Fox Noir Collection

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david hare
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
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#176 Post by david hare » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:12 am

The Noir moniker is ridiculous. But as I said somewhere else I couldn't have cared less as long as they got the movie out. It's totally a market tactic (and I havent bothered to play the commentary).

Daisy is a key Preminger movie and a masterpiece, not simply either a Noir or a Crawford picture (good as she and all the others are.)

A last comment on "Noir", the only conceivable links could be to Crawford with Mildred Pierce or Possessed at Warners, or Preminger and Laura in 45 (and the later early 50s Noirs.) But the picture simply doesn't fall into either of these genres in any fundamental way.

I really think new viewers to the movie might try to take the picture in as a three hander for the principals which is a complex study in choice and outcome and which, underlying all of that is one of the most complex and resonant studies of marriage and relationships ever put to film. The two men in Daisy's life are clearly multi dimensional. Her dilemma - to put it at the simplest - is the choice between the impossible and the possibly iveable to her. The screenplay (credited to David Hertz from the Elizabeth Janeway novel) is constantly attentive to nuance, and it's almost certainly Preminger who has shaped it into both narrative pace and created the opportunity for his mise en scene to circulate around the characters and allow a fully ambuiguous moral dimension to encircle and link them.

I absolutely hate to do this - yet again -but the print is extremely weak. I don't know what on earth Fox have used but - for instance- in every medium two shot the sides of the image are blurred making it look like a technical fault with the original telecine. Image overall is a little too dark, and soft, and - never mind the few tramline scratches - it looks like a completely unrestored sceond gen print dragged out of the back shelf. I have absolutely no idea how this compares to the other two titles in the set as I didn't buy them but it's simply one of weakest Fox 40s transfers/prints I've ever seen.

Be that as it may the minute I put it on I could not stop watching the movie through again.

Jack Phillips
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:33 am

#177 Post by Jack Phillips » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:09 am

Has anyone else watched the Preminger doc on the Daisy Kenyon disc? It uses lots of clips from the other Preminger films in the Fox Noir series (natch), but also a couple other Fox titles not yet released. One is Margin For Error (which features Otto as an actor as well as a director) and the other is Forever Amber. Now, Margin For Error has just been released in the UK, so it wouldn't be surprising to see an R1 version soon. But Forever Amber? And here's where it gets interesting. At the end of the doc the clips are all credited, and most are tagged with the phrase "Available to Own on Fox DVD" (or something like that). Margin For Error does not have the tag, but Forever Amber does. Curious, no?

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david hare
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#178 Post by david hare » Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:46 am

Amber came out as a laserdisc. It was quite a nice print too - but that was before Fox started seriously fucking up their three strip Technicolor movies for DVD.

Both it and Centennial Summer (not Techni but B&W) used to turn up on cable (but not recently - at least in Oz)

filmnoir1
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Fox Film Noir

#179 Post by filmnoir1 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:47 pm

The latest releases in the Fox film noir line do not disappoint. Once again Fox have given us just enough extras, trailers and interactive pressbooks (these are a must for film scholars) and small featurettes on these discs to satisfy buyers demands and to make them a valuable investment for lovers of noir.
While Daisy Kenyon may not be a noir picture, it does not matter. it is great to see this film get a release because it shows three actors at the height of their careers (Crawford, Fonda and Andrews) engaging with very adult themes in a mature and dignified maner. There are moments in this film wherein it feels as if Preminger had taken a page out of Lubitsch's style manuel for handling sensousness, infidelity, and the irreverant fun of fluid sexualities. The lighting is masterful, as throughout the film Daisy and Dan are always bathed in shadows, highlighting the duplicity of their relationship. Like Laura, this film contains a subtext of sexual tension, repression, and the effects these "norms" were having on the formation of the "self" in America after the most devasting economic crisis and the most horrific period of human suffering and destruction in WW II.
Dangerous Crossing which was a low budget film, as displayed by its running time (76 min) and constant reliance on sets from previous films made on the Fox lot (Titanic and Gentleman Prefer Blondes) is a dazzling display of psychoanalysis, mystery, romance, and suspense. Michael Rennie more well known for playing Klatu sparkles as the ship's doctor who is shown to be a modern man of science and the heart. Jeanne Crain excells in her role as the hysterical new bride who believes everyone is out to harm her and her new husband.
Together these two films illustrate the growing pressures and anxities that Americans were facing as a result of a rapidly changing world. No matter whether they are "noirs" or not, it is good to see Fox continue to release these forgotten films so that they can find new audiences with film lovers, academics, and the causal viewer. The real question left to ask is how many more of these "Fox film noirs" will be released?

