Film Noir : What Film Noir did you see?:January/February Edition.

Re: Mr. Denning Drives North (1951)

I love this one. Hard to go wrong with this cast of UK vets. Tick is snaking its way your way.

Re: Mr. Denning Drives North (1951)

Never heard of this one, but it sounds great. Thanks for the review, I will check it out.

Take My Life (1947)

Take My Life (1947): Successful opera singer Greta Gynt and her husband Hugh Williams have a marital quarrel over an ex of Williams. Gynt accidentally hurts Williams on his forehead, and he walks out to cool down. At the same time, his ex is strangled by another man, but not before she hits him over the head with a vase, also leaving him with a scar on his forehead. A man spots the killer, and based on items found with the ex linking her to Williams and the man thinking he recognizes Williams due to his scar and overall resemblance, Williams is arrested. Because they're ashamed and not understanding the severity of the situation, both Williams and Gynt initially give conflicting statements about their quarrel, digging a deeper hole for Williams. Gynt has to try and find the real killer before Williams is convicted in a seemingly clear case.

In some ways this movie is nothing special, the story (based on a play) is good but not too surprising. The acting is also solid throughout with the gorgeous Gyn ('Dear Murderer') standing out with a nuanced and great performance. However, the execution is exceptional and this is where this movie impresses. First time director, and former cinematographer, Ronald Neame ('The Poseidon Adventure') plays with the narrative structure by using prosecutor Francis L. Sullivan ('Night And The City') to tell the story in voice over, as he presents his case to the court. As Sullivan reconstructs the murder, using Williams as the killer, the murder is shown, but with the real killer who does resemble Williams, disorienting the viewer. It's a small but clever trick that works, and even brings Hitchcock to mind (as do other scenes, especially in the way tension and suspense is created). His direction is focused while also managing to be playful and interesting. He is also helped tremendously by the excellent cinematography of Guy Green ('Great Expectations', future director of 'Portrait Of Alison', another great Britnoir). There are lots of shadows, stark lights, clever camera positions, but always in service of the movie. Neame and Green manage to turn a good movie into a great and stylish Britnoir/thriller, I was highly impressed by the visual and narrative language they used. A bit of a hidden gem? In any case, highly recommended! 8/10

This movie can be found on youtube in decent but slightly hazy quality, but I'm hoping UK's Network will release it at some point. It's right up their alley and this Britnoir deserves a nice, cleaned up release.

Re: Take My Life (1947)

Thanks for the reminder here. I saw this many moons ago and liked it, so I must dig out the dvd copy a friend sent me last year. He says it is a nice looking print. And of course a tick has been sent.

Re: Take My Life (1947)

Hi Xhc,I hope you had a happy Christmas and that 2017 is going well for you,and I want to say thank you for a great review (which I've ticked) of this obscure Brit Noir. From the clever tricks that you praise,it sounds like the movie freed itself from some of the straight-forward delivery Noir from the stage (such as Home At 7) struggles with.

Xhc:



Re: Take My Life (1947)

Best Wishes to you too!

From the clever tricks that you praise,it sounds like the movie freed itself from some of the straight-forward delivery Noir from the stage (such as Home At 7) struggles with.

Absolutely. Home At Seven is a good Britnoir, but you are right, it is hampered by staying too close to its stage origins.

Re: Take My Life (1947)

Reads as a goodie, great find, defo onto my list. looks like another worthy addition to the great year of 1947. Neame also directed the sadly under seen Golden Salamander (1950).

XX

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Noir Tv: "Dead Level" 1954 A Crackerjack bit of live television

CONTAINS SPOILERS

INNER SANCTUM "Dead Level" 1954

INNER SANCTUM was a television series that ran for 40 episodes during 1954. It was based on the long running radio program (1941-1952) of the same name. It presented various mystery, terror and thriller stories. (There was also a b-film series released by Universal Studios in the 40's)

In this one, we have Walter Brooke ending up at the wrong end of a pretty blonde. Brooke is a hearse driver for a funeral home. He is putting the hearse away for the day when he is approached by Jean Carson. Carson offers the man a cool thousand dollars for a small favour. The favour, simply pick up a stiff and haul it to a cemetery.

