Monday, February 29, 2016

The Spider (1945)

Was able to watch a poor quality copy of this yesterday, it's nothing special but it's rare. Directed by Robert D. Webb Starring Richard Conte, Faye Marlowe, Kurt Kreuger (The Dark Corner 1946), Ann Savage (Detour 1945), Mantan Moreland, John Harvey, Martin Kosleck and Walter Sande. Interesting low budget film that was Richard Conte's first Noir, set in New Orleans. He plays a private detective who is hired to retrieve a letter for a client. The letter is held by his sometime partner Ann Savage who unfortunately is soon murdered. Mantan Moreland provides some eye popping stereotypical shtick as Conte's associate. It does have some nice noirish cinematography but it really isn't anything to actively seek out, it's more for noir aficionados. 5/10

Noirish Creole Bar

Ann Savage and Richard Conte

Kurt Kreuger

Mantan Moreland and Richard Conte



A nice review from IMDb:

Don't watch it for Ann Savage; she's the first to go 6/10 stars
by bmacv (Western New York)

Pretty much the only thing you think while watching The Spider is that it's too bad Ann Savage kissed the dust about seven minutes into it. Playing the enterprising partner of New Orleans private investigator Richard Conte whose attempt at extortion sets the plot in motion, she gives the film an initial jolt of deadly femininity that the rest of the movie sorely needs.

Lovely but less prepossessing Faye Marlowe is the mysterious client who hands Conte a diamond brooch, engaging him to retrieve an envelope. It contains evidence obtained by Savage that Marlowe's missing sister was in fact murdered, but Conte doesn't know this, or the identity of the woman who hired him under a false name. He finds out that she's part of a phony spiritualist act with arachnoid sets and get-ups (hence the movie's title). The sister, who could pass as her twin, was part of the illusion. In order to solve Savage's murder (to name just one), Conte must burrow back to 1940, using old newspaper clippings and hotel registers, to unravel the earlier killing.

Short and plot-laden, The Spider borrows, or steals, piecemeal from earlier successes (a shakedown in Conte's office harks back to Joel Cairo and Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, as does Marlowe's pseudonymous identity). The presence of Conte and Savage (however abbreviated) has led some viewers to chuck this movie under the rubric `film noir;' that may be stretching things. (The New Orleans locales stay strictly generic, which is a shame, as it may be the only such film set in The Big Easy, unless the even more dubious Glory Alley is admitted.) The Spider is an entertaining enough crime programmer that even a second scene spotlighting Savage would have helped mightily.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Neo Noir Image Of The Week

Steinway Tunnel Portal, IRT (Interboro Rapid Transit)
Long Island City, Queens, NY

Friday, February 26, 2016

Noirsville Iconic Artwork/Photograph of the Week

Arthur Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), was a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography. Nicknamed "Weegee" Felig worked in Manhattan, New York City's Lower East Side as a press photographer during the 1930s and '40s, and he developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Noirsville Tune of the Week

In keeping with the opening sequence of the film "Impulse"
we offer Rickie Lee Jones - Easy Money

There was a Joe, leanin' on the back door
A couple Jills that had their eyes on a couple bills
Their eyes was stayin', they was waitin' to get
Their hands on some easy money

They flipped a dime, one says
"Well, I'll take heads this time"
One stepped up, one stepped back
One loosened her shoulder strap

She couldn't speak, her knees got weak
She could almost taste that easy money

There was this old black cat
Which was sittin' in a old black Cadillac
And the Joe smelled sweet
So she curls up at her boyfriend's feet

She says "I got a plan, listen, Sam
How'd ya like to make some of that easy money?"

He say, "Yes, oh yes
Jus' tell me what you want me to do"
She said, "Baby, you can trust me, oh baby
But you must be hidin' in my room, quarter to two"

Well, the cat told the boy
"Come up to the room and play with my toy, honey"
But the Jill had set the bait
She wasn't gonna sit around and wait

But this guy was wise to all the lies
And he flies out the door with the easy money

'Cause there ain't no man
Who got the money in his hand
Who got any of that bread
By bein' slow in the head

The easier it looks, the hotter it hooks
There ain't no such thing as easy money
We say, "Yes, oh yes"

Saturday night
There was a terrible, terrible fight
Between two dames
Who was losin' the same game

It wasn't clear but I hear that somebody
Was lookin' for some easy money

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Impulse (1990) A Walk on The Wild Side

Impulse (1990) directed by Sondra Locke is a gritty story of an Los Angeles femme fatale vice cop Lottie Mason (Theresa Russell) and her "Walk On The Wild Side" of cusp of Noir. It is a dance with with death, love, power and temptation. It's probably one of the Last of the Warner Brothers Noirs.


