Archive for March 4th, 2011

Update March 9 2009 – Dualist correctly guessed The Dark Mirror (1946)

Tony d’Ambra has generously offered up a free sealed Criterion DVD of Samuel Fuller’s Pickup on South Street as acknowledgment of the recent celebration of noir and Maurizio Roca’s current countdown.  Only the WitD staff members are exempt from participation.  The screen cap is shown below.  First correct answer in the comment thread wins the prize – clues will be progressively added at bottom:


Clues – clues will be added as the Noir countdown  progresses:

  1. A Hollywood film
  2. Not The Woman in the Window (1944)
  3. A shrink at half the price.
  4. Not Shock (1946)
  5. More than one mikado
  6. Not The File on Thelma Jordan (1950)
  7. William Talman is not in the cast.
  8. Olivia and Olivia

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Director: Robert Wise

Producer: Herman Schlom

Screenwriter: Eve Greene and Richard Macaulay

Cinematographer: Robert De Grasse

Music: Paul Sawtell

Studio: RKO 1947

Main Acting: Claire Trevor and Lawrence Tierney

By all reports, Lawrence Tierney was no Mr. Nice Guy. Countless fights and nights spent in jail attest to his law-bending behavior. And those particulars of his personal life couldn’t help but seep into his work, thus his convincing no-holds-barred portrayal in Born To Kill. As Sam Wilde, his contempt for humanity is plain to see. He’s a total badass misanthrope who wants to spit in everyone’s eye. But Wilde is not alone in reveling in reprehensible behavior. Claire Trevor as Helen Brent is almost as heinous a character. And while even she may be repelled by Sam Wilde’s selfish behavior at times, she nevertheless is attracted to his irresistible allure that all bad boys tend to possess. Whereas Wilde seems beyond capable of understanding his shortcomings as a person, Trevor’s character is fully aware of hers, yet she still can’t seem to help herself. When she leaves the scene of a crime without informing the police, the sense of perverse disregard for her fellow human beings is truly brought home. These are two unattractive characters made for each other, both worshipping at the temple of greed and brutality. As I once wrote in Dave Hicks’ Film Noir Countdown comment section…”Tierney and Trevor’s characters are so repugnant that they seem way ahead of their time. Even for film noirs of the classic 1941-58 era, they seem to take narcissism to an enjoyable extreme”. (more…)

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 by Allan Fish

(France 1937 80m) DVD2 (France only)

Aka. Let us Dream

Wishing it was 4.00 o’clock tomorrow

p  Serge Sandberg  d/w  Sacha Guitry  ph  Georges Benoit  ed  Myriam  art  Robert Gys

Sacha Guitry (the lover), Raimu (the husband), Jacqueline Delubac (the wife), Arletty, Michel Simon, Claude Dauphin, Marguerite Moreno, Rosine Deréan, Yvette Guilbert,

It isn’t as well known as the peaks of Le Roman d’un Tricheur and Les Perles de la Couronne that surrounded it.  It’s not mentioned in virtually any Film Guide or major film tome of note.  It didn’t even get an entry in Georges Sadoul’s Dictionary of Film.  A minor affair, then, worthy of little more than a footnote in Guitry’s career?  Not a bit of it.             

            This is one of those cases where I would find it very easy to play devil’s advocate to myself, listing not just the facts above, but that it’s an incredibly theatrical piece which, after a few minute long prologue in the drawing rooms of a married couple, takes place entirely in the living room and hallways of the apartment of one of the three central protagonists.  The opening sequence, in itself, doesn’t further the plot, but is so exquisite that we don’t give a fig.  Michel Simon, Arletty and Margurite Moreno are among those who pop up in that opening prologue, the former setting the scene for the entire film when explaining that “the worst trick you can play on a man who steals your wife is to let him have her.”  But it’s one exchange between Margurite Moreno and Yvette Guilbert that I recall and, you’ll forgive me, I quote verbatim here… (more…)

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