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Archive for April 1st, 2011

Director: Edward Dmytryk

Producer: Adrian Scott

Screenwriter: John Paxton from a novel by Raymond Chandler

Cinematographer: Harry J. Wild

Music: Roy Webb

Studio: RKO Pictures 1944

Main Acting: Dick Powell and Claire Trevor

“The only reason I took the job was because my bank account was trying to crawl under a duck.”

“The office bottle hadn’t sparked me up so I’d taken up my little black book and decided to go grouse hunting. Nothing like soft shoulders to improve my morale.”

 

“Nothing bothered me, the two twenties felt nice and snug against my appendix.”

 

“Mike Florian had ran the joint until 1939. He died in 1940 in the middle of a glass of beer, his wife Jesse finished it for him.”

 

“She was a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud. I gave her a drink. She was a gal who’d take a drink if she had to knock you down to get the bottle.”

Murder My Sweet holds a special place in my heart when it comes to film noir. It was the first time I had watched a noir movie, consciously knowing what the genre was about. I had seen other examples in the past, but not with the acute awareness that I was viewing a specific type of movie. If I were overly sentimental I might even have placed this picture at number one. It is a personal favorite that even without the nostalgic attachment still shines bright as a cinematic masterpiece in my eyes. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 1930 88m) DVD1/2 (Germany only)

Everything you want at Ladies’ Paradise

p  Charles Delac, Marcel Vandel  d  Julien Duvivier  w  Noël Renard  novel  Emile Zola  ph  André Dantan, René Guochard, Armand Thirard, Émile Pierre  art  Christian-Jaque, Ferdinand Delattre  cos  Gelaud, Marthe Pinchard

Dita Parlo (Denise Baudu), Pierre de Guingand (Octave Mouret), Fernand Mailly (Sébastien Jouve), Armand Baur (Baudu), Nadia Sibirskaia (Geneveève Baudu), Germaine Rouer (Madame Desforges), Ginette Maddie (Clara), Fabien Haziza (Colomban), René Donnio (Deloche), Adolphé Cande (Baron Hartmann), Albert Bras (Bourdoncle),

Another film rarely discussed in film tomes, with no entry in any major film guide, Julien Duvivier’s final flowering of the French silent cinema now looks, 80 years on, like a paradox; a film both behind and ahead of its time.  Part of that was down to the genius of Emile Zola, whose novel could just as easily be updated from its 19th century setting to the late 1920s as his L’Argent had by Marcel l’Herbier a year or so earlier.  Indeed, the two films seem, more than ever, to belong hand in hand.  Take the opening caption of Duvivier’s film; “the big department store versus the little shop, a problem that still exists today; a cruel unfair struggle that ends in death and destruction.”  Then jump forward to today and see that we have ratcheted the problem along one place, with the department stores now on the wane thanks to the rise of the internet.  The companies themselves may still prosper online, but the shopping experience, a communal enterprise, is slowly being eradicated.

            Essentially that’s what the film is about, as a young orphan, Denise Baudu, comes to Paris to stay with her uncle, who runs a fabric store.  The problem is that he’s now going out of business thanks to a massive department store across the way and Denise is forced to work there for her keep.  There she meets and falls for the store owner Octave and…well, you can guess the rest.  It all sounds very Capraesque, a precursor of those late 1930s films with Edward Arnold snarling his way to every grasped buck before the lovers achieve a happy ending.  Rarely for Zola tales there is a modicum of bonheur at the end, but not before a severe dose of reality is dealt to all.  (more…)

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