Not the Maltese Falcon: “Take off your hat in the presence of a lady with a gun”

Hollywood made two attempts at adapting Dashiell Hammett’s pulp masterpiece The Maltese Falcon before John Huston scripted and directed the definitive adaptation in 1941. The stunning serendipity of the casting of Huston’s film defines the characterisations in concrete for all time. Yet it is still worth looking at the earlier movies as they each offer … [Read more…]

Noir Beat: Tequila Philosophy

I haven’t posted here for a while: I have my own demons to contend with and my attention scatters. The recent release of Ride the Pink Horse (1947) on Blu-ray coincided with my reading of Dorothy B. Hughes original novel. The film has the same principal characters and the story-line is similar, but when you … [Read more…]

Dark Matters: True Detective, Two Men in Manhattan, and The Trial

The HBO television hit True Detective (2014) on its face is a mystery thriller with gothic overtones. The pursuit of justice for children disappeared and remembered only by loved ones and an obsessed damaged cop, is itself a dark journey through a dank swamp of troubled minds. Here is where the resonance of writer Nic … [Read more…]

Noir Beat: Johnny O’Clock and more

Lately I have been watching some old b’s that echo film critic Pauline Kael’s view that a “movie doesn’t have to be great… you can still have the joy of a good performance, or the joy in just a good line”. ”The dialog is both street-wise and poetic, and delivered with Powell’s signature take-it-or-leave-it.”Robert Rossen’s … [Read more…]

The Oscars, Jean Renoir, Raymond Chandler, Auteurism, and Budd Boetticher’s The Killer is Loose (1956)

In a 1954­ interview Jean Renoir said of Hollywood: “Don’t go thinking that I despise “B” pictures; in general I like them better than big, pretentious psychological films they’re much more fun. When I happen to go to the movies in America, I go see ‘B’ pictures. First of all, they are an expression of … [Read more…]

FilmsNoir.Net’s Top 25 Films Noir

My top 25 films noir by year of release. Ranking them would be arbitrary as there is little if anything between them.  For my full listing of essential films noir click here. Port of Shadows 1938 France Aka Le Quai des brumes. Fate a dank existential fog ensnares doomed lovers Jean Gabin and Michèle Morgan after one night … [Read more…]

Alan Fassioms on Dementia (1955): Beatnik Noir?

Dementia (1955 aka Daughter of Horror 57min) Director/Writer – John Parker Cinematography – William C. Thompson Music – George Antheil I’m sure the 50’s hep-cats and ‘seasoned’ film-noir enthusiasts among you will already know of this film. Nevertheless for a greenhorn like myself, I find it damn near impossible to simply watch something like Dementia … [Read more…]