Archive for Dark City

Quote of the Day #1

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by dcairns
“Every night he walked along the river, going home. Every night, about one. You do that when you’re young; walk along beside the river, looking at the water, looking at the stars. Sometimes you do that even when you’re a detective, and strictly speaking, have nothing to do with stars.”
~ from The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, by George Hopley / William Irish / Cornell Woolrich.
Ah, dig those old Scopitones!
Jennifer Connelly mimes in DARK CITY.

The Murderizer II: No Noose is Good Noose

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by dcairns

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In DARK CITY, a percussive 1950 noir directed by Shadowplay man-of-the-moment William Dieterle, Charlton Heston is introduced to the world in the role of Danny Haley, a professional gambler with a zero tolerance attitude to current affairs: spurning a newspaper offered by smoky chanteuse girlfriend/doormat Lizabeth Scott ~

She: “Don’t you want to know what’s going on in the world?”

He: “What’s going on in the world STINKS!”

Evocative title, of course, and one which has been borrowed by books on noir and Phildickian sci-fi movies alike. Oddly, the movie takes place equally in NYC, LA and Vegas, so the title comes to have a sort of blanket significance. Indeed, as Dieterle holds a long shot of a marching Heston for the whole title sequence, it’s tempting to read it as, in effect, saying “Introducing Charlton Heston as — DARK CITY!”

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Chuck H. was never more mean, moody and magnitudinous as here, looking like an Easter Island head that’s eaten a bad pickle. Sculpted and sour-sneering, he shoulders his way through the movie, brushing lesser men (Ed Begley, Jack Webb, Henry Morgan: a stellar array of lesser men) aside like Lizabeth’s newspaper.

Plot: Heston, Webb and Begley fleece a weak-willed Dean Jagger Don DeFore in a rigged game, and the chump (“Guys like that cheat themselves the minute they sit down,” scorns Chuck) goes and hangs himself. Then his brother comes after the hustlers, throttling them one at a time. The brother is presented as a giant, disembodied paw, like a B-movie space monster, only wearing a chunky ring on his third finger. The paw belongs to Mike “the Murderizer” Mazurki, with whom we know we are in trouble.

Dieterle puts it all over with propulsive aplomb, relying on Momentum, Wallop and Sweat (MWS for short). Ace lensman Victor Milner keeps the shadows BLACK, and there are some really nice subliminally dutch-tilted angles. Best noir I’ve seen in an age, and I still have ROPE OF SAND to look forward to (Lancaster! Lorre! Yipes!)

Frame grabs courtesy of theycame2001, at Karagarga.net.