Monthly Archives: October 2013

Class Notes – 10/31/13

Midterm dicussion


— compare Winston to some of the noir protagonists that we’ve seen.

—– cf. Sam Spade — diff. from all others around him; diff. purpose than those around him following rules;
—– cf. Dix in Asphalt Jungle – dream of horse farm – cf. Winston’s dream — family, real love
—– cf. protagonists w/femme fatale — cf. Julia –
—– masks his feelings — cf. sam spade
—– alone a lot
— Walter Neff doing one job, working against it on the side; Winston working for the Ministry, wants change
— Winston’s personal quest — diary —

Can we consider Winston a detective of sorts w/in his own society? looking for clues to past, to see through the party’s lies
— cover-up — perpetrated by autocratic government
— winston putting 2 and 2 together
— looking for clues, leaving clues

—– W. wants others to take charge — more passive from film noir protagonists — more aggressive, take charge
—– physically — in film noir – 20s, 30s — strong. Winston 39 — has ailment, acts old — sees himself as ugly>
— film noir protagonists tend to work for themselves;
W. works for party
— noir protagonists – need to find evidence; W.’s job involves destroying evidence (rewriting records/history)
— their job is to find the truth, his job is to alter it

— compare the settings between 1984 and some of the noir texts we’ve seen/read
— urban cityscape — W. still in large city
— both corrupt societies
— contrast – noir films – dirty, gritty part of city and luxury environments. gave people lower down something to aspire to. in oceania, everyone lives in dirty dilapated broken-down environment — nothing to aspire to
— two settings – proles and party figure

— tensions between the individual and society in 1984/noir texts

– W. resents party for rewriting history – newspeak, doublethink
— applauds wrongdoers – people going against the government
— but doesn’t have the courage to stand to stand up on his own
— Sam Spade – stuck between the law, trying to prove his case and what happened to his partner — cf. Winston – putting on face for the party, also trying not to forget information from the past –
— Thought police
— W. wants relationships, wants to feel loved. cf. noir protagonists
— police vs. thought police. in noir – some corrupted. not about reporting to govt as own personal gain
— thought police can be the neighbor, know not to trust them
— thought police – pure surveillance

noir – don’t know who is good or evil. cf.
— doublethink – thoughts ambigious

— language – what is distinctive about noir language? how does language differ in 1984?

— 1984 – creating Newspeak, dumbed-down version of english so that ppl can’t express
— expressed in negative things vs. the good

— language in noir is usually direct == shocking in its directness

— doublethink – opposite == FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

— find three separate paragraphs or lines in 1984 that you think the class should discuss as a whole

The Set-Up

The Set-Up is a 1949 film noir movie that is based on American boxing, it is starring Robert Ryan as Stoker Thompson, and Audrey Totter as Julie Thompson his wife. This is unlike all of the other film noirs we have watched in class because it is not solely based on crime, and murder like the others are. This is based on fixing a boxing match, between two boxer’s managers, and one boxer learning the consequence of not going through with the fix.

We are introduced to Stoker Thompson an older boxer way past his prime fighting to keep his head afloat and he has the mentality that he is only one big win away from a title shot. His wife does not want to hear it, she has been dealing with this for too long and is tired of seeing him get beaten badly. Throughout the movie you go through a perfect image of a film noir city/ setting. There is a lot of perfect silence throughout the film that really drives the point of certain scenes. It starts out in a dingy lockeroom for Stoker contemplating his fight and hoping his wife shows up. As he enters the ring with a young gun he realizes that Julie is not there, which then leads him to fighting his heart out for Julie to prove that he is not done that he has more fight left in him. His manager sees that he is clearly winning each round and may have a shot at beating him in the third round he tells Stoker take a dive that if you do not we will be in a lot of trouble. He is not going to take a dive he does not find that satisfactory. His manager and trainer leaves before the fight is over because he nearly has won and it’s inevitable that the knock out is going to come.

As the fight is over and he is approached by the other manager and gangster he realizes how much trouble he actually is in, and it is time for him to leave without being seen. He finds a door to an alley but eventually gets caught. As they hold him down he gets beaten so badly they even break his hand to the point he cannot fight anymore. Julie is worried she looks out the window to see Stoker in the gutter by the arena and rushes to his aid. Stoker realizes the stupid thing he has done and comes to the conclusion that his career as a boxer is over. This was a really good movie in my opinion I enjoyed it, I liked the change of pace it had as a film noir genre there was not that much murder and you reflected with Stoker through the whole movie. The movie device of silence was well placed throughout the movie and really made it complete.

Out of the Past

Out of the Past is a film noir that was released in 1947 starring Robert Mitchum as Jeff Bailey, and Jane Greer as Kathie Moffat. This was one of my favorite film noirs we have watched in the class for many reasons. The story was great for starters, but I enjoyed how they retold Jeff Bailey’s past. It was also a change of pace compared to other film noir movies there were crimes and murder but the way they introduced it in the story was enjoyable. There is the classic film noir characteristics in this movie such as shadow, sleazy characters, questionable motives and actions.

