Film Noir ♥ Transgression Into the Cultural Cinematic Gutter: From Shadowland to Psychotronic Playground

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
Sigmund Freud

“Ladies and gentlemen- welcome to violence; the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains sex.” — Narrator from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

Faster Pussycat
Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams in Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! 1965
Cul-de-Sac
Françoise Dorléac and Donald Pleasence in Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-sac 1966
the Naked kiss
Constance Towers kicks the crap out of her pimp for shaving off her hair in Sam Fuller’s provocative The Naked Kiss 1964
Shock Corridor
Peter Breck plays a journalist hungry for a story and gets more than a jolt of reality when he goes undercover in a Mental Institution in Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor 1963
CapturFiles_3 copy
Bobby Darin is a psychotic racist in Hubert Cornfield and Stanley Kramer’s explosive Pressure Point 1962 starring Sidney Poitier and Peter Falk.

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Constance Towers as Kelly from The Naked Kiss (1964): “I saw a broken down piece of machinery. Nothing but the buck, the bed and the bottle for the rest of my life. That’s what I saw.”

Griff (Anthony Eisley) The Naked Kiss (1964): “Your body is your only passport!”

Catherine Deneuve as Carole Ledoux in Repulsion (1965): “I must get this crack mended.”

Monty Clift Dr. Cukrowicz Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) : “Nature is not made in the image of man’s compassion.”

Patricia Morán as Rita Ugalde: The Exterminating Angel 1962:“I believe the common people, the lower class people, are less sensitive to pain. Haven’t you ever seen a wounded bull? Not a trace of pain.”

Ann Baxter as Teresina Vidaverri Walk on the Wild Side 1962“When People are Kind to each other why do they have to find a dirty word for it.”

The Naked Venus 1959“I repeat she is a gold digger! Europe’s full of them, they’re tramps… they’ll do anything to get a man. They even pose in the NUDE!!!!”

Darren McGavin as Louie–The Man With the Golden Arm (1955): “The monkey is never dead, Dealer. The monkey never dies. When you kick him off, he just hides in a corner, waiting his turn.”

Baby Boy Franky Buono-Blast of Silence (1961) “The targets names is Troiano, you know the type, second string syndicate boss with too much ambition and a mustache to hide the facts he’s got lips like a woman… the kind of face you hate!”

Lorna (1964)- “Thy form is fair to look upon, but thy heart is filled with carcasses and dead man’s bones”

Peter Fonda as Stephen Evshevsky in Lilith (1964): “How wonderful I feel when I’m happy. Do you think that insanity could be so simple a thing as unhappiness?”

Glen or Glenda (1953)“Give this man satin undies, a dress, a sweater and a skirt, or even a lounging outfit and he’s the happiest individual in the world.”

Glen or Glenda
Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda 1953

Johnny Cash as Johnny Cabot in Five Minutes to Live (1961):“I like a messy bed.”

Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) Island of Lost Souls: “Do you know what it means to feel like God?”

The Curious Dr. Humpp (1969): “Sex dominates the world! And now, I dominate sex!”

The Snake Pit (1948): Jacqueline deWit as Celia Sommerville “And we’re so crowded already. I just don’t know where it’s all gonna end!” Olivia de Havilland as Virginia Stuart Cunningham “I’ll tell you where it’s gonna end, Miss Somerville… When there are more sick ones than well ones, the sick ones will lock the well ones up.”

Delphine Seyrig as Countess Bathory in Daughters of Darkness (1971)“Aren’t those crimes horrifying. And yet -so fascinating!”

Julien Gulomar as Bishop Daisy to the Barber (Michel Serrault) King of Hearts (1966)“I was so young. I already knew that to love the world you have to get away from it.”

The Killing of Sister George (1968) -Suzanna York as Alice ‘CHILDIE’: “Not all women are raving bloody lesbians, you know” Beryl Reid as George: “That is a misfortune I am perfectly well aware of!”

The Killing of Sister George
Susannah York (right) with Beryl Reid in The Killing of Sister George Susannah York and Beryl Reid in Robert Aldrich’s The Killing of Sister George 1960

The Lickerish Quartet (1970)“You can’t get blood out of an illusion.”

