THE THIRD MAN is one of the great representations of the German influence on the noir look. All those blown-up buildings make for lots of cool shadows. Orson Welles’ reputation and fame would take a huge hit if not for his performance here as the vile Harry Lime. Too bad Orson took a lump sum and passed on taking a cut of the movie’s box office.
WHY SEE IT? The visuals are great, but it’s the cynicism that makes this one of the great noirs. Harry is a slime, but everyone likes him. He uses his girl, she knows it, and she’d STILL take him back while the nice wimp hero doesn’t even get a last look from her as she walks away.
John Alton’s noir photography reached its acme in T-MEN and RAW DEAL. See them both if you want to know what noir’s supposed to look like.
WHY SEE IT? It’s a nifty story of a noir hero pulled by a good girl and a bad girl, though everyone knows who he should end up with, seeing how he’s no good. Raymond Burr in fine bad guy form.
GILDA is a perverse film. A lot of critics like to read in certain ideas, but it’s not a case of revisionism–it really is a pervy love story about a guy torn between a girl and her husband.
WHY SEE IT? Rita Hayworth’s performance of “Put the Blame on Mame.”
WHY SEE IT? After seeing it several times, I still can’t decide if I like FIGHT CLUB or just appreciate David Fincher’s visual storytelling. It’s his NATURAL BORN KILLERS, and like that it’s morally confused.
I remain unconvinced of THE MALTESE FALCON’s noirishness, but I have a replica of the black bird on my desk, and have watched this as often as I have SUNSET BOULEVARD.
WHY SEE IT? It’s entertaining as hell watching Bogart wander among these characters. Peter Lorre’s “You bloated eeediot!” was the seed of Ren Hoek.
WHY SEE IT? Ava Gardner was hot as hell in this.