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Reel To Real Classics (Film Group)

Reel to Real Classics is a group that promotes a dialogue on variety of social, cultural, and historical topics through the examination of classic film. Coordinated by Librarians Lilly Ramin & Steven Guerrero

Welcome to the posts page which will feature virtual meeting information for students, writing from facilitators, as well as related research and UNT Libraries resources  for anyone interested.  Archived posts coming soon.

Oct 29 (Thurs) Watch and Chat at 7pm - Psycho

What: Reel to Real Classics Watch and Chat: Psycho (1960)

WATCH the film BEFORE 7pm group chat on Oct 29th. You must register for this event. 

ACCESS
Go to Library Catalog page for Psycho online
Click on "Connect to Online Video"
Enter EUID & Password

Available via UNT Libraries streaming collection (Swank) link for Psycho (1960): 

Note to Mac users: Swank does not work well with Safari - may need another browser. 

---(If technical difficulties with UNT version, it is also online for free via various steaming sources like Peacock)

How: Access the Psycho (1960) through UNT Libraries streaming collection (Swank): 
Log in with UNT EUID. (If technical difficulties, it is also online for free via various steaming sources like Peacock)

Where: CHAT with Zoom account at 7:00 PM
Note: Registration required for Psycho film chat. Give a few minutes to log in with UNT EUID and enter event password) 

***Optional: Lilly will log in early around 5:30 if anyone wants to watch the movie on our own devices at the same time for a watch along so it's fresh in our minds for the 7:00 pm chat! 

We will have a special guest from UNT who has expertise to share with us. 
Themes: Psychological horror, true (not so true) crime, "Psycho" Norman Bates, Hitchcock, and whatever else the group wants to discuss. Email Lilly.Ramin@unt.edu with questions about Reel to Real Classics. 
Official website:
https://guides.library.unt.edu/realtoreal
#ReelToRealClassics (on Twitter) 
@lillylibrarian 

Guest Post by Edward Mathew Gleason Pineda

GUEST POST  "From Krantz to Cortez: Exploring The Walking Dead (1936) and Misrepresentation of Latinos in Hollywood"
written by Edward Matthew Gleason Pineda (Linked InVimeo | Stage 32 | Twitter@mattcinematic | Instagram @mattcinematic ).
Currently: Part-time UNT Writing Center writing consultant, UNT and UNT DKA Professional Cinematic Society alumnus.
Submitted to Reel to Real Classics | Posted October 12, 2020

Jacob Krantz was born on September 19, 1900 in the lower East Side of New York. Raised in a dominant Austrian-Hungarian household and poor immigrant community known as “Little Hungary,” author Dan Van Neste in The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez, explains that Krantz stated in an interview later on in his career that his early years were filled with “unhappiness and loneliness” (9). He was a young and passionate individual that pursued odd jobs to support his family and personal endeavors to one day be in show business. When that day of stardom came for Jacob Krantz to enter the spotlight, Hollywood executives at Paramount Pictures rebranded his image and identity as Ricardo Cortez, to capitalize off his “Latin-like” features.

There was confusion for years on where Cortez was born because Paramount Pictures framed him as a foreign and exotic figure in Hollywood. This created confusion of whether or not Cortez was an American or an immigrant in the United States. His younger brother, Stanley Krantz, adopted the last name Cortez to capitalize off the success of his older brother and make his way into the film industry. Although both Cortez brothers hosted extraordinary talents and made huge contributions to cinema, they continued to misrepresent Hispanic and Latino people in Hollywood—in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Rudolf Valentino, the original “Latin Lover” icon, was an Italian actor in the United States that Hollywood used to portray Latino characters throughout the Silent Era. Cortez was looked at by Hollywood executives to replace Valentino as the next-generation “Latin Lover” based on this Romantic Hollywood image (Neste 46).

The Walking Dead (1936) stars Boris Karloff and Ricardo Cortez, one of the four films he’s most known for in his career. Cortez plays the main antagonist, Nolan, the leader of a tight group of elite men who frame John Elman, played by Boris Karloff, an innocent man for a murder they commit. Elman is then sentenced to death by the electric chair and immediately resurrected by a scientist after they prove his innocence, but gains a supernatural sixth sense that bestows indirect knowledge of the men who are responsible for his death (Turner Classic Movies).

The film screened five years after the release of Frankenstein (1931), and share some similarities with one another: the resurrection of a man by a scientist, staggered walking motions of the resurrected, and discolored, faded black with white-ish, gray hair color of the resurrected. Cortez’s performance made his character a very charming, charismatic antagonist. As I watched the film, I was unaware of whether or not the character Nolan that Cortez portrayed in the film was a Hispanic or Latino character. Given his role in the film with being a dominant leader amongst a secret organization of powerful, white elites, it made me think otherwise. Regardless, both Karloff and Cortez delivered some of my favorite performances I’ve seen in a classic hybrid science-fiction, supernatural, drama film.

Although Cortez was misrepresented as a Latino man by Hollywood executives, his upbringing and self-journey to the entertainment industry is one that is not recognized as much as it should be in film history. Cortez never wanted to be identified as such and felt to be an impersonator, because it became who he was on and off the screen. He was an incredible actor and director that had a very successful career during his time in show business. I wonder what other actors during the Golden Age of Hollywood were “Latino-fied”?

Here’s a list of films starring Ricardo Cortez I personally added to my watchlist:

  • The Maltese Falcon (1931)
  • The House on 56th Street (1933)
  • Talk of the Devil (1936)
  •  Romance of the Rio Grande (1941)
  •  Mystery in Mexico (1948)

 

Works Cited

  • Neste, Dan Van. The Magnificent Heel: The Life and Films of Ricardo Cortez. BearManor Media, 2018. Kindle Edition.
  • “Ricardo Cortez.” Turner Classic Movies, www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/39541|129456/Ricardo-Cortez.
  • “The Walking Dead.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0028478/mediaviewer/rm1193689600.
  • “The Walking Dead.” (1936) - Turner Classic Movies, Turner Classic Movies, 1 Jan. 1970, www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/95009/the-walking-dead


Submitted by Edward Matthew Gleason Pineda

Selected images from films:

 

Walking Dead 1936 image   

The Walking Dead Scene - Barton MacLane (Loder), Ricardo Cortez (Nolan), and Boris Karloff (John Elman) in The Walking Dead (1936)

 


Warner Bros Movie Poster - Boris Karloff and Marquerite Churchill in The Walking Dead (1936) 

 

