Thursday, April 12, 2007

Film Noirs

I have been watching a lot of Film Noirs from the 40's. I started noticing the difference between the more expensive films ($14.99 each) and the cheaper films (18 for $20). The big budget Hollywood Noirs that have the big name actors are not as good as the low budget B Noirs. In the big budget films there is a lot of attention given to setting up the characters and the situation. They begin making sure that the stars are introduced and shot in a flattering manner. This is not necessary for the genre. The scripts are also more convoluted and the pacing is generally not as tight although the endings tend to be good. The low budget B noirs on the other hand are great, with the exception of some bad third-act twists. They are able to get right to the conflict and usually the main character is put in a predicament. Due to lower budgets, the film is reduced down to less characters, and more scenes cut together to tell the story rather than dialogue and expensive shots. The audience is engaged by putting the pictures together and extracting the story themselves.

8 Comments:

Blogger Bryan Summers said...

What are some of your favorite ones?

1:54 PM  
Blogger Drew said...

The B noirs I like so far: "Too Late for Tears" has a really flawless first act and great dialogue. "Scarlet Street" is good but too long. "Detour" is good but hinges on one implausible act. "The Man who cheated himself" has the great Lee J. Cobb and works pretty well until the end. I confess though that I have not seen some of the more famous "A" noirs like "the big sleep" or "The third man", or "maltese falcon" etc. Those are next on my list.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I love "The Third Man" and also "The T Men. "Maltese falcon" is good but a little underwhelming to me. A better john huston one is "the asphalt jungle".

I also like an early Kubrick one called, "The killing," with sterling Hayden.

Double Indemnity is credited with created a lot of the classic noir trappings.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Drew said...

Here is the list I am following:

1. 8.6 Sunset Blvd. (1950) 27,045
2. 8.5 M (1931) 20,251
3. 8.4 The Third Man (1949) 28,434
4. 8.4 Double Indemnity (1944) 18,643
5. 8.4 The Maltese Falcon (1941) 29,411
6. 8.3 Touch of Evil (1958) 17,723
7. 8.3 Strangers on a Train (1951) 17,178
8. 8.3 The Big Sleep (1946) 15,670
9. 8.3 Notorious (1946) 16,556
10. 8.2 Ace in the Hole (1951) 1,814
11. 8.2 I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) 2,168
12. 8.2 The Killing (1956) 11,710
13. 8.2 Out of the Past (1947) 4,889
14. 8.2 Sweet Smell of Success (1957) 3,996
15. 8.2 Shadow of a Doubt (1943) 9,752
16. 8.1 The Night of the Hunter (1955) 12,335
17. 8.0 White Heat (1949) 5,082
18. 8.0 Nightmare Alley (1947) 953
19. 8.0 Laura (1944) 7,457
20. 8.0 The Set-Up (1949) 1,356
21. 8.0 Key Largo (1948) 8,549
22. 8.0 Night and the City (1950) 1,007
23. 7.9 Body and Soul (1947) 791
24. 7.9 Scarface (1932) 4,279
25. 7.9 The Big Heat (1953) 2,866
26. 7.9 Pickup on South Street (1953) 1,552
27. 7.9 Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) 4,047
28. 7.9 The Killers (1946) 2,601
29. 7.8 Ossessione (1943) 1,024
30. 7.8 The Roaring Twenties (1939) 1,823
31. 7.8 In a Lonely Place (1950) 2,645
32. 7.8 The Asphalt Jungle (1950) 4,381
33. 7.8 The Narrow Margin (1952) 946
34. 7.8 Deadly Is the Female (1950) 1,409
35. 7.8 Scarlet Street (1945) 1,637
36. 7.7 The Woman in the Window (1944) 1,330
37. 7.7 The Lady from Shanghai (1947) 3,930
38. 7.7 This Gun for Hire (1942) 1,018
39. 7.7 The Big Clock (1948) 1,006
40. 7.7 Gilda (1946) 4,756
41. 7.7 Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) 648
42. 7.7 The Letter (1940) 1,898
43. 7.6 Kiss of Death (1947) 1,002
44. 7.6 Thieves' Highway (1949) 509
45. 7.6 Mildred Pierce (1945) 3,826
46. 7.6 Murder, My Sweet (1944) 1,762
47. 7.6 Brute Force (1947) 686
48. 7.6 The Naked City (1948) 1,046
49. 7.6 Sudden Fear (1952) 604
50. 7.5 Kiss Me Deadly (1955) 3,141

9:17 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Touch of Evil and The Killing are two of my other favorites. Touch of evil is vintage Welles and The Killing is a great Heist movie by a young Kubrick featuring Sterling Hayden who I love.

1:07 AM  
Blogger Drew said...

Here is a nice Noir site http://noiroftheweek.blogspot.com/

8:46 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I would also count Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, and The Third Man as favorite noir films. I really enjoyed Pickup on South Street as well.

There are also several great Neo-Noir films like, Bound, Out of Sight, and even Michael Mann's Heat, that I think effectively take the style in an interesting new direction.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Drew said...

Thanks, I just bought pick up on south street. I was excited that Criterion had re-worked it. Hope I like it too.

12:50 PM  

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