Off Topic Messages

Notorious (1946) & Other Classic Films

Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:32 am

Great to find this on YT. Am going to download it and burn it on DVD-r and pair it up with Spellbound.

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Last edited by Robt on Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:31 am

Notorious is among Hitchcock's finest pictures, in my opinion. It's also one of his most subtle, keeping intrigue to the fore and tension on a knife's edge, as the events of the film unfold, gradually allowing a marvellous plot to thicken -- the scene in the wine cellar is wholly engrossing. Ben Hecht's script is first-rate, of course; as are the three leading actors -- Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains. All perfectly cast, especially Grant and Rains. Whilst, Bergman brings layers of emotional resonance and sympathy to a difficult role that frequently challenges expectations. In many ways, she was never better. The Blu-ray release is very, very good. MGM have done a fine job with this film, Spellbound and Rebecca on the format.

For an action-packed, albeit, thinly-plotted update, check out Mission Impossible II. John Woo on overdrive, Tom Cruise on ace form, wholly overcooked but good fun. Especially when undertaken with such verve. But it's interesting to pick up on the comparisons to Notorious in Robert Towne's script, which was, essentially, built around ideas John Woo had for various set-pieces.

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:03 am

Robt wrote:Great to find this on YT. Am going to download it and burn it on DVD-r and pair it up with Spellbound.

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Why on earth would you bother downloading what will be a blocky, sub-par quality of a film from youtube and put it on your dvd when you can buy the film for £3.22 or $6.98 depending in which country you are living in? Spellbound is a similar price. While I don't normally get on moral grounds with regards to downloading, if a film is out there and dirt cheap why not buy it and support the studios that put out classic movies? People say they download because of the price of dvds, but here are two films that are dirt cheap and you're still downloading them? From an aesthetic point of view, you are certainly not going to enjoy Hitchcock's wonderful movie-making as much with a crappy download from youtube!

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:25 am

poormadpeter wrote:
Robt wrote:Great to find this on YT. Am going to download it and burn it on DVD-r and pair it up with Spellbound.

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Why on earth would you bother downloading what will be a blocky, sub-par quality of a film from youtube and put it on your dvd when you can buy the film for £3.22 or $6.98 depending in which country you are living in? Spellbound is a similar price. While I don't normally get on moral grounds with regards to downloading, if a film is out there and dirt cheap why not buy it and support the studios that put out classic movies? People say they download because of the price of dvds, but here are two films that are dirt cheap and you're still downloading them? From an aesthetic point of view, you are certainly not going to enjoy Hitchcock's wonderful movie-making as much with a crappy download from youtube!


Spellbound is not available in this country. Notorious I'm not sure of. Plus a lot of these when they get re-issued on DVD is in widescreen format (Something I hate). I usually end up changing the resolution to 4:3 by cropping them (using MOVAVI). As a result these days I try for looking and buying the old VHS Home Video versions at second hand stores.

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:30 am

greystoke wrote:Notorious is among Hitchcock's finest pictures, in my opinion. It's also one of his most subtle, keeping intrigue to the fore and tension on a knife's edge, as the events of the film unfold, gradually allowing a marvellous plot to thicken -- the scene in the wine cellar is wholly engrossing. Ben Hecht's script is first-rate, of course; as are the three leading actors -- Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains. All perfectly cast, especially Grant and Rains. Whilst, Bergman brings layers of emotional resonance and sympathy to a difficult role that frequently challenges expectations. In many ways, she was never better. The Blu-ray release is very, very good. MGM have done a fine job with this film, Spellbound and Rebecca on the format.

