⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir

Tuesday, June 08, 2021 4:24:24 AM

Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir

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Robert B. Williams Williams. Phil Tully Policeman. Jimmy Lloyd Fuller. Gay Nelson Starry-eyed girl. Hermine Sterler Mrs. Harry Harvey Jr. John Larrapoe. Edward Earle McCoy. Selmer Jackson Warden. Pat Collins Father. Jack Gordon Tough prisoner. Edwin Mills Young prisoner. Pat Mcgeehan Commentator. Buddy Adler Producer. Michael Blankfort Screenwriter. Clay Campbell Makeup. George Cooper Sound Engineer. Albert Duffy Screenwriter. George Duning Music Score. Milton Feldman Assistant Director.

Helen Hunt Hair Styles. Viola Lawrence Film Editor. Jean Louis Gowns. Philip Macdonald Screenwriter. Cary Odell Art Director. Oscar Saul Adaptation. Stoloff Music Director. Frank [a. Malvin Wald Adaptation. Joseph Walker Director of Photography. The Dark Past March 22, The Dark Past Film noir wasn't only about the dark of night and the shadows of the soul. By the mids, it was delving into the dark corners of the mind, thanks to the cultural embrace of psychoanalysis. The results were seen in such post-war thrillers as Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound , the Olivia de Havilland vehicle The Dark Mirror , and Conflict with psychiatrist Sydney Greenstreet playing mind games with suspected murderer Humphrey Bogart.

The Dark Past, based on the play Blind Alley which was previously adapted for the film of the same name , arrived in , a few years after Hollywood's love affair with psychoanalysis first bloomed. It follows in the footsteps of Spellbound, applying Freudian analysis of dream imagery to discover and heal the psychic scars of the past William Holden receives top billing as career criminal Al Walker, the subject of this cinematic therapy session, but third billed Lee J.

Cobb actually has more screen time as police psychologist Dr. The drama is presented in flashback, as Collins tells the story of his run-in with escaped killer Walker to a fellow detective as an illustration of the importance of healing psychological trauma before it has its way with the criminal mind. Hit the wayback machine to just a few years ago, when Collins was a college professor and Walker, a notorious killer, busted out of prison and into Collins' weekend home Holden has played devious, morally dubious, and even violent men, but Al Walker is surely the only genuine psychopath of his career.

With hair brushed up like a broom resembling Humphrey Bogart in High Sierra, and the lines of face brought out under hard lights and minimal make-up, this is not the playful rascal or charming cynic that Holden does so well. Walker is a hardened, severe, pitiless character with a sadistic streak and a well of anger and Holden plays him with a growling meanness. When we finally get our first glimpse of this notorious character, he's already escaped from jail and making his getaway in a car packed with his henchmen and his loyal girl, Betty Nina Foch , while the prison warden is tucked in between them all as a hostage. Before the scene is over, we watch him shoot his hostage in cold blood and leave the body laying in the road.

It seems unduly sloppy for a smart crook, but Walker is the kind of man who could care less that he's leaving a trail of corpses behind him. It's not the last time we'll see him shoot an unarmed man out of spite. The heart of the story takes place in Dr. Collin's cabin on the lake, where Walker and his gang hole up while awaiting a boat to complete their getaway. They take Collins and his guests hostage and separate them into various rooms, leaving Collins alone with Walker to prod him, probe his mind, and engage in a therapy session, ostensibly to cure Walker of his debilitating nightmares.

Cobb was no stranger to playing authority figures, usually flinty, hard-bitten bosses such as in Call Northside and Boomerang Here he's the far more paternal type of authority figure, calming and sensitive and maybe just a little arrogant as he tries to draw Walker out of his defensive posture and talk about his most repressed memories. Cobb plays him with an unnatural confidence and unruffled control and he never loses his cool or his composure. You'd think being taken hostage by a ruthless killer is just another day at the office. Coincidentally, Cobb and Holden both made their Hollywood breakthrough in the Golden Boy, where handsome young bit player Holden was cast in his first leading role and Cobb played Holden's father.

According to Holden biographer Bob Thomas, that history did little to smooth their working relationship here. Cobb's constant negativity and crankiness reportedly cracked Holden's confidence and co-star Nina Foch a sharp B-movie beauty who moved into A pictures after her success in 's My Name Is Julia Ross took it upon herself to build him back up. Rudolph Mate had a long and successful career as a top-notch cinematographer in both Europe Carl Dreyer's exquisitely photographed Vampyr [] and That Hamilton Woman [] and later in Hollywood the Stella Dallas, The Pride of the Yankees [], and Gilda [], just to name a few before moving up to director.

The Dark Past was only his second feature as a director and he was still mastering the finer points of directing actors, staging dramatic scenes, and creating narrative rhythms. Mate and his screenwriters never quite smooth over the seams of the play's structure in their adaptation and their simplification of psychoanalysis is, even for , glaringly facile. Deep Freudian analysis cures this Oedipal gangster drama in a single night here, and under the gun of a killer who has taken Collins and his family hostage, no less. Our doctor turns it into a kind of field hospital for psychiatric triage: mental health under fire in the criminal war zone.

This turns out to be part of a scheme to frame Jeff for murder, and the film ends with all three characters dead. There are many possible answers, but the most plausible ones are as follows:. Jeff finds Kathie in Acapulco in Out of the Past. The protagonist often sees himself as the victim of an evil woman who uses her powers of seduction to entrap and ensnare him. This is obviously connected to the previous explanation, the woman, though driven by a desire for money or personal gain, being perceived by the protagonist as unmotivatedly malignant.

Out of the Past But even character does not exist in isolation. It is formed by an environment. And the immediate environment for noir is the world of capitalism. Of course, the majority of American films made during this period were set in capitalist societies, but noir is notable for stripping its milieu of any features not directly related to the circulation of money. In this sense, noir makes for an intriguing comparison with the screwball comedy; both genres value verbal dexterity, but whereas wit in the screwball is the means by which equality is ultimately achieved, in the noir it has much the same function as cash, being a weapon used in power games that can have only one winner.

These characters also wish to possess women, who are thus reduced to the status of objects. Noir can thus be seen to take about as harsh a view of capitalist organisation as is conceivable, and if capitalism is never identified by name in these films, it seems appropriate that the genre itself was only named retrospectively. In this sense, Out of the Past is among the most progressive noirs. He represents a social order existing outside the nightmare world of capitalism, one whose nature the film can barely hint at, but whose necessity it fully comprehends.

The Digital Edition and Archive quick link. Log in here to your digital edition and archive subscription, take a look at the packages on offer and buy a subscription. Access the digital edition. Growing up in a noir world: Martin Scorsese on the reality behind the dark melodrama of post-war American movies. How to get into Where to begin with neo-noir. She who wears the trousers. The psychological western. Jacques Tourneur. More about Out of the Past. More about Detour. Back to the top. Archive content sales and licensing. BFI book releases and trade sales. BFI Southbank purchases. Skip to main content. Search for mobiles.

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Further reading Growing up in a noir world: Martin Scorsese on the reality behind the dark melodrama of post-war American movies Philip Horne. She who wears the trousers Brad Stevens.

If the original social metaphor is valid, Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir resulting Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir Marcus Dupree Thesis long Analysis Of Alice Walkers Short Story The Flowers the individual artists who created it-it Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir even outlive the times which evolved it. The Shadow Line is heavily inspired by Film Noir, borrowing many plot elements and a very dark Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir cynical Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir. Racial Stereotypes In The Lion King think being taken hostage by a ruthless killer Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir just another day at the Brief Film Analysis: Classic Noir. George Duning Music Score. Reuse this content.

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