Saturday, August 24, 2019

Neo Noir Images of the Week

Billings, Montana - Unknown


A-1 Towing, Mojave Desert, Arizona Border - Rott

Arizona Charlies Mojave Desert Pitt Stop - Rott
Bella's Whorehouse - Unknown



Hopperesque - Unknown

Hooker - Unknown

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Noirsville Noir Images of the Week

Times Square Hookers, NYC - Unknown



Long Island City - Unknown

Lunch counter - Unknown

Crosetts Mobilgas - Rott

Ditmars Sta. Astoria, NYC - Unknown

Pompey - Ward fight,  Harringay Arena - Unknown

Club Moderne - Anaconda, Montana - Rott

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Noirsville Gif of the Week

 Fan Dancer

Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) Twisted Soap Opera - Neo Noir

"There is a fort in the South where a few years ago a murder was committed."(Carson McCullers)

Directed by John Huston

Huston was one of the directors credited with creating one of the first noticed "American" Film Noir after WWII when a backlog of US Films hit Paris, The Maltese Falcon (1941). The other 1941 film curiously was the (in reality) much darker visually looking I Wake Up Screaming (1941) directed by  H. Bruce Humberstone ) it was a one off film, Humberstone never directed another Noir/

John Huston went on to make the classics, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Key Largo (1948), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), The Misfits (1961), and The Night of the Iguana (1964).

Written by Chapman Mortimer and Gladys Hill and based on Carson McCullers novel. The Cinematography was by Aldo Tonti (The Nights of Cabiria (1957)) and uncredited Oswald Morris.

The film has seven major characters starring Marlon Brando as Major Weldon Penderton, Marlon Brando as Major Weldon Penderton, Brian Keith as Lt Colonel Morris Langdon, Julie Harris as Alison Langdon, Zorro David as Anacleto, Robert Forster as Private L. G. Williams, and Firebird the stallion.

Robert Forster as L. G. Williams 

Marlon Brando as Major Weldon Penderton

Marlon Brando as Major Weldon Penderton

Julie Harris as Alison Langdon

Brian Keith as Lt Colonel Morris Langdon
Zorro David as Anacleto

Pretty much right from the get go McCuller's script heads us right back into to that crumbling decadent south land of sexual ambiguity, fetid relationships, and moral swamps, sort of key words for the similar the works of James Leo Herlihy, William Inge, and Tennessee Williams.

Marlon Brando is Weldon Penderton an Army Post officer, who has the hots for a PFC L.G. Williams played by Robert Forster. Weldon  also has a personal "whack off" box where he keeps photographs of statues of naked Romans. He also keeps as a sort of trophy a silver spoon he purloined from some officers party way back when. Into the box also goes trash dropped by Williams as Penderton is so obsessed that he even follows him around at night as if he's a bitch in heat. Penderton would probably be rolling around in his shit if he could.

Williams is no innocent either. An alienated country boy who is great with horses. He's a sort of a backwoods bumpkin from the bible belt whose parents told him that "wiminz" were evil.  His love of horses goes a bit outre when he starts galloping around in the nude and stops for impromptu sun baths in clearings.

Penderton, his wife Leonora (Elizabeth Taylor) and Lt. Col. Morris Langdon (Brian Kieth) are out riding when they spot Williams doing his Laddie Godiva routine.

Leonora is an earthy horse woman, she really gets off on her riding. The way she controls her stallion is the way she controls Weldon, forcefully. She's not getting any obviously from Weldon who is afraid of her. He knows that she can probably kick the shit out of him. Taylor is thirty-five in this, but she looks a puffy forty-five, must be the boozing.

Taylor must have an affinity for horsey pictures. I'll admit she does look like she knows what she's doing. The rides are like a substitute for foreplay. Her brisk canters on her stallion Firebird stimulates her sex drive. Her partner in the illicit affair is Morris Langdon.

Foreplay on horses
When they reach a secluded glade they wade into the bushes for some earthy au natural bare-assed nekkid caveman fashion rutting on the ground, Mother Natures first mattress.

rutting in the woods
Permitted our imaginations we can only assume the most practical scenario and fantasize Leonora on all fours with Langdon mounting her doggy or better yet horsey style from the rear.