For an action-packed, albeit, thinly-plotted update, check out Mission Impossible II. John Woo on overdrive, Tom Cruise on ace form, wholly overcooked but good fun. Especially when undertaken with such verve. But it's interesting to pick up on the comparisons to Notorious in Robert Towne's script, which was, essentially, built around ideas John Woo had for various set-pieces.


greystoke,

You're A LEGEND, My Friend :smt006

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:35 am

Robt wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Robt wrote:Great to find this on YT. Am going to download it and burn it on DVD-r and pair it up with Spellbound.

phpBB [video]



Why on earth would you bother downloading what will be a blocky, sub-par quality of a film from youtube and put it on your dvd when you can buy the film for £3.22 or $6.98 depending in which country you are living in? Spellbound is a similar price. While I don't normally get on moral grounds with regards to downloading, if a film is out there and dirt cheap why not buy it and support the studios that put out classic movies? People say they download because of the price of dvds, but here are two films that are dirt cheap and you're still downloading them? From an aesthetic point of view, you are certainly not going to enjoy Hitchcock's wonderful movie-making as much with a crappy download from youtube!


Spellbound is not available in this country. Notorious I'm not sure of. Plus a lot of these when they get re-issued on DVD is in widescreen format (Something I hate). I usually end up changing the resolution to 4:3 by cropping them (using MOVAVI). As a result these days I try for looking and buying the old VHS Home Video versions at second hand stores.


What country are you in? These two can't be issued in widescreen, they were made in 4:3!

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:48 am

Australia, my friend. I wasn't neccessarily refering to Spellbound or Notorious. I was making the point that I hate stupid widescreen DVD's and prefer to get them in their original 4:3 VHS Home Video format. Now I started a topic about this here last year I Hates Widescreen. My friend, Have you seen Cary Grant movie called IN NAME ONLY ?

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:54 am

Robt wrote:Australia, my friend. I wasn't neccessarily refering to Spellbound or Notorious. I was making the point that I hate stupid widescreen DVD's and prefer to get them in their original 4:3 VHS Home Video format. Now I started a topic about this here last year I Hates Widescreen. My friend, Have you seen Cary Grant movie called IN NAME ONLY ?


No, I haven't seen that. And yes, you are right about Notorious and Spellbound not being available in Australia - I think I'd move country! Except that notorious is available as a double bill with Some Like It Hot, which seems the most bizarre pairing of films!

http://www.dvdland.com.au/products/ONCE-UPON-A-TIME-%252d-NOTORIOUS-%7B47%7D-SOME-LIKE-IT-HOT.html

As for widescreen, the problem with the 4:3 ratio editions is that you're missing half the picture!

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:03 am

OK then howabout these ones, Storm Warning starring Ginger Rogers, Doris Day snd Ronald Reagen and Seance on a Wet Afternoon ? The opening ten minutes of the latter is on You Tube presented by the late John Hinde.

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:10 am

Robt wrote:OK then howabout these ones, Storm Warning starring Ginger Rogers, Doris Day snd Ronald Reagen and Seance on a Wet Afternoon ? The opening ten minutes of the latter is on You Tube presented by the late John Hinde.


Storm Warning I saw quite recently - the most bizarre film to find that cast in! Seance on a wet afternoon is one of those films I saw years ago - probably when I was a teenager, but haven't seen recently.

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:14 am

Thanks I just remembered these, Experiment in Terror, Baby the Rain Must Fall and The Detective all three starr Lee Remick. You seen them ?

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:48 pm

I think we've discussed Experiment in Terror on another thread, but I can't remember Baby the Rain Must Fall or The Detective coming up in recent discussions. The former is a bit of an uneven curio that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Steve McQueen is very good here, as is Lee Remick, but they're undone, slightly, by a wandering, indecisive narrative. It's well directed, though; and if you will allow, there's much here that will linger after the credits roll.

The Detective is a very good picture, and one that pushed boundaries and challenged audience expectations in 1968. Frank Sinatra is excellent in the lead role -- although, the overall casting here is top-notch; Lee Remick, Jack Klugman, Robert Duvall, Al Freeman, Jr., Jacqueline Bisset, Ralph Meeker, et al. Abby Mann's script is also good, although, given the times, there's only so much that could be done with certain scenes -- the raid at the dock, in particular. This, being a film of its time in many ways, but certainly forward-thinking. Especially in the writing of Sinatra's Joe Leland -- a character whose moral fibre is tested and torn in spite of his convictions. Another tremendous asset is the film's well-written dialogue, most of which is delivered with a natural assurance. Jerry Goldsmith's score is also first-rate, harking back to classic noir, but wholly contemporary in the process. Deservedly, The Detective was a major box office hit on release.