UNT Libraries resource examples: 
Browse:  Cortez, Ricardo, 1899-1977

Guest Post by Hector Mendoza

GUEST POST Mario Moreno “Cantinflas  Written by Hector Mendoza 
(Currently: UNT Media Arts student, 2020 President of UNT DKA Professional Cinematic Society) 
Submitted to Reel to Real Classics | Posted October 12, 2020

Among the great comedians across the world of cinema, no one has been as iconic and awe inspiring as Mario Moreno otherwise known as Cantinflas. There have been various texts written about the actor as well as a 2014 biopic revolving around his career and personal life up until his victory in obtaining a Golden Globe for ​Around the World in 80 Days​, there is no doubt that he has inspired numerous individuals. Cantinflas has often been referred to as the Charlie Chaplin of Mexico and from his extensive career as both an activist and a slapstick comedy actor, Cantinflas has not only cemented himself as an acting legend in his home country of Mexico but throughout the entire world. As a creative of Mexican descent, it brings me great joy and motivation to see someone like Cantinflas become such an icon across the world because it shows that there are opportunities for other Latinx creatives to flourish in their own respective manner.

Cantinflas started his comedic career as a traveling performer where he would eventually meet his future Valentina Ivanova. As a performer, the idea behind his character was brought to life as he would portray an impoverished man with baggy clothes and a now signature thin moustache. The actor would then move over to the film industry and become a prominent figure in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema alongside Pedro Infante, Maria Felix, and El Santo. Cantinflas’s films were known to be politically charged and would often criticize the upper class in Mexico through comedic gestures, thus becoming a voice for the lower class as he was able to voice the people’s concerns in a very unique manner.

As his career progressed, Cantinflas would soon be compared to Charlie Chaplin as both actors used comedy as a form of social commentary and both would be portrayed as lower class citizens. Consequently, he began to be referred to as the Charlie Chaplin of Mexico, and he would eventually gain the recognition of the famous actor in which Chaplin called him “the funniest man alive.” As his career would continue to skyrocket, Cantinflas would eventually be approached to act as Passepartout in the 1956 adaptation of ​Around the World in 80 Days​, in which the actor would win the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedic Role and would gain the award over Marlon Brando for ​The Teahouse in the August Moon.​

Aside from being an actor, Cantinflas was an activist who spoke out against the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), Mexico’s leading political party at the time, and demanded that they back off from the actor’s guild in Mexico known as ANDA. As a result, Cantinflas would eventually become the president of ANDA for a brief period of time. Aside from fighting against the PRI, Cantinflas also donated money to the poor and even helped build apartments for the poor as well as throwing benefit shows for charity.

Cantinflas passed away in 1993, but today Cantinflas is a household name not only in Mexico but across Latin America as his films are continuously aired in different TV stations to this day, thus introducing him to a new generation of audiences. The term cantinflar was also created in honor of him, which is used to define someone who babbles on about something, which pokes fun of his performances in which he’ll babble on about whatever misadventures he might have experienced. While Mexican cinema has changed dramatically since the actor’s time there, his legacy is still felt and still continues to inspire actors and filmmakers for the ongoing years.

Cantinflas.​ Directed by Sebastian del Amo, performances by Oscar Jaenada, Michael Imperioli, Ilse Salas, and Luis Gerardo Mendez, Kenio Films, 2014.

Krebs, Albin. "Cantinflas, Mexican Comic Actor And Philanthropist, Is Dead at 81." 22 Apr. 1993. Web. 06 Oct. 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/22/obituaries/cantinflas-mexican-comic-actor-and-philanthro pist-is-dead-at-81.html 

Salgado, Ivett. "Surge Cantinflas Como Líder De Actores." 16 July 2013.
https://www.multimedios.com/historico/surge-cantinflas-lider-actores.html

UNT Libraries resource examples: 
Browse:  Cantinflas, 1911-1993, actor

Film (Format: DVD)

  • Delgado, M. M., Cantinflas, ., Ferrer, L., Gelman, J., Posa Films Internacional., & Super Estrella Films. (2003). Un quijote sin mancha. Place of publication not identified: Super Estrella Films.  DVD 12522  UNT Discover Library Catalog Link  * Request for pick up 
  • Todd, M., Poe, J., Farrow, J., Perelman, S. J., Anderson, M., Niven, D., MacLaine, S., ... Warner Home Video (Firm). (2004). Around the world in 80 days. Burbank, CA: Distributed by Warner Home Video. DVD 3442 UNT Discovery Library Catalog Link * Request for pick up  

Wise Up: An chat author J.R. Jordan

Author J.R. Jordan joined our Scarlett Street DKA podcast group, and some Media Arts students, for a special chat. This was an experimental session, technology-wise, so we kept the group small. Overall, we found that a virtual Reel to Real Classics meeting can still be enjoyable!

In the podcast, some references are made to the book Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures. J.R. Jordan (“Joe”) and I had a virtual meeting, or rather a classic film nerd-out session, and he agreed to do an author chat with media arts students who were available attend virtually session. Coincidentally, here we had a film historian on the editor of our most recent last Reel to Real Screening: Citizen Kane!  Furthermore, we have featured DKA alum with frequent collaborators UNT Delta Kappa Alpha National Professional Cinema Society, and Robert wise is a DKA notable alum!

You can go directly to the Wise Up Reel to Real Classics podcast on our new podcast presence anchor.fm/r2rc, which is what UNT pod uses. There is an RSS feed and you can even leave a comment (very excited about this feature). It is also embedded on the bottom of this post.

padlet Wise up podcast image

J.R.  (Joe) Jordan dedicated this book to his father, Joseph, who inspired him to write about Robert Wise. I was humbled by the fact that Joe  really believes in the act of dialogue with Reel to Real Classics, especially with students, and that he discussed this podcast session with his father. Unfortunately, the podcast was not processed in time for his father to hear it. J.R. Jordan and I discussed how people who inspire live on, in a way, through the work we do. This is post is in memorium for Joseph Jordan.

Wishing you all safety, and wellness.

Thanks for reading/listening.

~ Lilly
#ReelToRealClassics

Citizen Kane Screening

For November, Reel to Real Classics will have our biggest screening yet. . .

