Sure. Cinema Shame is hip to the trends. We may have forgotten to actually post our October Horror Movie prompt, but we’re pretty sure you went ahead and hit that Watchlist hard anyway. Since it’s November, let’s just get hard boiled like everyone else.
Your mission should you choose to accept it: watch at least one new FILM NOIR during the month of November and tell us all about it in a blog post, on Twitter, or in a comment on this here watch prompt.
Personally, I just picked up the first volume of the Film Noir Archive and I’ve only seen one film of the nine (Reign of Terror aka The Black Book). That leaves 8 movies just sitting right there waiting for me in the shadows.
As far as other recommendations, I’ll run down a quick list of items I’d hit up if I were you and you hadn’t seen these items.
On the Criterion Channel:
The Complete Films of Jean-Pierre Melville are still streaming on the Criterion Channel. If you’re new to Jean-Pierre Melville, the man propelled the Noir form out of the post-World War II disillusionment into new and hazy moral quandaries.
Start with Bob le flambeur (1956) and watch as his style and pacing becomes more singularly Melvillian through Le doulos (1962), Le samourai (1967) and Le cercle rouge (1970).
Even Netflix has a few offerings to fuel your Noirvember watching.
Orson Welles’ The Stranger (1946) (co-starring Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young) might not get as much attention as A Touch of Evil, but it’s more fun, more twisty, and more straight-up Noir. This is Welles forced to contain himself within the Hollywood system. While I love unencumbered Orson, there’s a thrill to watch him force his Orwellian flare into a taught 95 minutes about the hunt for an infamous Nazi in Connecticut. View on Netflix.
Rian Johnson’s breakout low-budget feature Brick (2005) deserves a viewing with the director’s mystery thriller Knives Out (2019) set for release later this month. Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) receives a frantic phone call from his ex-girlfriend just before she’s murdered. He becomes resolved to solve the murder himself by “going undercover” in some cliques of people he’d long avoided. Even though this is set in high school, this is no kiddie drama. View on Netflix.
I’m not just recommending Too Late (2015) because the director — Dennis Hauck — is an old friend of mine. John Hawkes stars in this non-linear meta-noir about a private investigator who gets too close to the missing woman he’s trying to find. Robert Forster also co-stars and we all need to pay our respects. Watch on Netflix.
Available on Netflix DVD
Nicholas Ray’s dark and sizzling In a Lonely Place (1950) starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame remains one of the most affecting first-time watches of the last few years. I keep coming back to this movie because it deals with universal human issues of trust and forgiveness, all wrapped up in a dark morality tale. Rent from Netflix DVD.
Why stop with one Gloria Grahame when you can have twice the fun in Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat (1953). Glenn Ford stars as the battered police detective investigating a sergeant’s suicide. When he becomes a target, the family man seeks revenge. Rent from Netflix DVD.
Reach out on Twitter or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know about your first-time Noir watches.
Be sure to check out the two new episodes of the Cinema Shame podcast that dropped last month. They’re not horror or noir, but they’re just good.
Tune in next month, when we’ll return with a seasonally appropriate prompt for your viewing roster.
James David Patrick is a writer. He’s written just about everything at some point or another. Add whatever this is to that list. Follow his blog at www.thirtyhertzrumble.com and find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Disclaimer: I earn rewards from DVD.Netflix.com, which has thousands of movies to choose from, many that you won’t find on streaming services. I do this because the availability of physical media is important. The popular streaming notion of “everything available all the time” is a myth. We are always our own best curators. #PhysicalMedia #DVDNation #ad