Noirvember Retrospective: Laura

By Joan Amenn There are films that are noir and there is “Laura” (1944) which is in a class by itself. Nominated for five Oscars and winning for Best Black and White Cinematography, “Laura” is the kind of film that can be viewed many times over and never grows tired. Much like the portrait of the femme fatale herself, it has charm and elegance, and … Continue reading Noirvember Retrospective: Laura

Review: Nightmare Alley

Year: 2021 Runtime: 150 minutes Director: Guillermo del Toro Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Kim Morgan Actors: Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Richard Jenkins, Mary Steenburgen, Mark Povinelli, Jim Beaver By Joan Amenn Rejoice, lovers of gothic drama and noir femme fatales! Guillermo del Toro is back and has he got a holiday surprise for us! You … Continue reading Review: Nightmare Alley

“Fallen Angel”: #Noirvember Review

a noir classic, “Fallen Angel” is an interesting case study in how the gender roles of the 1940s have transformed into what we deem acceptable in today’s society. The film’s narrative is hardly spectacular, and is rather formulaic with a twist that you can see a mile off. However, what makes the film memorable is its performances, especially from Alice Faye who manages to bring some much needed humanity and depth to this pulpy B-movie noir.  Continue reading “Fallen Angel”: #Noirvember Review

Only Murders in the Building and the Modern Noir Femme Fatale

By Joan Amenn Caution: Spoilers! When “Only Murders in the Building” (2021) premiered a few months ago, it was bound to receive some mixed reviews. Both co-stars Martin Short and Steve Martin can be polarizing in their unique brands of humor. You either like them or you don’t. However, the real star of the show is Selena Gomez who plays Mabel Mora, a reimagined femme … Continue reading Only Murders in the Building and the Modern Noir Femme Fatale

The Public Enemy (1931)

Noirvember Retrospective: The Women of “The Public Enemy”

By Joan Amenn In this early noir classic women are categorized in three ways; the passive and not very bright good girls, the party girls who like to have fun but maybe not break the law and those hard bitten few who walk on the wild side. This last category is personified by the iconic Jean Harlow who can go toe to toe with James … Continue reading Noirvember Retrospective: The Women of “The Public Enemy”

Noirvember Retrospective Review: as tears go by (1988)

This strange age we’ve found ourselves in–lockdowns and quarantines abound–has granted me the opportunity to dive deep into the oeuvre of Hong Kong’s cinema god, Wong Kar-Wai. “As Tears Go By” marked Wong’s debut to film two decades ago; with it, was the emergence of an auteur–as well as a resounding Honk Kong new wave. I saw this film for the first time yesterday. Seeing as this month’s Their League theme is “Noirvember”, a piece on this gem appeared to be apropos . Continue reading Noirvember Retrospective Review: as tears go by (1988)

Retrospective Review: Possessed

“Possessed” sees Crawford’s character reduced to an empty shell, and completely retreats into her neuroticism. Although dated with its approach and understanding of mental illness, “Possessed” remains somewhat relevant in the ills of the patriarchy and the appalling treatment/misunderstanding of individuals suffering from a psychotic break (you only have to look at the treatment of Elisabeth Moss’ character in this year’s “The Invisible Man” to see how little society has come since 1947). Continue reading Retrospective Review: Possessed

Retrospective Review: Sudden Fear

Year: 1952 Runtime: 110 Minutes Director: David Miller Writers: Lenore J. Coffee & Robert Smith Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame By Bianca Garner The Film Noir genre isn’t always the immediate place to go for great female representation. Women in Noir are often presented as the stuffy secretarial type who works silently in the background for the private eye, or the concerned stay-at-home … Continue reading Retrospective Review: Sudden Fear