I am very impressed by the NOIR Raw Deal (1948) directed by Anthony Mann and creatively shot by Oscar winning Cinematographer John Alton with escaping convict/fall guy Joe Sullivan (Dennis O’Keefe) set up by gangster Raymond Burr. Along for the ride with their doomed love Joe are his moll girl played by the great Claire Trevor and in an extraordinary performance as a nice girl social worker is Marsha Hunt. Catch the low camera angle shots enhancing the villainy Burr; the embedding of Trevor’s image within a clock to emphasize the approaching doom; and the contrasting very bright beach location where Marsha Hunt attempts to escape from the darkness.
On TCM Sunday 1/15/17 – Oscar winning here Writer Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve (1950) takes us on a bumpy ride where the great Bette Davis plays Margo Channing- the famous accomplished actress on the top with Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington-a most promising award winning new comer still cunningly climbing to the top…The great 6 times Oscar nominated supporting actress Thelma Ritter as Margo’s maid Birdie was wise to Eve early: “What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin’ at her rear end.” And the all-knowing narrator Oscar winning here George Sanders as theatre critic Addison DeWitt is well aware of the Margo/Eve conflict: “Too bad, we’re gonna miss the third act. They’re gonna play it offstage.”
On TCM today 1/15/17-From the brilliant Sweet Smell of Success (1957) directed by the underrated Alexander Mackendrick- a New York City chilly evening warning- keep out of the evil gaze of unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) as he looks for dirt about you through his heavy power frame glasses!! –And Tony Curtis as the sleazy Sidney Falco in business for himself as a publicist who goes night club hopping around New York on chilly nights without a coat to save on tipping coat check girls!
On TCM today 1/14/17- By composing Ward Bond as Capt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Clayton having his last sip of coffee before embarking on the posse to hunt down the Indian raiders with Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) getting an extra tender good bye from his sister-in-law Martha Edwards (Dorothy Jordan), Ford communicates economically without dialogue (like a silent film) another aspect of the story-that perhaps Martha and Ethan have a past. Great acting by Bond as a man attempting to mind his own business and an example of that unique Fordian touch which bring out such nuances in his movies.
On TCM 1/11/17 –Brilliant Director Robert Siodmak in The Killers (1945) frames the moment when the Swede played to usual perfection by Burt Lancaster descends on the Noir streetcar to doom in falling for femme fatale Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner)… Catch here the dismay of the Swede’s then nice girlfriend Lilly (Virginia Christine) who had the good sense here to later marry detective Sam Levene and in real life become on TV commercials “Mrs. Olson the Folger Coffee Woman.”
On TCM 2/4/20 at 11 PM PST-The Raoul Walsh directed White Heat (1949) – The great performance of one of my favorite actors Oscar winner Edmond O’Brien- an undercover detective here posing as a career criminal to spy on the bad guys even fools vicious masterful Cody Jarrett played by screen great James Cagney …We just cannot wait for the explosive moment when Cagney gets wise to Edmund!! If you ever see a message written on a gas station restroom mirror-call the FBI!!!
Directed by Douglas Sirk and written by Samuel Fuller Shockproof (1949) about a female ex-con played by Patricia Knight and her then off screen husband Cornel Wilde as her parole office interestingly utilizes the famous Bradbury Building location as a police station where a man distraught about going back to jail jumps off a balcony.
1/28 isn’t just Larry Storch’s birthday. It is also the birthday of his good friend, Soupy Sales. They celebrated many times together, in fact, Larry was with Soupy on his last bday in 2009. We all love and miss you Soupy.
Henry Hathaway’s brilliant Kiss of Death (1947) –where instead of hearing the usual tough guy voice over telling us about his journey through NOIR hell, we are told about the hardships of Nick Bianco (brilliantly played by Victor Mature) by the lovely kind caring voice of Coleen Gray as the loyal Nettie standing behind her man! Similarly cast in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956) Colleen stands behind the great Sterling Hayden as ex con Johnny Clay asserting: “It is not that you were locked in. It was that I was locked out.” Was Coleen what I would dub as a “Femme Simpatico” specialist?