The Dark Mirror (1946) Robert Siodmak
Olive Blu-ray (1:25)
Watching The Dark Mirror in 1946 was undoubtedly a fascinating experience. First of all you had Olivia de Havilland performing wonderfully as twin sisters, a Nunnally Johnson screenplay, cinematographer Milton R. Krasner, music by Dimitri Tiomkin and, of course, Robert Siodmak directing. Over 70 years later, the film’s impact is far less than it was in 1946, but this has less to do with the people who made the film than our understanding of psychology.
Decoy (1946) Jack Bernhard (2x)
Warner Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 DVD
Like many film noir movies, this Monogram picture is told mostly in flashback, but the weird nature of the film combined with multiple double crosses and a seriously wicked femme fatale, all in a glorious low-budget production, make Decoy a must-see. As the story begins, a dying Margot Shelby (Jean Gillie) tells police Sgt. Joe Portugal (Sheldon Leonard) the story of Margot’s gangster boyfriend Frankie Olins (Robert Armstrong), a criminal who’s about to go to the gas chamber for killing a guard during a heist. Although he got nabbed, Frankie made off with $400,000 and swears he’s going to take the knowledge of where the money’s stashed with him to the grave. Continue reading
The Stranger (1946) Orson Welles (2x)
Kino Lorber Blu-ray
A member of the UN War Crimes Commission named Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) is convinced that WWII Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler (Orson Welles) is hiding out in America. Wilson sends Kindler’s former right-hand-man Meinike (Konstantin Shayne) to find Kindler with Wilson following closely behind. Meanwhile, Kindler has a new identity: a prep school teacher named Charles Rankin. Rankin is well-respected and is about to marry a young woman named Mary (Loretta Young), the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice (Philip Merivale).
The Strange Woman (1946) Edgar G. Ulmer
Amazon streaming (public domain)
I’m normally not a huge fan of historic period film noir, films such as House by the River (1950), which I watched for last year’s Noirvember. I appreciate the noir element, but it’s really hard for me to think of those films as noir.
Just a short look today at two British film noir movies:
Directed by Charles Vidor
Screenplay by Marion Parsonnet and Ben Hecht (uncredited)
Adaptation by Jo Eisinger from a story by E.A. Ellington
Produced by Virginia Van Upp
Cinematography by Rudolph Maté
Edited by Charles Nelson
Music by Hugo Friedhofer (uncredited)
Costumes by Jean Louis
Criterion Blu-ray (1:50)
Continuing my Blindspot Series 2016:
Noir City 14 presented me with a couple of challenges. I wanted to get my money’s worth from the festival, yet I also wanted to explore San Francisco with my wife, who is not a movie fan. So I made a decision to skip a couple of films, one of which I had already seen recently, The Dark Corner (1946), which you can read about here.
Even so, I was able to catch the last 30 minutes or so of the film, plenty of time to see William Bendix get what was coming to him at the hands of Clifton Webb. (Sorry, slight spoiler there…)
In his introduction to the next film, Eddie Muller admitted that Crack-Up (1946, directed by Irving Reis) is not one of his favorite noir films, but it does fit the Noir City 14 theme of art. The film begins with an agitated man (Pat O’Brien, below on his back) smashing the glass door of the Manhattan Museum and assaulting a museum guard. Once the museum staff rush to the scene, they discover that this crazed man is none other than George Steele, art critic, forgery expert, and lecturer at the museum.