Film Noir Dreamscapes

I stopped a film noir midway through this afternoon to have a nap, and had a dream to rival one of Adrian’s! I entered into the dream smack bang embroiled in the slowly brewing action, involved with a man in a sharp suit, and a large bag filled with a lot of money. Clearly, these plot elements entered my subconscious directly from the film I had stopped, Killer Bait a.k.a. Too Late For Tears (Byron Haskin, 1949). The film “stars” Lizabeth Scott as the femme fatale who has an okay role as a woman who drives her own life, murdering her husband while desperate for money, but can’t act for peanuts. (“You know, tiger? I didn’t know they made ’em as beautiful as you, and as smart. Or as hard,” says Dan Duryea, absolutely one of my favourite eager slime balls and an actor that Farran Nehme describes as “one of the movies’ most reliable sadists.”) I had been given a large brown leather gladstone bag filled with money, in an underground car garage in somebody else’s apartment building, although the details of my obtaining this bag are hazy. I’m sure that’s what I told the crook who was after me, too. I met this man later that night, or perhaps early the next morning, on the corner of a street, tightly surrounded by canted buildings and streets, and I new he was about to shoot me. I stuttered, and eyed the gun he held at his right hip. I said, “I’ll never give you the money,” and then people started appearing on the streets in their dressing gowns, anxious to eye off the disturbance in the neighbourhood. And he couldn’t kill me in plain sight! His gun disappeared and I ran. At home, in my small apartment, I plugged in and opened my laptop, as I most often do, and went to work cooking up a recipe of explosives (I hope with several slugs of whiskey at my disposal). I looked up minutes later to see that above the table, the devices attached power system had caught fire as it had overheated. I grabbed whatever glasses of water I could from the clutter on the bench, refilling a few more and put out most of the fire, slapping the table hard to abolish the final simmering flames. Then I looked down to the floor, and a mysterious steam was drifting from the cords at the power source, blocking out whatever power source there might have been from visibility. It was almost something like the heavy fog from Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan, 1981), or Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955), something sinister brewing from an evil source. Perhaps Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Surely this was the end of me?!

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But then I awoke. I’m sure this dream was also influenced by my leaving our house yesterday due to visible smoke from a nearby (very small) bushfire — I don’t often have dreams so elaborate or vivid. When I awoke from this dream I had an update from the CFA that the fire in question was expected to be controlled by this evening; also, to a large storm that had descended on the city. Strong, loud wind is careening outside my building, and the sea has changed colour from a sparkling blue to a dark slate, as it does when the blue sky disappears and clouds turn grey. Clusters of sea vapour are forming above the ocean’s surface, carrying with the wind. Hopefully this arrival of a storm won’t mean more lightning-activated bush or grass fires, although I think a few more have started. Anyway, here’s to more vivid, noirish dreams like this one!

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About cinemelo

I love to write about film and comment on culture. Hopefully providing insight and interesting thoughts for fellow cultural itinerants.
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