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Which of these classic noirs have you seen?
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 6:47 pm    Post subject: Which of these classic noirs have you seen? Reply with quote



Rate, discuss, rank these films, whatever. Just share your thoughts. Which is your favorite?



The Big Combo

The Big Heat

The Big Sleep

Blood Simple

Bob Le Flambeur

Chinatown

Double Indemnity

Gilda

Kiss Me Deadly

The Lady from Shanghai

LA Confidential

The Long Goodbye

The Maltese Falcon

Memento

Pulp Fiction

Rififi

Shoot the Piano Player

The Third Man

Touch of Evil

The Usual Suspects
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Which of these classic noirs have you seen? Reply with quote

I'd rank those I've seen something like this, but some I haven't seen in awhile:

The Maltese Falcon

Blood Simple

Pulp Fiction

Chinatown

The Third Man

Touch of Evil

Memento

LA Confidential

The Big Sleep

The Usual Suspects

The Long Goodbye


The Maltese Falcon is one of my all-time favorite movies, Blood Simple's my favorite Coen Brothers movie under Raising Arizona. I think The Big Sleep is good, but overrated. Altman is either hit or miss with me, and The Long Goodbye is a big, big miss, especially since he sets the movie in the 70s and casts Elliot Gould (?!) as Philip Marlowe. Memento, Pulp Fiction, Chinatown, and LA Confidential are great neo-noirs, The Third Man has one of the all-time great villains, Touch of Evil great "self-aware" noir, even if Charlton Heston makes for a ridiculous Mexican, and the The Usual Suspects is fun, even if it doesn't quite hold up over repeated viewings, IMHO.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 9:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Which of these classic noirs have you seen? Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
The Usual Suspects is fun, even if it doesn't quite hold up over repeated viewings, IMHO.


Odd, yet understandable. I've seen it three times and I found to get superior with every successive viewing. I think it's just me, because the same occurred with films such as The Sixth Sense (9 viewings), Unbreakable (close to 13, I think), Memento (4), Fight Club (2) and Requiem for a Dream (3).
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually enjoyed Fight Club (a movie I resisted the first time) and Unbreakable more on the second viewing.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
I actually enjoyed Fight Club (a movie I resisted the first time) more on the second viewing.


How do you mean you "resisted it"?
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I give my favorites, I have to lay out a definition for film noir.

Of course, film scholars can't even completely agree on a single, unified definition of film noir. Some will argue that Sunset Boulevard is noir and some that it isn't; some will say that it's a distinctly American genre and that films from other countries, like Bob le Flambeur or Riffifi (films I love, by the way), aren't genuine noir. I tend to agree with the definition found in A Short History of the Movies (Mast, Kawin):

-------------------------------

Film noir. An American genre of the 1940s and 1950s (named by French critics who noticed the resemblance between these "black" or "dark" films and the series of dark mystery novels -- many of them by American pulp writers -- published as the S?rie noire) characterized by sudden violence, tough romantic intensity, deceptive surfaces and emblematic reflections, unsentimental melodrama, narrative complexity, low-key lighting, and themes of entrapment and corruption, honor and duplicity, desire and revenge, compulsion and madness, betrayal and disenchantment, irony and doom.

-------------------------------

And to quote Tim Dirks, "Classic film noir developed during and after World War II, taking advantage of the post-war ambience of anxiety, pessimism, and suspicion. So-called post-noirs (modern, tech-noirs or neo-noirs) appeared after the classic period with a revival of the themes of classic noir." That said, The Maltese Falcon (1941) is usually considered the first film noir and Touch of Evil (1958) is often cited as the last.

And let's not even get started with the "Is noir a genre or a style?" debate (most say it's a style, not a genre, but...). It's never-ending.

Favorite Classic Film Noir



  • The Big Sleep (Hawks, 1946)

  • Detour (Ulmer, 1945)

  • Gilda (Vidor, 1946)

  • In a Lonely Place (Ray, 1950)

  • The Maltese Falcon (Huston, 1941)

  • Notorious (Hitchcock, 1946) [?]

  • Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, 1950) [?]

  • Sweet Smell of Success (Mackendrick, 1957) [?]

  • The Third Man (Carol, 1949)

  • Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)



Favorite Neo-Noir



  • Blood Simple (Coen, 1984)

  • Bound (Wachowski, 1996)

  • Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)

  • Femme Fatale (De Palma, 2002) [?]

  • Hall of Mirrors (Osborne, 2000)

  • Hard Eight (Anderson, 1997) [?]

  • Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997) [?]

