Henry and Kristl were In a lonely place (1950)

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“Dixon Steele is a violent man,” Kristl said..

 

“Dixon Steele is a violent man,” Kristl said while she took a sip from her Rooibos tea.

“Yeah,” Henry nodded slowly. He was drinking hot coffee in a cup filled to the brim . He had made Kristl a tea as at the moment she had sworn off coffee. Just like she had sworn off sugar a few months ago. But Henry knew that this might change tomorrow. It had before.

“That is the key to the story. It is what causes Laurel to doubt him, until it is too late.”

“It isn’t a great leap to think that he might have killed that girl.”

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Happy times in times smoking was an accepted vice.

“And this suspicion breaks the love affair. “ Kristl nodded.

“He is pretty violent considering that he almost bashes a man’s skull in with a rock. If Laurel hadn’t stopped him, he might have. He gives me the creeps.”

“That is the thing and the sad thing is that he gets more violent when more frustrated and he gets more frustrated because Laurel grows distant and cold because she starts to doubt him.. And of course the police increase the pressure, believing him to be the most likely perpetrator.”

“Like a circle. The suspicion causes the violence and the violence increases the suspicion. And so on. And so on.”

“A sad story and a great one. It is an interesting take on a murder story. Not a regular whodunit because is not really important who committed the murder. What is is important is what it causes. It is a thriller, mixed with a drama and a crime story all wrapped into one movie.”

“So you liked it?”

“Did you? I mean, there isn’t much action. So it might be boring.”

“Well, it was interesting. But I asked first…”

“Alright… I found the story interesting and the acting of Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame is good, but the movie loses big on cinematography. It is just so lackluster and by the book filming that it really brings down the whole movie. There are so many moments that could have been handled better. I would have been interested what a Robert Krasker, the director of photography of the third man, would have done. The only moment something remarkable is done is when Steele enacts with two other people what might have happened. The eager fascination and detailed description of him describing the murder coupled with his expression is unsettling and brought out by having his face light up from the darkness around him. It could have been done much better though. And there are a few moments throughout the movie that seem to mood enhanced, like the moment she talks through bars to a person.. which would have been greater later in the movie signifying her being captured in this love affair but I got the feeling this was just an accident. ”

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Humphrey Bogart as Dixon Steele caught up in enacting the killing.

“Ah yes…Gloria Grahame is pretty isn’t she,” Henry smiled, “even though she has this sad expression for most of the movie.”

“Sure.. There is this one thing at the end that made me wonder about her character. “

“Which is?”

“I find it strange that she finds it more important whether Steele is the murderer or not, than the fact that she is about to marry a violent man.”

“Uhmm.”

“I mean.. he gets creepy under pressure, so he will get violent and one day she might be the target of his violence..Brr. A man to avoid at all cost,” Kristl shivered.

“Well…. I don’t know what to say. Most of the people he was violent against seem to ask for it.. Not that is makes it any less of a nono.. but somehow I am somewhat more lenient when he hits a guy who taps ash off his cigar into Steeles friends glass of brandy. Or this guy who shouts at you not to talk to his wife, while his wife started the conversation.”

“Still violence is violence.”

“Yeah, it is..”

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Laurel Gray behind bars… a missed opportunity?

“Despite that last criticism I think it is a good movie. In fact I wonder why there has never been a remake. Maybe one with say George Clooney and… well…. “

“..Angelina Jolie?”

“Angelina Jolie?!” Kristl grinned.

“Hmm.. maybe not a good idea, she probably hits back..”

“Maybe Cate Blanchett would be better.”

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Gloria Grahame as Laurel Gray.

“Yeah. She has that kind of frailty that Gloria Grahame has.”

“Well, maybe someone will make that remake.”

“You never know.” Henry said and rose to get him another serving of coffee. Halfway down the hall he turned and raised his empty cup indicating if she wanted any. Kristl nodded a yes.   ‘Addict’, he thought. he  had known she would change her mind.

Henry and Kristl investigated The Caine mutiny (1954)

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“Humor me?” Kristl said.

“A six pack of Bogey,” Henry’s barked a laugh, “Isn’t that a bit too much of one thing?”

“I thought it might be educational. Bogart is still quite famous, so I was wondering what substance is there to the icon.”

“True, he is famous. Like Marilyn Monroe or.. Betty Boop.”

“Betty Boop?” Kristl arched an eyebrow.

“Never mind about that.. So six old movies… Why these?”

“It says that they are the great classics…but these are not all the movies that he is known for today. Well, except for the Cain mutiny. You know The African Queen, or the Maltese Falcon or Casablanca.”

“It might be boring,” Henry said.

“It might be interesting.”

“Duh..… six movies. Six old movies. Six very old movies.. Black and white movies. The horror.”

“The horror? That is hardly fitting. I mean, it can not be as bad as all these movies about cutting teens into tiny bits.”

“Hmmppf. Why do we not try one of those.. just to be fair?”

“Only if I can wear a helmet, a blindfold and have something like Rammstein playing over the headphones. Very loud.”

“You’re sissy.”

“If that is what it is called, then that is what I am. And Actually it is five now. We just saw the Caine Mutiny.”

“True.”

“Did you like it?”

“It was entertaining.. And that despite the lack of excitement..”

“You mean violence? Yeah. It is not an action movie and not a romantic comedy either, but a drama movie. I got the feeling there are not that many around much, but maybe there were never that much around anyway.”

“People like to be entertained or amused.”

“It is entertaining for me..”

“So what is entertaining about?”

“Hmm I think it is two things: the curiosity about what is going to happen and how the people deal with the situation. And.. also a third thing.. I feel empathy with the people involved. You can understand their attitudes even if it leads to disaster. You see the collision course, you see people trying to do their best, but still they collide. It is not inevitable.. but it happens, ” Kristl said. “And what I find good was that the movie seems to go one way, then at the end you get an opposite view served. This story has twists like that. At first you think it’s a simple story of a group of men who feel they have no other choice but to depose their captain during a climactic moment when he seems to fall apart. The whole movie works towards it, but at times not everything is as it seems. Some people suddenly show other sides..like people turning out to be cowards when put to the test, while putting up a brave facade when it is not needed. The end is another example of such a twist.”
“Yes, it was quite an twist at the end.”

“And that is what I like about such a movie. You think one way and then suddenly say.. but this is another way of looking at it..”

“So the story is ok.”

“Yes, I liked the story.”

“So how about Bogey?”

“It was Bogey that wasn’t a Bogey. I mean this Queeg role he played was well done. Not the cool, collected, sharp witted, hard boiled bogey, but more like post Bogey..This is a man who is on the edge, but not so far as having buckle under. A nervous wreck.. but not enough. And this is they key to the story and Bogey plays it well.”

“So you like his role.”

“Yes. So what is your opinion?”

“It was okay for an old movie. I didn’t fall asleep.”

“What praise!”

“Don’t take me wrong. It is a good story.. but somehow it would have been nicer with more action.”

“Hmmpff.”

“Just saying what I think.”

“Well, everyone is entitled to their opinions.”

“Sounds like mine isn’t up to scratch.”

“I just feel a good movie does not require action.”

“Yeah, but on the other hand, it should not make a movie worse. Definitely not.”

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046816/

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Captian Queeg gets nervous in the key courtroom scene.