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dr. calamari
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#180 Post by dr. calamari » Sat Mar 22, 2008 4:10 am

Anybody hear any news regarding if Boomerang is ever going to be released? I read DVD Savant's review and it made me really want to see it...not enough to pay $35.00 or whatever it's going for on eBay, but still, it sounds like a really good picture. I know there were legal issues, but jeez, the movie is 60 years old already, who's going to be hurt by anything in it by now?

redbill
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#181 Post by redbill » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:56 pm

Just got around to watching Street with no Name. Is it just me, or was there a striking resemblance between the final scene and the Joker origin scene at Axis Chemical from Batman ?

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Napier
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#182 Post by Napier » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:36 am

dr. calamari wrote:Anybody hear any news regarding if Boomerang is ever going to be released? I read DVD Savant's review and it made me really want to see it...not enough to pay $35.00 or whatever it's going for on eBay
Try $50-90. On Amazon.com. I was lucky enough to find a used copy in my local Coconuts when FYE bought them out. Price paid, $7.00 8-)

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souvenir
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#183 Post by souvenir » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:21 am

It's funny to read how Preminger conveniently claimed to not remember anything about Daisy Kenyon considering he fought to make it and it's one of his upper tier level of films. Fonda didn't want to make it, Andrews didn't either, yet both are exceptional and perfectly cast. At some point I think you have to just let go of whatever a film's principals express and judge it completely on how it plays.

DVD Times review

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Antares
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#184 Post by Antares » Sun Apr 20, 2008 1:08 am

Fox Noir Box set at Amazon for $134.99 FREE Shipping.
This 17 film collection includes some of the best in film noir from 1944 - 1955, with 12 Oscar nominations between them. These are the films that defined the genre and the style of film-making. Mystery, Suspense, Murder, this collection has it all! Films Included: Call Northside 777, Laura, Panic in the Streets, House of Bamboo, Nightmare Alley, Street with no Name, House on 92nd Street, Somewhere in the Night, Whirlpool, Dark Corner, Kiss of Death, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Fallen Angel, The House on Telegraph Road, No Way Out, I Wake Up Screaming and House of Strangers.
I just picked this up, it's a great way to boost your Noir collection.

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domino harvey
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#185 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 20, 2008 1:24 am

Yeah I bought it last year. It's not a real boxed set, it's just the first 18 titles in the series minus Boomerang shrink-wrapped and taped together. It was kind of fun to cut through the massive amounts of tape though if memory serves. There were only two out of the 17 I didn't like enough to hold onto (Call Northside 777 and No Way Out), and those found happy homes right here on the board.

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skuhn8
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#186 Post by skuhn8 » Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:44 am

I have to confess that I'm not a particular fan of No Way Out, but am surprised that anyone who likes noir wouldn't love Call Northside 777. IMO one of the best procedurals I've seen and one of the higher ranking entries in the numbered batch (but then I still think Panic in the Streets is probably the best of the fox noirs, albeit only slightly above Nightmare Alley and then Laura).

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domino harvey
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#187 Post by domino harvey » Sun Apr 20, 2008 3:44 pm

I have a pretty high tolerance for procedurals but Call Northside 777 really tested my patience, it's such a strangely catatonic film.

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dr. calamari
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#188 Post by dr. calamari » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:27 am

domino harvey wrote:I have a pretty high tolerance for procedurals but Call Northside 777 really tested my patience, it's such a strangely catatonic film.
It was like a really long, drawn out episode of Dragnet, without the cutting wit of Jack Webb...probably the dullest of the Fox noirs I've seen, but I haven't seen all of them yet.

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skuhn8
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#189 Post by skuhn8 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:04 am

dr. calamari wrote:
domino harvey wrote:I have a pretty high tolerance for procedurals but Call Northside 777 really tested my patience, it's such a strangely catatonic film.
It was like a really long, drawn out episode of Dragnet, without the cutting wit of Jack Webb...probably the dullest of the Fox noirs I've seen, but I haven't seen all of them yet.
Dullest? I've seen the first 16 in the series and would say that so far Boomerang and perhaps Whirlpool (and I LOVE Gene Tierney)were about the closest to dull. Still good, but just barely.

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domino harvey
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#190 Post by domino harvey » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:09 am

Yeah, Boomerang's a notch above 777, but not by much.
However, Whirlpool is one of my sentimental favorites-- it was the first noir film I ever saw, though I guess by some definitions it wasn't but let's not start that argument!

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david hare
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#191 Post by david hare » Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:02 am

Oh, Whirlpool is nothing if not a Noir! But it s also a Preminger film. And a mise en scene film. I used not to like it, but now like it a lot, in fact I think Preminger's direction of Tierney (always a beautiful but limited actress) is probably one of the most complicated charcterization he's done. Along with Seberg's and Jean Simmons'. Others no doubt will argue, and I will join this argument. Later.