Of course she wants to avoid all the messy paperwork and such. The reason is the stiff is a man whom she has murdered. Brooke is a bit leery about the idea, but he could use the cash. He agrees to the deal and drives to the address Carson gives him. Inside he finds a bloody stiff propped up on a chair.

Brooke now decides that any amount of cash is not enough, and heads for the door. His exit is blocked by a Police Detective answering a shooting call. The Detective, Ralph Bell asks Brooke who he is and did he make the call. Brooke tells Bell that he was just leaving and there was no shooting here, someone must be pulling a gag. The Detective then leaves and Miss Carson puts in an appearance.

Some verbal prodding from Carson soon has Brooke back to work hauling out the stiff, John McQuade. Brooke has just finished tucking McQuade into a casket when the Detective reappears with a few more questions about the phone call. Once Detective Bell moves on, a completely rattled Brooke drives off to meet Carson at the cemetery. This, "easy" thousand bucks is turning into a nightmare of raw nerves.

Brooke hooks up with Carson and prepares to plant the coffin in a handy grave. The coffin though is now empty, which pushes Brooke closer to the edge. Now the cop, Bell shows again. Bell had followed Brooke from the apartment. Now we find out that Carson is in fact married to Detective Bell. Bell had suspected that the dear wife had been stepping out on him. The deal here is that Bell believes the paramour is Brooke.

There is a brisk struggle for Bell's gun and Bell goes down. Carson is seems had been stepping out on Bell, but with McQuade who turns out to be quite alive. They had tricked Brooke into helping them get rid of the hubby, Bell. Bell is soon stuffed in the coffin and buried.

Needless to say that Carson and McQuade's perfect plan hits a speed bump. Brooke has cracked under the stress of being used as a fall guy. Miss Carson and her lover are soon at the killing end of the gun themselves.

A pretty nifty little episode which just features the four actors. They all hit their marks delivering a tasty bit of evil.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)...

....an old fave of mine. It starts out with three teens in 1928, one of them an heiress. This girl murders her aunt. The rest of the film is set in 1946, and it revolves around the three characters and the results of that murder. Wonderful noir. The first 15 minutes (the part set in 1928) has a truly gothic feel to it. Great soundtrack by Miklos Rosza. Highly recommended.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

Excellent noir, I should watch it again soon, it's been a while...

One of my favorite noir shots is from this movie:
https://media.giphy.com/media/GsmLBR8LHmsJa/giphy.gif

Re: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

Thanks for that link! Geez, Barbara Stanwyck sure knew how to play those evil characters...

This film is a good one to revisit every so often.



~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)...

....another favourite of mine. It's been awhile since I've seen it.

A concentration camp survivor takes on the identity of her friend (who didn't survive the camp) in order to be a mother to the dead woman's young son. She marries the young son's guardian and then she begins to fear a couple of people in the household. Great suspenseful noir with somewhat of a gothic feel to it.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

'Telegraph Hill' has a great setting of San Francisco as well as a somewhat gothic feel. I like the way that it turns from cosy and charming into a feeling of tenseness much like 'The Stranger' and some Hitchcock films.

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

Oh, the San Francisco scenery is great! I really like all the hills & the streetcars. My brother visited there about 10 years ago with some friends, and they spent a lot of time riding the streetcars. It's something that we don't have in my neck of the woods. There are streetcars in some Canadian cities (like Toronto), but in my city, they haven't existed since the early fifties.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

I notice that a lot of TV movies for Lifetime are filmed in Canada. And sometimes towns in Canada are substituted for US towns in the story.

I think that I can remember some complaints on the message boards for those dramas when Vancouver has been used to represent San Francisco. I can remember being impressed by Vancouver as a San Franciscan setting.

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

Some people were complaining about the fact that some San Francisco scenes were shot in Vancouver?

I think that the filmmakers have their reasons for choosing to film certain scenes in certain places (outside of where the movie is actually set).

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

From what I can gather shooting movies in Canada is done for economic reasons. I actually think a lot of the made-in-Canada films are usually beautifully scenic.

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

Good one. I need to rewatch it. Female lead is Valentina Cortesa - the unforgettable lady of substance from Thieves' Highway - and the fella playing her hubby is Richard Basehart who Val was married to in real life, and who also - BTW - stars in one of my very favourite noirs, He Walked by Night, shot by the legendary John Alton, from which Carrol Reed stole - borrowed - the sewer shots for his Third Man. He Walked is Public Domain so look for it on archive.org or youtube.

