Derik Badman's Journal

2021-11-16 08:22

Haven't been successful coding every day, though I have been working on a few things, including getting better at Web Components. I coded two versions of a two step confirmation button for my character sheet app, basically a button that requires a second click to confirm you want to do the thing the button does. Need to do a little more testing with both of them as they have differing pluses and minuses and I'm not totally sure if both are equally accessible.

Also been watching almost the whole series of "Fox Film Noir" on Criterion. A couple I haven't gotten to yet, and a couple I already rewatched sort of recently (Night and the City, Laura), but so far in the past week or so I watched Somewhere in the Night, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Nightmare Alley, Black Widow, Niagara, Pickup on South Street, Panic in the Streets, and The Naked Kiss, though the latter was not part of the series, I just watched it after really re-appreciating Fuller's Pickup on South Street and watching to watch another one of his films. He's someone I am vaguely familiar with, and I know the nouvelle vague auteurs really liked him, but I haven't watched a lot of his work. I did watch Forty Guns not that long ago, and I've seen Pickup on South Street once or twice before.

Some of these were rewatches, like Niagara, which is mostly watched, I assume, because of Marilyn Monroe, but this time around I noticed Jean Peters a lot more and intrigued by her. Turns out she had a good but not extensive career and ended up marrying Howard Hughes and disappearing in to reclusion with him until they divorced 20 years later. Then, a pleasant surprise, it turns out she's also the female lead in Pickup on South Street, and a lot more interesting in the latter and less frumpily styled. You get the feeling maybe they made her look purposefully plain in Niagara to contrast her with Monroe. Other than the two actresses, Niagara is not that great, nor is it very noir-ish in style or really in plot, it's much more like a second (or third) class Hitchcock film.

Somewhere in the Night brings out the "G.I. returning home" theme of noir with a strong dose of amnesiac protagonist. I actually didn't see the twist until it was right in front of me. The lead actor was not particularly great (or memorable, I've forgotten his name), but the city sets were. Where the Sidewalk Ends re-teams Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney from Laura but with a darkly humorous romance. He's a cop who gets into trouble too much for beating criminals, and then he accidentally kills a guy (he punches the guy, the guy falls and lands on the metal plate in his head, another returning G.I.), who turns out to be Tierney's estranged husband. Yes, he has killed his new love interest's husband. It brings in a psychological element way at the end (the cop's dad was... a criminal! Who was somehow involved with the guy the cop is obsessed with arresting). And of course you know after he admits what happens, the cop won't get into any trouble (and he gets the girl).

Nightmare Alley is another I'd never seen before (though heard about and there's a new adaption of the same novel coming soon), though I've heard positive things about it. I ended up finding rather uneven. It has a very long beginning section and only really gets to the crime part very late in the game. There's an interesting plot element with a psychiatrist (or psychoanalyst) woman that feels under explored. I get the feeling the adaption from book to movie lost a lot and maybe put the focus in the wrong places. It does maintain a grim ending, which is not really as common in noir as one might think.

Black Widow a later color film did not feel like noir at all, a lot more, again, in the vein of pseudo Hitchcock, most notable, probably, for Ginger Rogers playing the criminal (though that too is reserved for a late reveal). It works ok as a kind of mystery with a protagonist accused of a crime he didn't commit, but stylistically doesn't feel very noirish.

Fuller's Pickup on South Street has been the best of the bunch, great plot, great cast (Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, and Thelma Ritter are all excellent), interesting direction, stylistically very dynamic and dark.

Just rewatched Panic in the Streets yesterday.