Re: Notorious (1946)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:27 pm

The Detective has been much maligned over the years due to the representation of gay men and women in the film. I have to say I don't view the film with the hatred that many gay men and women do; it is very much of its time and the fact that homosexuals were even appearing on film at all was a step forward. What's more, those that praise a film such as Boys In The Band with it's rather unflattering portrayals of gay men, criticise this film - something I find quite odd.

Back in the first year of my BA, I wrote a review of it for a website. It seems a little naive now, but probably worth posting here as the film has reared its head!

The Detective has probably been on the receiving end of more criticisms of homophobia within film than any other, with the exception of Cruising (1980). In his otherwise excellent book, Richard Barrios in “Screened Out” launches into a tirade about the film, labelling it “one of the most homophobic movies ever made”. The film follows the story of a hard-nosed, but relatively liberal, New York cop, Joe Leland (played by Frank Sinatra) who gets involved in a case concerning the murder of a gay man. Barrios accuses Sinatra’s character of “making illegal arrests in gay bars and roughing up gay suspects” (ibid), but this is really misinformation. On the contrary, it is his fellow policemen who are guilty of the actions mentioned by Barrios and it is Leland who takes one of his colleagues aside and punches him in the stomach as punishment for “roughing up” the gay suspects in a local cruising area. In many respects, then, Sinatra’s character is a step forward from what has gone before. His (mostly) live-and-let-live attitude towards the gay lifestyle is in stark contrast to the corrupt actions of his colleagues but it is he who is the lead character of the film. Whether Barrios simply has a dislike for Sinatra, and therefore the film, is difficult to ascertain particularly when he makes reference to “Sinatra’s sneering condescension to the gay characters, which seemed part of both the character and the star”. True, Sinatra regularly told jokes on stage at the expense of homosexuals, but he also made many politically incorrect jokes at the expense of Sammy Davis Jr’s colour and conversion to Judaism and yet was a campaigner for black rights, particularly within the show business world.

This doesn’t mean to say that the film should be devoid of criticism. The gay characters themselves are mostly seen in cruising grounds or gay bars and as either mentally unstable or as some kind of predator. When the victim of the murder is seen in flashback near the end of the film, he is hardly portrayed as a victim at all. He is instead seen as a predator for whom the majority of the cinema-going audience in 1968 would not have had any sympathy..

The film is one that can provoke mixed reactions amongst viewers today. Released on DVD for the first time in 2006, it is clearly a product of its time and many will say that its belated DVD release is no big loss. True, the film is flawed both in its representation of gay men and as a film itself. The two lengthy flashbacks concerning Leland’s marriage problems are particularly problematic in that they literally halt the main plot of the film and only seem to succeed in making it twenty minutes too long. However, it is a movie that will continue to divide audiences and the best that we can do is watch the film and make up our own minds.

Re: Notorious (1946)

Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:44 am

Gee I didn't know about that regarding The Detective, Pete. I know there's a scene where a gay character is being aggressively interegated and at one point Robert Duvall's character yells at him" Faggot'. It's been more than 20 years since it was screened here in Oz. Shame really as Frank was superb in the movie. Hey what about this opening theme ? Check this out -

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Re: Notorious (1946) & other Rare Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:53 am

Hey, this is the guy who sang the title tune, Baby the rain must fall that Steve McQueen was miming to -

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Re: Notorious (1946) & other Rare Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:59 am

BTW, Thanks Pete and Greystoke for your summaries. I couldn't have described them any better, if I spent two hours. Yep, I did put up Experiment in Terror (1962) YT link last year, however the movie was withdrawn by the uploader. Disappointing when that happens. Fortunately, I got a VHS tape of this :mrgreen:

Re: Notorious (1946) & other Rare Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:03 am

In its treatment of gay characters, The Detective does occasionally fall foul of the same cliches and caricatures found in the likes of Harper, The Boston Strangler, Tony Rome etc. Paramount here, however, is the treatment of homosexuals within the narrative by other characters in the film -- especially Sinatra's Joe Leland. Unfortunately, as you've mentioned above, PMP, the gay characters are a mesh of predators, schizophrenics and murderers.