A piano riff dissolves the blackness into an elevated view of a sleazy Hollywood hot sheet motel block, at the corner of Las Palmas and Sunset Blvd., one of those all look alike City of Angels low profile strips. Time the late '80s, Madonna is in vogue. The scene is accented by wet pavement reflecting neon. A long ringletted blonde "angel" is strutting her stuff in tight gold Lamé snakeskins, but this celestial Femme Fatale has clipped wings. She's trolling the midnight drift, a lure with hooks. Lonely sad losers cruise the mainstem scoping the fast skirts that will get them a shot at 20 minutes of ecstasy. The opening title sequence displays the workings of the vice stakeout with the excellent noir-ish stylistic cinematography of Dean Semler. The piano riff repeats and become a leitmotif for Lottie's darkside.

Streetwalking sequence

Hot Sheet Motel

Lottie in streetwalker rags trolling the drag
a nibble,,,,

a negotiation...

the john she tells him she never gets in cars...

a moving violation in gold Lamé 

off to to the room
you're busted
...and back to the cement stroll

Impulse is set strictly in Squaresville, it's a story of the world of hard working cops doing their everyday busts. Lottie's night in and night out tolling the low company is affecting her personal life. Her various Vice assignments, i.e., impersonating a streetwalker, a junkie, a B-girl hooker, a drug dealer has her visiting the division PR office and the psychiatrist/counselor on a regular basis for an hour session mandated by Internal Affairs. They want to know if having to lie and deceive on a regular basis is affecting her job. Her Doctor, Dr. Gardner seems more interested in her personal life her debts and her love life. Lottie when questioned about her torpedoed relationships states that she's only been with cops and she rattles off squads, Vice, Homicide, and Bunco rather than names.  Gardener asks about Lottie's quasi-stalker encounter with Lt. Joe Morgan (George Dzundza) an ex boyfriend that she didn't report. Lottie says it's because he'd say she encouraged it. But Lottie makes a confession that she is mainlining on the power of her femininity while staring at her reflection in the window in a great sequence:

Lottie: Lately... sometimes... working Vice... strangers.... the way they look at you, you feel that power over them... make them pay... it's frightening... I just... want them to look at me... to just do it... be a trollop.

Lottie and Dr. Gardener

reflecting "you feel that power over them... make them pay

Another assignment has Lottie going undercover as a heroin junkie in a shooting gallery, this combined with a second storyline concerning a 2 year old case, a witness protection program witness and a double cross drug deal in NYC brings a District Attorney named Stan (Jeff Fahey) into Lottie's world. Stan is attracted to her and they have an affair though Lottie is still a bit standoffish a bit gunshy.

Lottie as a junkie

B-Girl sequence

Lottie as B girl

Lottie and Stan sequence

Drug Bust Action sequence

blowing his brains out

Give me some space

After an adrenaline rush chase down a highrise and shootout with two drug trafficking perps in a grocery, Lottie is on stressed and on edge, Stan tries to comfort her but she wants him to back off and give her space. She takes off in her Camaro to unwind. She gets a flat tire drives into a service station and while the tire is changed drops into the bar across the street and into Noirsville.

At the bar she's picked up by Tony Peron (Shawn Elliott) who is coincidentally and unbeknownst to Lottie, the drug dealer partner of the man Stan has in witness protection. He asks her if there was anything in the world she could do what would it be. Lottie tells him "I'd get on a plane and go somewhere I'd never been". Tony pulls out a deck of hundred dollar bills and counts off ten, Lottie tells him she wants to go "first class". Tony adds another five, but tells her that first she'll have to go to his house. On impulse Lottie picks up the dough and follows him out to his Beverly Estates house.

I have a flat

the spare isn't in my dress

Lottie and Tony Perone 

Tony's estate diagonals

When Tony gets her to his place he begins to get busy with it. Lottie holds him off telling him she wants to freshen up. Tony tells her to use the upstairs bedroom bath. Lottie has second thoughts as she stands by vertical blinds in a nice sequence. Afterwards while washing her face she hears two gunshots, and peering down the stairway spots Tony dead on the tile floor. The shooter is actively searching the house. Since her gun was confiscated after the recent shooting Lottie scrambles to hide from the killer. 

Having second thoughts


investigating the shots

The shooter leaves the house and Lottie checks out Tony popped twice in the head. She goes through his clothes finding a locker key in his jacket. She wipes down all the surfaces she touched calls the cops disguising her voice and splits. At the airport the next day she opens the locker and finds a suitcase with close to a million dollars.

Sondra Locke did a wonderful job at directing this little Neo Noir gem. The writing by John DeMarco and Leigh Chapman, is competent and consequently the  characters are very well developed. This is Theresa Russell's best performance. The rest of the cast are Jeff Fahey as Stan, George Dzundza as Lt. Joe Morgan, Lynne Thigpen as Dr. Gardner, and Shawn Elliott as Tony Peron. The music by Michel Colombier is great along with the various pieces that comprise the soundtrack. Again I can't say enough about the Noir stylistic cinematography which is excellent.

Is Stan going to resolve his case and find the killer? Are Stan and Lottie going to continue to be an item? Is Lottie going to keep the money? The DVD is from the Warner Archives. 9/10