Caught Pitfall with Dick Powell, Lizbeth Scott, Jane Wyatt and Raymond Burr last night. Very good movie. Fairly fast paced, tight script, solid performances and interesting social commentary on fidelity, boredom with the post-war "good life" and the aftermath of bad choices.


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Out of the Past, with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer (Kirk Douglas also has a minor role). Mitchum does his usual amazing laid-back performance and the chemistry between him and Jane Greer (femme fatale) is outta sight. Famous line (Mitchum): Baby, I don't care. Rotten Tomatoes review

Top of my list, never get sick of it, as to modern treatments, it don't get much better than Farewell My Lovely, again with Mitchum, in 75

I agree. And confess to being an unabashed Mitchum fan. He is so under-rated. Way creepier in the first Cape Fear than Robert DeNiro in the remake (in which RM had a cameo). And who can forget his L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E tattooed on his knuckles in Night of the Hunter? 

Great lists (and oddly enough The Big Sleep - a noir classic I've never seen but have had on the to watch list forever - is on TMC as I type this. Excited to see it). Thanks for sharing a list of more movies I now want to make time for. 

Finished watching Akira Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well. An excellent noir that takes place with a corporate setting. Something so relevant to today even though it was made in 1960.


Also High/Low and Rapid Dog are awesome Kurosawa crime films. Emotionally trying.

Someone gave me a boxed set of Robert Mitchum films for Christmas. Last night I watched The Yakusa.

Wow! Great film, great noir ... directed by Sydney Pollack and set in Japan. Co-star Takakura Ken, also fabulous. Script by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne. It was released in 1975 and despite his age, Mitchum looks great, the sword-play sequences are quite amazing, and the love story, fated from the start, between Mitchum and his Japanese lover, comes to a fateful noir conclusion. See this one if you can!

The Yakuza

As I train in Japanese swordmanship, this film The Yakuza is one of my favorites. The use of the sword and the culture of Japan is interwoven with the noir tale. One of the things I like the most is the explanation of GIRI or 'duty', and the discussion between the Japanese warrior and the young American.

Agreed, the swordsmanship was amazing to watch. Maybe you can answer a question. I couldn't figure out why Takakura Ken character cut off his finger and gave it to his brother. Maybe the murkiness had to do w/very low volume sound track for dialogue. Mitchum's last act was surprising, but at least understandable.

I'm no expert on Japan and Japanese culture, but I did have many Japanese students while teaching at Berklee College of Music and came to know some of them rather well. Trumpet lessons are one on one, once a week. 

I could explain, but I think it's better if you read this article first: Yubitsume

Ken kills the son (spider tattoo) of his older brother Goro (the Yakuza advisor), whom he had promised not to harm. Although Ken kills his nephew in self-defense, Ken knows Goro will be devastated by the loss, and that's why Ken goes to Goro to take his own life (seppuku) to repent for his sin. However, Goro doesn't want to lose his brother as well as his son, and begs Ken not to kill himself. So Ken, as atonement, does the next possible thing and commits yubitsume.

Meanwhile, Kilmer realises the tragedy he unwittingly caused by his relationship with Eiko and his 'giri' commands him to atone in a similar fashion, so Ken can forgive Eiko.

If you understand the concept of 'giri', the Yakuza becomes a multi-layered story, and much more than an interesting 'noir' movie.

I also have an article in PDF on The Yakuza and other yakuza films. If you send me an email, I'll send you the PDF in attachment - it's an article from Film Comment 1974.

Thanks!  I didn't understand that the man Ken killed was Goro's son. That makes it much more understandable. Kilmer's act of atonement was easy enough to understand. Will check out the article you recommended. Thanks, Susan

 Maybe it's because I'm under thirty (limited time only)  and not really a cinema student, but most of those old black/white things I see just don't seem to have the bite of contemporary dark films.

I finally saw "Touch Of Evil" the other day and I thought it was a joke.  They couldn't even keep straight what side of the border they were on at any given time, the plot was full of holes, the dialogue was contrived and wooden, and the scary stuff almost made me laugh.   

You compare that to Millers Crossing or Usual Suspects or even Fight Club and it looks amateurish to me.   I see unknown films on Netflix every week that are so much more what I consider "noir".    

Some, like LA Confidential  or Mulholland Drive seem to be retro, trying to be like those eariler films in feel and tone, but I think they do a better job of it, all told.    Maybe color makes a difference.  

Foreign films like X  and Getting Square or Dirty Pretty Things seem to do it kind of effortlessly.  I see something like "Clubbed" and wonder if it was in black and white, tweaked up more chiaroscuro,  would people rate it with that classic stuff.

But like I say, it maybe it's just different times.

I don't know, Cammie May. I'm twice your age and feel the same about Touch of Evil and many others when compared to movies like The Usual Suspects and LA Confidential. of course a lot of older movies--Sunset Boulevard and The Maltese Falcon come to mind--are as good as any ever made.


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