How do you begin a story? If I told you a story begins with the arrival of a stranger in town, you would probably think I was talking about a[…]
“This noir heroine comes very close to having it all: the house, the money, and the freedom. Kitty Collins, Kathie Moffatt, and the rest of the femme fatales would have been exultant. They’d have tried to knock some sense into Diane, told her not to mope about and enjoy the jackpot. But she is something of an angel. She repents.”
“Mann’s 1950 threesome — The Devil’s Doorway, Winchester ’73, The Furies — was the most auspicious quantum jump by an American director since John Ford’s equivalent Americana triumvirate of 1939 (Stage Coach, Young Mr. Lincoln, Drums Along the Mohawk) lifted him into the major phase of his career. Yet Mann’s achievements seem destined to remain unappreciated and the director himself obscure.”
“The morally complex interrelationship of hero/villain, which is partially accountable for the remarkable intensity of his films, has at its roots the film noirs of the 1940s. The darker side of human nature, the interiority of these earlier, psychologically troubled characters, is the determining force in Mann’s noirs. We see the director striving for the depth and complexity of characterization he ultimately achieved in the great films of the 1950s.”
It’s not ‘rare’ by TCM standards, but its not easily available on DVD, so hey – you should maybe DV-R this if you haven’t already and then keep it[…]
Is Two Seconds (Mervyn LeRoy, 1932) the first American noir? I’ve read some historians who trace American film noir as far back as Josef von Sternberg’s Underworld (1927). But Underworld,[…]
Although most film noirs take place in an urban setting, the “dark city,” Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik, 2010) shows how the noir vision can thrive almost anywhere – it is an[…]
Note: The humble program note has a long and noble history. Sometimes anonymous, sometimes not, cheered as often as they were reviled, these brief, ephemeral, often illuminating handouts, likely destined for the dustbin the same night they appeared, offer “wisdom in a nutshell,” as one of Ivy Compton-Burnett’s characters aptly put it. This article is the second in Bright Lights’ series of vintage program notes from those heady days of the 1970s when unstoppable auteurists started their own cine clubs and commandeered movie theaters to bring their idea of cine-culture to audiences. Our late friend Roger McNiven continues the series with fascinating write-ups of two more works on the subject of “women larger than life,” in this case Bette Davis in King Vidor’s woefully underrated Beyond the Forest and Barbara Stanwyck in Gerd Oswald’s undeservedly obscure Crime of Passion. This double feature was screened at the legendary Thalia Theatre in New York City on Monday, December 3, 1979. We have added images but not edited the text, deferring to the time and spirit in which it was written.