  • Memento (Nolan, 2000)

  • Minority Report (Spielberg, 2002)

  • Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994) [?]



The ones marked with [?] I'm not so sure about calling noir or neo-noir, even though they certainly have noir elements. I really need to see more classic noir. I love noir, but I have a lot of catching up to do.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Third M?n wrote:


How do you mean you "resisted it"?


Well, if you read some of the reviews it garnered upon its release, you'll see Fight Club hit a lot of reviewers the wrong way (no pun intended). I understand where they're coming from, because it hit me the wrong way, too, the first time. It just struck me as overly hip, overly stylized, and far too detached and sardonic (bordering on cruel) for its own good. That's not to say I didn't get some enjoyment from it, but I thought it just found itself far too clever. When I watched it a second time and I *SPOILER*kept in mind who Tyler really was *END SPOILER* I realized the movie was not necessarily siding with Tyler and his plans, but was really sort of frightened and appalled by them.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I admire Fight Club for its ambition and narrative mastery, but I just don't buy its view of the American male, emasculated by consumer culture, safety, and complacency. Mostly, I take it as evidence that Fincher probably has a great film in him, still waiting to burst forth. (I actually prefer The Game to this one.)

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, seeing it the second time, I don't think its view is of the "American male, emasculated by consumer culture, safety, and complacency," which is how I read it the first time, too. I think it's attacking those males who will revel in the Narrator's point of view, while never knowing the movie's criticism is pointed at them, and not with them against the culture that has supposedly rendered them impotent.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.21.2003 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn?t as confident in my reading after a second viewing either, but it?s tough to overlook the way Fincher finds gratification in their need to feel at least pain, inadvertently celebrating their sensibility for its postmodern, ?cinematic? qualities. The tonal approach of the movie?from the glistening bodies as Platonic ideals, to the ?cool? colors and stylish jokiness?gives weight to these frustrated men, even if the confused glorification is accidental. Still, I might be wrong; I?ve returned to the film several times since my initial viewing, which probably says something?although I?m more inclined to examine what it says about me rather than Fincher.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.21.2003 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
it?s tough to overlook the way Fincher finds gratification in their need to feel at least pain, inadvertently celebrating their sensibility for its postmodern, ?cinematic? qualities.


Good points, but perhaps the satire extends into the film's style.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.21.2003 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This morning I happened to see the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, and there was an interview with Chuck Palahniuk. Quotes from his groupies:

"Where's the fight club in my area?"

"Fight Club wasn't just about violence, it was about how you can feel so alone in life and so abandoned and rejected by everything that you have to resort to violence to feel real."


I know it's unfair to compare the film to the book, but that dude's reading of the novel was my reading of the film; the only difference is that he didn't find it glib.

Another groupie gave himself a chemical burn and said, "This makes me feel like I'm connecting with what I love. I have passion."

Perhaps Fincher worked to subvert such readings through satire, but if so I'm not convinced it really took--that's not the main vibe I get from the picture. And I've never read anything by Palahniuk that suggests that the book's satire is directed anywhere but at our materialism. He seems to welcome--and actively court--the fanatical fan-worship that exists for Tyler Durden.

Still, what really matters is what we personally take from a film. Considering our own personalities, perhaps we are simply predisposed to read the film as satirizing such men, to twist it to fit our own preconceptions? If so, that's entirely reasonable and I'm comfortable with that, regardless of Fincher's intentions.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.21.2003 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's unexpected and disappointing. I agree that maybe what we take from a movie is more important than the movie's intentions, but it would have been nice if Fight Club was a wicked satire aimed at Tyler Durden worshippers.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.21.2003 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps that was indeed Fincher's intention, if not Palahniuk's... although I'm skeptical.

Eric
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Monkeypox
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PostPosted: 09.26.2003 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

**WARNING: VAGUE SPOILERS**

I've always felt it lied somewhere in between. It may seem like a cop-out, perhaps, but the idea, to me, is that neither Tyler NOR the Narrator's characters are complete humans.

How many nights have I sat in my little apartment and thought of demolishing everything I own? These were thoughts I had BEFORE Fight Club. But why?

You have to have the Narrator first, or there is no Tyler.

It's what the Tyler worshippers never quite get, IMO. The Tyler character doesn't exist without the Narrator character.

There are also scenes in the film which cast a rather satirical glance at Project Mayhem, particularly in its later movements. We KNOW why the Narrator needs Fight Club, but we aren't necessarily so sure as to the others.

BOTH are worthy of satire... the ever-emasculating consumerist culture (see: METROSEXUAL), and the Tyler-worshipping lower primate crew.

But, what do I know?
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