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Messages - cigar joe

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General Discussion / Tightrope (1984) Neo Orleans Noir
« on: April 15, 2016, 05:50:46 AM »
"There's a darkness inside all of us..., you, me, and the man down the street, some have it under control, others act it out, the rest of us try and walk a tightrope between the two."

I really love when this happens. As a serious Noir Aficionado when I get interested in a subject, i.e., Noir, I investigate all aspects of it, its sources and influences, hard-boiled detective and crime novels, pulp paperbacks, Black Mask and True Crime/Detective Mags, the Jazz age, the culture at the end of prohibition and WWII, the Blacklist and the transition to the Cold War, etc, etc,.

And, like me, I'm sure you all also check out or buy every book you can get your hands on about Noir to acquire more insight, more background, more films to pursue to fill your appetite. I enjoyed TCM's Summer of Darkness, also, participating in the class, the discussions and getting to re-watch some of the great, and see for the first time some of the forgotten Noirs.

I happy to say I've seen a lot of Noirs over the last five years easily over 300, and the new ones I find now, are either marginally noir or very low budget. For instance The Female Jungle, it's not listed in Selby's Dark City The Film Noir, it's not in the first edition of Film Noir An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style it did make the 2010 edition. So, there are still films out there waiting to be seen and re-discovered and added to the canon.

The same goes for Neo Noirs, but with Neo's it's even worse, Noir is a new craze, a fad, the in-thing, Noir has a certain cachet that can add to sales for a particular film, and you'll find that there are films that are "no-brainers" as their being no question "mainline" Noirs that aren't even mentioned by the list makers, while others, that are a real stretch at being classified as so, are included. It makes you wary, it makes you question the author's knowledge, the extent of their research, or if there is a hidden agenda. There are quite a few that make lists are NIPOs, Noir In Plot Only devoid of any Noir Stylistics or may have a token Noir sequence, which, in my book makes them just CRIME genre films. All this makes you curious to explore on your own.

Recently I re-watched a Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood collaboration Dirty Harry (1971), Siegel was one of the last of the Classic Noir directors, and the film did have some noir-ish sequences it's a good film but for my tastes, Noir lite. One thing it did was that it got me thinking and I remembered a much better Eastwood Neo Noir candidate. It's not usually thought of because it wasn't your typical Eastwood vehicle, he played against type, he doesn't even shoot a gun on screen.

Tightrope was written and directed by Richard Tuggle, though there are rumors that Eastwood either helped out or took over at some point. But judging from the comparison of style between this and other Eastwood directed films something doesn't quite wash. This film is very dark in subject matter and stylistically extremely Noir, more so than anything else ever directed by Eastwood so something must be attributed to Tuggle and a definite shout out to cinematographer Bruce Surtees. Right now, I'd say it's one of the best Neo Noirs set in New Orleans, others, that come to mind are The Big Easy, Angel Heart, and The Drowning Pool.

The film stars Clint Eastwood as Wes Block, Geneviève Bujold as Beryl Thibodeaux, Dan Hedaya as Det. Molinari, Alison Eastwood as Amanda Block, Jenny Beck as Penny Block, Marco St. John as Leander Rolfe, Rebecca Perle as Becky Jacklin, Regina Richardson as Sarita, Randi Brooks as Jamie Cory, Jamie Rose as Melanie Silber, Margaret Howell as Judy Harper and Graham Paul as Luther.

The Block's, Wes (Clint Eastwood), Amanda (Alison Eastwood), Penny (Jenny Beck)
The story, a recently divorced and somewhat alienated (from average women) homicide Detective Wes Block is raising two daughters on his own. He enables his inner "demons" and gets his various sexual outlets/kicks with prostitutes in the Latin Quarter/Bourbon Street red light district of New Orleans.

A lot of us compartmentalize our lives, we show one face at work, another with our friends. We may look like square johns on the outside but have our kinks on the inside. Your wife may be a saint in the streets and a whore in the sheets. It how we get along it's how we let off steam.

As lead detective Wes and his partner Molinari investigate the murders the serial killer beings to focus on his pursuer Wes. Soon the regular hookers Wes frequents in his district start showing up dead, sexually violated and strangled.

The serial murders has the Press, the Mayor, and the police brass, demanding quick results. Another complication for Wes is Beryl Thibodeaux, who is head of a Rape Crisis Center and also friends with the mayor. Beryl is interested in protecting women and she tries to get Wes to acknowledge that she can help alert women about the maniac. At first Wes macho puts her off, and the two are quite opposites in personalities, but as often is the case, opposites attract, and soon the two are spending time together. Their initial sharp exchanges are excellent and their segue into mutual attraction believable.

Another excellent aspect of this film is the relationships depicted between Block and his daughters. The chemistry is real. Alison Eastwood as Amanda is Eastwood's daughter and it shows, and Jenny Beck as Penny is equally very believable.

Wes at first suppresses his connection to the victims, possibly questioning his own sanity, but as the serial killer gets closer to hearth and home, clues and detective work ultimately close the case in a denouement that you could say homages the ends of classic Noirs, Act Of Violence, The City That Never Sleeps, and Highway 301.

This film just WALLOWS in Noir. It's got a great jazzy/bluesy score by Lennie Niehaus too boot. It's easily a 10/10 for me. Screencaps are from the Warners DVD.

Full review with some NSFW screencaps here enjoy:

Just a heads up I moderate the Sergio Leone Forum Fistful-of-Leone, but have started a Film Noir/ Neo Noir blog here is the link for entry for Tightrope with lots of screencaps enjoy

PS. I'll also start a new topic with review on forum too.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: Josey Wales' Chief Dan George
« on: August 16, 2011, 01:49:04 PM »
Chief Dan George also did a great performance in Little Big Man :)

He also had a good performance in a little known Western called "Dan Candy's Law" (1974) about the Cree native,  Almighty Voice incident, between said native and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Its not bad.

Collectors' Corner / Re: Gauntlet in "for a few dollars more"
« on: August 02, 2009, 12:26:18 PM »
Look for someone who does leather work it doesn't seem like it would be hard to make one from scraps.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: "Rawhide" episode discussion
« on: July 29, 2009, 03:30:19 PM »
Ive been watching the new releases on DVD and so far no Rowdy is still goofy Rowdy. After Favor left the show Rowdy was trailboss  but I don't remember those either. Some place I though I read about color episodes of Rawhide I never remember seeing them though. Maybe they were contemplating doing it for a possible season 9 that's all I recall.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: "Rawhide" episode discussion
« on: July 28, 2009, 04:29:37 PM »
Bump.  Just wondering if anyone can answer my questions from my last post.

Yes there was one episode where they reached the end at Sedalia,  they then got their money & went their separate ways. The next episode followed Favor to Philadelphia where we met his kids. This was early in the seasons 2 or 3 at the end.

I watched it a lot as a kid but don't remember Clint as the Trail Boss or the color seasons so he may have in those.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: Joe, Manco and Blondy
« on: June 29, 2009, 06:58:20 PM »
Reviving this thread, I like to think of these films as if they are campfire stories, when they are told they are about a mysterious cigar smoking poncho wearing con-man-gunfighter who may or may not be the same guy. Now in our minds eye as we hear the story he always looks the same.  Any way the following is by clues in the films some obvious some not the correct chronological order

The Good The Bad & The Ugly is however chronologically first, its set during the Civil War during Sibley's New Mexico Campaign 1862. Blondie, Tuco, & Angel Eyes use converted black powder revolvers, Colt Navy, Colt Army, and Remington's. Blondie is even shown using a Henry repeating rifle (actually a doctored Winchester to make it look like a Henry and carefully shot so that the side loading gate is hidden).

For a Few Dollars More is second and is set around the mid to late 1890's, if Blondie is supposed to be Manco he would be closer to 60 years old, one of the clues to the films time period are the thick newspaper binder that Mortimer looks through in El Paso. He finds a halftone image of Manco with an article about him killing the Marton Bros. in a town in Montana in 1873, the article is in the middle of the binder meaning the last page is the last issue if each issue of the paper only had 4-6 pages that's a lot of day's, years under the bridge.

One thing has been pointed out is that when Mortimer opens the safe in Agua Caliente the three bundles of bills in the center are Confederate bills, but the others with what looks like George Washington or a similar profile are not and still others beneath are too obscure to make out. This can be explained as the bank or a customer still holding on to them in the hopes of the "South rising again", hell even my wife's New Mexico grandmother had Confederate money that her Texas mother had held on too, lol.  Another fact is that also back then banks issued their own fanciful bank notes with their own designs.

The next clue is the fact that there are railroads in both Tucumcari and El Paso the Southern Pacific was through El Paso by the mid 1880's and the Rock Island didn't reach Tucumcari until mid to late 1890's and connected with the Southern Pacific in or near El Paso.

