Monday, February 28, 2011

Double Downer

A blonde who is gaudy and cheap
One look and the guy is in deep
Their end is foretold
down six, where it's cold...
"Whatever ye sow ye shall reap."

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shanghai Lowdown

He trips and he goes for a ride
with slippery blonde as his guide
Reflected in mirror
it couldn't be clearer:
The lady's both Jekyll and Hyde

Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth in The Lady from Shanghai.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Double's Entendre

He sees her and steps on the gas
She swerves as he's making a pass
For Phillis and Walter
won't meet at the alter
except at their funeral mass

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944). The risqué repartee strewn through the script is due more to director Wilder and credited screenwriter Raymond Chandler than James M. Cain's story. Here's some from the scene above: PHYLLIS: There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour. NEFF: How fast was I going, officer? PHYLLIS: I'd say about ninety. NEFF: Suppose you got down off your motorcycle and gave me a ticket. PHYLLIS: Suppose I let you off with a warning this this time. NEFF: Suppose it doesn't take. PHYLLIS: Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles. NEFF: Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder. PHYLLIS: Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder. NEFF: That tears it.

Please consider making a donation to film preservation at the Film Noir Foundation.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Too Much Funhouse

You wake from a drug-induced haze
Through funhouse you lurch in a daze
Till you stumble and fall
to the heart of it all
The infinite mad mirror maze

David Cairns

Orson Welles, lost in his nutso noir nightmare, The Lady from Shanghai (1948).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Towel Rack?

One look at her wrapped in a towel
and Walter reacts with a growl
Both greedy and rotten,
for gain that's ill gotten
they're plotting a murder most foul

Insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) likes what he sees of housewife Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) in Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944).

Please consider making a donation to the Film Noir Foundation. The Foundation works tirelessly to restore, preserve, present and promote America's film noir legacy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lose that Lady

Of one thing a man could be sure:
the lady had lots of allure
But once he got close
he'd say adios,
evading a pile of manure

Orson Welles is tempted by Rita Hayworth, aka The Lady from Shanghai (Welles, 1948).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cold Sweat-er

A blonde in a tight fitting sweater
A femme fatale never looked better
This cold-blooded honey
loves only the money
Poor Walter was doomed when he met her

Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson and Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff in Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944).

For the Love of Film (Noir) week might be over, but the smell of cordite still hangs in the air. We're stuck in a noir state of mind, so stick with us as we riff on noir classics Double Indemnity, The Lady From Shanghai and Out of the Past. And you can still help in the preservation of film noir--at any time-- by making a donation to the Film Noir Foundation. Just go to the foundation's donation page, here.

Update: As of 3/9/11, the For the Love of Film (Noir) donation page is still open for business! Before using the link above, please first try using the donation link in any of the posts from the previous week. Thanks!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Good Moon Rising

He thinks that his nature's ingrained
By his father's "bad blood" he is stained
This man "born to kill"
discovers free will
and learns fate is not preordained.

Dane Clark in Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948). There are plenty of noir films with tacked on happy endings, but leave it to director Frank Borzage , the cinema's greatest romantic, to make a noir masterpiece that is about saving a troubled soul.

Please donate to film preservation at the Film Noir Foundation. This kills off this year's For the Love of Film (Noir) blogathon, but there's more noir in store here at Limerwrecks.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Push and Shovel

A cop sees a way to finance
a future of ease and romance
But stealing the loot
will force him to shoot
and their happiness won't stand a chance

Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak in Pushover (Richard Quine, 1954). MacMurray plays what is essentially an older version of Walter Neff in Double Indemnity. Top: A promo still found at A Certain Cinema; Below: Novak (and the back of Freddy Mac) from Some Came Running.

For the Love of Film (Noir), please make a donation to the Film Noir Foundation and help in their efforts in the restoration and preservation of films noir. Push over to the donation page, here. And you'll always find the FNF website, here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stranger Danger on the Third Floor

A nightmare of paranoid fear
Just who is the killer's unclear
By guilt a man's trapped,
in the chair he is strapped...
Film noir may have started right here

John McGuire in Stranger on the Third Floor (Boris Ingster, 1941), which also featured noir staples Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook Jr. With its psychotic killer and expressionistic dream sequence, Stranger is an early example of the Germanic noir style. David Cairns of Shadowplay nails it when he says the dream sequence is "like a Will Eisner comic strip: the shots are nearly all static and the actors strike poses, freezing in creepy tableaux vivants as soon as they have found the best dramatic effect." You can see for yourself just how right he is, here.

Don't be a stranger--we're posting film noir limericks all week as part of the blogathon for film preservation, For the Love of Film (Noir). And please consider making a donation to the Film Noir Foundation using their donation page.

Shanghai Jester

Come visit the dark side of Frisco
A district that's slipp'ry as Crisco
Shanghai'd by a lady
Whose morals are shady
You may end up deader than disco

David Cairns

Orson Welles in The Lady from Shanghai (Welles, 1948). David Cairns is another of the many writers taking part in For the Love of Film (Noir). Be sure to visit his terrific blog, Shadowplay. And please consider helping the cause of film noir restoration at the Film Noir Foundation.