If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

Valentina Cortesa literally played that entire role (in Telegraph Hill) with her eyes and facial expressions. That's a sign of a fantastic actress.

~~~~~
Proud to be Canadian! 🇨🇦

Re: The House on Telegraph Hill (1950s)

Even more motivation for my rewatch... if I can find my DVD - might be in storage... but if it is I can enjoy Cortesa in Thieves' Highway for a thousandth time.

If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.

"The Woman in the Window" (1940s)

The Woman in the Window (1940s)...

...another fave of mine, about a professor who gets into a bit of trouble when he meets the woman who posed for a portrait which he admires. I don't even have a problem with the ending.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Aussie Noir: Mystery Road (2013)


"When time has its way with you,not even your dreams can bring it back."


9

* This review may contain spoilers ***

After watching the superb "ripped from the headlines" Aussie Noir mini-series Deep Water recently,I read reviews by a fellow IMDber. Nearing the end of a page,I noticed a tantalising Aussie Noir title.Finding the name of the flick familiar,I found out that it was about to air on TV! Which led to me going down the mystery road.

The plot:

Returning to his old small town where his ex-wife and daughter live, aboriginal Detective Jay Swan is sent to investigate the body of an aboriginal teenage girl found at an "unofficial pit-stop." Learning that her name was Julie Mason,Swan finds out that Mason was an addict,who was a hooker that had sex with truckers at the stop. Searching for info from Mason's pals,Swan tracks down her phone,and finds messages from his daughter. Whilst trying to find out what his daughter is caught up in,Swan begins to notice that a number of his fellow officers appear very keen in stopping from going down a road that gets to the heart of the case,and the town.

View on the film:

Retaining the way he could give a calm situation an underlying sense of menace in the first Matrix flick, Hugo Weaving gives a chilling performance as cop Johnno,whose "friendly" small-talk and shoulder taps to Swan crackle with a sinister unease,whilst Ryan Kwanten (minus his fake Deep South accent from True Blood) gives a creepy performance as Pete Bailey,with Kwanten using space to open the uncomfortable mood between Bailey and Swan. Gliding in wearing cowboy boots and hat, Aaron Pedersen gives a marvellous performance as lone Noir "cowboy" Jay Swan,as Pedersen gives Swan a Noir gravitas over the horrific treatment of fellow aboriginals,with a rebellious kick to clear the town of all the outlaws standing on the road.

Stroking the brittle Noir tension with coiled crane shots scanning the decayed wilderness for figures wanting Swan to not uncover the full mystery,writer/director/editor/cinematographer/composer Ivan Sen breaths unrelenting dread into the landscape,with lingering looks at Swan's face displaying the shot of anxiety cast across his face,as Swan finds himself a Noir loner in a town that wants to keep its mystery.

Hitting Swan with bullets of racism,the screenplay by Sen exposes the mistreatment of aboriginals in its rawest form,where people who live in run-down housing projects are treated like dirt,and Swan's aboriginal roots are mercilessly leaned on for threats. Pulling Mason's body from the roadside,Swan drives down a cracking Noir mystery Thriller. Limiting the violence to short rounds of bloodshed,Sen brilliantly uses the scorching hot setting to give the dialogue a heaviness that is pulled by the murky underbelly that Swan finds under the mystery road.

En la palma de tu mano (1951)

En la palma de tu mano, In the Palm of Your Hand (1951) Mexico Directed by Roberto Gavaldón...

This marvellous film's dramatic tone is set in motion from the opening credit roll which is punctuated with a highly evocative and intensely jarring musical score.
An excellent cleverly crafted tale unfolds of a con-man fortune teller who preys upon vulnerable women brought to his attention by his girlfriend accomplice. She overhears all the gossip and backgrounds working in the local beauty saloon.

When the chance comes to scam a recently widowed beauty for a slice of her million dollar inheritance, Profesor Karin (Arturo de Córdova) seizes the opportunity. Complicating his plans however is the alluring beauty and ruthless underlying nature of his intended victim Ada Cisneros de Romano (Leticia Palma).

Suspicious of her part in the husband's death, Karin begins to blackmail but Ada is one hard-boiled femme fatale, the story surprisingly twists and turns as each try to gain the upper-hand.

Great atmospheric cinematography with shadowy interiors and dimly lit narrow alley ways, portray a fatalistic noir world, flashbacks and excellent performances make this a real treat for all enthusiasts... Leticia Palma!!!!