There is sympathy and understanding abound -- Leland won't treat homosexuals as criminals or pariahs because they're of a different sexual orientation to himself. When asked if they "disturb" him, Leyland replies that he has his "own bag." Whilst, an unexpected turn of events in the interrogation room is unlike anything seen in cinema of the era. Tony Musante's Felix Tesla is being interrogated harshly by detectives over the murder of his boyfriend, but to no avail. Leyland takes over, speaking softly, holding Tesla's hand and seducing a confession as he asks personal questions about his lover's body and how he made him feel. Musante's performance eventually goes over the top here, especially next to a compelling Sinatra, who was pushing the envelope for male actors in Hollywood in this scene alone.

Perhaps The Detective tries to be something to everyone, occasionally losing focus in the process. Here, we have a knight errant in Leyland, who treats homosexuals as equals and accepts them on face value, yet few of the gay characters here have any redeeming qualities. We also have Al Freeman, Jr. as a young detective with ambition -- this, a rare opportunity for a black actor in 1968. But he's undone by a malevolent streak, this, exemplified by another interrogation scene where he has a character stripped naked in the process. This, much to Leyland's chagrin.

The flashbacks aren't something that I have much umbrage with, although the whirlpools were a bit cliched by this time. And with so much content in The Detective, it's important to remember that this is the story of Joe Leland --essentially, this is major character study of the personal and professional burdens laid upon him. This isn't to undermine events within the film, because the overall narrative is strong, if occasionally flawed. But Leland is the moral compass of a social and moral quagmire. And that stretches from the front desk in the police headquarters to his bedroom and a nymphomaniac wife, played splendidly by Lee Remick. Her role, being one of the more difficult parts to play convincingly in the film. Karen Leyland is a bit of a mystery at times, veering from warm and inviting, to cold and aloof -- but Remick succeeds, allowing the viewer to see what Joe sees in her, proving a great match for Sinatra in the process. Some of their exchanges are highlights of the film, especially comical moments in which Leyland gets a rise out of her friends, or their initial romance, with Sinatra's blue eyes and beaming smile offering a rare glint in an increasingly dark film. And a fine film at that.

Nice review, poormadpeter. That DVD from 2006 still holds its own quality-wise. This will look sensational on Blu-ray.

Re: Notorious (1946) & other Rare Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:07 am

Robt wrote:BTW, Thanks Pete and Greystoke for your summaries. I couldn't have described them any better, if I spent two hours. Yep, I did put up Experiment in Terror (1962) YT link last year, however the movie was withdrawn by the uploader. Disappointing when that happens. Fortunately, I got a VHS tape of this :mrgreen:


Thanks, Robt.

Re: Notorious (1946) & other Rare Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:35 am

greystoke wrote:In its treatment of gay characters, The Detective does occasionally fall foul of the same cliches and caricatures found in the likes of Harper, The Boston Strangler, Tony Rome etc. Paramount here, however, is the treatment of homosexuals within the narrative by other characters in the film -- especially Sinatra's Joe Leland. Unfortunately, as you've mentioned above, PMP, the gay characters are a mesh of predators, schizophrenics and murderers.

There is sympathy and understanding abound -- Leland won't treat homosexuals as criminals or pariahs because they're of a different sexual orientation to himself. When asked if they "disturb" him, Leyland replies that he has his "own bag." Whilst, an unexpected turn of events in the interrogation room is unlike anything seen in cinema of the era. Tony Musante's Felix Tesla is being interrogated harshly by detectives over the murder of his boyfriend, but to no avail. Leyland takes over, speaking softly, holding Tesla's hand and seducing a confession as he asks personal questions about his lover's body and how he made him feel. Musante's performance eventually goes over the top here, especially next to a compelling Sinatra, who was pushing the envelope for male actors in Hollywood in this scene alone.

