Early Memories
The Liar's Club, Again

The Big Heat

Fritz Lang directed this 1953 film noir, which would lead one to expect that it would be at minimum pretty good. I think it's way better than that, one of the best of its type, although it isn't my favorite (my favorite so far is Out of the Past--see this post). Glenn Ford stars as an honest cop whose investigation of a suicide leads him to a web of big-city corruption. That sounds tired, I know, but the way it works out is not. Gloria Grahame, who played Vi in It's A Wonderful Life, is a gangster's girlfriend who, in a departure from the typical, proves to be quite the opposite of a femme fatale, except...well, no, that would be a spoiler. Anyway t's a very poignant role, and performance. 

This poster is pretty much useless as guide to the movie. It's funny how many crime/detective novels and films are called "The Big" something or other. In this case it refers to the heat which is going to come down on the crime syndicate if/when certain information is revealed. TheBigHeatMoviePoster

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Never heard of this one but have added it to my list.

This is on its way to me via the library.

Have you ever seen the 2006 movie Brick? It's a noir film set in a contemporary high school; but it's very clever in that all the characters talk the same sort of dialogue that they did in old noir movies, and all the noir tropes are there. It's mostly played straight, but parts of it are very funny, related to the juxtaposition of noir sensibilities and high school life.

No, but I see it's on Netflix.

The other night on Amazon Prime's list of "stuff you might like" the old TV series Naked City appeared. On a whim I watched the first episode. It was surprisingly good. Not great, and I'm not going to watch the whole series, but definitely better than I expected.

I think you'd like Brick, although a friend of mine, who's also a fan of film noir, says that he "didn't get it," which is a little odd. Then again, he's one of those people that's somewhat tone-deaf to irony.

Watched John Woo's four-and-a-half hour epic Red Cliff over two nights this past week. Magnificent, breathtaking stuff. It's (thankfully) a two-part film and the 2-disc DVD version is easy to find. Very highly recommended if you like this sort of thing. Here's the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F2PJqicTZQ

It's based on a 14th century Chinese literary epic called The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which occupies in Chinese culture a place similar to that of Shakespeare in ours.

Avoid the edited U.S. theatrical version as it cuts the thing almost in half and apparently eliminates much of the human drama for the sake of the action sequences.

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