Amoeblog

13th Annual Los Angeles Film Noir Festival Week 1

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 2, 2011 12:30pm | Post a Comment

It's lucky 13 for us in LA as the Film Noir Foundation is offering quite an unusual batch of films this year.  Last night kicked off the festival with newly struck prints of Audrey Totter in High Wall and a recently restored Anthony Mann obscurity Strangers In The Night.  Tonight's offering is a prison themed double starting off with Jules Dassin classic Brute Force. Well known for its ensemble cast, it features a particularly stellar performance from Hume Cronyn as the sadistic Capt. Munsey. Paired with Brute Force is Jack Palance vehicle House of Numbers, which features vintage San Quentin locations and Tim
othy Carey of Killing of a Chinese Bookie, the Killing & World's Greatest Sinner fame.
 
Sunday brings a couple of unearthed gems in Whiplash and The Hunted, neither on DVD.  In fact, 6 of the first 10 movies in this year's lineup are not available on DVD! Wednesday offers the murderous combination of Humphrey Bogart as a psychotic artist in the Two Mrs. CarrolsOlivia De Havilland in a dual role as twins accused of murder in The Dark Mirror. Thursday rounds out the first week with Charles McGraw as a murderer on the lam in The Threat & Joan Crawford as a gangster losing her eyesight in This Woman is Dangerous.  Promised to be "Joan at her Joaniest," what more could you ask for?!


Anthony Mann /James Stewart/ Rock Hudson @ New Bev

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 2, 2009 03:00pm | Post a Comment
Having just seen a couple of Mann's earliest films, I'm very intrigued by this double feature. In addition to Stewart & Hudson, you've got Shelly Winters, Dan Duryea, Tony Curtis, Harry Morgan & Arthur Kennedy as well as William Daniels (Naked City/Abandoned/Brute Force) behind the lens on Winchester '73.

Sun-Tues
New Beverly Cinema
7165 Beverly Blvd.
LA, CA  90036

Noir Do Wells 2: Desperate (1947)

Posted by Charles Reece, April 26, 2009 08:34pm | Post a Comment

anthony mann desperate

I tend to view film noirs as fantasies dealing with realistic themes. As such, they don't have to be versimilitudinous representations of the way people would act in a realworld parallel (for the narratives are rarely plausible), but be symbollically suggestive of our moral situation. If Robert Mitchum or Burt Lancaster falls in love to the point of a sick obsession within 2 minutes of screen time, that's okay; it just adds to the dreamy quality of the film, while still conveying something real. What doesn't work within the oneiric narrative is Desperate's hero, Steve (Steve Brodie), and villain, Walt (Raymond Burr), consistently acting in such a dunderheaded fashion that their actions convey nothing but ill-thought out plot mechanics.

On the eve of his and Anne's (Audrey Long) 6-month anniversary, independent trucker Steve gets a job offer from an old friend, Walt. Tried and true Steve doesn't find out until he gets to the loading dock that the job is transporting stolen merchandise. He, of course, refuses, only to be persuaded at gun point. The cops show up for a shootout, allowing Steve to escape in his truck after punching out the hood who's currently in the driver's seat. Walt's brother, Al (Larry Nunn), isn't so lucky, getting knocked out and arrested. Now on the lam, Steve commits the first in a long line of convenient errors which get him where the scenarists need him to be. He leaves the hood's gun on his lap with the hood unconscious in the passenger seat. The crook wakes up, grabs the gun and forces Steve to take him to Walt's hideout. Although pure nonsense, Mann and his cinematographer, George Diskant, at least aesthetically justify these contrivances with the film's noirish set piece, where Walt and his cronies beat the tar out of Steve in a masterful chiaroscuro rendering: