

Recommends for prime noir. Asterisks mean I haven't seen it, but I'd consider it prime material:
Laura
The Lady from Shanghai
The Maltese Falcon*
Double Indemnity*
Out of the Past*
Kiss Me Deadly*
Touch of Evil*
The Big Sleep*
Murder, My Sweet*
Gun Crazy*
Scarlet Street*
Mildred Pierce
The Third Man
The Big Heat*
Detour*
The Killers*
The Postman Always Rings Twice*

I'd toss some questions towards placing Sunset Boulevard as film noir. Although it deserves all its plaudits as a classic, I think this film is missing some key elements that I'd argue have to be in a film noir.

For modern noir, I'd toss in Kill Me Again. There's genuine chemistry between Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer that steams up the screen.

As for mediocre noir, might I suggest Andy Hardy Does Noir? The public access Quicksand stars Rooney as a cashier who takes a twenty from a gas station register to show a pretty girl a night on the town. It features Peter Lorre as a penny arcade owner and a situation that quickly nosedives out of control.
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Jinnistan
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:31 pm

"Noir" doesn't usually include supernatural elements (a little debatable, as some consider Angel Heart noir, but I disagree), so I don't think that Lang's Destiny would qualify. The film is a great example of German Expressionism, as a gothic moral allegory.

No, with Lang, I'd think that the early Mabuse films, or Spione would be better examples.
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ski petrol
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by ski petrol » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:34 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:Thanks for the suggestions. I've seen neo-noir stuff, so I am looking the old-school stuff, particularly the earliest, best, and middling example that are good representative anecdotes.
You're gonna want to familiar yourself with Fritz Lang. I'll see if I can pull up a few examples. One of his earliest is also considered a spy movie and a noir and it was a big influence on not only spy movies but the James Bond series. It's called Spione aka Spies. It's one of his silent films and well worth looking out for.
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ski petrol
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by ski petrol » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:35 pm

Here's a few more Fritz Lang. Someone already brought up Ministry of Fear. There's also Man Hunt, Scarlett Street, The Big Heat and The Blue Gardenia. He's one of my favorite directors.
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Oxnard Montalvo
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:18 pm

JediMoonShyne had an "A to Z of Noir" thread that might be worth looking at (albeit marred by the loss of JMS's Photobucket account).

http://corrierino.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=477
Melvin Butterworth
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:43 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:JediMoonShyne had an "A to Z of Noir" thread that might be worth looking at (albeit marred by the loss of JMS's Photobucket account).

http://corrierino.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=477
Fucking photobucket has left infinite potholes on the internet.
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Apex Predator
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:17 pm

Jinnistan wrote:"Noir" doesn't usually include supernatural elements (a little debatable, as some consider Angel Heart noir, but I disagree), so I don't think that Lang's Destiny would qualify. The film is a great example of German Expressionism, as a gothic moral allegory.

No, with Lang, I'd think that the early Mabuse films, or Spione would be better examples.
I think the whole subject is somewhat debatable. Quite aware that Destiny isn't a good example of noir (it's closer in some ways to Romeo and Juliet), but it does play with the lighting and dark storylines that does kind of make up the genre.
Melvin Butterworth
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:37 pm

Watched Out of the Past this weekend.

Very much struck by the camera work-framing in the opening shots of film. A car appears in the frame, for example, that seems almost propelled by the camera itself.
Melvin Butterworth
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:25 pm

OK, got through The Big Sleep and Double Indemnity. The latter was more impressive than the former.

1. I like how the voice over is justified as an electronic recording of a confession to one of the characters. It's not a free-floating consciousness, a voice from-nowhere, but is part of the story itself, one character communicating to another.

2. It was nice not to have the overly elaborate mystery unpacked at the end of the story (e.g., The Big Sleep). We're in on it with the guy from the start, so it is less a matter of figuring out what the crime was, but how it was going to fall apart. In a sense, this was more of a heist movie than a mystery. Viewing the proceedings from the inside conveys a greater sense of anxiety and fatalism as we're waiting for it all to fall apart.
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Thief
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Thief » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:36 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:OK, got through The Big Sleep and Double Indemnity. The latter was more impressive than the former.

1. I like how the voice over is justified as an electronic recording of a confession to one of the characters. It's not a free-floating consciousness, a voice from-nowhere, but is part of the story itself, one character communicating to another.

2. It was nice not to have the overly elaborate mystery unpacked at the end of the story (e.g., The Big Sleep). We're in on it with the guy from the start, so it is less a matter of figuring out what the crime was, but how it was going to fall apart. In a sense, this was more of a heist movie than a mystery. Viewing the proceedings from the inside conveys a greater sense of anxiety and fatalism as we're waiting for it all to fall apart.
I would rate them pretty much the same (both get A's from me), but yeah, Double Indemnity was pretty great.
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Jinnistan
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Re: Get me started on film noir.

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:15 pm

BL wrote:Alphaville
Speaking of which, I recently came across one of the original Lemmy Caution films with Eddie Constantine, This Man is Dangerous, on Prime and set it on my watchlist. From 1953, it should be a good example of early French noir.

I also see where director Jean Sachy also did a remake of Fantomas in 1947, with Simone Signoret. Hmmmm.
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