Perhaps The Detective tries to be something to everyone, occasionally losing focus in the process. Here, we have a knight errant in Leyland, who treats homosexuals as equals and accepts them on face value, yet few of the gay characters here have any redeeming qualities. We also have Al Freeman, Jr. as a young detective with ambition -- this, a rare opportunity for a black actor in 1968. But he's undone by a malevolent streak, this, exemplified by another interrogation scene where he has a character stripped naked in the process. This, much to Leyland's chagrin.

The flashbacks aren't something that I have much umbrage with, although the whirlpools were a bit cliched by this time. And with so much content in The Detective, it's important to remember that this is the story of Joe Leland --essentially, this is major character study of the personal and professional burdens laid upon him. This isn't to undermine events within the film, because the overall narrative is strong, if occasionally flawed. But Leland is the moral compass of a social and moral quagmire. And that stretches from the front desk in the police headquarters to his bedroom and a nymphomaniac wife, played splendidly by Lee Remick. Her role, being one of the more difficult parts to play convincingly in the film. Karen Leyland is a bit of a mystery at times, veering from warm and inviting, to cold and aloof -- but Remick succeeds, allowing the viewer to see what Joe sees in her, proving a great match for Sinatra in the process. Some of their exchanges are highlights of the film, especially comical moments in which Leyland gets a rise out of her friends, or their initial romance, with Sinatra's blue eyes and beaming smile offering a rare glint in an increasingly dark film. And a fine film at that.

Nice review, poormadpeter. That DVD from 2006 still holds its own quality-wise. This will look sensational on Blu-ray.


I have to say I don't find the film or any of the content within it as particularly offensive - other gay men might, but I don't know many who have seen it. But I always found, as you point out, Sinatra's character to be remarkably open-minded with the homosexuals he comes into contact with - and the gay men themselves are no more or less caricatures or offensive than those you might find in films written or directed by gay men themselves during this period, such as Boys In The Band, Some of My Best Friends Are, Saturday Night at the Baths etc. While the characters are less than appealing, this appears to be how people viewed homosexuals at the time and, seemingly, how many homosexuals viewed themselves. Many also criticise The Gay Deceivers for similar characterisations, but I always found that comedy to be a step forward despite its flaws.

Re: Notorious (1946) & other Rare Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:10 am

Thanks Pete. Hey what about NO WAY OUT starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poiter. Have either you or greystoke seen that one ? I believe Richard Widmark is one of a very few actors that could portray hero or villian with equal brilliance! Also I have never heard the word n*gger used as many times as it is used in No Way Out.

Re: Notorious (1946) & Other Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:23 pm

No Way Out was another groundbreaking drama that remains potent and thought-provoking. It has dated in some ways, but doesn't offer easy answers, despite fumbling in places. Lesser Samuels' writing is very good, however, managing to retain focus on the two central characters, which are played splendidly by Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier. Joseph L. Mankiewicz' direction is also fine throughout, although, some of the staging feels contrived. With regards to films of the era with strong social undertones and a legitimate message at its core, No Way Out has endured well and remains relevant today. It also boasts one of Poitier's best performances.

Re: Notorious (1946) & other Rare Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:15 pm

Robt wrote:Thanks Pete. Hey what about NO WAY OUT starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poiter. Have either you or greystoke seen that one ? I believe Richard Widmark is one of a very few actors that could portray hero or villian with equal brilliance! Also I have never heard the word n*gger used as many times as it is used in No Way Out.


I haven't seen it, sorry.

Re: Notorious (1946) & Other Classic Films

Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:50 pm

It's on YT.
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Those two would go on to star in another production called The Bedford Incident (1965). You seen that ?

Re: Notorious (1946) & Other Classic Films

Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:05 am

The Bedford Incident is also very good, Robt. Pictures of this type don't come much better, especially with such good acting on display. The premise is dark and the narrative unfolds without compromise. Richard Widmark was splendid here, as was Poitier, although, his character plays out as being too sweet to be wholesome. Martin Balsam, who was always reliable, is also good here.

Re: Notorious (1946) & Other Classic Films

Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:10 am

Yeah that's right. Martin Balsam was also in the film. He's been in so many classics but usually cast in supporting roles which he was very good at. Thanks again greystoke.