Reel to Real Classics presents: Citizen Kane (1941)
November 11 (Mon) 7:00-9:00 pm Room 250H - Willis Library, 2nd floor,


Citizen Kane (1941) repeatedly tops the lists such as the  American Film Institute (AFI)'s greatest movie, but have you seen it? Have you thought about it in this decade?  The Reel to Real Classics film group is pleased to provide the unique opportunity to watch the film and discuss it outside the classroom this November. Themes of discussion might include media literacy, power dynamics, and defining "success" or the "American Dream." There will be food while supplies last, but you are welcome to bring your own snacks as well. You do not have to know anything about film, or the field of journalism, to join us, so please do. A quick intro will provided before the screening, but resources will be shared on the website:  https://guides.library.unt.edu/reeltoreal

Hope to see you there!
~ Lilly

Citizen Kane is a film that I've been thinking about for years.

First, when I was an undergraduate student, and there was a special topics film course Intimidate, I read some articles on film noir , classic film and radio discovered Welles. Hilariously, the course changed to a different special topic by the time I checked the "topic" again - diaspora cinema. It was awesome, but I figured, well, I picked up an interest, but I'm not sure I would use that curiosity in academia.

Over the years, I started to discover classic cinema. Around 2008, I pitched what would a version Reel to Real Classic, with the previous colleague, but resources were not available to do a screening or acquire. The timing was not right.

When I  taught a freshman seminar, I used the famous "How to run a newspaper' scene in citizen e as in relation to a media literacy section. What is media literacy? Here is one definition I found to share that covers many of the related themes:

  • "Media literacy is the process of critically analyzing media messages and the ability to compose messages using media tools and technologies. Media literacy is defined as an extended conceptualization of literacy, the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate messages in a wide variety of forms.." Hobbs, R. (2008). Media literacy. In N. J. Salkind, Encyclopedia of educational psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.UNT Link to this item.

Without knowing the backstory, you could take this scene and compare to Kane later on. The students, many of whom had never watched a film, enjoyed the clip and had a lot of insight, and shared it (which is the point of discussion, so I was pleased).

So, I never thought we would ever be able to screen Citizen Kane years later. Thanks to partnership with Public Services (LLS dept), Special Libraries (Media Library)  and DKA Professional Cinematic Society we screened it with food. The challenge weather dropped that day and it was quite ominous looking outside. However, we had a great turn out thanks to DKA Professional Cinematic Society and  and Journalism department (Dr. Paul by way of recommendation Dr. Everbach).

DKA tweet Citizen Kane
 

Citizen Kane (1941) almost didn't happen. According to documentary, The Battle Over Citizen Kane, there were attempts to destroy the film by means of manipulation and pressure. Hearst even used a anti-Semitic "you don't want people to know you're Jewish in Hollywood" tactic which is deplorable and, according to Frank Mankiewicz, son of Herman,who co-wrote the screenplay of Citizen Kane (1941)    Powerful gossip columnist Louella Parsons, who was working for Hearst, said she "promised a beautiful lawsuit" and Hollywood executives had to be convinced not to destroy the copy. Welles convinced them it was a matter of free speech and it would be tyranny to do so." He convinced him. The editor of the film who became a prolific director in his own right,  says in this documentary that is was a great performance. Also Wise noted: “Orson was doing an autobiographical film and he didn’t know it…at least the arch of the two lives was the same.”

  • Source: Epstein, M., McCullough, D. G., Lennon, T. F., Cramer, R. B., Keane, B., Eluto, K., Chin, M., ... WGBH Video (Firm). (2003). The battle over Citizen Kane. Boston, MA: WGBH Boston Video.  Personal Copy.


If Welles was called overly demanding or arrogant at 24, the older Welles interviewed in the film is more in agreement of the criticism of his efforts. The last  realistic reflection by Welles about his legacy. “I would have been more successful if I left movies.   Make my work from this terribly expensive paint box which is a movie. 2% movie making and 98% hustling. That’s no way to spend a life”

Legacy..radio?

Welles had a remarkable theater career - although the closest you might get to see in terms of his acting in a play specifically, is in his film Othello (1951). In radio, you hear Welles' voice, which might is great for theater. The War of the Worlds might be his most famous these, days, I recommend checking out Mercury Theater on the Air (renamed for the sponsor Campbell' after the publicity.

While you can find Welles radio broadcasts online through various podcast sources that enable downloads. These vary in quality. A  comprehensive collection of stream able items can be found at the Lilly Library's page devoted to Orson Welles content:  I was amused by the coincidence in the name of the library, and my own first name of course. I'm sure I will discuss this work, this film, the themes of truth, commerce, sincerity, power, political corruption, media and image  and so many things again and again. The film may be from 1941, but it is one that stands the test of time.

 

The screening:

General conversation is always welcome, but there were some of the discussion questions I added based on some themes.

1. What did you think of the film, and/or why do you think it is highly regarded?
2. Regarding truth and ethics -- can you think of examples in the film where the characters struggle with this?
--- What stories are being told (why?)
3. What do you think Charles Foster Kane means when he says "I am, have been, and will be only one thing--an American"

 

YouTube Movies: Citizen Kane (70th Anniversary) - 10 min. preview

HHM spotlight

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Montalban & Mystery Street (1950)

by Lilly Ramin on October 15th, 2019

The first Reel to Real Classics Meeting  was on September 28, 2016, during National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15). I thought it would be great to highlight the talented Rita Hayworth, who I was reading more about at the time. Through research and the documentary we showed, I learned about the pressures to conform to standards of beauty that downplayed her Latina background, and star-makers that endorsed this --except at times when it proved profitable to do so.

Fast forward to September 2019.  I rediscovered, and then finally researched, a film I had been looking to locate once again because of its uniqueness.  Mystery Street (1950) stuck with me. The unforgettable and sometimes gruesome story seemed surprising for 1950, but so did the unique casting.

The lead was definitely not typical for film noir (if you aren't being picky about the genre) and that's why it stayed in my mind years after watching it. Mystery Street (1950) stars Mexican born actor Ricardo Montalbán. He is actually playing a Hispanic or Latino man…with an accent…and his last name is Morales...and he very good at his job and he is in charge. Oh, and he is the lead! That is a big deal in classic cinema.  Actually, if you have seen movies this year it has been coming up lately in both compelling and peculiar (to me) ways. People have been commenting with gusto on in (mis)casting, re-purposing characters to fit leads, and portrayals of people who existed to comic book characters.

However, in Mystery Street (1950) we are seeing representation. We are seeing someone whose ethnicity is a part of him, but not whole focus of his identity. For the most part, the portrayal counters the stereotypes – especially of a Mexican man with an accent in Hollywood.
 

Image of Ricardo Montalbán as Peter Morales, Mystery Street (1950)

 


I recommend watching the complete video interview where Montalbán discusses his career and some of his experience his own words.Citation: Martinez, J. (2000). Montalbán looks back on life of service. Daily Variety, 268(38), B6.