Mortimer is wearing a neck tie tied in the four-in-hand style. In 1880, the rowing club at Oxford University's Exeter College  men's club, invented the first school tie by removing their ribbon hat bands from their boater hats and tying them, four-in-hand. Give it a few years to cross the ocean and become established in the US. Finally Indio's Colt pistol (the one Groggy tosses him) has a gutta percha grip which weren't available on Colts until 1885.

A Fistful of Dollars is set around the turn of the century, Ramon is using a fully automatic machine gun (its not a Gatling gun he is not cranking it (its a prop anyway BTY)) those didn't become available until 1895, the Mexican Soldiers are wearing Khaki and the US soldiers are still in blue kersey the US didn't change to Khaki until 1898.

So if anything For a Few & Fistful are within a few years of each other and Joe & Manco could be seen as the same character.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: Joe, Manco and Blondy
« on: July 31, 2008, 06:04:42 PM »
Actually we dealt with this exclusively on the Fistful of Leone Board with a timeline for the GBU plot that starts with the story events of  Baker, Stevens, & Jackson and their aquision of the Confederate payroll which would all take place before Arch Stanton, thats the reason for 1861.

Check out the full timeline here:

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: Joe, Manco and Blondy
« on: July 31, 2008, 05:33:47 AM »
Time to chime in here on latest timelines for the films based on clues within the films themselves:

The Good The Bad and The Ugly:

Basically GBU is pretty straight forward it takes place during the Civil War; that is, between 1861 and 1865. Actually, I would say between 1861and 1862 (Arch Stanton died February 3, 1862 and there is only a skeleton left of him). Sibley's New Mexico Campaign is the anchor.

For A Few Dollars more:

Newspaper date: Look at the thickness of that binder where Mortimer finds the image of Manco!

I always assumed the front page halftone image was from White Rocks now it looks like the the caption says Marton Brothers were killed in Red Hill Montana And it was back in 1872 or 3 what ever we decide that date is.

If he finds Manco at the center of that binder that means the last page of the archive would bring us to the present day.  At four to six pages per issue thats a lot of papers and assuming that in a place like El Paso they didn't published every day that binder can represent years. Which would make sense.

We know that on May 19, 1881: Southern Pacific tracks reach El Paso, Texas, and that " The Rock Island continued its trek westward and soon added "Pacific" to then end of its name as a final destination goal. A line to Colorado Springs was completed in 1888 and trackage rights to Denver was acquired in 1889. A line southwest across Kansas stretched to Tucumcari by the late-1890s and a connection was completed with the Southern Pacific, thus completing the Pacific goal."

If we go by these clues The archive binder and the historical record for the railroads (the key is railroads in both Tucumcari & El Paso) "For a Few Dollars More" could take place as late as the mid 1890's which would put it closer in time to "A Fistful of Dollars".

A FistfFul Of Dollars:

AFOD is probably (just guessing from the lack of budget available to Leone) the loosest in accuracy.

AFOD is bracketed by the latest the US Cavalry still wore the blue kersey tunics and medium blue wool trousers they did up to the Spanish American War 1898, they were just developing the Model 1898 Khaki uniform in June of 1898.. The earliest date a fully automatic machine gun (just prop in the film its not a Gatling Gun Ramon is not cranking it) would have been available , and the  first use of Khaki Uniforms by the Mexican Army (which I haven't found a concrete date for yet). So this last one is pretty close to the turn of the century.

All in all though I just think of them as campfire stories, legends about a stranger, a cigar smoking, poncho wearing, con artist stranger, who may or may not be the same guy, he probably is but when the stories are told around the fire in our minds eye he never ages and that's what we see on the screen.

"Incident of the Blue Fire" second season.


Skip Hormier was the cowhand "Lucky" that gets hit.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What was the last western you watched?
« on: September 17, 2007, 02:43:48 PM »
everybody,  check it out for yourselves, and see if it exceeds your tolerence levels, do see the original though to compare.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What was the last western you watched?
« on: September 17, 2007, 05:01:46 AM »
Done Cal  O0

The stand I'm making has to do with plausible reality, could all the ridiculous plot points happen in real life, no, the director asks you to check in your brains at box office.

This may be exactly what some people seek.

Watch the shiny objects and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. But if you have a certain degree of common sense of how the world works, then the absurdity takes you out of the film at some point, depending on your individual tolerances.