Re: En la palma de tu mano (1951)

I just looked it up, it gets nothing but praise. It's on youtube, unfortunately without subtitles.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: En la palma de tu mano (1951)

I've become a bit of a MovieDetictive.net and have uncovered some great rare gems on DVD+R with Eng subtitles...

Happy Viewing...

Re: En la palma de tu mano (1951)

Thanks, I'll check that out.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: En la palma de tu mano (1951)

Hi Planet X,thank you for the excellent review of this obscure Mexican Noir,and recently you came to mind which I caught an Aussie Noir I think you would enjoy:Mystery Road (2013)



www.imdb.com/title/tt2236054/

Re: En la palma de tu mano (1951)

Thanks MDF... Inspired by your recommendation and intrigued by your great review I now have a copy of Mystery Road on the way. From my local perspective I will get back here and let you know my thoughts on the film...

Re: two starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney

Tonight, I'll be watching two noirs starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney:

Laura

Where the Sidewalk Ends


~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: two starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney

Excellent duo. Excellent movies.

You have a public position for the idiots and the real position you keep to yourself HRC

Re: two starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney

I've liked those two films ever since I first saw them (maybe about 11 or 12 years ago).

Laura is extremely far-fetched (I doubt that any cop in real life would conduct an investigation that way), but it works. Where the Sidewalk Ends is very atmospheric. Dark mood, shadows, staircases, shady characters....

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: two starring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney


I doubt that any cop in real life would conduct an investigation that way


I absolutely love how he crosses that line without even quite knowing he's doing it. It's like the kid going into the singer's apartment in Blue Velvet - which is a great, great Neo/Psycho Noir but very disturbing so approach with caution - rated r for all kinds of reasons.


If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.

Where does the sidewalk end?

Why the gutter of course!

Great film

The Spikeopath - Hospital Number 217

Re: Where does the sidewalk end?

The gutter?

Hmm...that's where my mind ends up sometimes.

I agree that Where the Sidewalk Ends is a great film.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Treasury Men In Action/Federal Men: The Case Of The Frightened Man (1955

Treasury Men In Action/Federal Men: The Case Of The Frightened Man (1955): Crook Carl Milletaire and sidekick John Marley buy themselves into Frank Ferguson's shellac and paint business, so they can use his license for tax-free 'denatured' alcohol to make illegal whiskey with. The treasury department gets wind of Ferguson's sudden heavy ordering of the tax-free alcohol, and chief Walter Greaza and agent John Stephenson start an investigation. Meanwhile Ferguson's tipped off by his young son about the illegal liquor but is too scared to do anything about it. But his son isn't.

Promising to depict real stories taken from the treasury department's case files, 'Treasury Men In Action' (syndicated as 'Federal Men') ran for 5 seasons. But only some episodes from its final season survived. Given that each episode lasted only 30 minutes, it's surprising how slow this episode feels. Or maybe it's because too much time is spent on the squeaky-clean kid complaining to his dad that he should stand up to the crooks and won't be able to look up at him anymore if he doesn't etc... There also isn't too much action, Ferguson gets a few punches (but his glasses remain intact) and that's it. The only noteworthy part worth mentioning is that the DoP for this episode was none other than Joseph F. Biroc ('Cry Danger', 'World For Ransom', 'It's A Wonderful World' and future Oscar winner for 'The Towering Inferno'). He doesn't perform any lensing magic tho, probably because of the TV format/constraints. All in all, this episode didn't make me want to track down the other remaining episodes. 5/10

Most/all remaining episodes of this series are available on youtube, some people even created playlists for them, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5ZciI8t_SM&list=PLdLaGME37zB0nNPd-WsRHHUl10vCzlz1O

Re: Treasury Men In Action/Federal Men: The Case Of The Frightened Man (

Some of these are quite good, and others, like this one very dull. Keep them coming.

Re: Treasury Men In Action/Federal Men: The Case Of The Frightened Man (

A wonderful review Xhc,and are there any big names that appear in the surviving eps?


