Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some More Film Noir Notes

The Naked City
1948-Jules Dassin
Fantastic police procedural only slightly marred by the unnecessary voice-over narration. Two sturdy detectives track a murderer, following up leads and meeting all sorts of interesting types, before the exciting finale on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Notable especially for all the great on-location shots of NYC.

Black Angel
Based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich; a superior noir. June Vincent’s estranged husband has been accused of murder. With the help of the awesome Dan Duryea as the victim’s hopelessly alcoholic songwriter husband, she sets out to find the real killer.
Also with Peter Lorre as the inevitable sleazy nightclub owner. Surprising ending. Solid movie.

The Lady from Shanghai
1948-Orson Welles
Welles is a tough-guy sailor, hired by the seductive Rita Hayworth to work on her husband’s yacht. Intrigue, suspicion, and murder follow. The scene in the hall of mirrors, toward the end, is masterful.

The Big Clock
A great cast in a top-notch noir. Ray Milland is a magazine publisher who misses a vacation with his wife and winds up spending time with another woman—a woman who winds up murdered, and all the clues point to Milland as the killer.
Also starring Charles Laughton and the beautiful Maureen O’Sullivan.

1952-Henry Hathaway
A young couple on a delayed honeymoon to Niagara Falls meets another couple whose marriage is falling apart: Marilyn Monroe is the evil vixen, Joseph Cotton is her shell-shocked war vet husband. With her lover, Monroe plots to murder her husband; the husband’s making plots of his own, and the young couple gets involved against their wills. Joseph Cotton is great in this one, and Monroe shows that she could actually act when given half the chance.

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