Regarding, Ricardo Montalbán the man, there is something else that compelled me to put a spotlight on him this month. In 1970, he was one of the founders of a group called Nosotros, (“We”) to counter some of these stereotypes and support Hispanic/Latinx creators and actors in Hollywood and portrayals in the media."Nosotros had gotten a tremendous kick-off but there were many individuals who believed Montalbán was not the individual to be its spokesman." Citation: Martinez, J. (2000). Montalbán looks back on life of service. Daily Variety, 268(38), B6. I recommend watching this this the complete video interview where Montalbán discusses his career and some of his experience his own words.

interview Karen and Ricardo

(Karen Herman conducted the interview in Century City, CA on August 13, 2002.
URL: https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/interviews/ricardo-montalban?clip=50522)

Notable clips from this interview on the topics section of the website:
1. "Ricardo Montalban on the founding of Nosotros" clip: Includes a memorable encounter  with people who were not fans of him being the face of Nosotros.
2. Ricardo Montalban on the portrayal of Mexicans in film and television” clip: He notes the how Latinx roles he received were never "Mexican" and why that distinction matters.  A very interesting conversation can be had there!


Mystery Street (1950), a.k.a. Murder at Harvard, has been referred to as one of the first forensics-based noirs, and a predecessor to the Crime Scene Investigation (C.S.I.) themed shows we see today. Even the DVD jacket notes that. The film probably mixes genres going beyond the typical police procedural. I am going to avoid spoilers in this post. You can get an overview and links to videos Turner Classic Movies database entry on Mystery Street (1950) /I missed the episode, but found Eddie Muller's Noir Alley introduction and afterward to Mystery Street (1950) so definitely check that out because he does go into the casting. I would rate it higher than some of the reviews on the TCM site for the casting and for tackling the shocking but realistic subject matter alone for a film released in 1950.

Since this is for Reel to Real Classics, I had to give Ricardo Montalbán the Lucille Ball in Lured (Meeting 5)  treatment. Like Lucy, far more is written about Montalbán wildly successful TV roles (in his case, like Fantasy Island and Star Trek)  Apparently he was also on Here's Lucy, in an episode called Lucy and Her Prince Charming(1972). What a coincidence! So, like Lucy, I am giving a nod to a film noir you may have never heard of. It is also a recommendation to check it out your nearest library.

 

Available at UNT Media Library, Chilton Hall (DVD 8383)
*Two for one! The disc also includes Act of Violence
See also: Hispanic Heritage Month Library guide

Thanks for reading,
~ Lilly

Hi!  There are plot details /"spoilers" in this post. The post was made available after our screening. Please feel free to watch the film before reading further...)

This screening and podcast was the first in collaboration with DKA Professional Cinematic Association, UNT Denton Chapter. They were a pleasure to work with! Although we decided to keep our screening on the original date after the university decided to close early, the conversation with the students was enthralling. It was one of my favorite screenings.

Here is a picture with the rest of the DKA Board (& me) from the screening. For more on DKA, check out their UNT org sync page:

If you would like an audio experience, we have recorded an extended Scarlet Street podcast we recorded after the screening for this film.

Lilly Ramin (Sociology Librarian) and Steven Guerrero (Media Arts Librarian) and current DKA board members: D.J. Samuels (President), Matt Pineda (Chairperson for Programming and PR) and Andrew Morin (Treasurer). Original intro music by Matt Pineda & podcast edits by DJ Samuels. 

PODCAST

 

Post Scarlet Street

You can say so much about these films, characters, actors and the director.  In this post, I will dive into these characters and end with a little coincidence with our city of Denton, TX.   I have some research resources listed, as well as films available at UNT Media Library in case you wish to explore further.

EDWARD G. ROBINSON (“Chris Cross”)

Edward G. Robinson from Little Caesar, to Blacklist to…Chief Wiggum?

On March 21, 1951 the House of Un-American Activities (HUAC) first convened on Capitol Hill to address “subversive activities in the entertainment industry’ (Navasky vii). The House of Un-American Activities came after Edward G. Robinson, and in a field with public image affects your ability to earn your livelihood, this had professional and personal repercussions.

In his autobiography, All My Yesterdays, Robinson comments on his membership in two organizations, The Citizens of American and the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born as such: “Communist front organizations? Perhaps. I don’t know. It never occurred to me. What occurred to me was that both groups were active in their passion for the deprived, the put-upon, the victims not only of Nazi terror but our economic imbalance” (Robinson 163).

Robinson is alluding to an important point. If you track the films, and people HUAC. targeted; there is definitely a theme of attack against those who advocated rights of the poor, equal rights or support along the racial divide, and whatever did not fit into the political motivations of the group.

Some people named names. Some people refused. Some people went to jail. Some people were blacklisted.

Edward G. Robinson voluntarily testified about his record three times. His final testimony was in 1952, and then he was in the clear. The power of the HUAC was unlike anything before it.

At the 1950 congressional hearing in 1950, Robinson said:
“You are the only tribunal we have in the United States where an American citizen can come and ask for this kind of relief…I am sorry if I have become a little bit emotional…because I think I have not only been a good citizen, I think I have been an extraordinarily good citizen, and I value this above everything else” (Parish and Marill, 37-39)

Even if you have never seen and Edward G. Robinson film, you probably know that voice. Robinson’s voice was parodied animators during his time and later ours, as Chief Wiggum from the animated series, the Simpsons!

little ceasar cwiggum image

But…Hey, Mr. Robinson!  Who are you in this film? Chris Cross. Really, yes, that is his name (no, not Kris Kross although that would be hilarious).

His character may be involved in some shady business but he is no “Little Caesar” gangster.  In fact, it is Adele, who is in charge, and comically so. He cooks the meals, washes dishes, and obeys her every command. Meanwhile, she belittles yells and even negatively compares him to her late husband, whose photo hangs on the wall!  

One of the most revealing visuals in the film is the sight of Chris in Adele’s apron with a knife, making them dinner.

Mind you, this film is from 1946, so it is not like an ode to gender equality, but more as a means to vilifying Adele, Chris’ wife. She appears without merit, as does the other main female character in the film, Kitty, nicknamed “Lazy Legs” by her pimp-boyfriend Johnny. One-time Fritz Lang favorite Joan Bennet was cast as Kitty. Here she is reunited with leads Robinson and Duryea after their appearance in the director’s film Woman in the Window (http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/108290|56225/Fritz-Lang/  Sympathies for the lead character’s moral digressions might be amplified though these selfish female characters.

