Noir City: A KISS BEFORE DYING and THE HARDER THEY FALL

Still sick AF and nobody wants to kiss me right now except my dog Django, but hey, that’s not gonna stop me from my sworn duty to cover these great flicks. Let’s get started.

First up, A KISS BEFORE DYING.

If you’re still grumpy about last night’s color flick, I got some bad news. Here we go again.

An unplanned pregnancy throws a monkey wrench into Robert Wagner’s plans to woo a wealthy mining magnate’s daughter. Clearly, his only option is to kill the pregnant girlfriend and cozy up to her sister. As one does.

Unlike last night’s feature BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, I actually would have liked this flick much better if it were in black and white. Especially considering that it was directed by Gerd Oswald, who would go on to bring a decidedly noir-ish sensibility to THE OUTER LIMITS.

See, isn’t that so much better than this:

This isn’t a bad film, but it’s not exactly a great film either. It’s got some clever ideas and does a decent job cranking up the suspense. Plus there’s definitely something darkly meta about watching young Robert Wagner push his girlfriend off the roof of a tall building, knowing what would happen to Natalie Wood 25 years later. But for some reason it just never really grabs me. Maybe because I’m much more forgiving of black and white films. Maybe because it seems to drag on way longer than it needed to. Your millage may vary.

Next up, a film that is great. THE HARDER THEY FALL.

Humphrey Bogart plays a hard luck newspaper man who gets dragged down into the corrupt and seedy underbelly of the boxing racket when an unethical promoter (Rod STEI-gah!) hires him to build up a na├»ve beast of a heavyweight from Argentina. The kid can’t punch his way out of a paper bag, but that won’t stop him from winning all his fixed fights. Of course, this isn’t gonna end well for anybody. After all, it’s Noir City.

This is Bogart’s last film, and it’s fucking superb. Often lauded as one of the best boxing movies of all time, it’s bleak and gritty, even heartbreaking at times. And I’m a sucker for a noir flick about a writer. I’m not gonna say more other than go watch it. What? Are you waiting for me to count three, like in the movies?

Tonight is another double bill that hurts to miss. THE MIDNIGHT STORY and MONKEY ON MY BACK, two rarer flicks that I haven’t seen. I’m gonna scrounge around and see if I can find a way to play along at home, so stay tuned.

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1 Response to Noir City: A KISS BEFORE DYING and THE HARDER THEY FALL

  1. Alicia Reyna says:

    Hello! I’m an English teacher 29 years, just read Money Shot loved it!! Loved the dialogue, action, etc. But Malloy???? Really? Couldn’t believe that one, but necessary for main character to do her own thing at the end. Anyway, absolutely loved it. She’s a witty, smart lady who defies stereotypes. And it’s TRUE, we treat sex workers like crap! That always gets me. Why hasn’t this book been made into a movie????

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