Or Advanced Guide to Cinematic Survival?
“[My film] is stylized and theatrical because the story is so telescoped we have a life-and-death outcome played out over 20 actual minutes.”
“His plan mirrors Johnny’s, that is, pieces of the plan are known to one person: Johnny and Stanley; and not until the end do we see most of their pieces come into place.
“I don’t need other people. I don’t need help. I can take care of me.”
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.
“Noir films with non-urban settings exploded the idea that escape into a safer or healthier world was possible, showing how temptation and violence can attack anyone, anywhere.”
“Skip is the only one that enacts incest with one hand and bats away communists like flies from a dung pile with the other.”
“It was like going down to thebottom of the world”
A strangely soothing, a sun-drenched proto-neo-noir, NIAGARA is one of my favorite Marilyn Monroe movies, up there with DON’T BOTHER TO KNOCK and THE MISFITS in its ability to capture[…]
Mike Hammer deconstructed, or Mike Hammer disrespected? Back in the day — way, way back in the day, when life in America was not a total girlie show — Americans[…]
Commie on a plane – Oliver Blake and Dana Andrews in The Fearmakers Under the credits of Jacques Tourneur’s The Fearmakers (1958) we see a bearded Dana Andrews being tortured[…]
“The black sheep of the family, noir’s tramps are the tin-age antithesis to Chaplin’s golden-age thesis.” In the American cinema of the 1920s through the 1940s, the figure of the[…]
“Cage’s Michael is a model of the terse, slightly wasted working-class guy who acts as a punching bag for malevolent Fate.” Film noir persists long past its “golden era” of[…]
“Oh, that is excessive” In Naked, Mike Leigh combines irony and a very strict form of realism, which might have been the predominant elements of his style for some time,[…]
“There is only Noir!” The Noir Vision To discuss the history of film noir since the ’50s is to fly in the face of conventional studies, which assume the “genre”[…]
“Some good pictures come out of Hollywood. God knows how, but they do.” – William Faulkner In their movie Barton Fink (1991), Joel and Ethan Coen presented a character, W P.[…]
“The problem, of course, is the goddamned Industrial Revolution!” – Monica Morgan, Dialogues on Backwater Capitalism “All machines lie!” – Ann McKim, Lost Paradise What is it about the ciy that encourages (or[…]