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Dom Jaeger

Film Noir favourites

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Of all the genres in cinema history I love noir the most. I can't help myself, if an old noir movie comes on telly late at night I have to record it, and then cancel any social engagements I may have agreed to the next night in order to sink into a chiaroscuro bliss, replete with doomed dicks and dangerous dames.

 

So I thought I would mine the considerable knowledge bank of the cinematography.com community to get some recommendations.

 

To make it more interesting, how about listing your favourite old classic, favourite modern, and favourite obscure or under-appreciated noir?

 

My pick for classic noir would be 1947s Out of the Past. Beautifully shot by Nicholas Musuraca and flawlessly directed by Jacques Tourneur, Robert Mitchum's portrayal defines the noir hero for me - tough, laconic and smart, but vulnerable too, and while he fights against the noose that slowly tightens around his neck, he also knows deep in his heart that his fate is sealed. The film contains some of the best noir dialogue ever put to film.

 

Favourite modern would be China Town, which plays with the noir conventions to create something wonderfully fresh. I also thought Brick was an excellent recent take on noir.

 

And my choice for lesser known examples would be Richard Fleischer's The Narrow Margin, from 1952. A taut, thrilling little B film, perhaps not exactly noir, but close enough. See it just for Charles McGraw as the toughest, gruffest cop you ever saw. It has some great handheld work, some of the first, along with On Dangerous Ground.

 

Anyone else care to nominate their faves?

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I think the best is the first, The Maltese Falcon, No other noir works quite as well for me, Bogart is incredible, Houston's direction is impeccable. it's just a great movie. The last true noir is the best true modern noir (A film using black and white as a metaphor) A Touch of Evil what can I say, it's Welles. If there were a top 5 directors of all times, between him, Kubrick, Hitchcock, Kurosawa and Wilder, I wouldn't know how to place them, BUT for color noir it would have to be Brick, the concept of placing it in a modern high school is sheer genius and sets it apart but the tale is just terrific. It really works for me. IF you consider On Dangerous Ground an obscure noir, I'll go with that one as well. It's simply brilliant. B)

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I'm a big film noir fan as well! My all-time favorite being DOUBLE INDEMNITY

 

Some of my other favorites include (just off the top of my head):

 

Out of the Past

The Third Man

The Big Clock

The Maltese Falcon

The Killing

Laura

Kiss Me Deadly

The Big Heat

In A Lonely Place

Detour

Pickup On South Street

The Big Combo

Mildred Pierce

The Woman In The Window

He Walked By Night

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)

Chinatown

L.A. Confidential

Body Heat

 

And one that is in my top favorites but I think is completely underrated by others would be DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS. I love that movie!

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The Nikkatsu Studio Japanese Noirs are some of the most remarkable B-films I've ever seen.

 

I'd say anyone with an interest in unique set design and camerawork should watch:

 

-Tokyo Drifter

-A Colt Is My Passport

-Take Aim at the Police Van

 

By far, however, Kurosawa's noirs are the best I've ever seen from the genre.

 

-High and Low

-The Bad Sleep Well

 

Just to name my two favorites.

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I just watched The Lady from Shanghai the other night for the first time. It was fun to watch but man was it full of holes. I love it when a movie just has the actors explain everything at the end. It was so full of hole but it is a classic so it must be good. :lol:

 

I loved Out of the Past, Chinatown, The Third Man. I never thought of Mildred Pierce as film noir but I liked it.

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