I'm so happy you pointed this out. You say that when the gang members ride into town, that the lawman should open fire right away. Um no, not necessarily. The reason why they don't is because they have good in them, they're moral men. They're not evil like these men. That was obvious. They're trying to do things the right way, by law, and not go down to their level. They're not assasins. You can see that they in the film that they were scared of being outnumbered. That was evident. This is not unrealistic by no means. Also, there were many innocent people out in the street walking around, in broad daylight no less.

Wanted Dead or Alive gives the lawmen all the excuse in the world.

The James Gang at Northfield Minnesota found out the hard way what deternined townspeople can do, it also happened to a few other real  Old West gangs.

But again dave jenkins explains better:

I do want to make it clear to TB and lovelyrita that this is not, however, where I'm coming from. I am no respecter of genres. I hold all films to pretty much the same standard, no matter if they be Westerns, SF stories, war films, crime dramas, or what have you. That standard is this: the story must not include anything that flagrantly violates what we know of human psychology and/or the laws of physics. This is necessary to preserve the illusion that what we are seeing on film has some kind of connection to the real world. Without such a connection, I am unable to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the action. The whole thing just becomes a meat cartoon, and I've already seen all the cartoons I'm ever going to need. (One other requirement I have for films with historical settings: they must make some concession to the culture and practices of the period being used. Otherwise, the whole thing comes off as a modern drama in fancy dress, which is just ridiculous).

I can appreciate that the central point of interest in a film like 3:10 may not be the action so much as the relationship between Dan and Ben. But that interest is seriously compromised when the characters are not presented as thinking human beings, but rather as mindless puppets under the control of mercurial filmmakers. Human relationships in films are of interest to me only if they come off as convincing representations of the real thing, and for that you have to have convincing representations of human beings to begin with. In 3:10 the Dan and Ben characters do so many things (or fail to do so many things) that real people in those situations wouldn't/would do that I lose all respect for the characters. And if I can't respect the characters, I can't respect the relationship between the characters.

There are, apparently, people who like films regardless of how well or how poorly they are made. For such people, there are no bad films, the experience of viewing is enough for them. But I've always been acutely sensitive to shoddiness in literature, drama, and cinema. I love well-made narratives, but experience has taught me that such things occur rarely. Most films are badly made, but good films do exist and it is worth seeking them out. I cannot pretend that a bad film is entertaining when I know that better experiences await me. There are just too many films in the world, more than can be viewed in a lifetime, and it's silly to settle for anything but the very best.

Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What was the last western you watched?
« on: September 16, 2007, 07:48:33 PM »
3:10 To Yuma

Liked the original even though it was flawed,

Gave the new version a 4/5 for its amped up action,  but on reflection its even worse, its more flawed, and asks you to suspend disbelief.

From dave jenkins post which says quite a bit


The gang rides into town and sets up under the hotel window from which five armed men are overwatching. The gang are murderers, wanted men, known to law enforcement officers. The men in the hotel room include three peace officers. They have every legal and moral right to open up on the gang as soon as they appear. They also have the advantage of higher ground. No additional advantage can be gained by delaying. It is the height of idiocy that the men in the hotel room don't immediately start firing on the gang below! Further, even if they were to delay, the moment the gang starts offering the 200 dollar bounty the lawmen would begin firing just to shut the men up and discourage takers. But the men in the hotel room are completely passive. Yet this is just one stupidity in a sequence of hundreds in this stupid movie.

Equally stupid things happen on the trail from the farm to Contention. The group leaves at night, under cover of darkness. Presumably, speed and concealment are the two things the party is most concerned with. In the very next scene, however, we see them lounging about by a campfire. Why have they stopped? They want to make time, and they should want to do it in the dark. Also, stopping means having to put a watch on Wade while the others sleep. For some reason, Wade is allowed freedom of movement throughout the night (his manacled hands aren't much inconvenienced). Then, only one man is left to watch the notorious killer (a union rule?). In the morning, the watchman is dead. Incredibly, the men just write him off and proceed with their journey! All psychological plausibility goes out of the movie at that point. If you are traveling with a murderer, and he murders one of your company, you just don't continue on with the status quo ante. You reassess the situation. In the present case, you realize that getting the guy to Yuma may not be do-able, that even with your full crew it was gonna be tough, but now with one man short it is likely impossible. The guy who decided Wade had to go to Yuma (and who is bankrolling the expedition) is along, and therefore should call an audible. Even if he doesn't, the rest of the crew should prevail upon him to change the terms of the expedition. They should realize that all their lives are likely forfeit if Wade continues to live. They should do the rational thing: kill Wade on the spot.

