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”

10 More Neglected Characters of Classic Film

REAR WINDOW (1954) Thelma Ritter as Stella

Thelma and Jimmy Read Window
Thelma Ritter is always a joy to watch as well as listen to- as no one can quite deliver swifter dead pan humor like this lady-“We’ve become a race of peeping toms” from Alfred Hitchcock’s Read Window 1954

CRY OF THE CITY (1948)-Walter Baldwin as Orvy

Orvy in Cry of the City
Walter Baldwin is the lovable Orvy who might move a little slow in jail but brightens up the place in Robert Siodmak’s darkly powerful Cry of the City starring Richard Conte

THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957) Barbara Nichols as Rita the cigarette girl

Barbara Nicols in The Sweet Smell of Success
Barbara Nichols getting pigeon holed all her career as the lovable blonde bombshell bimbo is just deliciously sympathetic  in the hostile & darkly satirical noir masterpiece The Sweet Smell of Success 1957

THE SWIMMER (1968) Janice Rule  as Shirley Abbott

Janice Rule and Burt Lancaster in Frank Perry's The Swimmer
Janice Rule gives one hell of a performance as the actress/ex-lover in Frank Perry’s transcendental The Swimmer ’68 starring Burt Lancaster. 

SHIP OF FOOLS (1965)- Michael Dunn as Glocken

Ship of Fools
Michael Dunn adds yet another layer of insight & fine character acting in the intensely dramatic social commentary Ship of Fools directed by Stanley Kramer

CAGED (1950)-Betty Garde as Kitty Stark

Betty Garde in Caged
Betty Garde is truly an unsung character actor- here she gives a very compelling performance as Kitty Stark a woman who’s gotten used to life without men in John Cromwell’s prison noir sensation- Caged (1950)

THE TWO MRS CARROLLS  (1947) Anita Sharp-BolsterChristine the maid

maid christine The Two Mrs Carrolls
Anita Sharp-Bolster nearly steals the show in the dark suspense thriller The Two Mrs. Carrolls starring Barbara Stanwyck and Humphrey Bogart as a deranged painter. Christina the maid adds much comic relief with her acerbic puss!

SOMEWHERE IN THE NIGHT (1946)- Fritz Kortner as Anzelmo – Dr. Oracle

Franz Kortner Somewhere in the Night
Franz Kortner’s Anzelmo also known as Dr. Oracle is a mysterious and conniving villain who tries to run circles around poor John Hodiak who has lost his memory in Joseph L. Mankiewicz Somewhere in the Night 1946

THEY LIVE BY NIGHT  (1948)Jay C Flippen as T-Dub

Jay C Flippen in Nick Ray's They Live By Night
Jay C. Flippen always seems to be the guy whose got a mug only a mother could love. And in Nicholas Ray’s masterpiece They Live By Night his T-Dub is a pretty intimidating fellow!

ELMER GANTRY (1960)Arthur Kennedy as Reporter Jim Lefferts

Arthur Kennedy in Elmer Gantry
Arthur Kennedy lends his depth of acting to this powerful drama by Upton Sinclair co-starring Jean Simmons and Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry. Report Jim Lefferts is the clear voice that cuts through the malarkey as the moral compass

This has been a little bit of love to these fabulous character actors who make the cinematic world go round!-Your Ever Lovin’ MonsterGirl

Postcards From Shadowland No.3

A Cry in The Night 1956 directed by Frank Tuttle, starring Edmund O’Brien, Brian Donlevy and Natalie Wood.
Among The Living (1941) directed by Stuart Heisler and starring Albert Dekker, Susan Hayward and Frances Farmer
BRUTE FORCE (1947) directed by Jules Dassin and starring Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn and Charles Bickford
Roman Polanski’s CHINATOWN (1974) starring Faye Dunaway, Jack Nicholson and John Huston.
COMPULSION (1959) directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Dean Stockwell, Bradford Dillman and Orson Welles.
He Walked By Night (1948) starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady and Roy Roberts.
I Bury The Living (1958) directed by Albert Band and Starring Richard Boone and Theodore Bikel
IN COLD BLOOD (1967) directed by Richard Brooks and starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson and John Forsythe.
NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947) Directed by Edmund Goulding, starring Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray and Helen Walker.
Director Joseph Sarno’s exploitation film from (1964) Sin In The Suburbs stars Judy Young, W.B.Parker and Audrey Campbell
The Prowler (1951) directed by Joseph Losey and Starring Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes and John Maxwell.
THE KILLERS (1946) directed by Robert Siodmak and starring Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner and Edmund O’Brien
The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947) directed by Peter Godfrey and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Humphrey Bogart and Alexis Smith
The Uninvited (1944) directed by Lewis Allen starring Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey and Gail Russell
The Unsuspected (1947) directed by Michael Curtiz and Starring Claude Rains, Joan Caulfield and Audrey Totter.
Once again Claude Rains in the suspenseful The Unsuspected (1947)
Nicholas Ray’s They Live By Night (1949)starring Farley Granger, Cathy O’Donnell and Howard Da Silva
Charles Laughton’s masterpiece Night of The Hunter (1955) Starring Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish and Shelley Winters.