Noirvember 2015 In Films
Since this month marked the 6th annual celebration of Noirvember I did watch several films that were not directed by women, however every film I watched for Noirvember either had a female screenwriter or was based on a novel/story by a woman. That way I was able to marry Noirvember with A Year With Women. I know what you’re thinking: What about Ida Lupino?! Have no fear! I joined the Flixwise podcast this month to talk Lupino’s films The Hitch-hiker and The Bigamist. I also watched several 2015 films directed by women (I wouldn’t neglect those!). I also got to see Desperately Seeking Susan on the big screen in 35mm and met director Susan Seidelman! As always, after the cut you will find a list of all the films I watched in November, as well as a few highlights.
- Road House (1948)
- Shack Out on 101
- The Brasher Doubloon
- Jennifer (1953)
- The Amazing Mr. X
- The Lady Confesses
- Miss You Already
- The Great Flamarion
- Love the Coopers
- Dishonored Lady
- Strange Illusion
- Man in the Attic
- Talk About a Stranger
- Smash-Up, The Story of a Woman
- Dólares de Arena (Sand Dollars)
- Affair in Trinidad
- Daybreak (1948)
- The Spiral Staircase
- The Sniper (1952)
- Bury Me Dead
- Born To Kill
- Guest in the House
- Green for Danger
- By the Sea
- Whispering City
- Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
- The Upturned Glass
- A Woman’s Secret
- Ride the Pink Horse
- The Clouded Yellow
- The Fake
I enjoyed most of the noirs that I watched this Noirvember and discovered some real gems. In trying to watch films with female writers, I found myself watching a lot of British noir (one of which I will write about below). It was definitely an interesting experiment. A lot of the films had very feminist undercurrents, which I quite enjoyed.
Road House, 1948 (dir. Jean Negulesco)
Not to be confused with the Patrick Swayze flick of the same name, this is a great film noir about the controlling nature of men and how creepy it is when people think women belong to them/owe them anything. It features knock-out performances from its cast including Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde, Richard Widmark and Celeste Holm.
The Sniper, 1952 (dir. Edward Dmytryk)
This film is notable for several reasons. It was filmed on location in San Francisco, so it’s a beautiful time capsule of the city by the bay in the 1950s. It’s also eerily prescient in that it tells the story of a man who is so consumed with his hatred toward women that he begins to shoot them with a sniper riffle. It gets a little preachy when it talks about how the laws for violence crimes towards women (and sexual offenders) aren’t tough enough, but then again you look at the world 70 years later and you can’t help but wish lawmakers actually listen to the sermon.
By The Sea, 2015 (dir. Angelina Jolie-Pitt)
This one got unfairly maligned I think because its writer-director-producer-star is one of the most famous women in the world and it’s not ~perfect~. What it is, however, is definitely something admirable and intriguing. The film follows a couple on the rocks who come to an isolated French seaside hotel so the husband can write while the wife rests. Not much of either happens. There’s several films from the 60s and 70s that definitely were an influence on the film stylistically, but I also felt like this would make a great companion to Agnès Varda’s La Pointe-Courte. I’ve seen it twice already and it’s definitely going to be one of my favorite films once I do my end of the year list.
Ride The Pink Horse, 1947 (dir. Robert Montgomery)
What a deranged little film Robert Montgomery made! This was released the same year as his more well-known (but equally bizarre) adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Lady In The Lake. Ride The Pink Horse is based on the novel of the same name by Dorothy B. Hughes (which I can’t wait to read.) She also wrote the books on which In A Lonely Place and The Fallen Sparrow were based. This one follows an ex-GI (Montgomery) to New Mexico, where he’s come to avenge the murder of his pal (or blackmail someone. or both). Montgomery really had a flare for cinema and his films don’t really feel like anyone else’s. A must watch that was recently restored and released by the Criterion Collection.
Blackout, 1954 (dir. Terence Fisher)
Fisher is mostly known for his work on Hammer horror films (Dracula, etc.), but this gem of a film noir I found was so wonderful. It was very light – but not quite a comedy – about some very dark subjects. It also moved at a very brisk pace and the lead (played by Dane Clark) was so affable, you really hoped he’d get himself out of all the trouble in the end and get the girl.
Posted on December 1, 2015, in 2015 in Films and tagged Blackout, By The Sea, Noirvember, Ride The Pink Horse, Road House, The Sniper. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
It’s really great to see your dedication to the Year With Women project, and even if you had to bend the rules for Noirvember, you still highlighted work by female authors and screenwriters that deserve more attention for their work. I think you mentioned in an earlier post that you had received an Edith Carlmar box set? Her film Death is a Caress (Døden er et kjærtegn), from 1949, is considered by many (including me!) to be noir.