Recently I was up late watching a film noir movie—or should I say, ..
Movies We Like - Genre - Film Noir - Amoeba Music
Description: The film begins with a fade in to a dingy hotel room, an immediate establishing of the space. A man, Raven (Alan Ladd), is lying on his bed. The camera is at a slight low angle. In the foreground hangs a coat and just below an alarm clock on a night table. The alarm clock rings. Raven awakens, shuts the alarm and sits up on his bed. Diegetic piano music is heard. He looks at his watch, removes a letter from his coat pocket and checks an address (insert shot). Cut back to a low angle medium shot of Raven. After securing that his gun is loaded he places it and the letter inside his briefcase and begins to leave. The sound of the window shutting draws his attention to a kitten. He pours the kitten some milk then leaves to wash his hands. In the meantime a young maid enters. The kitten spills a can, prodding the maid to frighten the kitten. Raven returns; angered, he slaps the maid and forces her out of the room. He pats the kitten then gets up to leave. Two dissolves later he is entering an apartment building. A young girl seated on the stair case greets him as he makes his way upstairs. He meets with a man, a blackmailer who is under the impression that Raven is there to give him money in exchange for an incriminating letter. A woman is also present. She leaves the room. After listening to the man ramble Raven removes the gun from his briefcase and shoots the man once. The woman enters the room. Raven remarks, “They said he’d be alone.” She runs back into the bedroom but Raven shoots her once through the door. He checks to make sure she is dead, confirms the letter, places it in his briefcase and leaves. In the hallway the innocent girl says, “Mister, I dropped my ball.” Two shot counter shots lengthen the moment. Raven makes a movement to go into his briefcase for his gun, stops, and decides to retrieve the ball. The scene fades out.
Down these mean streets – Film Noir and The Honour of Men
If interpreted in a certain way, the opening can be seen as a reflexive commentary. has as much in common, if not more, with the 1930’s gangster cycle as with the film noir. Cody Jarrett, like Roy Earle in , is a throwback to the prohibition era: a man behind the times; it is 1949 and the gangster collective has given away to the individualistic noir anti-hero. The train hold up is reminiscent of the era of the western, when train hold ups were common. If this allusion is conscious, then it is a reflection of the anachronistic current running throughout .
Film noir's version of Romeo ..
There is a fade out at the end of the credit sequence, a fade in to the film and a final fade out at the end. (Since the credit sequence is bridged by fades it is temporally distanced from the film and hence its action –a boxer being knocked out– serves as a metaphor for Stoker’s less than successful boxing career.) Outside of these three fades all other transitions in the film are straight cuts. At that period in the evolution of the language of film style the fade/dissolve/wipe were common transitional schemata depicting varying time lapses. The unadorned cut was used to join shots which succeeded each other in continuous temporal order. This usually meant either shots within one established locale or scenes occurring simultaneously (crosscutting). Being a former editor Robert Wise was as conscious of this as anyone. Therefore, to emphasize the temporal structure of the film (screen time=story time) Wise begins and ends on a clock and uses the ‘straight’ cut exclusively. I can not be sure, but would be willing to bet that is the only Hollywood film of the 1940’s not to employ a fade, dissolve, or wipe (excluding the beginning and end).
This is the film that got me hooked on noir.
Description: The film begins with a dissolve from the prologue to a shot of the city at night. A subsequent dissolve brings us into a dark, deserted office. The camera dollies toward a door; the words “Henry J. Stevenson Vice President” become visible. Another dissolve brings us inside the room. The camera continues to dolly forward toward the desk; on it rests a telephone, with its receiver off. There is a dissolve to another location. Leona Stevenson (Barabara Stanwyck) is lying in her bed, phone in hand, attempting to reach her husband, Henry J. Stevenson (Burt Lancaster). The camera pans to her night table as she reaches for a cigarette and lighter (a marriage photo and small clock are visible). Her behavior toward the operator is forceful, demanding, and impatient. Before hanging up she accidently connects into another line. The camera dollies to a close up as she realizes that the two men are planning a murder. Before the victim’s address is given the connection is lost. Leona hangs up. Cut to a medium shot. She graps the phone again and calls the operator, insisting that the operator trace the call. She reaches for a tissue paper on her other night table; the camera pans with her but remains on the table long enough to reveal a crowd of medicine bottles. Cut back to Leona. The camera now becomes assertive. (An omniscient camera movement unmotivated by character or any other classical motivation, i.e. reframe, follow a character, a moving vehicle, etc.) It dollies to her open window, across the length of her room (dissolve) down her staircase, and to a bell high up on the downstairs wall which she uses to summon her servants. Throughout this assertive camera movement we hear her offscreen voice complaining that she has been left alone for the night and that nobody cares for her. We cut back to Leona. She receives a phone call from her father in Chicago. A painting of her father bridges a dissolve to him. The camera pans around the den while they talk. He tells her daughter that the house is like a morgue without her, meanwhile there is a party going on in the next room. After their talk we dissolve to a clock in Leona’s room and to another location.