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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:12 pm 

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Asphalt Jungle (1950)

You have a lot of time to think when you're locked away seven years. So criminal mastermind Doc conceives what he believes is the perfect heist. John Huston explores the feverish grab for the big score and how it unravels in The Asphalt Jungle, a renowned tale of dishonor among thieves.

Gun Crazy (1949)

When gun fancier Bart Tare sees Annie Laurie Starr's sideshow sharpshooting act, he's a dead-bang goner. The two become bank robbers on the run, eluding roadblocks and roaring into movie history as one of the benchmark film-noir works.

Murder My Sweet (1944)

They say crime doesn't pay. Private detective Philip Marlowe knows better. The fat wad of folding money warming his pocket is the kind of thing that keeps him going through thick and thicker as he wades chin deep into a mystery involving a missing necklace and a missing hoodlum's moll named Velma. Murder, My Sweet is film at its most noir, creating a moody sense moody sense of a world that never plays on the level.

Out of the Past (1947)

Everything you want in a film noir you'll find in Out of the Past. A tenacious detective (Robert Mitchum) spinning his wheels to make good. A drop-dead beauty (Jane Greer) up to no good. A moneyed mobster (Kirk Douglas) with a shark's grin. Plus double-crosses and fall guys. Shadowy rooms and bleak souls.

The Set-Up (1949)

Boxing Wednesdays. Wrestling on Fridays. Stoker Thompson is on Paradise City's Wednesday card, fighting after the main event. He's been 20 years in the game and is sure he's just one punch away from big paydays. But there's one thing Stoker doesn't yet know: his manager wants him to take a dive tonight.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 10:46 pm 
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Jeez, I thought this would have been bouncing along by now.

What a box - while I think the worth of indiviidual movies varies quite a bit the transfers, commentaries and extras are terrific. Of course I would have bought it for OUT OF THE PAST alone. The biggest disappointment, as a movie, is MURDER MY SWEET (which is possibly the best looking, along with the Tourneur.) I find the highly schematized plot a bit mechanical and overwrought. Admittedly Dmytryk wasn't the most glittering director in the pantheon but the genre itself and the other studio talents (actors writers and cameramen) lifted the game of a lot of otherwise mediocre directors. As for Dmytryk I find CROSSFIRE much more interesting even more oneiric and subtextually complex than MURDER. Does anyone know if this is planneed for the 2nd volume?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:40 pm 
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I would have expected more posts here also...and it is one fantastic little collection. Including Gun Crazy and Out of the Past is worth having to eat Murder My Sweet (I just could never buy William Powell's performance in this...come to think of it, I don't think I've seen anything with William Powell that I could buy into with the exception of the Goldiggers movies).

As good as Asphalt Jungle[b] and [b]The Set-Up are, Out of the Past is just an amazingly effective noir and I think it's starting to become as iconic of the movement (or genre or style or...) as [b]Double Indemnity[b] is. Robert Mitchum is just so goddamn cool in this and the dialogue is just full of classic lines, with classic deliveries.

Warners has gotta have more of these stashed in the vaults.

Tribe


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:50 pm 
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Tribe wrote:
I would have expected more posts here also...and it is one fantastic little collection. Including Gun Crazy and Out of the Past is worth having to eat Murder My Sweet (I just could never buy William Powell's performance in this...come to think of it, I don't think I've seen anything with William Powell that I could buy into with the exception of the Goldiggers movies).

As good as Asphalt Jungle and The Set-Up are, Out of the Past is just an amazingly effective noir and I think it's starting to become as iconic of the movement (or genre or style or...) as Double Indemnity is. Robert Mitchum is just so goddamn cool in this and the dialogue is just full of classic lines, with classic deliveries.

Warners has gotta have more of these stashed in the vaults.

Tribe


I'm starting not to like William Powell either, but I do still like Dick Powell, who you actually mean. :)

Dick Powell (the guy from Murder My Sweet)

Image

Here's William Powell:


Image


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:59 pm 
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
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Doh!

