News: David Fincher’s STRANGERS ON A TRAIN Remake Not Happening Anytime Soon

So for better or for worse, the Strangers on a Train remake is put on hold for now. I was actually looking forward to this one, if anybody was going to remake this classic, this is the team to do it. On the other hand we are getting some good neo noir projects from the team in the meantime. Ben Affleck will be working on Live by Night based on the Dennis Lehane noir book. He will also be working on a new Batman stand alone film, hopefully in the noir tradition of past Batman projects. David Fincher and Gillian Flynn will be working together again on a H.B.O. series Utopia, which sounds like a great sci-fi neo noir series. Flynn will also be working on Widows, a television series about mob widows.

Though this project may or may not see production anytime soon, the projects this threesome are working on sound promising. Do you think a remake is a good idea? Could you pick a better threesome to make it?

Here is the full article written by Adam Chitwood over at Collider:

http://collider.com/david-fincher-strangers-on-a-train-remake-delayed-ben-affleck/

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A Guide to Film Noir Genre by Roger Ebert

I grew up watching Ebert give thumbs up and thumbs down to all the latest in film on network television in the middle of a Sunday afternoon or after the late show on a Friday night.  Roger Ebert, arguably maybe the most famous movie critic in history and maybe the most powerful as well. Before the internet, IMDb, Metascore, and Rotten Tomatoes there was Siskel and Ebert. In the age of video rental, most of us would find films we never heard of, but if the box said “Two Thumbs Up,” we knew we had a pretty good film in our hands.

I found this “Guide to Film Noir Genre” written by Ebert very entertaining. I don’t think this will shed any new light on film noir for most noir fans, but it is very entertaining with a few comments that will make you smile. This was written 20 years ago, but still holds true. It is a short read I think you will enjoy. Here is the link to the full article:

http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/a-guide-to-film-noir-genre

Review: Bewitched(1945)

Bewitched is a suspenseful classic film noir from 1945 and has nothing to do with the television series by the same name that would come later. This film is written and directed by Arch Oboler. This is a very short film at only a bit over one hour-long.

This story revolves around Phyllis Thaxter who is about to be married. She has a split personality and is trying to control her other self. The film opens at her engagement party where she says she is hearing voices and soon faints. As her other self starts to take over, she leaves her boyfriend and family to go to the big city and start over. She soon falls for a lawyer there and her fiance from her hometown soon finds her. Her evil personality soon takes over and kills the fiance. Her new boyfriend takes on the case to defend her against the murder charges. Will she be able to control her evil personality? Will her lawyer boyfriend save her from the death penalty?

This is an interesting look at split personalities from the 1940’s. The film is obviously short and really glosses over the psychology and science of split personality but I still found it intriguing. The film also has a few interesting scenes, with fade ins and outs as well as the final scene as Thaxter’s split personalities battle it out. Thaxter is also very good in this, only her second film. She went on to have a long career as an actress but never moved up to the A list. Though this all sounds like it is a good film, I would say it is an OK film with some compelling highlights. I think classic film noir fans will find the film worth seeing, but is not a film I would say is a “must see.”

Review: The Bribe

Five great stars in a daring drama of love and adventure! Well that tag line does sum up this film with an amazing cast. We have Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Vincent Price, Charles Laughton and John Hodiak in a film noir from 1949 directed by Robert Z. Leonard. The Bribe is based on a short story by Frederick Nebel and maybe the film should have been a bit shorter also.

This story starts with Robert Taylor’s character sent to a Central America to find out who is selling plane engines on the black market. He is told who his suspects are and he must find who is behind the illegal sales. The main suspect is Ava Gardner’s husband played by John Hodiak. To get closer to Hodiak it makes sense to get close to Gardner. Then of course Taylor falls for Gardner and Gardner soon starts to feel something for Taylor. Vincent Price plays a wealthy fisherman that Taylor also starts to suspect. Laughton plays the ruffled and uncomfortable odd ball that always seems to be around the motel, another suspect for Taylor. The plot twists and turns as Taylor don’t know who to believe or trust as alliances change throughout the film. Can he trust Gardner or is she a femme fatale? Will Taylor find who is selling the plane engines?

This film is 98 minutes long and drags a bit in the middle. I think this would have been a lot better film if it was edited down a few minutes to keep the tension high. I do have to say the film is worth watching for the last scene, it is pretty incredible. I also enjoy Gardner, Laughton, and Price, who have a presence that is always entertaining.

This is worth watching if you are a big fan of any of the 5 stars, but I think this cast was wasted in this film. It just seems to be missing something. It is still an entertaining film if you are a film noir fan.

Article: The couple who invented Nordic Noir

The Telegraph has a great little article by Jake Kerridge. Kerridge interviews Maj Sjöwall about her and her partner, Per Wahlöö, and their Nordic Noir book series about detective Martin Beck. In the article it goes over how these two influenced a lot of current greats like Lee Child and Henning Mankell. This is a short article worth your time if you are fans of Nordic Noir like Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbø. Here is a link to the full article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/authorinterviews/11741385/The-couple-who-invented-Nordic-Noir.html

Hardboiled Wonderland 90 Crime Flick Picks From the 90s

Noir author Jedidiah Ayres commented on my “Taste of Cinema’s Best 20 Neo-Noir Films of the 1990’s” post I had earlier in the week. That post is here:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/07/16/taste-of-cinema-the-20-best-neo-noir-films-of-the-1990s/

Here is Ayers’ comment on the list: “Not. A. Single. John Dahl pick? No The Grifters, After Dark My Sweet, Lone Star, City of Industry, Little Odessa, The Indian Runner, Fresh, Lost Highway, Hard Eight, Copland? Oh well, controversy is fun. My picks (it woulda been hard to narrow to 20)”

Well I agree with him! Like he said narrowing it down to 20 would be hard, so why not just put all the greats on the list and come up with 90! So here is the link to Ayers’ Top 90 of the 90’s:

http://letterboxd.com/jedidiahayres/list/hardboiled-wonderland-90-crime-flick-picks/

I love this list, but I only have one thing to say Jedidiah, how could you have a 90 Best Crime Films of the 1990’s without Fight Club, Silence of the Lambs and Pulp Fiction on the list? Oh well, controversy is fun.