Friday, July 31, 2020

Noirsville Tune of the week

Fellow Afficio-Noir-do Jimmy Vargas & the Black Marias 'Atomic Cocktail' (Live)

Atomic Cocktail

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Noirsville Neo Noir Images of the Week



Joe McNally


Hell Gate - Astoria - Rott


Saul Leiter
Somethings Got To Give - Marilyn Monroe

Ruslan Lobanov
Gordon Parks

Carroll Baker -  Philippe Halsman
Jim Wallace

Watts Riots - Charcoal Alley

I wish they all could be California girls
Brian Cripe

B - Girl

El Monte - California - hometown of James Ellroy



Beaver for a dollar 

Variety - Bette Gordon
Melissa rear view

El Cortez - Las Vegas - Rott

Room 43 ( Passport to Shame ) (1958) Sex Trade Brit Noir

"A woman is like a guitar it depends on the player." (Nick Biaggi)

I've been interested the last couple of weeks in Diana Dors, I recently screened her Tread Softly Stranger and was impressed. Prior to that film I caught her years ago in The Long Haul with one of my favorite Noir actors Victor Mature, but Dors in that was somewhat subdued. Sort of like seeing Marilyn in jeans in Clash By Night and making an assumption on her whole career on that. So that was the state of my opinion on Dors

More recently I viewed The Unholy Wife (1957). That one was one of those lurid  Pulp Fiction Cover Color Noirs, like Slightly Scarlet, Vertigo, Niagara, Desert Fury, Inferno, Bad Day At Black Rock, A Kiss Before Dying, Violent Saturday, etc., etc.. Diana Dors lights up every scene she's in like a highway flare. It was told in a death row flashback. Nice to see Dennis Franz  and Marie Windsor together again to jog your cinematic memory. Rod Steiger seems wasted though. It could have been better.

So here I come to Room 43. It was just the next Dors film to pop up. This film is more of an ensemble piece with Diana Dors, Herbert Lom, Odile Versois, Brenda de Banzie, Robert Brown, Elwyn Brook-Jones. Cyril Shaps, and unexpectedly an American actor who I never heard speak English in a film before, the French PI "Lemmie" Caution star Eddie Constantine.

Odile Versois

Herbert Lom and Brenda de Banzie,

Eddie Constantine

Diana Dors
Wow. C0nstantine looks and sounds like he could be actor Michael Shannon's father, they have a remarkable resemblance. I'd seen him before and I knew of his reputation as Caution but only seen him playing Caution in Alphaville, shame its not a representative flick of the Caution universe. I later saw Constantine in an Italian Gangster flick. In Alphaville he was speaking French and in the latter either French or Italian. Alphaville believe me is not a film to judge the Caution character or Constantine. lol

From Constantine's performance in Room 43 and my subsequently viewing of the very first Caution flick Poison Ivy with an English language release, it really opened my eyes to Constantine. We need all the "Lemmie" Caution flicks available with subtitles.

Anyway back to Room 43. Its a film about a Savings and Loans Banker by day and pimp by night  Nick Biaggi (Herbert Lom) and a Madame Aggie (Brenda de Banzie) run a whorehouse and a white slave ring operation that keeps the house supplied with new talent.

The scheme works like this. At a cabaret in France the joints owner selects good looking young women with no futures and no family or relatives to work as waitresses. These waitresses are to be candidates for recruitment for the sex industry. The women, after making change at the register are called over by Aggie who wants another cup of coffee. Aggie plants a bank note into the pocket of the target waitresses apron. The waitress is then accused by the owner of stealing the money after he finds it in her pocket.

Aggie OKs the new recruit with Nick over the phone

Bartender/owner confronts Malou accusing her of stealing from the till

Aggie ready to rescue Malou
He is going to all the police, claiming that its probably not the first time. Aggie, who is sitting nearby comes to the waitresses rescue and defense telling the owner that she'll take care of any lost revenue. The waitress is relieved and in her defenders debt.

Aggie then offers her a job in London, as a way to pay her back. The only catch is that she'll need to become an English citizen by marrying a UK citizen. Its not a real marriage just a formality on paper.

The real reason for the marriage certificate is for the woman to get UK citizenship and a passport. If the whorehouse gets busted the girls can't be deported. The alternate title for the film was "Passport to Shame." The waitress unlucky enough to be the new girl is Marie Louise 'Malou' Beaucaire (Odile Versois).

Meanwhile, the other part of the scheme is finding a man, desperate enough for money to agree to marry a recruit in return for a lump sum. Braggi has picked as his target a cab driver Johnny McVey (Constantine), who has borrowed the last two hundred pounds from Braggi's Savings and Loan that he needed to purchase his first diesel Austin cab.

Three days later Braggi arranges to have a lorry total McVey's new cab. Braggi also just happens to be on the scene when the accident occurs and offers to help McVey out for a little favor. All he has to do is marry, on paper only, a woman from France who can't get a working permit.

That's the gist of the story. Of course Johnny and Malou start liking what each other sees, Malou is clueless to Aggie and Braggi's designs, and everything will be cool because there's no hurry to give the show away (Braggi assures Aggie that it could be a year before he's ready to turn her out). Nick Braggi is also looking forward to "breaking in," wink, wink, Malou himself.

We know....  it will all go Noirsville.


Don't you work at all?
Malou: Don't you work at all?
Vickie: Oh yes I'm in the entertainment business.
Malou:  But what do you do?
Vickie: I entertain.

I entertain

The fun is watching Eddie and Diana do their stuff. Herbert Lom, pre his "Inspector Dreyfus" turn in the Pink Panther films, is just as interesting as a slimy grease ball as costar Peter Sellers was as the vicious head crook in a hijack car racket in Never let Go (1960).

Directed by Alvin Rakoff and written by Patrick Alexander. The Cinematography was by Jack Asher and music was by Ken Jones A pleasant surprise. 8/10

Herbert Lom, pimp meister!
Fred_Rap1 January 2013
Among the sundry delights to be found in this British white slavery sexpose is the gonzo turn by Herbert Lom. As London's mac daddy supreme Nick Biaggi, Lom is a sight to behold, a horn-doggie dandy in homburg, lapel carnation and spats (au courant fashion be damned). He's low-key at first, oozing oily charm and generosity, the better to bamboozle naive French waif Odile Versois, who's been lured into a life of shame by Lom's field procurer/mamasan/mistress Brenda De Banzie. But behind closed doors it's a whole 'nother Herb. Channeling his inner Michael Gough, he's all over Odile like a cheap suit, manhandling her love handles and assaulting her face with wet, slobbering kisses. It's truly an unhinged spectacle; even Lom's toupee looks like it has an erection.

Also in the house: affable tough guy Eddie Constantine as the world's least likely Canadian, the always welcome Robert Brown (Tumak's dad in One Million Years B.C., 'M' in the Bond films of the '80s) as a two-fisted cabbie who rouses his fellow hacks to do battle with the 'ho-mongers, Diana Dors, poured into bum-busting skirts and Frederick's of Soho lingerie, as a hooker with a score to settle, and, as the groom at a wedding party, a remarkably young Michael Caine.

All this plus a wacky weed-induced dream scene that must be seen to be disbelieved.

Lowdown high times guaranteed.