Film noir

COMPARTIMENT TUEURS (1965)

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A film by Costa-Gavras

Cast: Catherine Allégret, Jacques Perrin, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Trintignant

English tile : The sleeping car murder

Six people share a sleeping-car on a Paris-bound train. When it reaches its destination, one of them is found murdered. As the police headed by Inspector Graziani (Yves Montand) frantically search for the killer soon after an other murder happens ,no!!! this can’t happen in Paris. It is the work of a serial killer? Or not. Well….

The thing is here is an other one of Gravas film that kick ass, it is his first film feature . It is in black and white  and shot in Paris so cool. It is fun to watch those old film I get to see how Paris was back in the day plus I love the old cars. Gravas here has done a cool thriller frantic that moves quickly. But it is not your typical stylist thriller here it has been done differently , plus you will see a car chase with motorcycle throughout  Paris. Michel Piccoli plays this unusual dude who is a little pervert sweaty and talking to himself. Yves Montand who plays the inspector does it with finest bit like a French Columbo. Simone Signoret does an outstanding job here. The director uses effective camera angles that create a sense of claustrophobia during suspense scenes. The appearance go the killer has his own style trench coat, hat, and lather gloves. Once the killer  shoot ,he repeatedly does it until the victim is dead which the killer taking sufficiently long pauses in-between shots to allow for the frightened victims to struggle around and stare in terror at their assassin. Here Catherine Allégret and Jacques Perrin plays young lovers and yes their chemistry are fresh as a croissant from the oven. There a cool non stylist film noir.

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BLONDE ICE (1948)

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A film by Jack Bernhard

Cast: Robert Paige, Leslie Brooks, Russ Vincent

Here is a little jewel from the B-Series film noir that came out in 1948. It was lost and suddenly remastered and sold on DVD. Terrific film here where actually the actor knew how to act even in a B-Series film and became a cult classic.

Leslie Brooks is well cast as Claire, who happily goes about marrying rich men so that she can kill them, get their money, and move on to her next victim. Simple story right but back then this kind of film was not done until now. They should call her Black window but the title here stick she is cold as ice. She will stop at nothing to get what she want. Killing is her thing but the man has to be rich. Leslie brooks delivers this intense role for her character and yes ice is running down her veins. One thing is for sure do not be blindsided by her love or you will pay for it. It is a terrific film noir here that should be watch as one said to me when it is misty, cloudy outside while drinking whiskey.

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OUT OF THE PAST (1947)

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A film by Jacques Tourneur

Cast: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas

Out of the Past (1947) is one of the greatest of all film noir, the story of a man who tries to break with his past and his weakness and start over again in a town, with a new job and a new girl. Mitchum plays Jeff Bailey, whose name was Jeff Markham when he was working as a private eye out of New York. He was hired by a gangster named Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas, electrifying in an early role) to track down a woman named Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer) the sexy woman. Kathie shot Sterling four times, hitting him once, and supposedly left with $40,000 of his money. Sterling wants Jeff to bring her back. It’s not, he says, that he wants revenge: “I just want her back. When you see her, you’ll understand better.”Great lines there.

The story is told in flashback. Here is a guy who is a sucker and blind romantically. He is drawn to Kathie who by the way is deceiving from left to right. Kathy i is pure evil, a sensuous woman who will do anything to get her own way. What I like about it that she is so deceiving but yet uses her beauty so the sucker like Mitchum won’t see her coming. She played the femme fatal of the femme fatal here and beautifully well I might have.  Mitchum has made of making film noir have the greatest career of them all.  kirk Douglas here is shinning he was just starting at the time. No surprise that he became the actor that he became. Well if you have not seen it yet, see it now.

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CÂINI (2016)

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Un film by Bogdan Mirica

Cast: Dragos Bucur, Gheorghe Visu, Vlad Ivanov

English title: Dogs

Un certain regard at Cannes. 

Yes a Romanian film noir, thriller, à la western. Dogs is a story of a frontier done in western mode with an impotent Sheriff, who volunteer as the last resort like a Gary Cooper in High Noon, and there mu friends you have a slow burning pacing thriller western style done à la Romanian.

Roman returns to the land he has just inherited from his grandfather. He decided to sell this desolate property, he is warned by the local cop not to sell the land. A series of strange events takes place at night and Roman tries to investigate. It sets new boundaries of the unknown in the east side of Europe where it is not liked very much. Roman is the visitor of an ancient world where he does not understand the rules. The law is powerless to protect him, and he was summoned to respect the wishes of the dead and the rules of the past. Dogs is a brutal, violent film, but it is not without macabre humor. There is a funny scene where a farmer found a foot with its shoes in the lake so the Sheriff after dinner decided to inspected the foot, see how he does it, and yes it is some serious macabre humor. Not too many people were laughing in the theater or if they were they were doing it nervously. The film shows you the country were there is a cruel way of life and certain law that you have to follow. Also you are not going to be bored because there are some interesting characters that will surface from time to time. Here is a cool Romanian film noir not to be missed.

