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New Release Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Pale Flower (Criterion)

There’s something uncomfortable in the way that gangster films often ask us to empathise with central characters who are, in effect, psychopaths. ‘Anti’ and ‘heroic’ are separated by a very thin line as the movie gangster is made of sterner stuff than us mere mortals, seemingly existing in a place once removed from normality; a […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

Darkness Under the Limelight – Tyrone Power in Nightmare Alley

There is something sordid about the atmosphere of a small-time, small-town carnival. Comedians trapped in tragic roles. The performers may be under the limelight, but it is the dim light of a would-be only in hope, because they are always on the way towards something bigger but are often left bitter beyond any hope of […]

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Feature Podcast

The Big Picture Podcast: Seconds

In this episode Gabriel and Tom are joined by Jez Conolly, co-author of a new book about the 1966 John Frankenheimer film Seconds; a nightmarish journey into sci-fi paranoia that is now considered a classic of post-McCarthy era American cinema. Part noir thriller and part body horror, the film – which initially flopped at the […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

1980s Style Rocks in Neo-Noir Against All Odds

LA at dawn. Silhouettes of high-rises, bungalows and lines of palm trees merge together into a glowing mist. The urban jungle created through light and shadow, and new dreams that are always rising up, and old dreams that have turned to concrete. That’s the opening image from Michael Doster’s book Doster 80s/90s. And, for some […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

Breaking the Rules of a Leading Lady – Bette Davis in The Letter

I recently re-watched The Letter (1940) on what was one of the summer’s first hot nights. Actually I may make it a summer tradition, to watch on an unbearably warm night. Because noir is the genre that offers the perfect contrast to my favourite season, to the bright and euphoric summer days. Watching noir films during […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart: Dressed to Fit the Monochromatic, Distressed Reality of a 1955 Noir

From the very beginning, Mickey Rourke was one of the four actors Alan Parker had on his list to play Harry Angel in the film Angel Heart (1987). “We arranged to meet in New York. I picked Mickey up from his hotel looking, as he always does off-screen, like an unemployed gas station attendant. We had […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

Identity as an Illusion. Alain Delon in Mr. Klein

Monsieur Klein is an art dealer living on the Left Bank in Paris, on Rue de Bac. Played by Alain Delon, with his good looks, refined clothes, stern haircut and minimal mimic, he looks at ease and undisturbed in his generous apartment, lavishly decorated in rich colours and trimmed with paintings. Dressed in a luxurious […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

Deceit is in the Details: Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity

“The living room was still stuffy from last night’s cigars. The windows were closed and the sunshine coming in through the Venetian blinds showed up the dust in the air.” The only time when Fred MacMurray’s Walter Neff is shown in broad daylight in Double Indemnity (1944) is when the flashback begins, right before he meets Barbara […]

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Fashion & Film Feature

Beyond Character: Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider in Max et les ferrailleurs

A bleak, dark detective story that taps into noir, Claude Sautet’s Max et les ferrailleurs (1971) is more than a “policier” film. It draws two fine character studies: Michel Piccoli’s Max, a former judge converted into a cop, and Romy Schneider’s Lily, a prostitute linked to a gang of hard-luck, two-time crooks whom Max wants […]