Jeff Bailey is introduced as a gas station attendant that is trying to live his life then as the movie stats his past comes for him, an old friend stops by and tells Jeff that an old employer of his Whit Sterling wants to meet with him and to go to this address. As he is on his way to Sterling’s house he tells his current girlfriend the history that has led up to this meeting. She is worried for him since she thinks he is going to be murdered for having something to do with Jack Fisher’s death and not being honest that he found Kathie while in Mexico. Jeff is surprised to see Kathie there and realizes that Whit knows the whole story that Kathie, Jeff’s femme fatale has double crossed him while taking the money and now Whit wants Jeff dead. As the story goes on Jeff realizes that it is Kathie at the root of all the problems. Jeff returns to Whit’s house to find him dead and Kathie with the smoking gun, so Jeff calls the police because he knows he is next. Kathie takes Jeff and all the money and leaves and encounters the police on the way out she shoots Jeff then she gets shoot resulting in their deaths. As the movie comes to a close Ann questions if Jeff ever loved him or was he still in love with Kathie his femme fatale.

Jeff Baliey makes for a great film noir character with morals, and a heart as he is trying to remake his life and escape his past it catches up to him and leads to his demise.

Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity is a movie filmed in 1944 starring Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff, and Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Deitrichson. The term Double Indemnity stands for a type of clause in certain insurance policies that pays double when the death is caused by a certain accidental means. This is a perfect example to a film noir for many reasons. Some of those reasons are that they follow a certain character doing unmoral things, and being dragged in by his femme fatale, also the shadows and sleazy settings throughout the movie, the places they meet and interact, and even how they organize and go through with the murder.

The film starts off with us being introduced to Walter Neff and trying to renew Phyllis’s husband car insurance and she inquires about accident insurance. Walter is then dragged into an elaborate murder organized by both parties. As they complete the murder, Walter realizes what he has done and tries to fix some of his mistakes by not getting certain people in trouble, confusing his mistakes so after he dies the truth will be known, and he even goes as far as killing Phyllis the women who he thought he loved throughout the movie. A classic line from this movie is who knew murder smelled like sweet honey suckle which symbolizes he was drawn in by her sweet scent and beauty, then committed a murder that was not warranted of a man that did nothing wrong. As the movie ends his boss Keyes catches him and calls the police and the movie ends on the scene of him possibly enjoying his last cigarette and bleeding out. This movie has a classic story line that was adapted from the novel written James M. Cain it will be enjoyed for many years to come and still recognized as one of the best film noirs every created.

The Set-up

As a classic film noir, “The set-up” has the elements of such a character: the hero through their own efforts to win a resounding success, but his final outcome is a significant and disastrous failure. But Stoker is different than Walter Neff in “Double Indemnity”, the theme of this story is also different than those murder types of film noir, Stoker failed not because of moral and legal norms beyond “personal struggle” caused, on the contrary, although he failed, but won dignity. However, in this dirty town and this dirty boxing gym, people vent by trying to watch other people’s physical abuse, the result is eternal boring after a brief comfort to him.

The screenwriter of the film created many really interesting and key secondary characters, especially the man tussle that was made ​​out of control, standing stands hoarse middle-aged woman, this impressive supporting cast so profound that her extremely ruthless compares to Stoker’s extremely depressed wife in stark contrast. And that blind guy, and the fat guy was sitting in the stands and kept putting popcorn  into his mouth, also a man was in emotional excitement, completely ignoring his wife around him, why they are so in love with boxing? They obviously do not respect what the sport ideals, they all have their own lives, but without exception, and came to this place to vent ruthless internal stress and anguish.

Maltese Falcon

This semester we were introduced to noir with the film Maltese Falcon. In the film our protagonist is Samuel Spade who is accused of killing his partner Miles whom he is not very fond of. The film also includes a femme fatale Miss Wanderly. In the story an important puzzle piece would be the Original Maltese Falcon model that everyone seems to want their hands on.

Asphalt Jungle

Many of the noir films we’ve seen thus far involve different lighting effects that affect the story line. For the first time in the Asphalt Jungle we have a scenery that can proably be used as a character in the story. Throughout the story we see characters dodging things in the scenes or using different things in the scene to aid them in hiding. This film is also different in that it is about a heist as apposed to other more common crimes in the other noirs.

The Set-Up

This movie was like a tease.

It was like if we didn’t read the poem, it would be hard to understand the background story. I think the person who produced the movie could have changed the way they ended the scene. It just made me continue questioning what happened to the other characters. In this movie there wasn’t a Femme Fatale the enemies were male, but the reason for the climax, is the same as all other movies. Money. I knew while watching the movie, what kind of vibe to get between characters, from what they said to one another or how their body’s were positioned.