Varying degrees of power, in relation to Chris, is worth discussing. Think of his wife, his romantic rival Johnny, and his boss, J.J.

“Scarlet Street obsessively connects the power and freedom, and all the seductive possibilities open to a man like J.J., to the notion of time and ageing, and the combination acts as a catalyst for releasing Chris’s desire. The ‘idea’ of Kitty is born on the night of the dinner party when J.J.’s mistress is discreetly announced by a man butler, which leads J.J. into a rushed presentation of Chris’s gift.”  (Jacobowitz 159)

Image is worth considering on many levels. The stereotypes of the actors portraying these roles is notable, as is and how art functions in the film. Kitty, encouraged by Johnny’s efforts, to pretend to have painter of the painting Chris has stored at her place, in an effort to gain fame and fortune, and it works – for a while. Kitty is beautiful, and Chris is not conventionally handsome to say the least.  Chris is fine with it, and the fact that everyone believes Kitty’s lies and idolizes her, is a clever commentary of art and image. It is cynical, but often proved true,  that even a painting or a song on the radio, where you don’t see the artist, the way one looks affects the reception and the ability to be seen, heard, and profitable in one’s artistic efforts.

The women in the film are less interesting, and often annoying, as well as more typical of noirs than other women we have discussed in Reel to Real Classics. Here, it is the femme fatale(s) versus the male lead. The men get more of the character development and are far more interesting in this film. Enter Chris's romantic nemesis: Johnny . 

DAN DURYEA (“Johnny”)

Dan Duryea…from the “heel with sex appeal” to sympathetic alcoholic
 

In real life, Dan Duryea was educated at Cornell University and said to have been a dedicated and loyal “family man” who did not fit his professional persona roles reflecting “type-casting. His obituary in the New York Time, captured the nature of this typical roles by calling him the “the heel with sex appeal”  (Citation: "The heel with sex appeal." --From Dan Duryea obituary in The New York Times, June 8, 1968).  Dan Duryea’s characters was definitely a charmer with motivations of malice or manipulation. ( http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/person/54835|35099/Dan-Duryea/)

When Chris first encounters Kitty, it is raining and she is on the ground while a man is kicking her. Enter, “Johnny.” Chris come to her aid, and Johnny runs away. This is hardly a “meet cute” for Kitty and Chris. This is, however, an important introduction to what Kitty will put up with from Johnny, and the sort of unsavory characters played by Dan Duryea.

 

I remember checking out the DVD for Too Late for Tears (1949) from the Media Library, and was surprised to see the poster for this film. It was a woman cringing from being slapped with the tag line “That’s to remind you …you’re in a tough racket now!” (Also available on the TCM profile for this movie: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/5793/Too-Late-for-Tears/ )

Wow. People flocked to theaters to see this film, and actor Dan Duryea play yet another role where is he smarmy and ready to “rough-up” another women. The irony is that in this particular film, he battles the booze but often acts somewhat at the whim of the lead female character, a bored homemaker, who is greedy and clever.

(Film profile page on TCMDB)

In my opinion, one his best roles, playing another man making bad decisions fueled by alcohol, is the film noir, Black Angel. He is more of a lead, and less of a superficial character. However, violence towards women is again bubbling under the surface in this film. As he pines for his ex-wife, then for the married woman he is helping clear her husband of murder. Here, unrequited love leads to more drinking, which leads to some drama and potential tragedy.

 

Finally, I would recommend Duryea’s great performance in an episode of the show, The Twilight Zone. What a funny surprise to stumble across this episode including the name of our city --- “Mr. Denton on Doomsday”.

As Al Denton, Duryea plays an alcoholic again. The story and the character he plays is tied to an act of violence. However, the difference is the object of that violence. He is not directing it towards women. The character of Al Denton is set up as a man driven to drink due to the violence his incredible shooting skill has brought upon his life. He is self-destructive, and pitiful.  It is a well-acted episode,  and one of my favorites in the series.

(IMDB profile for “Mr. Denton on Doomsday” from The Twilight Zone https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734592/)


Scarlet Street sighting in …DENTON

Speaking of Denton, I decided to pop into our local mini-mall Downtown one day before the screening, and I found a magazine called Scarlet Street: The Magazine of Mystery and Horror.

The website site does not seem to be live, but the Wikipedia page links to a blog and forum. It also defines the magazine as such Scarlet Street was an American film magazine that primarily specialized in the genres of horror, mystery and film noir… The title was chosen to reference several of its chosen fields: mystery and film noir (from the film of the same name), and Sherlock Holmes (from A Study in Scarlet).  ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_Street_(magazine) I started to wonder how these magazines got here, and if the owner had seen the film of the same name. Funny coincidence. I leave you with that...

 

If you wish to see the film, and missed the screening, the Media Library has a couple of copies if you wish to check it out.

Citations:

DVDS

Scarlet Street (1946) UNT Media Library DVD 1212

 Lang, Fritz, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, Dudley Nichols, Milton Krasner, Hans J. Salter, and Fouchardière G. La. Scarlet Street. Narberth, PA: Alpha Video Distributors, 2002.

Little Caesar (1930)  UNT Media Library DVD 11890

LeRoy, Mervyn, Francis E. Faragoh, David Mendoza, Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Ray Curtis, David Mendoza, and W R. Burnett. Little Caesar. Burbank, Calif: Turner Entertainment, 2005.

Little Caesar (1930) cover image from Warner Home Video https://www.warnerbros.com/

Too Late for Tears (1949) UNT Media Library DVD 3132

 Haskin, Byron, Lizabeth Scott, Don Defore, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy, Kristine Miller, Barry Kelley, and Roy Huggins. Too Late for Tears. Narberth, PA: Alpha Video, 2003.

 

Black Angel (1946) UNT Media Library DVD 3624   

Neill, Roy W, Tom McKnight, Roy Chanslor, Peter Lorre, Dan Duryea, Broderick Crawford, June Vincent, Constance Dowling, and Cornell Woolrich. Black Angel. United States: Universal Studios Home Video, 2004.

The Simpsons Series

(example: Season 20 ) DVD 17473 v.1
Castellaneta, Dan, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria, and Matt Groening. The Simpsons: The Complete Twentieth Season. 1. Beverly Hills, Calif: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2010.

The Twilight Zone series  UNT Media Library DVD 241 v. 12

(Example of compilation including  “Mr. Denton on Doomsday”)

Schildkraut, Joseph, Ida Lupino, Dan Duryea, Inger Stevens, John Hoyt, Irene Tedrow, Rod Serling, Buck Houghton, George Clemens, Elliot Silverstein, Bill Mosher, Mitchell Leisen, Franz Waxman, Allen Reisner, and Jack Smight. The Twilight Zone: Vol.12. , 1999.

