The Hitch-Hiker, and a noir-box recap

Sometimes the best things come to you when you least expect them. I was feeling pretty drained from laboring over my review of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (I just don't get tired of typing that), and writing on my nanonovel was not progressing, so I decided to play hooky from writing and watch the last film in my film noir box instead: the Hitch-Hiker. And I think it might be my favorite of the bunch.

It's directed by a woman, Ida Lupino (who I liked a lot in They Drive By Night), yet it features only men, three men, to be exact, two hostages and one man with a gun. A very sadistic, trigger-happy man with a gun. The music is amazing, notable also for its absence in some thrilling scenes. At one moment, the hitch-hiker forces some shooting-practice, and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.

So, then, the recap. All ten films, listed from best to worst (in my opinion, of course), with grades. Letter grades, for some reason.

The Hitch-Hiker A
Detour A
D.O.A. A-
Scarlet Street A-
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers B
Quicksand B-
Impact B-
Trapped B-
He walked by night C+
Whistle Stop C-

If there is a trend at all in the above, it's that a) I like my noirs on the road b) I like em dark, though the Hitch-Hiker has a fairly happy ending and c) I like Edmond O'Brien.

I've been thinking a lot about why I love noir so much, lately. It's partly due to my love for genre pictures: I think often the most interesting art comes from having to operate within boundaries or conventions. There's a reason there's so many great sonnets, too.

Still, that's not the only thing. Westerns are very genre-y movies as well, and I like them, but after watching The Searchers and Red River not too long ago, it's becoming all too clear that while I like westerns, they often don't put a grin on my face like noirs do. I suppose part of it is that I'm a city person, and not really a nature lover. I considered that maybe it had to do with me being a verbal rather than a visual person, but I also prefer the style of noirs to that of westerns. This is all a rambling way to say: I really don't know. What I do know is that I'm glad I put all those noirs on my Sinterklaas wish list.

1 comment:

Justine said...

I still need to see this film, which is somewhat embarassing for me, having just done a class presentation on Ida Lupino two weeks ago. She's an extremely interesting woman, and there is no doubt a great actress and director. I think given better budgets she could have been one of the greats.