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Articles, Lobby, Noir Cities

Cinematic Cities: New York – The Noir Years

New York in the 1940s in noir guise. From the previously unpublished archives of Life Magazine.   Full size photos can be viewed on the Time-Life web archive.


1944 Photo: Andreas Feininger – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


1947 Photo: Herbert Gohr – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


1946 Photo: Andreas Feininger – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


1944 Photo: Andreas Feininger – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


1946 Photo: Andreas Feininger – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


1944 Photo: Andreas Feininger – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


1942 Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images


Articles, Frames Gallery, Lobby, Noir Cities

Hudson, NY: Scenes from Odds Against Tomorrow Then and Now

Robert Wise’s classic film noir Odds Against Tomorrow – see my review here - was shot on location in New York City and in the Hudson river town of  Hudson, NY. Noir aficionado and film-maker Ray Ottulich visited Hudson this month and has kindly allowed me to publish his photographs of locales used in Odds Against Tomorrow matched to actual frames from the movie. I have taken some liberties with the montages to present them here, cropping and super-imposing shots to hopefully make the comparisons more dynamic.  Ray’s creative talent and invaluable contribution to film noir history is to be applauded.  After all, as the years roll on, the odds are against these locales remaining as they are. Great work Ray!

Hudson is where the heist, which is the dramatic focus of the movie, takes place, and a fair amount of screen time is spent observing the central characters as they wait out the day of the heist which goes down that night.


Articles, Books, Femmes Noir, Lobby, Posters

Wicked Women: “transforming sexist into sexy”

The Justice & Police Museum in Sydney is hosting an exhibition of original paintings by Australian artist Rosemary Valadon Wicked Women features portraits of contemporary Australian women inspired by pulp fiction and film noir.  Valadon’s paintings are promoted as both embracing and subverting  the genre’s stereotypes – sexist becomes sexy.

Tara Moss, Rachel Ward, Skye Leckie, Imogen Kelly, Sonia Kruger, Ros Reines, Larissa Behrendt, Antonella Gambotto-Burke, Margaret Cunneen, Essie Davis, Annette Shun Wah, Kara Shead, each chose a classic film poster or book cover for their sitting.

The paintings are indeed a cheeky and edgy feminist response to the motif of the dangerous femme deftly portrayed, and with a real feel for noir archetypes.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 20 October 2012 to Sunday 28 April 2013.

”a cheeky and edgy feminist response to the motif of the dangerous femme deftly portrayed, and with a real feel for noir archetypes”


Articles, Lobby, Videos

Cigar Joe’s Latest Homage to Film Noir: Girl Trap

Ray Ottulich has made yet another atmospheric noir video titled Girl Trap,  which features his lovely girlfriend as femme noir Scarlette – very sexy and with an edgy yet softly seductive voice – I love it when she says ‘Tony’!

This time we are back in Hudson, NY, where the heist scenes from that great noir Odds Against Tomorrow  were shot.  The side-door of the bank where the shootout occurred appears briefly at the 4:46 min mark,  and at the end Scarlett heads towards the corner intersection where the bus pulls up and Harry Belefonte sees the traffic accident.

Articles, Books, Lobby, Posters

New Film Noir Poster Book: “Where Danger Lives’

Alain Silver and James Ursini have produced yet another book on film noir. This time they look at the graphics used to market noir movies.  The book titled ‘Film Noir Graphics: Where Danger Lives’ is lavishly illustrated with over 300 full color posters, lobby cards, and other marketing handouts. All the graphics are rendered in high resolution from pristine originals. Many items I have not seen before, and quite a few are for more obscure films that will whet the appetite of many a noir fan.

”What is interesting is the artistic license taken by some artists depicting scenes and themes which are not found in the actual movie.”
More a coffee-table short black than a serious study, the book is one you will want to dip into between movie sessions.  There is a commentary of sorts organized by chapters with titles derived from major films noir, such as ‘Touch of Evil’ and ‘Night and the City’.  The narrative is a set of elaborated captions that segue into each other as you move from page to page.  Silver and Ursini attempt to unify their comments by covering the use of noir motifs and how these elements are rendered by the artists who produced the artwork. Differences across studios and countries are identified.  What is interesting is the artistic license taken by some artists depicting scenes and themes which are not found in the actual movie.  There is a degree of repetition in the text from chapter to chapter, and sometimes the commentary jumps across pages and you find that you are not quite sure which graphic is being referred to.

Whether the US$40 price-tag is value for money is debatable.  The internet is a treasure trove for poster addicts, with such sites as offering free downloads of high-res images organized in a searchable database.  It comes down to the value you place on the commentary, which does offer some insights. What is missing is a wider survey of the role of graphics in movie marketing, and a behind the scenes look at who the artists were and how the material was produced.

You can buy the book from Amazon. An eBook version is not currently available.


Articles, Lobby

Everbody Knows The Dice are Loaded

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows”

The finale from Season 3 of the noirish and very downbeat TV show Damages (2010) closes with Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ sung by Holly Figueroa over the soundtrack, bringing to a close a sorry tale of greed, corruption, and downright evil set in the bright concrete canyons of Manhattan, where life is cheap and the pursuit of wealth by any means a sordid mantra.

”the top 10pct of income earners grabbing half of national income”
A recent study by Emmanuel Saez from the University of California shows that in the United Sates between 2009 and 2010, the first year of the current ‘recovery’ the one percent captured 93% of the growth in national income (The Wall Street Journal, March 6 2012). This is only the most recent manifestation of the growing inequality in America which began during the Reagan presidency, and has seen the top 10 pct of income earners share of national income return to the obscene levels of the years just before The Big Crash in 1929 – the top 10pct of income earners grabbing half of national income – as shown in this graph from The Saez study.


Articles, Lobby, Noir Cities, Videos

Cinematic Cities: New York 2007 – “a life in hell”

I come to the city alone
I packed up my life and my home
’cause I feel like a body at rest
Is a life in Hell
So unpack my bags, unpack my bags
Kiss her on the mouth, and she says,
“Smile little lamb”

- From “When I am Through With You” by The VLA  (2006)

The TV series Damages (Fox 2007-2012) set in NYC  has the coolest opening credits.  A patina of noir with a dark pounding soundtrack featuring  “When I am Through With You” by The VLA.

YouTube Preview Image


Articles, DVDs, Lobby

Film Noir on Blu-Ray: Full List

This year is shaping up as a big year for film noir releases on blu-ray. This listing includes all current releases and those scheduled for later in the year.  All titles can be purchased from the FilmsNoir.Net Amazon Store.

Angels with Dirty Faces – Release Date TBA
Body and Soul – For release Jul 31, 2012
Double Indemnity
Force of Evil - For release Jul 31, 2012
Kansas City Confidential (includes DVD)
Key Largo - Release Date TBA
Kiss Me Deadly (Criterion)
Mildred Pierce - Release Date TBA
Private Hell 36 – For release Aug 21, 2012
Scarlet Street
Secret Beyond the Door – For release Sep 04, 2012
Shadow of a Doubt - Release Date TBA
Strangers on a Train – For release Oct 09, 2012
Suddenly (includes DVD) – For release Sep 25, 2012
Sunset Boulevard – For release Nov 06, 2012
Sweet Smell of Success (Criterion)
The Asphalt Jungle – Release Date TBA
The Big Heat
The Big Sleep – Release Date TBA
The Dark Mirror  – For release Sep 12, 2012
The Killing
The Maltese Falcon
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (inlcudes DVD)
The Stranger (includes DVD)
The Third Man (Criterion)
The Third Man (StudioCanal Collection)
White Heat – Release Date TBA