Woman in the Window (1944 )UNT Media Library  DVD 7757

Johnson, Nunnally, Fritz Lang, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, Edmund Breon, Dan Duryea, and J H. Wallis. The Woman in the Window. United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, 2007.

 

UNT Media Library website:  https://library.unt.edu/media/

 

 Turner Classic Movies Database www.tcm.com/tcmdb/

Wikipedia entry about Scarlet Street Magazine – links to forums https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_Street_(magazine) 

Simpsons World entry and image of Chief Wiggum  here: http://www.simpsonsworld.com/character/police_chief_wiggum

CHAPTERS

Jacobowitz, Florence, “The Man’s Melodrama: The Women in the Window & Scarlet Street, 152-164   in The Movie Book of Film Noir (Ed. By Ian Cameron) Studio Vista The Movie Book of Film Noir. London: Studio Vista, 1994. Print.

BOOKS

Parish, James R, and Alvin H. Marill. The Cinema of Edward G. Robinson. Cranbury: Barnes, 1972. Print.

Navasky, Victor S. Naming Names. New York, N.Y: Penguin, 1991. Print.

Robinson, Edward G, and Leonard Spigelgass. All My Yesterdays: An Autobiography. London-New York, 1974. Print. 

Steven Guerrero consulted the following books on Lang for the podcast:

Gunning, T., & British Film Institute. (2000). The films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of vision and modernity. London: British Film Institute.

Humphries, R. (1989). Fritz Lang: Genre and representation in his American films. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

McGilligan, P. (1997). Fritz Lang: The nature of the beast. New York: St. Martin's Press.

 

Thank you for reading, listening, discussing these films. I hope you enjoyed this post.

~ Lilly Ramin

 

Meeting 8: Scarlet Street (1945)

by Lilly Ramin on March 26th, 2019 |

Save the date:Please join the Reel To Real Classics and this event's co-sponsor, DKA Professional Cinematic Society to screen and discuss Director Fritz Lang's Film Noir "Scarlet Street" (1945), starring H.U.A.C. blacklisted actor Edward G. Robinson.

  • Date: April 19 (Friday) from 5:00-7:00 pm  
  • Location: RTVP 184 (UNT Campus map)
  • No prior film knowledge required. Popcorn & snacks will be provided.

Special thanks to UNT student Matt Pineda for facilitating this co-sponsorship and collaboration with DKA.

Thanks, and we hope to see you there!
~ Lilly 
Facilitator/Librarian (@lillylibrarian)


FLYER

(Created by UNT Libraries .Provided by: Jesse Knight)
 

Would you like to to know more about this film?

 Here's profile page from Turner Classic Movies, with videos including trailers for the film. (Warning, overview may include spoilers!)
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/89210/Scarlet-Street/

(image, Kino Lorber Video) |

Meeting 6: His Girl Friday

by Lilly Ramin on February 20th, 2018 |

We will be screening...

  • His Girl Friday  March 22 (Thursday), 5:00 p.m.* 
  • Location: Willis Library Forum (room 140)
  • * There will be a 5-10 minute intro, then film, then time for more discussion/feedback

Themes: Women’s History Month, women in the workplace – the wonderful Rosalind Russell in her “business lady” roles …and anything YOU want to discuss about the film!

There will be popcorn!

Watch the His Girl Friday original trailer (from TCM).
from Turner Classic Movies Media room:

(See also: UNT News Event) /(Mtg 6 Tweet from @lillylibrarian  if you want to share)
Missed the screening? The DVD available at Chilton Media Library DVD 691 

Thanks!
~ Lilly & Steven

Meeting 5: Lured by Lilly Ramin on November 28th, 2017 |

Reel to Real Classics presents a screening and brief discussion of:

Lured  (1947)  Starring Lucille Ball | Directed by Douglas Sirk
November 30 (Thurs) 6:00 pm |Willis Library Forum/140
We’ll have popcorn and refreshments. RSVP or prior film knowledge not required.
Themes: Lucille Ball/women in film noir, bravery, & gender roles| #Noirvember

About the film: “In this sumptuous thriller by legendary filmmaker Douglas Sirk and featuring a bevy of classic stars of the silver screen, a serial killer is on the loose in London, luring young women into his web through ads placed in the personal column.” (Lured intro from Kanopy)

 

lured dvd cover

I’ll start with relevant quote from Lucille Ball herself:
"I’m not funny. What I am is brave”
(as quoted in Ball of Fire, pg 9)


Lucille Ball, who could play comedies, dramas, film noir and more, was being modest. There is a chance that even as a classic movie fan or I Love Lucy fan, it will surprise you to know that Lucille Ball has contributed, admirably I would say, to the world of suspense. Yes, I do mean Suspense the radio show, but not exclusively.

(For another Lucille Ball Film Noir, with some similarities to Lured, check out one of my favorites: Dark Corner (Posted on my Media Library blog guest post on Dark Corner)

In Lured, she goes from taxi-dancer/dime-a-dance girl, to “female detective”/temporary uncover cop. WHAT?!! Could you imagine Lucy asking Ricky for permission for that gig in I Love Lucy? I don’t even think that would come up in the episode “Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her” !

The themes are dark, and Lucy has to contend with some real creeps in her pursuit to find her missing friend. Even without training, she holds her own.  Lucy accepts this dangerous endeavor, even acknowledging beforehand that she is understands this “female detective role’ is her as”bait.” Again, there is a romantic lead for her, but she is not side-tracked by persistent playboy played by George Sanders *who is trying to do some luring of his own for personal reasons). Well, not when it interrupts mission anyway. There are role complications and twists to pay attention to as well.

Speaking of dark – Lured has a special treat for fans of horror, the film has some familiar faces by casting George Zucco and Boris Karloff. Karloff, well known for his Frankenstein’s monster role,  is heavily featured in the marketing (see DVD cover above)  despite his short screen time. Zucco’s role is far more significant to the overall plot.

Lucille Ball played, well, ball in the days of the studio system (Surely I’m not the first time someone made that pun, so don’t blame me).   She wanted to work, and she did, but she wasn’t often the lead.  There is a nice list of her over 80 movies with blurbs on the Luci Desi museum website spanning the period of 1933-1974.

