Sunday, July 24, 2011

Film Noir Double Feature

He Walked by Night (1948)
This is a semi documentary style story about a massive police hunt in Los Angeles for a cop killer. Richard Basehart stars as Roy, an ex- soldier and thief who kills a cop. It’s a you are there style film that goes into the nuts and bolts of the hunt showing how forensics and dogged police work track the killer down. Made during the early heyday of film noir the movie is full of dark shadows and sinister happenings. For the most part the cast blends into a cohesive whole of real people, which lets you know how good the cast is since it’s full of familiar character actors who disappear into their roles. Only Basehart stands out, which is as it should be, since his Roy is definitely a person who doesn’t fit in with the rest of society. I like this film a great deal. It’s not the be and all of either film noirs or the semi-documentary style films that popped up in the late 40’s and early 50’s, but it’s a comfortable one, kind of like a favorite blanket.( It’s allegedly based on a true story, but much changed. The details of which can be found elsewhere on line at Wikipedia or IMDB)

Gun Crazy (1950)
Gun Crazy was one of the first films I ever heard called a cult film. It’s a classic crime drama and the quintessential film noir with the queen of femme fatales. My real interest was peeked by Danny Peary’s first Cult Movie book where there was a still of John Dall and Peggy Cumming standing in the woods at the end of the film and of their own doomed romance. The plot of the film has Dall meeting and falling in love with Cumming, a sweet little girl who works as a sharp shooter in a carnival. They marry but find they aren’t making enough money. Figuring the fastest way to quick riches would be to take it they begin to pull robberies. Unfortunately for Dall, Cumming is more than a little nuts and not only does she get off on the robberies, but also the occasional murder. A bleak dark descent into hell this film is a poisoned little commentary on romance and the things we do for the people we love. Guaranteed to make you think twice about getting involved with anyone, since you never know what our loved ones are really like. A must see…

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