Personally, Veda’s convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.
Mildred Pierce (1945), Michael Curtiz
New Orleans Noir in Panic in the Streets (1950)
“The thugs Mingo and Fante, two models of historicized latency at the edge of representation and beyond, are as fascinating as they are plausibly iconic. Mingo and Fante arguably have the strongest romantic relationship in The Big Combo. They are openly devoted to each other, share a bedroom, and are almost always in the same shot. In their ‘hideaway,’ Mingo longingly expresses his feelings to Fante when he declares, ‘Let’s never come back,’ and suggests they run off together. Fante, the more solidly ‘butch’ of the two partners, proves his fidelity to Mingo when he presses McClure to pay not only him but Mingo as well for the pleasure of beating Lieutenant Diamond before Brown arrives.
"They will kill, torture, and even die together, although Mingo outlasts Fante when the bomb left by Brown to dispose of them after they serve their function explodes. In a morgue-like setting, when Lieutenant Diamond begins to press Mingo for information, the policeman reveals Fante’s mutilated, dynamited body, literally, what is left of Fante’s head and face, to a severely wounded Mingo, who cries and becomes almost hysterical. This is the one true expression of love and loss in the film…
“Director Lewis’s linkage of Mingo and Fante’s personal pleasure at a show of violence, although the product of a corporate decision, generates some expression of revenge against a system that would label them as sexual subversives… [Rose] Capp adds that Lewis correlated man’s violent and sexual obsessions in The Big Combo: ‘Lewis makes clear that The Big Combo is as much concerned with the dynamics of power, money and sexuality, as with the nexus between business, crime and forces of law and order.’ Fante and Mingo offer a paradoxical parallel that laces Lewis’s film with a radical political statement about homosexuality and gender politics in premodern Hollywood cinema: two gay men can experience a healthy relationship.”
– Gary D. Rhodes on The Big Combo (1955)
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Spanish Poster for Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947)
Second 10 days of Noirvember 2013 (in order of preference)
Out of the Past (1947) dir. Jacques Tourneur [x]
This Gun For Hire (1942) dir. Frank Tuttle [x]
Dark Passage (1947) dir. Delmer Daves [x]
High Sierra (1941) dir. Raoul Walsh
Murder, My Sweet (1944) dir. Edward Dmytryk
The Big Clock (1948) dir. John Farrow
Gun Crazy (1950) dir. Joseph H. Lewis
The Set-Up (1949) dir. Robert Wise
House of Bamboo (1955) dir. Samuel Fuller
Killer’s Kiss (1955) dir. Stanley Kubrick
I hate to say it, but most of this run didn’t do that much for me. High Sierra has some great material, but the ending felt overly melodramatic. Murder, My Sweet was close to winning me over, but I got a little lost, and although Dick Powell may do a great job playing against his usual type, I can’t say he’s good enough that I wouldn’t have rather seen the role played someone who fits more into that mold (sorry, Chandler). The Big Clock and Gun Crazy had some fantastic moments, but left me cold overall. Finally, House of Bamboo and Killer’s Kiss were outright disappointments to me — Kubrick’s film struck me as surprisingly wooden.