She had begun recording three songs by Stephen Sondheim for the film—" Sooner or Later ", "More" and "What Can You Lose"—which would be part of the album, but also had to write and develop new songs comparable in style to her previous releases. That's what this album is about for me. Not just pop music, but songs that have a different feel to them, a theatrical feel", she said at the time.
They Live by Night Nicholas Ray's astonishingly self-assured, lyrical directorial debut opens with title cards and lush orchestrations over shots of a boy and a girl in rapturous mutual absorption: They Live by Night.
Meet year-old escaped killer Bowie Bowers and his farm-girl sweetheart Keechie Mobley Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnellin an imaginary idyll of peace and contentment that will never come true for them. Bowie, jailed at 16 for killing his father's murderer, has known nothing but jail, and is still a boy.
Keechie is Chicamaw's niece, and soon circumstances force them to lam it cross-country at the same time as they tremblingly discover love for the first time.
Somehow all the planets aligned for Ray, a novice director with an achingly poetic-realist vision of Depression-era Texas and the determination to implement it wholesale: The result is luminous in its imagery, highly sophisticated in its musical choices the folk song I Know Where I'm Going succinctly and repeatedly stresses that they don't know anything at all suffused with romantic fatalism — they'll die by night, too; you know it from the start — and enriched by Ray's total identification with his characters' doomed trajectory.
Ray's first masterpiece, and a pinnacle of poetic noir. Robert Aldrich's moral universe is so violently out of kilter that even his opening credits run upside down. Kiss Me Deadly opens with a woman, naked under a raincoat, fleeing headlong and barefoot down a highway at night.
Rescued by Hammer, then un-rescued by her faceless original captors, she dies screaming under gruesome torture with pliers Aldrich was always at the vanguard in his use of violence. Thereafter, Hammer finds himself on a terrifying hunt through the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, from his gleamingly modern office in posh Brentwood to the dilapidated flophouses of Bunker Hill, as he bludgeons, browbeats, blackmails and brutalises his way inch by inch towards a resolution that will destroy everyone and everything, all in search of the elusive "Great Whatsit" — a deadly, molten, much sought-after package that's grandfather to the suitcase in Pulp Fiction and the Chevy Nova in Repo Man.
Aldrich, a patrician aristocrat and a committed leftist, despised Mickey Spillane's nihilistic worldview and Mike Hammer's Cro-Magnon brutishness, and gave them the adaptation they deserved.
Ralph Meeker, who usually played scumbag saddle-tramps and mobsters, bagged the sneering lead role and remains indelibly detestable even today: Surrounded by gargoyles and grotesques, even on his own team — he uses his secretary Velma as willing sexual bait — Hammer is a cynic who knows everything about human weakness but nothing about the frame he's in.
And it all ends with a bang — the big bang.
Blood Simple Double vision In a manner that would come to be their stock-in-trade, the film is a cacophony of cross-purposes, in some ways a rehearsal for their breakout effort Fargowhich also depicts a nefarious plan gone wrong. It also marks the use of literary genre elements in the "real" world, a formula that would later be refined by Quentin Tarantino.
As in so much film noir, the crux of the story is a case of cherchez la femme. Julian suspects Abby of having an affair with one of his staff, and when private eye Loren Visser M Emmet Walsh confirms this to be the case, Julian sets a murder plan in motion.
For most directors this would be enough, but the Coens embrace the full-on complications of the genre to create a genuine sense of an "easy" crime spiralling out of control.
One of the first films to cement the nascent Sundance film festival's reputation, Blood Simple isn't so much neo-noir as neo-neo-noir, using postmodern flourishes that still seem bold today.
The most vivid is Walsh as Visser, presented more like a cold-blooded Universal Studios monster than a gumshoe, and the non-naturalistic lighting is often at odds with noir tradition, with the brothers allowing brilliant shafts of bright light to puncture the neon-lit dark.
Best of all is the use of the Four Tops' It's the Same Old Song as a motif — a neat touch that expresses genre familiarity with affection rather than cynicism. Lift to the Scaffold Floored plan Lift to the Scaffold. Kobal Collection Louis Malle's first fiction feature, based on Noel Calef's novel, occupies a very interesting space.
It qualifies as film noir for its appropriation of US postwar cinema in its tale of lovers gone bad, but also heralds the imminent arrival of the French new wave. The director was in his mids at the time and clearly using the crime-thriller genre something he never returned to as a testing ground and not a strict template.
Perhaps that explains why his film is such a melting pot of influences, drawing not only on Hitchcock but also the Master of Suspense's overseas admirers, including Henri-Georges Clouzot and his Les Diaboliques.
As in that film, the story concerns a conspiracy to murder.
Ex-Foreign Legion soldier Julien Tavernier Maurice Roneta veteran of French military misadventures in Algeria and Indochina, is planning to kill his boss, who is also his lover's husband.
On paper, the plan is seamless — Tavernier secures his alibis and enters his victim's office unseen, by means of a rope — but things soon get messy. On returning to the crime scene to retrieve a key piece of evidence, Tavernier finds himself trapped in the elevator, leaving his car parked outside with the keys in the ignition.
Although its elements point towards nailbiting tension, this isn't so much what Lift to the Scaffold is about; it draws more on the blanket fatalism of film noir rather than the savage irony so often associated with the genre.
Key to this is Jeanne Moreau as Tavernier's lover, Florence; in the film's signature sequence her man fails to turn up, so she walks the streets trying vainly to find him.
Filmed on the fly without professional lighting, accompanied only by Miles Davis's brilliant, melancholy score, these few minutes capture the bleak and beautiful essence of Malle's film. It's one of the greatest, in fact:The Third Man, a celluloid masterpiece Photograph: LONDON FILMS "One of the amazing things about The Third Man," Steven Soderbergh once wrote, "is that it really is a great film, in spite of all.
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