Noirvember – Five Favourite Film Noirs

At the start of this month Turner Classic Movies begun their ‘Noirvember’ season and have been showing some true noir greats from the classic American Noir era, this has sent me scurrying back to my movie collection to dig out my favourite film noirs.  Noir is such a hard genre if it is even a genre to define but for the purposes of this list I have stuck to movies in the classic noir period roughly early 1940’s to mid 1950’s. I’ll no doubt come back at a later date to include different eras, neo-noir and other related types but here are my five favourite classic noirs recommended to anyone new to the genre:

Double Indemnity – If you wanted to define noir in one movie or perhaps even in one monologue it would be Double Indemnity you’d choose.

“Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money – and a woman – and I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman. Pretty, isn’t it? ”

It’s the story of insurance salesman Walter Neff who trying to sell an insurance policy meets the glamorous and devious Mrs Dietrichson.  When the two get involved can they get away with murder and cashing in her husband’s insurance policy?  The movie uses Neff’s confession to his friend and boss as a framing device to bookend the movie and its Neff who provides the voice over as we see his tale through to the bitter end.    But just what drove Neff to do it?

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Ray Has Relocated

Ray’s movie blog has been quiet for a while, this has been for a number of reasons firstly this blog was really a test did I want to blog and why did I want to blog?
The answer to the first is yes I have found it a good way to get thoughts from my head onto if not paper then the digital storage that is wordpress, for the second I would like to improve my writing skills and like anything else improving is a matter of practice, practice, followed by some more practice. Looking back my posts have been of mixed quality but some are better than others, now reviewing them in hindsight I can see where they could be better and will be better in the future, so for now I shall continue to blog as Ray’s Movie Blog.

Ray’s movie blog has also relocated physical location to a cottage adjacent to a sheep field in a rural location and found itself with limited internet connectivity which has been the case since mid July and continued through October. But now with boxes unpacked, cat in situ and a laughably labelled high speed internet connection (upload 0.5mbps!) web connection the time to blog again is here.

Anyway from the news I hear out here in the sticks not much has happened in the UK or US since July anyway…………

In Case You Missed It: Sneakers

So many films are released every year it’s impossible to see them all, some films don’t get picked up for repeat on the TV or find a promoted spot on a streaming service with that in mind did you ever see Sneakers?

From the early 90’s Sneakers is a mostly light-hearted conspiracy/heist movie with a stellar cast featuring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Akroyd, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix and Ben Kingsley.  Just a look at the ensemble cast makes this worth a look, the movie takes elements from the paranoia thrillers of the 70’s and it’s not difficult to imagine Redford’s character being a follow on from Condor in 3 Days of the Condor, however this is much lighter in tone than those films.

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30 Years Ago Ferris Bueller Skipped School

Last year saw one of the 1980’s greatest movies Back to the Future celebrate a number of real and fictional 30 year anniversaries, indeed it was impossible to miss it on social media ‘the day Marty arrived in the future’.

Well on June 5th this year another 30th anniversary went largely unnoticed on social media, yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the day Ferris Bueller skipped school and took a day off.  Putting aside how old that makes me feel, it also recalls how I longed to be Ferris Bueller but in reality knew I was more Cameron Frye, as most of us are.  In our younger lives we have all known a ‘Ferris’ the guy who’s just to cool for school who everything just seems to work out for popular, funny and the pretiest girl in school is his girlfriend.  That was the case with all John Hughes movies it didn’t matter where you were from you could identify with the characters the cool kid, the jock, the nerd or the princess.

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Old Movie Review – Phantom Lady

Every now and then I like to review a movie that doesn’t get much attention these days.

A classic noir style thriller while featuring actors not widely remembered today The Phantom Lady features some great performances and an unusually strong female lead character.  The style of the movie is noir but it doesn’t necessarily fulfil all the requirements to be noir it lacks some of the darker aspects but it certainly shows some of the dark psychology of a killer.

The story involves husband Scott Henderson played by Alan Curtis who after an argument with his wife storms out for a night in a bar, while there he meets a lady on her own and they decide to attend the theatre the lady’s only proviso no names.  On returning he finds his wife murdered but his alibi fails to hold up when no one in the night spots they visited remembers the phantom lady was she there at all?  Convicted only his secretary Carol ‘Kansas’ Richman played by the gorgeous Ella Raines can save him.

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Old Movie Review – Journey Into Fear

Every now and then I like to review a movie that doesn’t get much attention these days.

Released by RKO in 1943 this Mercury Theatre Production featuring and regarded to have been part directed by Orson Welles although he always maintained the film remained Norman Foster’s.  I had high hopes for Journey into Fear but despite a talented cast was left disappointed by what is a rather pedestrian thriller.  Joseph Cotton plays a munitions expert sent to Turkey to assist that countries Navy in the ongoing conflict but a company contact encourages him to enjoy a night out and while in a nightclub an attempt is made on his life.  The head of the Turkish secret police bundles him off without his wife or any luggage on a passenger ship but are the other passengers all they seem?

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What is it that makes baseball work so well for the movies?

I know very little about baseball and what little I do know is because of the movies, with the exception of boxing has any sport been featured in so many great movies?

Compare that with the most universal of world sports football or soccer as the American’s call it, how many great soccer movies none spring to mind perhaps only Escape to Victory rates a mention.

Baseball however ranges from the misfits make good of Major League and a League of their Own to the Arthurian allegory of the Natural via the true stories of Moneyball and Eight Men Out to the small town hero of Bull Durham and the fantastical Field of Dreams.

So what is it that makes baseball work so well for the movies?

Eight Men Out

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