THE SWEET SOUND OF DEATH (1965)Dominique-“I’m attracted” Pablo-” To Bullfights?” Dominique-” No, I meant to death. I’ve always thought it… The state of perfection for all men.”

Peter O’Toole as Sir Charles Ferguson Brotherly Love (1970): “Remember the nice things. Reared in exile by a card-cheating, scandal ruined daddy. A mummy who gave us gin for milk. Ours was such a beautifully disgusting childhood.”

Maximillian Schell as Stanislaus Pilgrin in Return From The Ashes 1965: “If there is no God, no devil, no heaven, no hell, and no immortality, then anything is permissible.”

Euripides 425 B.C.“Whom God wishes to destroy… he first makes mad.”

Davis & Crawford What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford bring to life two of the most outrageously memorable characters in Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962

WHAT DOES PSYCHOTRONIC MEAN?

psychotronic |ˌsīkəˈtränik| adjective denoting or relating to a genre of movies, typically with a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme, that were made on a low budget or poorly received by critics. [1980s: coined in this sense by Michael Weldon, who edited a weekly New York guide to the best and worst films on local television.] Source: Wikipedia

In the scope of these transitioning often radical films, where once, men and women aspired for the moon and the stars and the whole ball of wax. in the newer scheme of things they aspired for you know… “kicks” yes that word comes up in every film from the 50s and 60s… I’d like to have a buck for every time a character opines that collective craving… from juvenile delinquent to smarmy jet setter!

FILM NOIR HAD AN INEVITABLE TRAJECTORY…

THE ECCENTRIC & OFTEN GUTSY STYLE OF FILM NOIR HAD NO WHERE ELSE TO GO… BUT TO REACH FOR EVEN MORE OFF-BEAT, DEVIANT– ENDLESSLY RISKY & TABOO ORIENTED SET OF NARRATIVES FOUND IN THE SUBVERSIVE AND EXPLOITATIVE CULT FILMS OF THE MID TO LATE 50s through the 60s and into the early 70s!

I just got myself this collection of goodies from Something Weird!

weird-noir
There’s even this dvd that points to the connection between the two genres – Here it’s labeled WEIRD. I like transgressive… They all sort of have a whiff of noir.
Grayson Hall Satan in High Heels
Grayson Hall -Satan in High Heels 1962
mimi3
Gerd Oswald adapts Fredrick Brown’s titillating novel — bringing to the screen the gorgeous Anita Ekberg, Phillip Carey and Gypsy Rose Lee and Harry Townes in the sensational, obscure and psycho-sexual thriller Screaming Mimi 1958
The Strangler 1964 Victor Buono
Victor Buono is a deranged mama’s boy in Burt Topper’s fabulous The Strangler 1964
Repulsion
Catherine Deneuve is extraordinary as the unhinged nymph in Roman Polanski’s psycho-sexual tale of growing madness in Repulsion 1965

Just like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, Noir took a journey through an even darker lens… Out of the shadows of 40s Noir cinema, European New Wave, fringe directors, and Hollywood auteurs, brought more violent, sexual, transgressive, and socially transformative narratives into the cold light of day with a creeping sense of verité. While Film Noir pushed the boundaries of taboo subject matter and familiar Hollywood archetypes it wasn’t until later that we are able to visualize the advancement of transgressive topics.

Continue reading “Film Noir ♥ Transgression Into the Cultural Cinematic Gutter: From Shadowland to Psychotronic Playground”

