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May. 9th, 2016

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

Mickey Spillane at the movies

Mickey Spillane has had mixed fortunes when it comes to film adaptations of his novels. The 1955 movie version of Kiss Me, Deadly has been widely praised although it’s not to my taste. Personally I much preferred the 1962 The Girl Hunters with Spillane himself as Mike Hammer. He might not have been the world’s greatest actor but he certainly understood Mike Hammer.

I’m also find of the surprisingly hard-boiled late 50s TV series with Darren McGavin, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. I’ve never seen the 1980s TV adaptations.

There were a couple of other 1950s movie adaptations, which don’t seem to have very favourable reputations. There was the 1953 version of I, the Jury and a 1957 film of My Gun Is Quick. The latter is now available on DVD but the reviews I’ve read make it sound less than enticing. Even worse, they make it sound as if it had little or nothing in common with Spillane’s novel.

Is anyone prepared to step forward to defend the My Gun Is Quick movie? Or I, the Jury too for that matter although it seems to be unobtainable.

Apr. 9th, 2016

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

why did film noir die?

Most reference books on the subject tell us that film noir ended with A Touch of Evil in 1958. One can of course argue that perhaps there were one or two noirs after that date but on the whole most people would probably agree.

But why did film noir die?

Of course some of the causes are pretty obvious. Television pretty much killed the B-movie. And once black-and-white fell out of favour the noir visual style was pretty much finished. But was there more to it than that?

Did audiences grow tired of the cynicism and pessimism? Is that why noir suddenly became popular again in the 70s, the decade of cynicism and pessimism?

Or did film noir just get displaced by other styles? I wonder if the rise of the spy movie had something to do with it. Not the Bond movies, but the anti-Bond movies of the mid-60s. Movies like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Ipcress File were certainly not film noir but they were at least partly drawing from the same well - cynicism, corruption, betrayal, pessimism, moral relativism. The dark spy movies of the 60s had all these things but to movie audiences they also probably seemed more modern and perhaps more relevant.

Anyway, just some random thoughts.
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Mar. 20th, 2016

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

new film noir Blu-Ray set

Kino Lorber have a new film noir Blu-Ray boxed set coming out soon that looks interesting. The movies includes are Big House, U.S.A., A Bullet For Joey, He Ran All the Way, Storm Fear and Witness to Murder. Does anyone have any opinions on any of these movies? The stars include George Raft and George Sanders so that's enough to tempt me.

The set is called Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema.

Mar. 12th, 2016


lmoore66

"BULLETS OR BALLOTS" (1936) Review




"BULLETS OR BALLOTS" (1936) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of the 1936 crime melodrama, "BULLETS OR BALLOTS". Directed by William Keighley, the movie starred Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Humphrey Bogart and Barton MacLane.

Jan. 21st, 2016

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

The French Connection (1971)

The French Connection is widely regarded as one of the great cop movies of the 70s. I’m ashamed to say that for some inexplicable reason I had never seen this film until now. In some ways it’s typical of 70s cop movies while in other ways it’s highly atypical. Like all of William Friedkin’s movies it’s slightly quirky and worth seeing.

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Jan. 4th, 2016

Gun Crazy pic

dfordoom

Noir City 2016 schedule

The Noir City 2016 schedule might be of interest, if you can get to San Francisco. Although it includes a lot of movies that don't seem to be very film noir at all. Blow-Up and Peeping Tom as film noir? I don't think so.

Dec. 31st, 2015

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

best film noir seen this year

This has been a very sparse year for me for movie watching. And very sparse indeed for film noir. So sparse that I can’t even do a top ten list. I can manage a top five list, although even that will include movies that are at best borderline noir (and some are very borderline indeed).

First up is City of Fear (1959), an excellent “terror in the streets” paranoia movie about a city menaced by stolen Cobalt-60. It has a few noir touches. Here’s my review -

Singapore (1947), directed by John Brahm, is a fine noirish tropical crime/romance melodrama enlivened by great performances by Fred MacMurray and Ava Gardner. My review -

Spin a Dark Web (AKA Soho Incident) is a superb British B-mystery with genuine noir atmosphere and enough noir content in the plot to satisfy most fans of the genre. A very good little movie -

The Fearmakers (1958) is an intelligent thriller with at least the odd hint of noir, plus it’s directed by Jacques Tourneur and stars noir icon Dana Andrews. An underrated Tourneur movie.

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) isn’t film noir at all although at a stretch it has some affinities with spy noir. And it is directed by Anthony Mann (although he died before completing it). It’s an interesting and much maligned movie so I’m throwing it in because it’s the only way I can my list up to five titles.

Dec. 30th, 2015

PreCode

dfordoom

Christmas Holiday (1944)

Christmas Holiday is a pretty strange title for a film noir. Even stranger, this is a film noir starring Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin. On the other hand it is directed by Robert Siodmak, one of the grand masters of noir, and it is based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham. It’s odd that more of Maugham’s stories weren’t given the film noir treatment - he was an author with the right sort of sensibility for film noir.

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Dec. 13th, 2015

Gun Crazy pic

dfordoom

Circle of Danger (1951)

Circle of Danger is a low-key British mystery thriller about a man trying to learn the truth about his brother’s death.

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Nov. 2nd, 2015

Gun Crazy pic

dfordoom

Spin a Dark Web (1956)

Spin a Dark Web (the original British title was Soho Incident) is a fine example of the excellent mystery thriller B-movies the British film industry produced in such abundance from the late 40s up to the beginning of the 60s.

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