The Garment Jungle (1957)

Racket Noir

The Garment Jungle is Noir with a social conscience, in a way a throwback to 30s Warner Bros movies and a precursor of 60s social consciousness dramas. Made for Columbia, the picture is atypical in its strongly pro-Union stance, with a plea for better working conditions for garment workers. The Garment Jungle has received a lot of mediocre to downright negative reviews over the years, not in the least because it is quite often unfairly compared to the admittedly superior On The Waterfront.
I was however very pleasantly surprised by it and have found a new favorite. So let me come to the defense of a movie that is an absorbing human drama, maybe not in the same league as its more famous predecessor but a little gem nevertheless.

Two directors are credited with the movie, Robert Aldrich and Vincent Sherman. Aldrich had almost completed the movie when, five days before wrapping, he was fired (or quit, depends on who’s telling the story) and replaced by Sherman. Sherman supposedly reshot quite a few scenes, but to me it is Aldrich who left his indelible mark on the movie. As a director Aldrich had a much harder edge than Sherman who was known as a woman’s director with a strong affinity for melodrama. Aldrich was a man’s director, he favored themes of corruption, evil, cynicism and brutality, he didn’t shy away from showing life’s uglier side. In one interview Aldrich stated that he was interested in “the struggle for self-determination…the struggle for what a character wants his life to be…” against all odds. I would also suggest that it was Aldrich who kept possible love scenes that had the potential to become sentimental short because romance was not the focus of the picture.
Having two directors made the movie without a doubt uneven, and I believe if Aldrich had been left entirely in charge the movie could have become a real classic.

The cinematography by Joseph Biroc is very good, with a few (unfortunately not enough) on-location scenes in New York which are a treat for every Noir fan.

Lee J. Cobb plays garment factory owner Walter Mitchell who’s willing to go to great length to fight his employees' efforts to unionize. They want better wages, better working conditions and other benefits. For years Mitchell has relied on mobster and union buster Artie Ravidge (Richard Boone) and his muscle to see to the less savory aspects of this job while himself turning a blind eye and remaining blissfully ignorant of the real facts. Ravidge’s strong-arm tactics include extortion, blackmail, threats and murder.
Things get complicated when Mitchell's son Alan (Kerwin Matthews), sympathetic to the union attempts, returns from Europe and befriends union organizer Tulio (Robert Loggia) who gets murdered. Alan also falls in love with Loggia’s widow Theresa.
After two murders, Mitchell finally sees the light and wants to break with Ravidge and negotiate with the union. But things don’t solve themselves so easily…

What stands out mostly in the film are the pretty graphic scenes of violence. One scene has Mitchell’s partner fall to his death down a freight elevator shaft and another has Tulio being stabbed to death in a dark back alley. These scenes are expertly filmed.
Aldrich, and I bet my life it was Aldrich who directed those scenes, puts considerable menace into them. The audience is literally made to feel the violence, we don’t just see it. The dread and terror of the people about to die is almost palpable and as such they are very hard-hitting.

A tender scene that was very likely filmed by Sherman with great sensitivity is when Alan and Teresa go into a diner and Theresa starts to breast-feed her baby before noticing she’s in a public place.

Despite its themes The Garment Jungle is not a radical film and it seems that some critics resented the fact. One critic called the movie a liberal film and I would agree with that. Rather than advocating class warfare, it asserts that decent people on both sides, unions and capitalists, can work together. Understanding between the two is all that is needed. Undeniably this message is simplistic and the movie avoids some issues by pinning the blame on obvious bad guys, the racketeers. The Garment Jungle is not a political declaration, for that it focuses too heavily on the personal conflicts of its protagonists. It is after all human drama.
But it seems that many critics would only have praised the movie if it had been outright anti-capitalist in its message which to me shows their own prejudice.

The movie has a strong cast with Cobb, Robert Loggia as the tragic union organizer, Gia Scala as his wife and Richard Boone as the sufficiently menacing mobster.

To me Cobb is always phenomenal, I don’t think he ever gave a bad performance. He is tough and hardened, the only problem is that script has him play a successful and shrewd business man who at the same time is quite naive. He doesn’t seem to be able to connect the dots on how exactly the racketeers bust the unions. It’s certainly a weakness in the script.

