Tag Archives: Joseph H Lewis

The Fog of War and Noir

I’ve been wanting to start up a screenshot series for a while, but have been trying to think of a different spin to do on it. The easy way, and the way I’ve done on Row Three in the past, is just to find a striking shot and post it with minimal commentary. But anyone can do that, and I have to make things harder on myself than that. At least I have to try – it may devolve to that before long. My friend Ryan at The Matinee does a great job of using a screenshot to lead into a critical point about the film as extrapolated from that one shot in his Freeze Frame series – I want to do something like that but not EXACTLY like that.

So we come to this. I’m going to pick TWO shots. It’ll either be two shots from the same film and I’ll talk about how the two shots together play into the meaning of the film, or two shots from different films and I’ll talk about how they echo each other or play into a comparison of the two films.

Endings: Casablanca (1943) and The Big Combo (1955)

Spoilers for both films.

When I watched The Big Combo recently for the Movie Club Podcast, I was struck by how obviously the last scene echoed the end of Casablanca. Both films end in airport hanger, in the fog, with the final confrontation between two groups of people, one trying to arrest or kill the other. Yet the way we read these scenes and the people in them is completely different.

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