Gentlemen Prefer Blondes—Howard Hawks—1953

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the ultimate American Phantasy, but beneath its glittering skin is an abyss with no bottom. Howard Hawks directs it like a wicked National Geographic Special on human mating habits in late Capitalist society, with Monroe and Russell stalking their respective prey on a colorful veldt of Greek prints, eye-popping gowns, and […]


The Naked Spur—Anthony Mann—1953

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Anthony Mann and James Stewart teamed up in the first half of the 1950s to create a series of Westerns that have since been recognized as the critical missing link between the traditionalism of Ford and the revisionism of Peckinpah and the Spaghetti Cycle. 1950 saw their first, Winchester ’73, a bold film that had […]


Spotlight on—Leo Tover

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In my last post for the Film Noir Foundation Blogathon‘s Fundraiser. I wanted to spotlight the excellent cinematography of Leo Tover. He’s somewhat of an underrated Noir veteran, having filmed several minor classics like Dead Reckoning, I Walk Alone, and The Woman on the Beach. Today though, I’m going to look at his work in two […]


Niagara – Henry Hathaway – 1953

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Niagra is a TechniColor Noir that tells the story of two couples who have a chance encounter at a Niagara Falls motel. Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten are Rose and George Loomis—he, an older neurotic veteran, and she, a young nymphomaniac. Jean Peters and Max Showalter are Polly and Ray Cutler enjoying their second honeymoon. The […]


Creature from the Black Lagoon – Jack Arnold – 1954

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This film feels like two different movies stitched together and brought back to life. The underwater photography, done by James Havens, is beautiful. Lilting, dream like camera movements, with a strange eye that paints the water as a completely different world from the surface. Bubbles, oblique shadows, and balletic physical action blend to create a […]