Today I’m directing you to a website called Set the Tape, where you can find excellent writing about film, television, music, and much more. I was recently honored to have one of my reviews included on their site. I hope you’ll enjoy a look at an excellent British noir, Mine Own Executioner.
I’m delighted to be joined today by my good friend and film noir aficionado Casey Koester (@NoirGirl on Twitter). We both watched The Gangster, making several observations along the way. I hope you enjoy it! Read the full story here.
At Noir City DC last weekend, Eddie Muller gave the audience a lesson in “B” movies and stressed the importance of reaching younger viewers. You can read about it here.
Johnny O’Clock (1947) Robert Rossen
I spent part of the time I watched Johnny O’Clock thinking how awkward it would be to have a name like Johnny O’Clock, merging a person with a time, or maybe thinking silly thoughts of people shouting lines like, “It’s Johnny Time!” (To make things more wacky, there’s at least one watch involved in the film.) All the while there’s this great movie going on with so many plot points spinning in the air you don’t have time to dwell on the ludicrousness of the film’s title. I’ll try to summarize the plot, but don’t be surprised if I simply give up after a couple of sentences:
Repeat Performance (1947) Alfred L. Werker
Ok Ru (1:32)
Repeat Performance asks a question we’ve probably all asked at some point: What if I could live part of my life over and change the outcome? This happens to Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) on New Year’s Eve as she finds herself holding a gun, standing over her dead husband Barney (Louis Hayward). In a panic, she flees the scene and seeks out her friend, a poet named William Williams (Richard Basehart in his first film). During this frantic moment, Sheila wishes she could go back and live 1946 all over again, but with a different outcome.
T-Men (1947) Anthony Mann
U.S. Treasury Agents Dennis O’Brien (Dennis O’Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) go after counterfeiters in this crackerjack police procedural that begins in a pseudo-documentary style before settling down to nail-biting crime story, a nice blend of procedural and film noir. The tension is both excellent and hard-edged, and anytime you’ve got Charles McGraw in the cast, you know there’s gonna be some serious hurt put on someone… and there is! The film features cinematography by the always wonderful John Alton. (More on him and director Anthony Mann in a moment.)
Body and Soul (1947) Robert Rossen
Olive Blu-ray (1:44)
Body and Soul is often cited as one of the best and most important films about boxing, but if that’s all you take away from the film, you’re missing a great deal. The excellent screenplay by Abraham Polonsky begins with middleweight boxing champ Charlie Davis (John Garfield) preparing to defend his title against a young up-and-coming fighter. Davis’s slimy promoter (Lloyd Gough) tells him he must throw the fight or he’s finished. What led to this awful situation? We find out, thanks to film noir’s best friend, the flashback.