Friday, December 01, 2006

Feeling a bit Noirish

I recently viewed and then purchased Jaques Tourneur's Out of the Past. Actually I have viewed it about three times in the past week. I can't get enough of it. Robert Mitchum is outstanding. Jane Greer is a knockout. The dialogue is quick, snappy, and poetic as hell.It's one of those films where it's got that dark atmosphere and you know it's gonna end badly but you sit through 90% of it with a smile on your face because you wish you could come up with quick retorts like they do in the film. It's a whole different world.

Of course after watching that, I want to watch more Film Noir. I wasn't entirely sure that I would know where to start. I still don't know. Thankfully the fine people over at They Shoot Pictures suddenly have up a whole Noir primer, They Shoot Dark Pictures, Dont They? so now I have 250 more films to clutter up my Netflix queue with. But still I don't know where to start, if anyone has suggestions, let me know.


Tim said...

Did you purchase Out of the Past as a stand-alone disc? If so, that's unfortunate because it's available in the great Warners Noir Boxset Vol. 1.

Here are some primer noirs you ought to check out (just looking through the list you posted):

-Kiss Me Deadly
-Pickup on South Street
-Double Indemnity
-Gun Crazy
-The Maltese Falcon
-The Big Sleep
-The Killing
-Night and the City
-The Big Heat
-Criss Cross
-Force of Evil
-In a Lonely Place (although I dispute that it's a noir, but everyone should see this movie because it's a masterpiece)
-Nightmare Alley
-On Dangerous Ground (another Nicholas Ray film, and pseudo-noir, also great)
-Sweet Smell of Success
-Thieves' Highway
-Touch of Evil
-The Big Combo

scot said...

Sadly I purchased Out of the past as a stand alone, yeah. Maybe I will get that Warner Noirs in the future and just pass on Out of the Past. It would make a nice gift for someone.

Thanks for the list. I have more than a few of those on my Netflix queue. The two Nic Ray films are are up near the top ten, and I will move some of the remaining ones towards the top.

Tim said...

The two Ray films I really hesitate to call Noir, although they certainly exhibit the more visual characteristics of the genre. In a Lonely Place, a movie I consider one of the greatest ever made, is also one of the finest ever made about relationships. As I once described it, cinema's most fucked-up relationship off-screen (Ray and lead actress Gloria Grahame, who went on to marry her step-son!) becomes its most fucked-up on-screen. It's marevelous. On Dangerous Ground is really a love story, and a bloody brilliant one at that. Each explores the loneliness of the outsiders, the people at the fringes of society, a little bit like Ray himself.

scot said...


I know I may have mentioned it before but in that Live Fast, Die Young book about the making of Rebel Without a Cause the authors go into a little bit of depth about Ray's relationship with his stepson after Grahame married him. It's one of the most bizzare stories ever. I definitely look forward to both those movies.