Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas noir

TCM is listing tonight's prime time lineup as "Christmas Noir". It's been a while since I've seen any of the movies, so I'm having a bit of trouble remembering just how much Christmas is in any of them. The movies are:

Backfire at 8:00 PM;
Lady in the Lake at 10:00 PM; and
Murder, My Sweet at midnight.

Lady in the Lake has the conceit of being told from the main character's point of view (played by Robert Montgomery, who also directed), but other than that I don't remember it being particularly special. Dark Passage spent the first 45 minutes telling the movie from Humphrey Bogart's point of view, but that's only because his character was getting plastic surgery halfway through the movie and they didn't want to do a make-up job showing him before and after the surgery.

As for Christmas noir, one I can think of is Gang War, which is really more of a "post-noir" in that it comes from the end of the 1950s and is a bit too bright for your traditional noir. Charles Bronson early in his career plays a teacher who inadvertently witnesses a mob murder, finds his wife murdered for it, and finds that the police won't do anything much to help him. The only thing Christmas about it is the presence of some Christmas decorations. It's not on DVD, which is a shame, because it's a fun (if not exactly great) little movie, mostly for watching Bronson. That, and Los Angeles as it was in the late 1950s -- one of the scenes has an establishing shot of the Capitol Records Building.

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