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 tucked in for The Big Sleep(1946)

“You know.. I just love these film noir movies. I can not help myself,” Kristl said.

“Well..it’s an old movie,” Henry said.

“And don’t you find Lauren Bacall marvelous! I mean. Remember she was very young at the time and she easily dominates every scene she is in. She is born to be an actress. An amazing person on the level of say Katherine Hepburn.”

“Yes.. I know, but the movie is a bit slow on the action.”

“And it’s just about as great a movie as it is as great a film noir,”Kristl did not let herself stop and continued, “Don’t you see it.. I mean.. In a hundred years.. when the like of a Steven Seagal and Charles Bronson have been nearly forgotten, this is one of those movies

people will still like to watch. It is like head and shoulders above the likes of a Seagal or a Bronson.”

“I mean really there is no comparison. It is better acted, better written, better shot, better whatever,” Kristl said enigmatically, “This is how you make movies…”

“Yeah… still slow and a bit..boring. Except for these girls who play around with Bogie. I mean the librarian is really.. cute. Even without glasses.”

“Gosh.. it has to be about sex.”

“Like you do not get all bothered by Lauren Bacall?”

“That’s because she is a great actress!”

“Yeah… Right.”

“Listen.. this is a an great movie both as a movie and as a film noir movie. Both Humprey Bogart and Lauren Bacall are at their best here. I mean the combination of them makes this movie. Of course some of the cast helped.. but it was their interaction that makes this movie.”

“Okay.. still it’s a slow movie… kinda boring,” Henry repeated.

“I grant you that.. it is slow for nowadays.. but.. if..”

“.. you are as old as you?” Henry grinned.

“Okay.. as old as me.. you start to find these movies great for what they are. For the story, the acting and what not.”

“But not for their speed.”

“No.”

“Good we agree on that,” Henry said.

“It’s not bad to take time..”

“Maybe.. but it’s more fun when it all goes in a rush and has some cool but kicking guys or girls in them.”

Kristl snapped her mouth shut.

Then Henry grinned at her and said, “I liked it. That Bacall girl is one sassy broad.”

“What?”

“Just teasing you.”

“So you liked it too?”

“Sure.. there is this amazing woman in it.. why should I not like it?”

“Ehm..”

“Exact..”

“Just wanted to say one thing..”

“Which is?”

“I like this movie.. but I still like the Maltese Falcon better,” Kristl said.

“Really?”

“Yeah. Marlowe/Bogart seems to be much more cynical in that movie, which seem to be at odds with the romantic overtones in this movie. I sort of feel it’s not quite right.”

“Hold on.. are you now saying you did not like the romantic relation between Marlowe and Vivian Sternwood? Eh Bacall and Bogart?”

“Well.. I did like it, but it was a bit too romantic..”

“Oh I see.. Damned by love..”

“More or less.. I think it should not be that happy for a film noir,” Kristl said.

“It has to be a negative thing..”

“Well not exact.. it can be a happy thing, just with a dark edge,” Kristl said.

“Hmm,” Henry said, “Why can’t it just end with love?”

“Well.. it can.. but it’s not film noir to me.”

“Ah well. As long as it ends nice,” Henry said.

“Quite.”


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038355