Gia Scala leaves quite an impression as Theresa. Scala did not often have the opportunity to show her acting skills, but she shows so much promise here. Her acting is very natural, vivacious and intense. She lights up the screen. Her introduction, doing a sensuous dance at a Union dance hall, is great and a light-hearted contrast to the starkness of the overall film. It soon becomes clear though that there is much more to her than just a pretty face.
Unfortunately not too many good roles came her way and Scala’s career fizzled out quickly.

It is Kerwin Matthews who has to bear the brunt of criticism directed at the movie. Mostly a star of sword-and-sandal movies who battled fantastic creatures on-screen, many reviews called him handsome but wooden, but it isn’t quite fair. He isn’t Oscar material but he is passable in the lead though not in the same league as Cobb.

The only slightly thankless role is Valerie French as Cobb's girlfriend, supposedly brought in later to humanize his character but she makes the best of it, apart from looking fabulous in her dresses.

Flawed but absolutely recommended.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Garment Jungle (1957)

Say It a few years ago. The film is not very noir but does have some noir-ish sequences, a movie with a message pretty typical of the end of the Classic Noir cycle. Worth a rent from Netflix 6.5-7/10.

Re: The Garment Jungle (1957)

I seem to be the only one who loves it. :)

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Garment Jungle (1957)

Sounds like one I'd like - lovely writing - thanks. I like Sherman... think there were one or two very tough moments in his noir The Damned Don't Cry, with Joan Crawford, but I think I've heard it referred to as women's noir. Anyway, cheers, it's gone on my list.

If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.

Re: The Garment Jungle (1957)

Thanks. The Damned Don't Cry is on the watch list in the next few days, I'll write a review about it. If not here, it'll be on the new board.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Garment Jungle (1957)

Hi Jess,I hope you are having a good weekend,and thank you for the excellent review. Continuing the background details you give,is there any info about how much footage is Aldrich's and how much is Sherman's? I'm also wondering if there are many other Noir films set in clothes factories? the nearest I can think of is the foundry factory in Carne's Le Jour se Leve.

Re: The Garment Jungle (1957)

Sorry, I just saw your answer!
No, it's really not quite clear anymore who filmed which scenes. Aldrich didn't get along with Harry Cohn and he also clashed with Cobb about how to play his character.

Aldrich has always maintained he never saw the finished product in the end, and supposedly about 70% of the scenes were reshot, but who knows which scenes.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

"The Straw Man" 1953 UK Good story, flat Production

CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE STRAW MAN 1953 UK


A man, Philip Saville, is on death row for his ex-girlfriend's murder. The insurance company who has the MURDERER insured, is less than amused with this course of events. If he is put to death they will have to cough up the cash. They assign their top investigator, Clifford Evans, to the case. Evans is to see if maybe the man "just might be" not guilty.

Evans interviews Saville and comes away with a gut feeling that the man is not guilty. Evans decides to go over the case right from the start.

Savillie had been on his honeymoon with Lana Morris when his ex had showed up dead. The Police had sifted through the clues and ended up at Saville's door.

Saville's alibi for the date is in question, he says he was drunk and has no memory of the night. The police searched his house and interviewed his servant. The servant recalls seeing some bloodied clothes and Saville was quickly put under lock and key.

There is a quick trial and he receives the death sentence. Evans must hurry now to beat the rope.

Evans hires a local Private Investigator, Dermot Walsh, to help him with his inquires. They go over all the court records, check the murder site and interview everyone involved, including the new bride, Lana Morris.

They find nothing to help Evans with his case. He keeps looking and discovers a rat in the cheese cupboard.

It turns out that Walsh is the murderer. He and Morris had been stepping out together for some time. They had cooked up the scheme to get Saville's property and bank accounts. The insurance policy would have just been an added bonus.

Walsh realizes that Evans has tumbled to his play and decides to bump him off as well. Needless to say, Evans survives, and Walsh and Morris get what they deserve.

