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Battle of the first Noirs: The Maltese Falcon vs. Double Indemnity

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Battle of the first Noirs: The Maltese Falcon vs. Double Indemnity

Old 09-15-08, 12:41 AM
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Battle of the first Noirs: The Maltese Falcon vs. Double Indemnity

The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Double Indemnity (1944) are considered to be the first two film noirs, not counting films like You Only Live Once (1937) or Fury (1936), which have certain noir elements. Which is your favorite? I personally love both, although the nod goes to Double Indemnity for John Seitz's influential, groundbreaking cinematography. Plus I think Barbara Stanwyck makes a better femme fatale than the theatrical Mary Astor.
vs.
Old 09-15-08, 12:52 AM
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What about This Gun For Hire? Obsessione? Or I could completely derail and bring Citizen Kane into the discussion.

OK fine...I agree on Double Indemnity. Probably the best of the straight film-noir in its purest form in the early years of the movement (or is it genre? )

No poll?
Old 09-15-08, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by naitram View Post
What about This Gun For Hire? Obsessione? Or I could completely derail and bring Citizen Kane into the discussion.
This Gun for Hire was released before Double Indemnity, but in most discussions of the genre, Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity are seen as the first two key films. That's not to demean Gun by any means - it's in my noir top ten. Laird Cregar is great as the mint sucking heavy (literally) who shudders at the thought of violence. Ossessione is an Italian film, and though it is based upon a James M. Cain novel, film noir in it's truest sense is an intrinsically American form, though obviously heavily indebted to German Expressionism.
Old 09-15-08, 11:30 AM
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Ooh - close one for me, and I would've gone with DI, if not for the casting - sorry, but I see MacMurray and I instantly think of Flubber - that's not good for a noir, and while I normally like Stanwick, she didn't seem right for this role, and her hair is just awful. But as for writing and directing, Wilder definitely hits it out of the park. But I'll have to go with Huston's movie overall.
Old 09-15-08, 12:33 PM
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Falcon: It's the stuff dreams are made of.
Old 09-15-08, 12:36 PM
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I feel like Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice here.
Old 09-15-08, 02:17 PM
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Both excellent, but I'll give the slight edge to Double Indemnity.
Old 09-15-08, 02:39 PM
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Both movies are phenomenal, but I give it to Maltese. John Huston, Humphrey Bogart, Dashiell Hammett, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre? Untouchable.

As much as I love DI, it still comes after Falcon in terms of quality. Although Edward G. Robinson in DI is one of the greatest screen performances ever, period.
Old 09-15-08, 02:41 PM
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When are we gonna do DETOUR vs. GUN CRAZY?
Old 09-15-08, 02:45 PM
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I voted Falcon, but I just watched that recently so it's fresh in my mind. Haven't seen DI in awhile.
Old 09-15-08, 04:25 PM
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Double Indemnity just edges past Falcon for me. Mainly because of Walter Neff's brilliant voiceover dialog.
Old 09-15-08, 04:50 PM
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I've never had such a tough time with one of these polls before...

I give it to Double Indemnity... just barely... both are phenomenal films.
Old 09-15-08, 05:19 PM
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Going with Maltese Falcon... barely. It's just about picture perfect in my book.
Old 09-15-08, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by slop101 View Post
...while I normally like Stanwick, she didn't seem right for this role, and her hair is just awful.
The wig was Billy Wilder's idea - Stanwyck hated it. Wilder said "I wanted to make her as sleazy as possible". I think it works perfectly - the cheap wig does give her a slutty, trashy vibe. When the production head at Paramount saw the first dailies, he exclaimed: "We hired Barbara Stanwyck and here we get George Washington!"
Old 09-15-08, 06:30 PM
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The Maltese Falcon -- though Double Indmenity is growing on me.
Old 09-15-08, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser View Post
When are we gonna do DETOUR vs. GUN CRAZY?
Gun Crazy is superb, but you can probably tell from my sig where my allegiance lies with regards to that particular comparison.
Old 09-15-08, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by NoirFan View Post
Gun Crazy is superb, but you can probably tell from my sig where my allegiance lies with regards to that particular comparison.
LOL I didn't even notice that before! Well, good for you... Detour is a remarkable movie that I think succeeds (in part) BECAUSE of its limitations, rather than despite them.

Although Gun Crazy is all sorts of mad cool... never has the joyful triumph of a huge penis been so purely distilled on cinema.


How about SCARLET STREET vs. THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW? Lang v. Lang, Robinson v. Robinson.... damn now I want to go rewatch both.
Old 09-15-08, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt Millheiser View Post
Although Gun Crazy is all sorts of mad cool... never has the joyful triumph of a huge penis been so purely distilled on cinema.


Ever see these two compare......guns?

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