Arthur Lyons's Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir PDF

By Arthur Lyons

ISBN-10: 0306809966

ISBN-13: 9780306809965

Robert Mitchum as soon as commented to Arthur Lyons approximately his videos of the Nineteen Forties and Fifties: "Hell, we didn't be aware of what movie noir used to be in these days. We have been simply making videos. Cary supply and the entire colossal stars at RKO received the entire lighting fixtures. We lit our units with cigarette butts." movie noir was once made to reserve for the "B," or most economical, a part of the motion picture double invoice. It used to be more cost-effective to supply since it made do with much less lights, smaller casts, constrained units, and compact tale lines--about con males, killers, cigarette women, crooked law enforcement officials, down-and-out boxers, and calculating, scheming, very lethal ladies. In demise at the affordable, Arthur Lyons entertainingly seems on the historical past of the B motion picture and the way it ended in the style that may become referred to as noir, a style that a long time later will be remodeled in such "neo-noir" motion pictures as Pulp Fiction, Fargo, and L.A. private. The booklet, loaded with motion picture stills, additionally encompasses a witty and informative filmography (including video resources) of B motion pictures that experience mostly been neglected or neglected--"lost" to most of the people yet now restored to their rightful position in motion picture heritage due to loss of life at the reasonable.

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Other strategies included changing movie bills three cimes a week, holding drawings for money or other prizes, and ineluding live acts with the film. At first, movie rritics as welt as the major studios (which owned 3,000of the 23,000 theaters in. S. thearers would be conversed to doub'te billing, Since A movies were rented out to theaters for a percentage of box office receipts, few exhibitors could a f i d two A movis on a bill. The resrrlt was a double bill based on the packaging of one high-budget A film and a low-budget B feature rented out for a flat rate.

In one such film, Hunted Men (1938), Lloyd Nolan plays a gangster on the lam who hides out in the hame of an unsuspectinf: suburbmite family. Nolan is eventually discovered by the cops but sarrikes his own life rarher than endanger the family. The Paramount studio heads pushed i;,r a happier ending, as Nolan played a sympachetie character, but screenwriter Womce McCoy (one of the R h k Mask boys) stood firm, foreseeing the effect the hard-boiled writers would have in a few years. Paramount produced two films noirs in the early 1940s: Among the Living ( l 94 1), in which Albert Dekker played identical twins, one good and one homicidal, and Sheet of Chance ( 1942), taken from Cornell Woolrich's novel The B h k C u r ~ n .

A new policy thus developed in the industry whereby the large studios increasingly took on the role of financiers and distributors of independent production companies' products. The final nail was driven into the majors' monqolies in 1948 when the AntiTrust Cammission, not satisfied with the results of the Consent Decree, ordered the five studios that continued to own theatrical venues to divest themselves of their exhibition outlets. Paramount was the frrst to comply in 1949, followed by RKO a year later, Fox in 1952, and Warner Brothers in 1953.

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Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir by Arthur Lyons


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