Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

More New Noir, part 3

October 5th, 2009

Moving right along, 7 films down and 5 to go.

Here are the latest 3 (again, I’m not a scholar or reviewer, I’m just giving a few impressions.  All of these summaries are bare boned by even bare boned standards and don’t do justice to the films.  If you want more info, check IMDb)  Also, I (and the distributors) may play fast and loose with the use of the word “noir”:

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Saturday 10-3-9

The Phenix City Story (1955)

Directed by Phil Karlson.  Screenplay by Crane Wilbur and Daniel Mainwaring.  Starring John McIntire, Richard Kiley and Kathryn Grant.

Good people do their best to clean up a corrupt town.  The first fifteen minutes of this movie, interviews with Phenix City residents that experienced the corruption first-hand, move like molasses.  The rest of the film is heavy-handed, puritanical, crime-doesn’t-pay propaganda.

2 out of 5 stars

(and the only reason I’m raring it this high is because of some shockingly violent scenes that give the film more substance than it deserves).

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Sunday 10-4-9

Daisy Kenyon (1947)

Directed by Otto Preminger.  Screenplay by David Hertz from a novel by Elizabeth Janeway.  Starring Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda.

An uninteresting melodrama about a woman torn between two men.  20th Century Fox released this on DVD as part of their noir series, but aside from shadowy lighting and one or two dark character traits the only thing noir about this movie is the fact that it says “Fox Film Noir” on the box.

2 out of 5 stars.

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Monday 10-5-9

Le Deuxieme Souffle (Second Breath) (1966)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.  Screenplay by Jean-Pierre Melville and Jose Giovanni (from his novel).  Starring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse and Christine Fabrega.

French cops and robbers.  It took me a while to settle in to this one, but once I did it was worth it.  Bonus points for a good heist sequence in the middle and for the lead, Lino Ventura, being a former professional wrestler.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

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