Langdon is an alcoholic  cheating husband who can't resist the over sexed Leonora. He's married to Alison a frail, bookish, neurotic woman who, because of a recent miscarriage has some continuing metal problems. A past episode of depression had her using a pair of garden shears to snip off her now useless nipples.

Other than that she gets along well with her effeminate Filipino houseboy Anacleto much to Morris' displeasure. He keeps mumbling about how he'd like to get him in the service and put him thought basic training. Anacleto dotes on Alison and he is her only real confidant. They chatter away, listen to music together, and also watercolor.

The bizarre ain't over yet. Williams we find out has more kinks. He sneaks out of the barracks at night and prowls around the officers housing. He progresses from peeping tom to pantie sniffer, targeting Leonora.

peeping tom
One night Leonora and Langdon have an argument. Leonora is in what I'd guess is her favorite position on the carpet. On her hands and knees.

Weldon tells her that she looks disgusting and cheap. She begins to strip throwing clothing items at his face, taunting him, ending up nude in the middle of the room. Outside looking in the window, Williams is watching the show.

Apparently that was enough to fixate his obsession on everything Leonora, eventually he later on spends whole nights just sniffing her clothes and watching her sleep.

Weldon in revenge takes out Firebird spurring him out for a ride. Weldon pushes the stallion just a bit too far and the horse bolts off at breakneck speed through low branches and brambles until Weldon gets thrown from the horse with his foot caught in the stirrup. He gets dragged a good long way before he can get loose. It's an exceptionally well done sequence of cinematography that barely ever gets mentioned and any still frames of it won't capture its ingenuity.

When Weldon finally catches up to the played out Firebird, He grabs a switch and viciously beats the stallion. Williams shows up (naked of course) and leads away the injured horse.

Later at Leonora's big shindig she confronts Weldon when she finds out what happened to Firebird. She takes a ridding crop to Weldon's face its a real party stopper.

Alison begins to go off the deep end when she imagines she sees someone sneaking repeatedly into the Penderton house at night. She thinks it's her husband.

She goes over to tell Weldon. Who thinks she's crazy. So Alison goes upstairs to confront Langdon in Leonora's room and she finds Williams in pantie sniffing mode instead. She runs back to her house, while Williams skips back outside. When Weldon opens Leonora's bedroom door no one is there.

Back at her home Alison finds Langdon in his room and tells him that Leonora is two timing him also with an enlisted man. She tells Langdon that she wants a divorce. Of course they all now think Alison is certifiable. Langdon has her committed. Alison is soon dead (heart attack or suicide) and Anacleto vanishes. Langdon now begins to feel the loss. He is repulsed when Leonora, while going through Alison's personal effects, begins to come on to him.

Meanwhile Weldon's obsession with Williams continues. One night he sees Williams lurking about his house and he gets ready for what he thinks is the big rendezvous. It all goes Noisrville.


Originally the film was released with a golden tint. A a sort of golden noir. Each scene, supposedly, was to contain stylistically one object normally colored. This tied into the films title which derived from houseboy's watercolor of a golden peacock in whose eye the world was a reflection. I've seen that print once, it's suggestive of the monochrome ambiance of Black and White. It worked for me. (See below)

Its not a Noir of gritty cityscapes, or one of bleak desolate deserts. Its a film of the rural night, a shady neighborhood, a stable, a house of shadows and dark interiors both psychical and mental.

Most Noirs and Neo Noirs are usually Crime Genre films, but not all. During the Classic Era the Motion Picture Production Code had guardrails on Film Noir. On one side was the rail for violence, the other side for sex and other taboo subjects. With the demise of the code Film Noir lost it's guardrails and was allowed wander. It had the freedom to exploit whatever and go wherever it wanted to weaving off the usual highway and all over the psycho-sexual landscape. It's an adult noir.

Brando gives a bravura performance of a man going slowly to pieces as his whole world beings to shift. He's like a burnt marshmallow hard just on the outside, but a gooey mess on the inside. He's the complete opposite of testosterone laden Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Taylor is  still good, a bit past her use by date. She's not smoking hot. She's on her way to being a full figured woman. Though in reality both she and her potential prey are confined to the "pool" of the army base. I guess if you are the most desirable woman in that small pool it works. Julie Harris is surprisingly tolerable in this and quite believable. Brian Kieth is playing his usual gentle easy going persona. Forster doesn't have much to say and Firebird is an impressive part of the tale. 7/10