A neat little story by Doris Miles Disney is given a flat treatment by director Donald Taylor. The film just barely rises above Taylor's shoddy direction. Evans, Walsh and Lana Morris do their best in what could have been a cracker-jack little thriller.

The director worked mainly on documentary subjects during WW2. This might explain his work here.

Evans had roles in SUSPECTED PERSON, THE SAINT MEETS THE TIGER, I'LL GET YOU, VIOLENT PLAYGROUND and SOS PACIFIC. Walsh was in BEDELIA, THE FRIGHTENED MAN, COUNTERSPY, THE BLUE PARROT, BOND OF FEAR, THE HIDEOUT, WOMAN OF MYSTERY, SEA FURY and THE WITNESS. Lana Morris was in, THE WOMAN IN QUESTION, BLACK 13 and RADIO CAB MURDER.

The d of p was Gerald Gibbs. His films include, NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH, THE STEEL KEY, BLACK 13, OPERATION DIPLOMAT, THE INTIMATE STRANGER, FORTUNE IS A WOMAN, THE MAN UPSTAIRS and A PRIZE OF ARMS.

Re: "The Straw Man" 1953 UK Good story, flat Production

Thank you for the terrific review Gordon,and although it sounds like a real shame that this Brit Noir was so flat,at least the Inner Sanctum ep delivered.I also hope that things have calmed down with the snow round yours,it has just kicked off here today!

Out of the Past (1947)

7


"You don't go fishing with a .45!"



** This review may contain spoilers ***

Surviving "the curse of 2016 " I expected Spartacus to be wheeled out for a screening on Kirk Douglas. Caught by surprise,I instead spotted a Film Noir where Douglas teamed up with Jacques Tourneur. Impressed by the earthy atmosphere Tourneur gave the raw post-WWII Noir Berlin Express,I decided to look back to the past.

The plot:

Planning to go for a picnic with a local girl,gas station owner Jeff is pulled back to his past,after businessman Whit orders a meeting. On the drive down to Whit,Jeff remembers his dealings in the past with him: Suspecting his girlfriend Kathie of taking his cash,Whit hires private detective Jeff to track her down. Tracking her down,Jeff and Kathie fall in love for each other,which leads Jeff to lying so that she can get away from Whit. Opening Whit's door,Jeff finds that his past has caught up,when he is met by the sight of Kathie.

View on the film:

Cutting a fine glass figure, Kirk Douglas gives an excellent performance as Whit.Aware that he does not have to shout out a Noir shadow, Douglas gives Whit a slippery charm,wrapped in sharp suits that keeps Whit's ruthlessness just under the surface. Being the 4th choice for the role, (talk about an ego boost!) Robert "Big Bob" Mitchum shows the studio landed on a winner with his blistering performance as Jeff. Rolling out of the oil and into the arms of Kathie,Mitchum drills into the torn romantic Noir loner,as Jeff's no-nonsense Noir dialogue is paired by Mitchum of Jeff being unable to turn from siren Femme Fatale Kathie. Making Jeff wait for her arrival, elegant Jane Greer gives an alluring performance as Femme Fatale Kathie,whose air of doomed romantic Noir doubt Greer brilliantly uses to tie the Noir loners back into the past.

Bringing his own novel into the present,the screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring emphasises the different Noir tracks of Jeff and Whit sharply,from Whit being surrounded in a lifestyle where he believes he can get anything he wants,to the rugged,folk tale wilderness that Jeff sees on the present horizon. Cleverly linking the two devise Noir loners with the Femme Fatale flame of Kathie, Mainwaring wonderfully uses Kathie's glow to take Jeff and Whit's focus off the Noir pit they are sinking into.

Bringing out Greer's full beauty under the sun,director Jacques Tourneur & cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca expertly crack light into the Noir shadows to give the title a rustic romantic atmosphere that burns into the Noir past. Grasping Jeff's desperation to become entangled with Kathie, Tourneur layers the screen in brisk low- lighting that exposes all of Jeff's doomed hopes in the present,and throws them back to the past.

Re: Out of the Past (1947)

Why did you only give it seven out of ten? Most people, myself included, would rate it higher.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Out of the Past (1947)

Hi Jess,the main thing which led to me giving this a 7 was I felt that the Jeff/Kathie relationship was too disjointed,with there being little feeling of the passage of time that hits Jeff when they reunite.

Re: Out of the Past (1947)

It's been a while since I've seen it but I never got why this was so many people's number one noir. I think it's a lot more impressive than it is satisfying and I'd give it a seven also. Something about the structure and or the chemistry...

If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.
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