Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Nightmare Alley |
Fox Film Noir
Actors: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray, Helen Walker, Taylor Holmes
Director: Edmund Goulding
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
In this engaging melodrama, Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power) is a lowlife working in a carnival. Knowing a good con when he sees one, he learns the tricks of a mind-reading act from Zeena (Joan Blondell), then tosses her as... more »
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The darkest of noirs & Tyrone Power's finest performance!
Dave | Tennessee United States | 06/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tyrone Power stars as Stanton Carlisle, a nobody working in a carnival who dreams of hitting the "big time". Stanton is having an affair with Zeena (Joan Blondell), whose drunk husband Pete is too out of it to notice...or care. Zeena and Pete perform a mindreading act via a special code they've worked out, but when Pete dies from a tragic accident (because of Stanton) Stanton becomes Zeena's partner in the mindreading act. Stanton feels guilty about Pete's death, however, and he also grows tired of Zeena's company, so he seduces the young and sexy Molly (Coleen Gray), who performs an "electrifying" act at the carnival while wearing close to nothing.
After Molly and Stanton give in to mutual lust, the carny people find out and force the two to marry. Accepting his fate bravely, Stanton and his new bride start touring the country with the same mindreading act that Zeena had taught him. Before long Stanton is known as "The Great Stanton" and his fame and fortune increase. After meeting the crafty psychiatrist Lilith (Helen Walker), Stanton comes up with his most ruthless plan yet: exploit wealthy men and women who've lost loved ones in the past by pretending to contact their dead lost loves or relatives. Stanton uses both his wife and Lilith in the scheme but it all comes crashing to an end when Molly breaks down and refuses to go on tormenting their naive "victims".
"The Great Stanton" is then reduced to hiding from the police after being betrayed by Lilith. He sends Molly back to the carnival where they first met while he begins a downward spiral made worse by alcoholism. Eventually he sinks even lower than Pete had and he gets hired by the carnival to play the "geek", an animal-like creature that bites the heads off chickens. Stanton finally loses control of himself and Molly discovers that her once great husband is now a raving psycho. "Nightmare Alley" was Tyrone Power's best performance and it was also one of the darkest noirs ever made (probably why it wasn't very successful in 1947). Power fought hard to get the role of Stanton Carlisle, and although Stanton was the flawed anti-hero you couldn't help but pity him, especially towards the end.
It's a good thing that Fox finally released this underated and neglected gem on dvd, because despite it's reputation as a cult classic I doubt if many movie buffs have been able to see it until now. The picture quality isn't perfect but is more than acceptable and the sound is great. Bonus features for "Nightmare Alley" include commentary from film noir historians James Ursini and Alain Silver as well as the original theatrical trailer. This classic noir has an outstanding cast, fine script, haunting music, and incredible cinematography and is sure to please any film noir buff. Highly recommended!"
A Bottle a Day and a Place to Sleep it Off
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 05/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This original top selling novel by William Lindsay Gresham, dealing with alcohol addiction, illegal carnival sideshow freaks, mind reading and especially the spiritualist movement is brought to the screen very effectively with Tyrone Power in one of his best roles as a opportunist looking to make a fortune by hook or crook. The film begins on a traveling Carnival circut where Stan is assisting in a mind reading act. Here also, we find Stan's fascination with the local circus "Geek", essentially a wildman paid to gross out the locals by chewing the heads off of live chickens! He wonders how a man could get so low as to work for a bottle of booze a day in that occupation, but the incident is to have stong implications later. Power then discovers that Joan Blondell and her alcoholic husband were famous nightclub entertainers at one time and he eventually wrestles a secret code from Blondell. Stan then leaves the carnival for fame but his ambition leads him to more than just being an entertainer. He desires to enter "the spook rackets", intending to fleece rich clients for big money. He makes a dark arrangement with a pretty psychologist (placing too much trust in her, he makes a mistake in confessing guilt feelings due to a tragic incident at the carnival for which he feels partially responsible) to gain inside information. Power then becomes "Reverend" Stanton and gains the confidence of a rich industrialist who seeks to contact a dead lover for forgiveness. The scam backfires and Power becomes a man on the run. Eventually Stan drifts back to his circus roots, not the great magician, but a tragic figure, when he is offered a position as a Geek! A great film, a great book!"
Great Ambiance & Acting = Superior Noir
W. H. NOVAK | Hollywood CA | 01/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been collecting noir DVDs for some time and this is a new one for me. It is just great. The "old-time" seedy carnival/sideshow feel is mesmerizing, the photography will put you in a trance and I never thought much of Tyrone Power but he is fantastic in this; I forgot he was a "bigtime actor" because he WAS the character. DVD quality for an old movie is top notch. Unusual for a noir too because there are no gangsters and I don't remember seeing a gun-- it's pure noir without the gangster baggage. If you have the mildest interest in noir you will love this."
VERY DARK (AND VERY GOOD) NOIR...
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 06/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I waited years to finally see this rare film and am not disappointed. Much thanks to Fox for bringing this gem out at last. "Nightmare Alley" is unlike other noirs of the '40's in that it is a very dark and very sinister piece indeed. Tyrone Power gives what must have been an overlooked performance as Carlisle Stanton, a sideshow hustler who cons his way to the top of the "spiritualist" racket only to realize his own worst nightmare. To give that away would be to give away the punch this film has. "Alley" boasts first rate performances from Power, Joan Blondell as Zeena the carnival mind reader who invests too much in Stanton, pretty Coleen Gray as an "electrifying" side show attraction who's forced to marry Stanton by "carnival code", and especially Helen Walker as a pseudo-psychologist with a racket of her own. Everything about this film is dark, sleazy and fascinating from start to finish. Very adult for the era which may be why it wasn't more popular. It depicts a very tragic, dim and sordid view of alcoholism as well. Not since "Freaks" have I seen a more potent look at carnival life and all it's sensationalism and huckstering---including the "geek" which is a freak of a different kind. Directed by the esteemed Edmund Goulding from the novel and produced by George Jessel(!), "Nightmare Alley" is a must see for noir purists and a collector's item of a very rare vintage. The DVD is a good print considering the film's rarity and the music score reminds me of a horror film---intense and creepy. Just enjoy---and watch out for those Tarot cards."