Discussion examples for the film:

  • Do you have thoughts about gender or stereotypes in film noir?
  • How does Lucille’s characters compare to “femme fatales” or other women in film noir (past or present)?
  • What do you think of Lucille’s role in Lured? Is she brave? Foolish? Both?
  • What do you think about her collaboration with the police in Lured (and Dime a Dance if you’ve listened to that)?
  • Any other thoughts about the film (director, themes, roles and time in American cinema? (i.e. 1947 versus 2017)
  • Other thoughts or  film suggestions from and for the group?


(Old Time) Radio work
There is less written about her radio work, but here are two I recommend from the show Suspense that relate to the darker themes in films like Lured and Dark Corner. You can find episodes online to stream or download though podcast providers or the Internet Archive Suspense pages (See links s1 and s2). It’s worth exploring the series if you haven’t, but you can; also go straight to Lucille’s Ball’s page, where the picture is from, here: https://archive.org/details/LucilleBall

  1. Dime a Dance(1944) Internet Archive s1 mp3
    Definite similarities to Lured. She’s brave, she’s she’s got street-smarts, and again she is sort of bait for the police, but the story-line has significant differences.
  2. A Little Piece of Rope (1948)  (Internet Archive S2 mp3)
    Her “baby face” prevents her from getting work in Hollywood, so she uses this trait for a disturbing and dangerous con. Remembering a police gazette noting women dressed as an innocent school girls “entice and trap unwary gentleman”she plans to rob and potentially blackmail men she meets.  Her plan is to play offense not defense. This is a very dark tale and a suspense for sure.  
    –(Personal note: As librarian I have to admit I found it humorous that she pretends to be a good candidate for an apartment by dressing dowdy, and telling the landlord she is a librarian. Haha…Arg)
    It’s worth exploring the series if you haven’t, but you can; also go straight to Lucille’s Ball’s archive.org page, where I found the picture.

archive.org lucy picture

Final thoughts:
There is so much to love about Lucy. In addition to being a television pioneer; her performances in film and radio often have unique and surprising elements for their time and genre. Life and work wasn’t always easy for Lucille Ball, and her talent and contributions to in various entertainment mediums have seem to have gone relatively unrecognized. I think her accomplishments, despite her self deprecating quote, reveal that in addition to being talented, she was funny and brave.

Resources – UNT Libraries:

UNT Library Catalog has more resources for you to explore.
Advanced Search Tip:
Do an AUTHOR search for Ball, Lucille, 1911-1989 to find her work ( films &shows)
Do a SUBJECT search for Ball, Lucille, 1911-1989 to find items written about her
You can also explore the UNT Media Library collection for the genre Film Noir  *
– Miss the screening? Check out Lured ( UNT DVD 9551)  or stream it via Kanopy (when available)

* Updated for the new catalog system: Discover

  UPDATE: Changes to Kanopy access on some films came in January 2019 after this screening
  - If time permits, and there is interest, we will attempt another podcast again!

 

Lucille Ball’s quote about being brave was found in: Kanfer, Stephan (2003) Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball, New York: Knoft, page 9.*original citation not provided

I hope you enjoy the post, and we  see you on November 30th!

Thanks,
~ Lilly

Meeting 4: The Immigrant

by Lilly Ramin on March 16th, 2017 |  

Reel to Real Classics is back! Our next screening & meeting will be:

April 26 at 5:00 pm-6:00 pm at Willis Library, room 340.
Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant (1917 silent, 26 minutes)

In April at UNT, a committee I am part of was planning several events for Global Citizens Month. This year, I volunteered for a library display post and a film event.  When I came across Charlie Chaplin’s 1917 silent film The Immigrant, I thought it might be a fitting selection. Steven agreed!  It’s interesting to consider the title and the meaning, then and now in 2017. Seriously, close your eyes and think of that word: immigrant. What does it make you think of? (Hey, hold that thought for the meeting!)

In this film Chaplin’s famous character, “The Tramp,”is an immigrant on a ship to the United States.  There are some intriguing themes that popped up when I was viewing this short film: class, charity and comedy. I mention these in the podcast as well. Even if you don’t agree these themes are significant, I hope you appreciate the alliteration, ha!

Regarding class, notice the scene where the immigrants on the boat, and Charlie gives the immigration officer a significant little kick (something which would get him in trouble later in light of views  about his personal politics). For charity, think of all the times money is used and donated to the characters. For the theme of comedy, notice how laughter and the physical comedy Chaplin uses makes “The Tramp” endearing,  and does not prevent the ability to deliver a message.  It is action, not voice (or words), that moves the story along.  Since viewers can only imagine “The Tramp’s” voice, this can increase identification for the viewers, including but not limited to, recent immigrants. The power of comedy made me think of a much later film, available at the Chilton Media library, UNT DVD 6867), Sullivan’s Travels from Preston Sturges. There may be escapism in comedy, but “The Tramp” shows there is the potential for social commentary and a call for change.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts, or viewing them if you wish to express your thoughts through physical comedy, at our meeting!

Our first ever podcast:

(Podcast on Soundcloud)

 

Select resources consulted for discussion:

Benshoff, Harry M, and Sean Griffin. America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies. , 2004. Print.( PN1995.9.M56 B46 2004 c.2  Willis Library
Kamin, Dan. Charlie Chaplin’s One-Man Show. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991. Print. ( PN2287.C5 K34 1991,  Willis Library)
Robinson, David. Charlie Chaplin: The Art of Comedy. London: Thames and Hudson, 1996. Print.(personal copy)

Thanks for reading!
~ Lilly

Hitch

Meeting 3: Foreign Correspondent

by Lilly Ramin on November 3rd, 2016 |

For meeting 3,  we will be watching and discussing Foreign Correspondent directed by British director Alfred Hitchcock. Note themes such as the “American” abroad, the role of media in understanding  and shaping international relations, and share any other thoughts on the film. We hope you enjoy it!

  • Join us in Willis 340 on Wednesday, November 16th  5pm – 7pm.
  • We will be screening Foreign Correspondent (via streaming rights this year)

More info:


Missed the screening? The DVD can be found in UNT Chilton Media Library (DVD 17114)

Thanks!
~ Lilly

Meeting 2: Nosferatu

by Steven Guerrero | Faciltator: Steven Guerrero

This meeting we will be watching and discussing F. W. Murnau’s German Expressionist classic, Nosferatu. The film is based on Bram Stoker’s epistolary novel, Dracula. Both the novel and this film are deemed classics in their respective fields, but have also come under fire in readings that suggest the film and novel’s portrayal of foreigners is viewed through a xenophobic lens. Scary stuff!!

Join us in Willis 340 on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 from 5pm – 7pm.

