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December 06, 2010


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Good Lord, he looks like Henry Fonda in that top picture!

Grant L

That's what I was going to say, too..."damn, another edition of the Grapes of Wrath is out?"


Wow, same here. I thought "Hank's looking a little bug-eyed in that shot." Took only about 2 seconds to realize it wasn't Fonda, but still.

Saw Cook recently in the late Roy Ward Baker's DON'T BOTHER TO KNOCK, an unusual and effective psychological drama. It's fun seeing seeing Cook in a substantial role that doesn't call for him to be a flunkie or weirdo.

Glenn Kenny

To paraphrase Carl Denham, I sweat blood to come up with a swell blog post and all anybody can talk about is how much Cook looks like Hank Fonda! What I see in Cook is what Fonda would have looked like had you given him a verbal dressing-down every day for ten years running, and then starved him in an attic for a month. Even in repose, he gives off a way tetchier vibe than Fonda...


So what are the fairly obvious reasons this isn't the first noir? European noirs that preceded it? If so, is this the first American noir? I'm sure you could find noir elements in a lot of earlier films - say, FURY for example, or THE INFORMER, or many of the 30s Chan and Moto films for that matter - but none quite seem like noirs on the whole.


Asher... step away from the noir can of worms.... slowly...


Glenn Kenny

Asher, not to fly in the face of J. Bryant's sage advice, but I'm distrustful of the whole naming-of-firsts habit as a whole, to begin with. Second, not enough GUILT. Third, not enough sex. To call it the first noir is an interesting hook to be sure; it's just not the way I've ever looked at the picture, is all.

Kent Jones

Elisha Cook looks like Henry Fonda? Because they both wore caps?


No. The cap, however, highlights the similarities in their eyes and smile. And anyway, the point is that Cook resembles Fonda in that one picture, not overall, so sure, the cap plays a big part.



I'm sure we could think of a lot of pretty sexless noirs, though. It's like what Wittgenstein said about games; there is no group of qualities - probably not even any single quality - that all noirs share, just family resemblances. That said, I missed seeing this one at the DC Noir festival a couple months back, so I'll take your word for it that it's not quite a noir.

Glenn Kenny

Oh, please, don't take my word on anything pertaining to categories; what's it matter in the end, anyway. You should just totally see the film, it's fabulous.

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