Bon Appetit: My Favorite Noir Dinner Guests

Just one pie recipe. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Just one pie recipe. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

What noir characters would you like to have for dinner? This was a question posed to Dark Pages readers several years ago by one of our longtime subscribers, Weda Mosellie. Miss Weda passed on earlier this year, so in her memory, it’s a pleasure to respond to this question today. Pass the peas and park your gat at the door…

1. Mildred Pierce (Mildred Pierce)

We both have two daughters – I can imagine that we’d have lots to talk about. Plus, maybe she’d share some of her pie recipes with me.

2. Doc Reidenschneider (The Asphalt Jungle)

He was such a charming older gentleman – refined and cultured. But speaking of daughters, I’d have to keep this guy far, far away from mine. (You know how he is.)

3. Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep)

Moe Williams was quite a character. (And Skip was easy on the eyes!)

Moe Williams was quite a character. (And Skip was easy on the eyes!)

He was cool, attractive, intelligent, and fearless. And I’d love to ask him who killed the chauffeur in that famous Sternwood case. I never could figure that one out.

4. Moe Williams (Pickup on South Street)

Moe was a sweetheart. Kinda rough around the edges, but I’ll bet she had a wealth of stories to share about life on the riverfront. Plus she was good friends with that adorable Skip McCoy. Ahem.

5. Jeff Hartnett (Johnny Eager)

I might have to monitor his alcohol intake, but I’d love to talk to him – he was so intelligent and well-read…not to mention kinda cute!

That Debby sure likes to gab.

That Debby sure likes to gab.

6. Debby Marsh (The Big Heat)

This gal was a hoot – brash, snarky, and full of fun. I wouldn’t serve coffee after dinner, though.

7. Harry Fabian (Night and the City)

Maybe he could come up with an idea for a successful get-rich-quick scheme for the two of us – so he could “be somebody” and I could buy a new car.

8. Nora Prentiss (Nora Prentiss)

Streetwise and sassy, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind singing us a tune or two after dessert.

We could spent the whole party listening to this guy.

We could spent the whole party listening to this guy.

9. Barton Keyes (Double Indemnity)

If he’d stop complaining about his “little man,” this fella could be quite entertaining.

10. Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard)

Come on – what would a fancy gathering be without Norma? She’s a must-invite dinner party delight! Oh, the tales she could tell about Old Hollywood! Plus, she really needs to get out more.

So that’s it – my film noir dinner party. Who would you have at your table?

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 14, 2013.

16 Responses to “Bon Appetit: My Favorite Noir Dinner Guests”

  1. Very funny! I’d add ‘Red Kluger’ ( Charles McGraw in The Threat). Trouble is he wouldn’t be much of a talker,always looking over his shoulder to see if the cops had caught up with him.

  2. Doc Reidenschneider is a great pick. And don’t worry about your daughters, all he ever did was look.
    Jeff Hartnett – have an extra bed available- I think he’ll be so soused, you’ll want him to sleep it off, not send him away.
    Nora Desmond – brilliant choice – but definitely a high maintenance guest.
    And Edmond O’Brien from DOA – he’d eat and run.

  3. And since you mentioned Mildred Pierce – for me. she has too much baggage for good conversation. Now, Wally Fay (Jack Carson) can come over for dinner anytime. What was it about that Jack Carson specialty? He’s the sexy jerk you love to love. But he could equally well just be a lovable and loving character in other movies. Very versatile performer.

  4. Live dangerously, my guests:
    Kitty Collins from The Killers
    Coral Chandler from Dead Reckoning
    Phyllis Diedrickson from Double Indemnity
    Edna Tucker from Force of Evil
    Kathie Moffat from Out of he Past
    Alice Reed from The Woman in the Window
    Lili Marlowe from Private Hell 36
    Elsa Bannister from the Lady From Shanghai
    Marianne Lorress from A Lady Without Passport
    Claire Cummings from Blonde Ice
    Of course, i would have to frisk them at the door and use plastic for silverware, what kind of fool do you think I am?

  5. I think your list is great, but I’d add Jeff from Out of the Past, as he seems to need some cheering up, Skip McCoy(Pick Up on South Street), Julia (My Name is Julia Ross) to let her have a meal with normal folks, and Bart Tare(Gun Crazy), to get him away from that crazy woman, Annie Starr!!

  6. What a fab dinner party this would be! And I’m so glad Barton Keyes made the list. I adore that character, even with all his fussiness.

  7. I know Sidney Greenstreet was only in some noir precursors, (The Maltese Falcon, Three Strangers, Mask of Dimitrios), but one feels that even a villainous Greenstreet be an amiable and jovial dinner guest. He might have a minion drug everyone’s wine and ransack the place, but when the guests came to, they wouldn’t believe that the jovial fat gentleman was responsible.
    And don’t forget Vincent Price who did some great oily turns in Noir. He might be snide, clever, charming, or all three. But he wouldn’t steal any silver.
    I think Neville Brand would accompany one of the other guests, but he would eat in the kitchen and finger his weapon.

    And how about Lawrence Tierney? Oh no, don’t even let him know where you live! He’d seduce the hostess, pistol whip the host , rob the guests, steal your car, take your daughter to another state. (The Mann Act? HA! ) He’d seduce the innocent and use her as a patsy in some felony. Then he’d dump her. And yet she would pine for him from prison. Oh, and she’d bear his devil spawn behind bars and have to give it up for adoption. That’s the good scenario, because usually Tierney’s used up females just commit suicide. Yup, keep Tierney away.

  8. I’m a bit behind on my blog reading but so glad I saw this on my reader. Excellent! Very clever post. I like #2 Doc Reidenschneider. Just watched The Asphalt Jungle recently, it’s one of my favorites, and he’s such a fascinating character.

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