-  Steven

(Posted and facilitated by Steven Guerrero)

Meeting 1: Rita and Gilda

by Lilly Ramin on September 2nd, 2016 

Our first meeting will highlight Rita Hayworth, most notably of the film noir, Gilda. Rita Hayworth, born Margarita Carmen Cansino,*is a good person to discuss during “Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15). Her name and look was altered to make her an ideal of the time –which often did not include embracing one’s heritage or expressing it within the medium of film. Join us as we discuss Rita, Gilda, and the cross-section between cultural identity and media image.It is recommended you watch the highlighted film Gilda, either in the library or at home,  but it is not required. The 45 minute screening will give us plenty to talk about!If you have questions about the group, I will also have a library table at the UNT Carnaval event (sponsored by The UNT Multicultural Center & UPC)  on September 20th, 11-1 in the Library Mall/Onstead Promenade.

Meeting 1 details:
Location: Room: 111C, Chilton Media Library
Time and date: 4:00 pm | September 28, 2016

We will show: “Discovering Rita Hayworth” (45 minutes) then discuss
Featured film for recommended for discussion = Gilda (DVD 239 + 1 copy)
Reserves page for 2016 only: RTRC 2016  at Chilton Media Library
Optional
/also on 100 years of the Latino image in Hollywood cinema : the bronze screen DVD 1445

Gilda - film resources:
Gilda (re-issue trailer) from TCM.com
*Turner Classic Movies Bio of Rita Hayworth
~ includes images, film clips and trailers

Rita as Gilda

Hispanic Heritage Month Display (available this month in library).
I collaborated with library colleagues on this display which will be in Willis Sept 16-Oct 15
The Media Library will also have a Hispanic Heritage Month display in their display case

  • ARTICLE: McLean, A. (1992). ‘I’m a Cansino’: Transformation, Ethnicity, AND Authenticity in the Construction of Rita Hayworth, American Love Goddess. Journal of Film and Video, 44(3/4), 8-26. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2068798
    ~ Accessible to all UNT students & staff with EUID & Password. It is a good overview of her transformation and career

  • PODCAST: You Must Remember This: Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles
    The podcast was created and is written, produced and narrated by Karina Longworth, and is currently edited by Henry Molofsky.  Part of the Panoply Network.
    ~ Includes the discrepancy between Rita and the image of “Gilda” or Rita as “Love Goddess.”

  • Please note discussion guidelines for respectful discussion.

    Thanks for your interest!
    ~ Lilly

--  This post was originally added to the Media Library Blog! Posted by Lilly & filed under Movie Recommendations. Tags: Film Noir

Enter the Webb: The Actor in Fox Film Noir classics Laura, and The Dark Corner.

You may recognize aspects of a Film Noir classic with or without knowing the formal definition of this genre. One source defines Film Noir as “a style of film-making developed in the 1940s, with a plot involving suspense, mystery, crime, and corruption, and a bleak, often shadowy, setting, or a film in this style. Film noir begins as the French appreciation of an American genre: the thriller or mystery film with a disillusioned or neurotic hero afraid of the world, the city, the night, and femmes fatales. ” (Allen). Both films discussed in this post, as well as other Film Noir classics, are available at the UNT Media Library collection. LauraTCMdbImage Click image for Laura TCM trailer page Femme fatales and cynics are common characters in Film Noir. Enter Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker, the eloquent cynic with a dark side, in Laura (1944).  Webb may steal scenes but never truly gets the girl. The dark humor and self –absorption of Webb’s characters understandably frustrates others.  Cool Detective Mark McPherson, played by Dana Andrews, immerses himself in Laura’s case both professionally and personally. Gene Tierney is believably cast as multi-talented Laura, who captivates almost every one. DarkCornerTCMdbIMageSqaure Click image for Dark Corner TCM trailer page. The Dark Corner (1946), is more obscure than Laura (1944). The pleasant surprise for me was the female lead played by Lucille Ball. She is not a femme fatale, but a partner. The lead, Bradford Galt, played by Mark Stevens, is another cynic but when you learn more about his past, you get it. Clifton Webb appears yet again, this time as Hardy Cathcart. It is not a risky choice because it is pretty much typecasting.  As in Laura, he wants to add the women he admires to his collection of valuables, but he seems more vulnerable because his betrayal is less perceived and more real. In Film Noir, you may find characters who are seemingly devoid of morals faced off with prominent characters who may share the cynicism but not to the point of unapologetic violence. ‘“There goes my last lead. I feel all dead inside. I’m backed up in a dark corner and I don’t know who’s hitting me.” (qtd. in Nowlan). There are other parallels and topics to explore with this series, but I will stop there. I am not a film expert, just a fan. I do find many of these films to be a fascinating glimpse into America’s cultural past. I often happen upon one of these “classics” by accident or references in film history books.You can film many film books in the library as well.   If you are interested in browsing for similar films at the Media Library, you can do a Subject Search in the UNT Media Library Catalog for Film Noir  The trailers and the film profile pages give you a generous overview of the plot. If you check out these films, I do hope you find them worth your time. Resources:
  • Film Noir. (2007). In R. Allen (Ed.), The penguin English Dictionary. London, United Kingdom: Penguin. Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/penguineng/film_noir/0
  • Despair and desperation. (2013). In R. Nowlan & G. Nowlan, Film quotations: 11,000 lines spoken on screen, arranged by subject, and indexed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/mcffilm/despair_and_desperation/0
  • Preminger, O., Dratler, J., Hoffenstein, S., Reinhardt, B., Tierney, G., Andrews, D., Price, V., … Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc. (2005). Laura. Beverly Hills, CA: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. UNT Media Library DVD 9636   Series: Fox film noir; 1
  • Hathaway, H., Dratler, J., Schoenfeld, B. C., Kohlmar, F., Ball, L., Webb, C., Bendix, W., … Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc.,. (2005). The dark corner.  UNT Media Library DVD 14533  Series: Fox film noir; 10
  • Laura (1944), The Dark Corner (1946) and Clifton Webb  profiles. Turner Classic Movie Database (TCMdb) at: http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/
Happy #Noirvember!
~ Lilly Ramin (@lillylibrarian)

Comments:  Responses to “Enter the Webb: The Actor in Fox Film Noir classics Laura, and The Dark Corner.”

G M W  says: Thank You ! I’ve recently discovered another cache of fine older films called The Criterion Collection and have already enjoyed Kiss Me Deadly with Ralph Meeker and a very early Cloris Leachman and Ace in the Hole with youngish Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling—by Billy Wilder, no less. Enjoy !
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