Over on CJ's Bloggety Blog Blog she is doing a 10 days top 10 movies of all time thing that she saw on The Facebook, I myself don't do The Facebook because all of us cool kids know FB is for squares (no offense CJ) but I like whatever this concept is because of this line...
"...movies you can watch over and over again..." << add in that my good buddy Bill just told me he's trying to get busy with some good Film Noirs (a genre he has often ignored) and my eyes lit up because I both love Film Noir and it's the perfect genre of film for hot Summer nights.
Put those two things together and there's an excuse for some blog posts.
I'm going to alter the theme a bit-- 10.0 are movies I can (and do) watch over and over again. If it's a film noir I'll indicate that, 8.0 which are movies that are excellent and you should watch but I've seen them so many times I can't revisit anymore after watching them 400 times and 6.0 which are movies that are really good but one viewing is all that's required.
It won't be all Film Noir but it will be heavily influenced because its my favorite genre.
So what is Film Noir? Scholars can't agree on a perfect definition or even when the period starts and ends but loosely translated it means Black Film-- or Dark Film and that reflects both the nature of the story and the style it's filmed in, usually with heavy shadows.
A few other criteria for what should be in a Film Noir;
1- Post or near post WWII. Tastes hardened after four years of war-- people became more cynical and attitudes about life changed.
2- Characters are made up of multiple shades of black white and grey-- even though a FEW film noir's are in color. Gone were the cardboard do-gooders or bad guys in black hats with long moustaches. People were tempted by the dark side and often went.
3- A Femme Fatale-- a woman who often leads our protagonist to his path of destruction.
4- MOSTLY an unhappy but satisfying ending. It ends in a way that reflects everything that was set up by the beginning of the film.
5- A great cast including the bit players, who are usually made up of an assortment of bizarre and often circus sideshow like players.
6- A level of tenseness throughout.
Probably the most important thing to note about this project is that these are listed in no particular order. I can't possibly rank movies I love or even really like because my tastes change from season to season and even just from day to day.
All right Andy, get to the movies;
DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) 1hr 47 min Released Jul 6, 1944 D- Billy Wilder, Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G Robinson. Written by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler.
In my opinion, the first full on Film Noir. MacMurray is Walter Neff, an average joe insurance salesmen who calls on a client to make a pitch for his auto insurance and ends up tangled up in his murder thanks to Stanwyck's sultry and sinister Mrs Client.
Robinson is Neff's pal and an investigator for the insurance company. When the client turns up dead after Neff sells him on a Life Insurance Policy he gets put on the case.
In lesser hands this could have been a mediocre B-Picture, but under Wilder's direction and Chandler's script you get a fast paced thriller which grabs you from the start and never lets go. MacMurray plays against type as the slightly sleazy single insurance guy whose not against flirting with the stay at home wives of his clients.
I've seen this one probably more than any other movie in my collection but it never lets me down.