August has been a hectic month and I've been out of the loop of everything online that is classic film related. I've been MIA from this blog mostly because I've been spending every spare moment working on moving in with Carlos. I haven't had much time to ::gasp:: watch any movies or ::double gasp:: write about them. Carlos and I worked non-stop all day on a Saturday, Sunday and a Monday. By Tuesday we were exhausted (heck by Saturday evening we were exhausted) and even though there was so much more to do, we needed a break. We took all of last week off for the move but for the first half of the week it rained. And rained. And rained. Which made moving rather tricky. In fact by Wednesday, the heavens must have open the flood gates because it was just pouring buckets of water. We needed a break. Something to do that was NOT moving.
So what does one do for fun on a rainy weekday? Go to a mid-afternoon matinee noir double-feature at a repertory theatre of course! And what a luxury it was...
The first film on the bill was Murder, My Sweet (1944). To me, this movie and Double Indemnity (1944) have always been the two films from which the noir stereotype derives its main characteristics. All the key elements are there: a jaded man, a dangerous blonde, a sweet brunette, a convoluted plot and narrative voiceover. Murder, My Sweet is a decent film and enjoyable to watch but please don't try to follow the plot too closely. Also, don't worry too much about getting the character names and their individual straight. If you do, you won't enjoy the film. Just sit back, relax, munch on some popcorn and enjoy the ride.
Carlos hadn't seen this one before and when he asked me about the plot I made a valiant effort to try to explain it. However, my memory had escaped me and I ended up sounding like a dimwith. What I should have down was just shrug my shoulders and grunted out an "I don't know". If he were to have asked me the same question after the film, I probably should have done the same thing.
The thing I love the most about The Big Sleep is that the film is oozing with sexuality. If sexuality were a sauce, it would be dripping out the corner of your takeout box if you took this film to-go.
First of all there is the electric chemistry between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. By the time of this film, Bogie and Bacall are already married but the passion hasn't died down at all. The way they look into each others' eyes, you expect them to rip off each other's clothes at any moment and start procreating right in front of you. Both Bogie and Bacall were so effortless in their movements. Each motion seemed sensual and sexual. Whether it was a smile, a firm grip on the arm, the smoking of a cigarette, it all screamed SEX.
Then there is delightfully young space cadet Carmen played by the luscious Martha Vickers. Watch her movements. She never seems to be able to stand upright on her own. It's as though her limbs don't function at full capacity. Carmen is always falling into a man's arms or into a chair or resting against a wall. However, these seem like temporary places for her to rest. It's as though her proper place should be lying prostrate on a bed! Besides, she's too high or drunk to notice what you are doing to her anyways, so have at it. If people only looked a little more closely at classic films, they would realize how blatantly sexual and scandalous they really were!
My favorite scene is the one in which Philip Marlowe (Bogart) walks into a bookstore across the street from the Geiger Used & Rare Bookshop (which doesn't actually sell any books) and asks the bookstore clerk for information about Geiger. They flirt like mad and they exchange some hot and heavy zingers.
Marlowe, when he notices that it's raining outside, "I'd rather get wet in here."
Marlowe offers the clerk some rye from a bottle in his pocket, she closes the front door, turns the sign from Open to Closed and she replies: "It looks like we're closed for the rest of the afternoon."
Hot damn! She takes off her glasses and lets down her hair and Marlowe replies with a "Hello!". I almost expect there to be a huge bolt of lightning and some thunder and for the camera to pan away while they make love on the bookstore floor. Alas, my dirty mind gets carried away with itself sometimes and things didn't quite work out that way. But good grief that was one sexy scene! Worth the $7.75 we paid for the double feature alone.
On days like this, I count my lucky stars that I have a place like the Brattle which shows quality films like these for discerning patrons like me. Next up, Kevin and I see The Sleeping City (1950). The last film in the Brattle's Noir 100 series.