Northside used to bore the pants off me as a - as you say - procedural, but given Skuhn's enthusiasm, I'll look at it again this weekend.

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GringoTex
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#192 Post by GringoTex » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:23 am

domino harvey wrote:I have a pretty high tolerance for procedurals but Call Northside 777 really tested my patience, it's such a strangely catatonic film.
Kiss of Death was the first Hathaway I saw. Eveything else by him was a huge letdown.

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HerrSchreck
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#193 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:18 am

I love Northside 777 now but it took time (Jimmy Stewart quietly nerding his countryboy way thru a Chi gangster noir? Then it clicked.). As well as The House On 92nd Street... The Dark Corner is a wonderful film, though of course embellished w shades of Laura.. I like 14 Hours which is a letdown to some. Peter Ibbetson of course.

But I agree with Gringo that Kiss of Death is probably Hathaway's masterpiece.

Alphonso

#194 Post by Alphonso » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:36 am

Surprised to see Northside 777 or Whirlpool favored over one of the best in the collection, Where the Sidewalk Ends. The previous two draw a blank even after seeing them less than a year ago. Although at least Whirlpool has some standout performances, the rest of it is thinly veiled silly contrivance.

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HerrSchreck
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#195 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:59 am

I'll take Where The Sidewalk Ends over Whirlpool-- which is more psychological drama with a noir "chaser"-- anyday. I recently watched Whirlpool again last week after struggling through it (really struggling through it, I almost walked away from it but was too comfortably esconced on the couch viz girlfriend) the first time I watched it/bought it.

I think the problem I have with it is that it doesn't know what it is. I have a hard time caring about Tierney's character, and the backstory of her marriage to Conte; we are just slipped into her world in real time just as "the conflict" begins: her shoplifting/intro to Ferrar (great performance). Who is this woman? Why should we care about her? As well, the lines between her and Conte, and the roles each has played in the marriage's meltdown, seem fuzzily and hastily drawn, so that it's tough to know how to feel about her shoplifting.

In reality it's a complex set of issues in her marriage, and there is no real "guilty" party: he's not a bad guy and neither is she a bad wife in typical hollywood terms. Tehy're fragile human beings suffering human problems, and Ferrar steps in to capitalize. I can ex post facto think about this in retrospect and see this. But when watching it for the first time I get the feeling Preminger doesn't know who Tierney is in this movie. Complex psychological issues determining her klepto state are treated peremptorily, we primarily move with her as the films "hero/sympathetic character/victime", then Conte steps in almost as a martyr and becomes the victim. It's all strangely frustrating, and ill defined for me... though some decent suspense during the Noir Chaser at the end viz the murder rescues the earlier ambiguity. And Ferrars oily and strange--almost alien-- presence of course carries this minor Preminger thru. Without that oddly compelling performance by Ferrar this thing might have registered as a total flop for me.

EDIT: corrected 1st sentence from "Boomerang" to "Whirlpool". My mistake.
Last edited by HerrSchreck on Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PillowRock
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#196 Post by PillowRock » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:04 pm

davidhare wrote:Oh, Whirlpool is nothing if not a Noir!
I think what he meant was that there were some movies that he had seen before Whirlpool that may or may not be considered Noir, depending on who you ask.

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domino harvey
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#197 Post by domino harvey » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:56 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:I like 14 Hours which is a letdown to some.
The moment where the two lovers are separated by the halves of the crowd is a scene of pure breathtaking beauty.

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dr. calamari
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#198 Post by dr. calamari » Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:51 am

domino harvey wrote:I have a pretty high tolerance for procedurals but Call Northside 777 really tested my patience, it's such a strangely catatonic film.
Well, I just re-viewed Call Northside 777, and while I didn't find it as unrewarding as I did the first time I watched it, it's still about as eventful as watching a glacier recede. Not that it's a bad film, but compared to some of the others in the series, it just doesn't do anything for me...also, I might point out that I haven't seen all of the Fox Noirs yet, so there may be an even slower moving one than this.

I really like the series, and having these available as well as the Warner box sets has been a real joy to me, as I'd never seen all that much noir (or wasn't aware of it as such) before everything became available on DVD. We really do live in the best of times, at least if you're a classic film buff.

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Donald Trampoline
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#199 Post by Donald Trampoline » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:07 am

The problem is not that it's a procedural. The problem is it is directed by Henry Hathaway, the most reliably middling director of all time!

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domino harvey
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#200 Post by domino harvey » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:16 am

Hathaway is the perennial invisible director, which means unlike good directors who can keep turning out silk purses, his sow ears stay sow ears. The film's failure didn't originate from him but it certainly wasn't helped any. He churned out one of the best noirs in the Fox collection (the Dark Corner) and the other three (!) Hathaway titles in the series range from okay to pretty good too. Just not this one.

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