Instead, they go merrily on their way, allowing Wade to kill again. Even then the group doesn't learn.

Then there is the "shortcut" through the pass, which we are told is controlled by hostile Indians. This shortcut requires another night and another campfire. What the f***?

Then there's the stupid digression with the mining camp. What the f***?

Finally, reaching Contention, more stupidities abound, as cited above (but not exhaustively. It would take 2 pages of text to enumerate all the idiotic things that occur there).

The original film was not flawless. It had great style and a good set-up, but the story turned stupid at the end. One problem was with the basic concept: waiting for a train. If you are traveling with a prisoner, the only reason to take him to a hotel is to conceal him. The moment his whereabouts is known, the hotel is a liability. You have enormous blind spots in a hotel room, and your mobility is compromised. Also, getting the guy from the hotel to the depot is something of a problem (as we see). Better to forget the hotel and go straight to the depot. Who cares if there aren't enough chairs for everyone, at least you have clear fields of fire in all directions.

But why wait for the train at all? Such a tactic fixes you in place, and allows the gang to catch up. A more prudent course would be to ride up the line toward the oncoming train and hail it as it approaches. You keep ahead of the outlaws, and then gain an earlier speed advantage. Also, why not use the telegraph and call for reinforcements? Maybe Contention is a worthless town, but why wouldn't there be towns up and down the line where reliable helpers could be recruited? Why not contact the army? They too have an interest in seeing Wade and his gang brought to justice.

If you do a remake of a film, you should set out to improve on the original. In the case of 3:10, a serious revision in the plot was called for. The remakers not only didn't fix the old problems, they created hundreds more. I'm really disappointed that they didn't adopt the obvious solution: put the good guys on the train early, and then have Wade's gang try to stop it. A running train battle would have been cool. The most important thing, though, would have been to have characters acting like rational beings, not pawns in a stupid plot. This remake gets 1/5, as do all stupid films.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: is there a lost Clint Eastwood western
« on: August 30, 2007, 06:46:47 PM »
I'm thinking the extra footage was from either from Fistful, or extra footage shot in a similar way to the ABC prequil.

One of our Roman members on the Leone board remembers seeing the posters for "Maledetto Gringo" and it playing in Rome.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Re: is there a lost Clint Eastwood western
« on: August 30, 2007, 03:19:09 PM »
 It may be one of these:

the exrta footage may be what you describe.

I wonder if its that spliced together film that used two Rawhide episodes and extra footage, compiled from two episodes of "Rawhide" (1959), "The Backshooter" and "Incident of the Running Man".

It was made by Jolly Films and issued under the title "Maledetto Gringo", or "The Magnificient Stranger".

Lucas Film tried a similar trick which they called "El Gringhero" claimed to be directed by Clarence Brown according to Christofer Frayling.

It would be cool to see either of these, "Maledetto Gringo" is listed on Imdb.

The thing you got to remember is that Eastwood wouldn't have been Blondie, Manco, or Joe he would have been some other character, Wallach wouldn't have been Tucom and Van Cleef wouldn't have been Angel Eyes or Mortimer. 

It may have been a whole differen't scenario all together with Eastwood, Wallach, and Van Cleef.  You know Elam and the fly was custom made for that lazy eye of his, who knows what Leone would have come up with with different characters.

Clint Eastwood Westerns / Never ceases to amaze me....
« on: July 30, 2007, 04:25:00 PM »
How you discover new details.

I was rewatching FAFDM today and made a new discovery, its one of these great tid bits of info you don't expect to find but never the less you do.

The two pocket watches are not exactly identical!

They are actually a his & hers set, with his watch (the husband's) the one that Indio steals quite a bit larger in diameter than Mortimer's sister's watch.

You can see the difference during the first flashback while they are still in the box at approximately 1:02:35 into the film. You can also see the difference when you know what your looking for at the final shootout while Indio and Monco are holding them.

It is Little Big Man with Chief Dan George

Eastwood News / Re: Morricone Concert
« on: February 02, 2007, 04:57:16 PM »
some of us from the Sergio Leone web board are meeting at 4PM at Virgils Texas BBQ on 152 W 45 Street, stop by & say hello, reservations are under DeStefano

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