Tribe


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 11:50 am 

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I liked Murder, My Sweet, even though it is the weakest link of the box. From my point of view it's a fairly basic film noir, with some nice roles, some great shots and an interesting, if unfollowable, story. I'm one of those guys who only got into 'older cinema' with DVDs, and the only film out of this box I saw before was The Asphalt Jungle. I was mildly disappointed by Out of the Past, finding all it's plot-twists a little too much. I really liked the performances and the great atmosphere, but it somehow in my eyes lacked the greatness of making it on so many greatest-lists. I'm most excited about The Set-Up, which I found exhilarating, tight and very well acted, and Gun Crazy, which was just a pleasure to watch, tons of energy and great characters.
The box itself is really a great thing to have, all movies are well worth having in your collection and they look GREAT. The commentaries were okay, and I liked how each one had a different approach to the movies (from viewing them as an example to say more about film noir - Out of the Past commentary- to a more personal recollection -The Set-Up commentary-).

So, can anyone explain to my why Out of the Past is a truly great masterpiece, and not just a very fun, dark and well-made example of film noir?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:58 pm 
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I really recommend you watch OUT OF THE PAST again. Part of the movie's greatness is the happy congruence of director with cinematogpaher (Musaraca) writer (Daniel Mainwaring credited as "Geoffrey Homes") and Tourneur's beautiful pictorial style, all of which are brilliantly served by those two central performances. Mitchum surely became THE iconic Noir actor (see also ANGEL FACE, THE LOCKET, PURSUED and NIGHT OF THE HUNTER) and Jane Greer in this is an outstanding femme fatale. SO many elements of this movie make me shiver - the little pungent jabs of dialogue ("I go there ... sometimes") the twists and turns of Kathy's character, the mute witness of Dickie Moore, the sparring between Kirk DOuglas and Mitchum. This to me is Tourneur's best film, along with I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE and thematically and atmospherically one of the greatest Noirs.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:03 am 
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Quote:
(I just could never buy William Powell's performance in this...come to think of it, I don't think I've seen anything with William Powell that I could buy into with the exception of the Goldiggers movies).



Not that he needs it, but a little back patting for Dick Powell is in order, as he had one of the more interesting and varied careers during Hollywood's heyday. (I'm presuming you mean Dick!) Yes, he was in countless Warner musicals as the beau to the dame, the constantly wide-eyed hoofer and crooner who always seemed to winking at the audience. But he soon tired of this and ventured out. Preston Sturges used him brilliantly in Christmas in July, as did Rene Clair in It Happened Tomorrow. Then came noir - the best being Pitfall directed by Andre de Toth. Damn wish this was on DVD.

Then came directing, producing, writing (sometimes all at once - The Enemy Below a fine example), and a role as one of the original heavy hitters in trying to raise the standard of live television during the 50s with his Playhouse productions. Now that's a life.

What he saw in June Allyson however is another thing entirely.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:00 am 
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I'd like to add a comment of applause to Out of the Past, it's definitely my favorite of the set. Tourneur layers the atmosphere extremely thick and let's Mitchum cut through it. Worth the price of the set alone, I think.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:13 pm 

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All the films are well worth the $40 I paid for the box, although I would agree that 'Murder, My Sweet' is easily the most forgettable.

The 'Set-Up' was the real revelation. I've never liked Robert Ryan, but in this it would take a heart of stone not to like him. The boxing scenes are far more realistic than any seen since. Not bad for late 40's.

There is an interesting segment on the commentary close to the beginning which is probably worth checking out as good old Robert Wise 'show off' director's who move the camera. Somewhat tactless considering his co-commentator!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 6:21 pm 
I find dough-faced Dick Powell generally irritating (esp. in The Bad and the Beautiful) but I like him as a crooner in Flirtation Walk and The Gold Diggers of 1933. He's okay in Pitfall and Tall Target.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:00 pm 
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N. Wilson wrote:

The 'Set-Up' was the real revelation. I've never liked Robert Ryan, but in this it would take a heart of stone not to like him. The boxing scenes are far more realistic than any seen since. Not bad for late 40's.