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THE SCAR (1948)

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A film by Steve Sekely

Cast: Paul Henreid, Joan Bennett, Eduard Franz

Also know as The hollow triumph, or the man who murder himself. Johnny Muller (Paul Henreid) possesses both street smarts and an education. Having served some prison time, he is about to become a productive member of society, (well sort of) where a desk job awaits him in LA. But Muller wants to go back to his old ways. He devised a plan to rob a Casino with his friends operated by Rocky Stansyck (Thomas Browne Henry) the toughest guy in town. After a narrow escape from the robbery, Muller finds himself looking over his shoulder. Muller needs to disappear for good, and one day a dentist follows him once Muller finds out that he is followed he corners the dentist who looks like he saw a ghost. The dentist tells him……..Suddenly Muller has an idea to get rid of the gang that is after him.

It is a film that not too many people know about and it is a film noir at its purest form. Sekely did this film out of the major studio he went with the independent film. It looks like an art film where were little light was used even the stars face was poorly lit. Done in purpose of course he also played with the shadows as any film noir was done back then. This film contain an moment of recognition when the lead protagonist realizes everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. A hint pay attention tot the mirror scene here a stroke of genius. The film is constructed not like any other noir film Sekely has taken an original story here. Director of photography is John Alton need I say more. The scar was based on the novel by Murray Forbes, adapted for the screen by Daniel Fuchs. The thing is that you can get it on DVD or see it on TCM. Do not miss this one.

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GATE OF FLESH (1964)

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A film by Seijun Suzuki

Cast: Jô Shishido, Kôji Wada, Yumiko Nogawa

It is after the second world war and it is in the slump of a bunch of abandoned building in a chaotic crime area of Tokyo that a bunch of prostitutes living by a strict code resides. Jo Shishido plays  Shintaro Ibuki, a macho renegade former soldier who deals on the black market shack with this gang of women. Maya who is this young woman who is hungry resort to prostitution in order to survive and struggles to find love.

Here is Suzuki master piece  a director who did not listen to the studio and made this renegade film of sex, torture, violent, with nudity and sex scene everything at the time that the studio did not want. The film is colorful as hell there was the wardrobe of the prostitute colors back in the 60’s were bright with some pastel colors in the mixed. Only the strong survive in this business. survival is key here, not too far there is an US military base of course in order to survive the prostate also rob the US soldier of pickpocketing the pocket even robbing them of their watches. It is not your typical crime film here but it has influence directors like John Woo, Quentin Tarantino  and many others. It became a visually stunning cult film. In a way it is an exploitation Japanese film. A pulp story that keeps on ticking as the years goes by and thrust me when I say this film still stand out to this day. That is why I love foreign film it is done differently back then they were not afraid to experiment.

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BRANDED TO KILL (1967)

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A film by Seijun Suzuki

Cast: Jô Shishido, Kôji Nanbara, Isao Tamagawa

After more than ten years and forty films at the Nikkatsu company through the 1950s and 60s, cult Japanese director Seijun Suzuki was fired for making incomprehensible cinema. How do you like them apples? You’ve have got to be kidding me. Known for visual panache, and disjointed editing with a particular dreamlike quality. You see the studio wanted him to make commercialized film but he instead wanted to make the film that he wanted to make so the studios decided to fire him to top it all off he could not work for 10 years.

The story goes like this a hitman who is the third best in the Japanese underworld. Number Three, Hanada (Jô Shisido), is given a routine assignment to knock off an unknown foreigner that goes sour and he finds himself being pursued by his bygone  friends. They attempt to get to him through his wife and the girl that he falls for but the bullets misses him. When number one comes in play the challenge begins to get a little harder.

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Shisido’s piercing killer’s is this cool cat with sunglasses most go the time with some strange cheeks bones. His sexual appetite is insatiable, but is also stirred most strongly by the aroma of steamed rice he goes nuts for it. It is like an obsession. Had the time you didn’t know if you were watching a dream sequence or reality. There are some cool things though about this film a sequence with the other car was blocking the road and our killer who is to protect his client at any cost ram the other car gets out and start shooting. Later the drunk killer his partner runs like in the samurai film somewhat hug the guy and shots are heard one of them falls down, the other one walks and falls down a bit later pay attention what he does it is so funny here Suzuki has put a little humor into it, all through out the film. It is a quite inventive, and creative film here but unfortunately after he go back from getting fired tens years later he did not have the same panache that he had before. A film to look. A must see. I am going to try to find more about his films and review more of them for you. Do I love those foreign  gangster film.

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