Postcards From Shadowland No.5

A Cry in The Night (1956) Directed by Frank Tuttle, and starring Natalie Wood, Edmond O’Brien and Brian Donlevy
Curse of The Cat People 1944 directed by Robert Wise, produced by Val Lewton, and starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith and Ann Carter
The Sea Beast 1926 directed by Millard Webb, written by Herman Melville and starring Dolores Costello and John Barrymore.
La Belle et la Bête 1946 directed by Jean Cocteau starring Jean Marais and Josette Day.
The Big Heat (1953) directed by Fritz Lang and Starring Gloria Grahame, Glenn Ford and Jocelyn Brando.
Body and Soul 1947 directed by Robert Rossen, starring John Garfield, Lilli Palmer and Hazel Brooks
Bury Me Dead (1947) directed by Bernard Vorhaus starring Cathy O’Donnell, June Lockart and Hugh Beaumont.
Curse of The Cat People 1944 directed by Robert Wise, and produced by Val Lewton. Starring Simone Simon, Kent Smith and Ann Carter.
Dead of Night (1945) directed by Alberto Cavalcanti,Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer. With stories by H.G.Wells, E.F.Benson, John Baines and Angus MacPhail.
Dracula’s Daughter 1936 directed by Lambert Hillyer, and starring Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill and Edward Van Sloan.
The Penalty 1920 directed by Wallace Worsley and starring Lon Chaney as Blizzard. With Charles Clary, Doris Pawn, Jim Mason and Ethel Grey Terry.
Eye of The Devil 1966 directed by J.Lee Thompson and starring Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Sharon Tate, Donald Pleasance, Flora Robson and David Hemmings.
Each Dawn I Die (1939) directed by William Keighley and starring George Raft and James Cagney.
Horror Hotel (1960) aka City of The Dead directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and starring Christopher Lee, Patricia Jessel, Dennis Lotis and Betta St. John
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Ivor Novello as the mysterious Lodger.
I Wake Up Screaming (1941) directed by H.Bruce Humberstone and starring Victor Mature, Betty Grable and Carol Landis.
Robert Aldrich’s 1955 Film Noir Kiss Me Deadly starring Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer.
MAD LOVE (1935) directed by Karl Freund starring Peter Lorre, Frances Drake and Colin Clive.
The Man Who Laughs 1928 directed by Paul Leni and starring Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine, and Mary Philbin as Dea.
Fritz Lang’s German Expressionist masterpiece of futuristic entropy blending element of Sci-Fi and hints of Film Noir to come. Metropolis (1927) Starring Brigitte Helm and Alfred Abel.
William Castle’s The Night Walker (1964) starring Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor, Judi Meredith, Lloyd Bochner and Marjorie Bennett.

Postcards From Shadowland No.4

BAD BLONDE (1953) directed by Reginald Le Borg starring Barbara Payton, Frederick Valk and John Slater.
Directed by Julien DuviveirFLESH AND FANTASY(1943) starring Betty Field, Edward G.Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Charles Boyer, Robert Cummings, Anna Lee, Dame May Whitty and C.Aubrey Smith
Cast A Dark Shadow (1955) directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Lockwood and Kay Walsh
The Hitch-Hiker (1953) Directed by Ida Lupino and starring Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy and William Talman
Night of The Eagle aka Burn Witch Burn (1962) directed by Sidney Hayers, written for the screen by Charles Beaumont, and starring Peter Wyngarde , Janet Blair and Margaret Johnston.
Panic In The Streets (1950) directed by Elia Kazan and starring Jack Palance, Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas and Barbara Bel Geddes
M (1931) Directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre
The Queen of Spades (1949) Directed by Thorold Dickinson and starring starring Anton Walbrook, Edith Evans and Yvonne Mitchell
ROPE OF SAND (1949) Directed by William Dieterle and starring Burt Lancaster, Paul Henried, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and Corinne Calvet.
Edge of Doom (1950) directed Mark Robson and starring Farley Granger, Dana Andrews and Joan Evans.
Joe Sarno’s Sin In The Suburbs (1964)
Stranger on The 3rd Floor (1940) Directed by Boris Ingster and starring Peter Lorre, John McGuire and Margaret Tallichet.
Strangers on a Train (1951) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Farley Granger, Robert Walker and Ruth Roman.
The 39 Steps (1935) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim and Peggy Ashcroft.
The Dark Corner (1946) directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Lucille Ball, Mark Stevens, Clifton Webb and William Bendix.
Director Robert Siodmak’s masterpiece of film noir adapted from Ernest Hemingway, 1946 The Killers. Starring Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien and Albert Dekker.
Director Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Starring Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer. Featuring a young Cloris Leachman…
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Director Elia Kazan’s exploration into Tennessee Williams’ iconic characters. Starring Vivien Leigh as Blanche Duboise, Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski, Kim Hunter as Stella…and Karl Malden as Mitch.
The World, The Flesh and The Devil (1959) Directed by Ranald MacDougall, starring Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens and Mel Ferrer.