Images: just a few of the many San Francisco location shots from The Lady from Shanghai to be found at Film in America.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shell Shocker

The war for some vets doesn't end
Their worries and wounds never mend
Through strife and malaise
and a wife that betrays,
they fight for the life of a friend

The Blue Dahlia (George Marshall, 1946) was the only original screenplay ever written by Raymond Chandler. Top: Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake Above: Returning navy buddies Ladd, William Bendix and Hugh Beaumont, with police captain Tom Powers. It's the For the Love of Film (Noir) blogathon. Please consider making a donation to the Film Noir Foundation.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lowly Matrimony

Forever this couple is bound
Their tether a love that's unsound
On cruelty and guilt
and fear it was built
Together their bodies are found

Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas make quite a pair in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946). We now pronounce this For the Love of Film (Noir) week. Please consider making a gift to the Film Noir Foundation at their wedding registry, here.

Lots of talented folks are taking part in this blogathon. There are links to many terrific blog posts over at the Self-Styled Siren, here, and at Ferdy on Films, here. The Siren and Ferdy are the femme fatales of film noir preservation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mildred, Pierced

As film buffs collectively moan
Kate Winslet is cast against Joan
It isn't poor Kate,
it's remakes I hate
Oh why not leave classics alone?

Kate Winslet stars in an HBO mini-series remake of Mildred Pierce, an iconic role and a screen comeback for Joan Crawford in 1945. HBO claims they're revisiting James M. Cain's 1941 novel, not remaking the Michael Curtiz film. They've certainly lined up a lot of talent, with Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) directing Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood, Guy Pearce and Melissa Leo. Top: Winslet and Wood as mother and daughter. Above and below: Crawford with screen daughter Ann Blyth.

Scum Boogie

While playing detective and slumming
she urges him on in his drumming
The jazz is so hot
she gives him a shot
His orgasmic-al solo is coming

Ella Raines and Elisha Cook Jr. beat it out in Phantom Lady (Robert Siodmak, 1944), adapted from a story by noir suspense great Cornell Woolrich. Read all about this great, sleazy, crazy scene at Sunset Gun. Image source:
For the Love of Film (Noir) week continues. Please consider making a donation to the preservation of film noir at the Film Noir Foundation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maltese Falcon Crest

The shamus named Samuel Spade
by dames didn't like to be played
It's a cinch this one's lying
and Sam isn't buying
There's a pinch, not a clinch, at the fade

Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor bring author Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade and Brigid O'Shaughnessy to life in The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941). Please help the Film Noir Foundation in its efforts to preserve and promote film noir. Just go to their donation page.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Funds

Their attraction is not so complex:
It's a matter of dollars and sex
A tart and a louse
will murder her spouse
for a payoff that neither collects

Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1943). An adaptation of James M. Cain's tale of infidelity, fraud and murder, Double Indemnity was easily the most influential film of its era. Expanding the focus of the crime film from the underworld to include the middle class, it depicted a pervasive moral and ethical corruption not previously allowed in American film.

Welcome to the week-long For the Love of Film (Noir) blogathon. Please consider making a donation to the Film Noir Foundation. The Foundation works tirelessly to restore, preserve, present and promote our film noir legacy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

For the Love of Film...Noir

Restoring a film isn't cheap
So dig in your pockets--and deep
Committing a crime
is the hit-man called Time,
and noir films could take the big sleep

Starting tomorrow, Limerwrecks will be one of many blogs taking part in For the Love of Film, a week long event held to raise funds for film preservation. This annual 'blogathon' is hosted by Ferdy on Films and the Self-Styled Siren. The worthy recipient this year is the Film Noir Foundation, which is currently working to restore a terrific film noir, Try and Get Me. Please consider helping in any way you can. Just go to the Film Noir Foundation donation page by clicking here. Thanks!

UPDATE: As of 3/9/11, the blogathon donation page is still open for business!

You can read the Siren's interview with the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller on the subject of film preservation, here. And there's more info on For the Love of Film (Noir) at Ferdy on Films, here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reet, Petite and Pawn

A woman you hold in your hands
gives in to your wildest demands
What shrinks someone tall
to doll that is small?
It's something to do with the glands

Devil Doll (Tod Browning, 1936). Image source: dvdbeaver

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mad Lover

From the shadows he watches her show
Each evening his strange feelings grow
He's thrilled when she's burned
but still he is spurned:
She won't have a freak for a beau

In Mad Love (Karl Freund, 1935) , twisted surgeon Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre) becomes obsessed with an actress (Frances Drake), watching night after night as she's tortured with a hot poker in a play at the Grand Guignol-styled Theatre des Horreurs. Image source: dvd beaver and Celluloid Moon, which has a nice description and summary of the film.