I think The Set-Up is the forgotten gem of the set. Great boxing scenes and one of Ryan's best performances. Out Of The Past is great to me because of the sense of dread & fate that hangs over the entire film. It's as if every character in the film knows what is in store for them but are helpless to do anything about it.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:15 pm 
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THE SET UP is certainlly Wise's best movie and Ryan is wonderful. In fact, along with Mitchum we probably need a major thread on these two actors.
Back to Ryan - here's a list off the top of my head of Ryan's outstanding Noir performances:
THE SET UP
CAUGHT
CROSSFIRE
ON DANGEROUS GROUND
CLASH BY NIGHT not to mention minor and non-Noir roles.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:44 pm 
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flixyflox wrote:
THE SET UP is certainlly Wise's best movie and Ryan is wonderful. In fact, along with Mitchum we probably need a major thread on these two actors.
Back to Ryan - here's a list off the top of my head of Ryan's outstanding Noir performances:
THE SET UP
CAUGHT
CROSSFIRE
ON DANGEROUS GROUND
CLASH BY NIGHT not to mention minor and non-Noir roles.

I'd probably go with The Day The Earth Stood Still as Wise's best film with The Haunting close behind. The Set-Up is certainly in the top five. Speaking of Robert Ryan, I generally liked his bad guy roles such as House of Bamboo and The Naked Spur....speaking of, has anybody heard of release in any region of Spur? One of my favorite Mann westerns.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 5:59 pm 
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Mnay of Wise's films are 'lessons in filmmaking', as I like to call them. The Set-Up is one of Wise's greatest films. I don't want to exaggerate, but almost every shot is perfect and Robert Ryan is absolutely amazing - he is always amazing.

I love Wise's, Odds Against Tomorrow. Only the preachy ending lets it down, but, as ever, Ryan is solid and it is beautifully shot.

Born to Kill is great. It's one of the most savage Noirs.

Wise is a fine filmmaker. Individually, his films get high praise - but he himself doesn't, really. A bit like Andre de Toth.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:59 pm 
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Man, I like this new board incarnation. Last time around everybody hated The Set-Up (which I agree is the best flick in the set, closely followed by Gun Crazy).


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:26 pm 
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Here is a USA Today article that mentions Crossfire as being included in the next box set.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:48 pm 
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Great news that it's being moved up to 2005, we should have all the details on the upcoming chat. Warner has so many titles to choose from, it would really make my day if they included The Narrow Margin and Born to Kill in the set. My concern now that the "set" concept is such a big success is that Warner will be tempted to hold back titles and dilute future releases with "filler" titles. The noir and the gangster sets are both great because all the titles in each set are top notch, let's hope they don't forget that.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:59 pm 
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George Feltenstein mentioned that Crossfire will among the titles in the next Noir set in USA Today interview a few days ago: http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/new ... main_x.htm

Quote:
"The new collection will once again consist of five films, available individually ($20 each) or as a box set ($50). Most of the films come from the Warner-owned RKO library, including Crossfire, the 1947 murder mystery starring Robert Young and Robert Mitchum."


I reckon that The Narrow Margin will also be included, though I am not sure about Born To Kill. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it has become pretty obscure over the years - all the more reason to give it a new lease of life, I suppose.

On Dangerous Ground is also likely.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 1:22 am 
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I'd gladly bear the children of anyone who could guarantee the inclusion of "Lady in the Lake" in this set.

Sure, it'd be messy come delivery time, but oh so worth it.

-BJ


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:45 pm 
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Lady in the Lake is a weak Noir and a weak Chandler adaptation. But it has its fans.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:17 pm 
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Don't know what it is, but I just dig "Lady in the Lake." Sometimes I just like things that aren't perfect... that's me.

-BJ


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:33 pm 
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Great news that this will be sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed that at least one Lang will make it - The Woman in the Window or Clash by Night. I'd love to see Bobby Driscoll in The Window as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:53 pm 
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Clash by Night should be a likely contender (and often turns up on TCM). As for Woman in the Window - I'd love it but who has the rights?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 11:05 pm 
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devlinnn wrote:
I'd love to see Bobby Driscoll in The Window as well.


A terrific little film, this. Brilliant, if atypical, noir. I guess that if we keep buying their Film Noir boxes, Warner will keep putting them out, but I hope this one is sooner rather than later.


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