On "No Down Payment": Anne said...This is what makes me wonder if Jeffrey Hunter and Patricia Owens'scharacters had even consumated thier marriageThe kid's got a broken radio, Jeff pulls out a screw driver and sets to work.Tony Randall gets smarmy with Jeff's wife and he's a frozen bystander...if Tony was mashing a radio, I think Jeff's character would have sprun into action. March 9, 2013
On "Trooper Hook": Vienna said...Wonderful review ! I haven't seen TROOPER HOOK for a long time but hope it becomes available on DVD. You describe Joel and Barbara's characters so well. An unusual role for Barbara. I guess she chose to do it for that reason. March 11, 2013
Anne said...Thank you for writing about this little gemOne can see this film on the encore west channel now and then and it's astonishingly good. With a budget not enough for a modern office pastry cart, it shows what can be done with excellent writing and acting....and directing. I love how we see the tiny stage from afar, then we see it though Nanches legs, we are right behind him, and we now know he's on their trail...it makes him almost a gonzilla of a threatChildren: let Mr. McCrea and Ms Stanwyck show you how it's done.They are hotter across a dusty feed store than many buck necked couples in love scenes today.March 7, 2013
On "Any Number Can Play": Vienna said...I love this film. Great cast, though I hate seeing Audrey Totter so totally wasted. All Audrey seemed to do was stand around with a glass in one hand and cigarette in the other.I thought Alexis Smith did well ,playing a woman whom I 'm sure was meant to be older than Alexis who was probably about 30 at the time.Great to see Mary Astor though,again, what a small role. And Marjorie Rambeau is always a joy.It could have been a play, with the only sets the gambling club and Gable's house.An unusual role for Gable and he was convincing.March 1, 2013
On Anita Sharp-Bolster: Vienna said...I've just see Anita in THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS and she is so good as another battle-axe character , but with a touch of comedy . Nice tribute. Thanks.http//:dancing lady39.wordpress.com February 2, 2013
On Victor Jory - On Stage and Screen: Vienna said...Thanks for great tribute to Victor Jory whom I like, especially in a couple of films where he isn't the villain! In FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS, Victor does his best to help Randolph Scott and becomes a good friend to Scott's character. Such a contrast to Victor's usual roles. I also liked him in a little B, THE UNKNOWN GUEST where he is the leading manI had no idea Victor and Alexis Smith did two plays together - thanks for the information. Oh to have seen them!January 24, 2013
On And Then There Were None: Ryan said...I bought this years ago on DVD, and it's still my favorite movie version of this story. The cast was perfect, and to tell you the truth, though I love the book, I almost prefer this ending. I think it's the hopeless romantic in me.February 19, 2013
“They Won’t Believe Me” (1947) is film noir without too many shadows, but with an interesting understated performance by Robert Young as a self-serving man who ultimately becomes more victim than victimizer in the ironic film noir jaws of fate.
Mr. Young, with his authoritative, yet soft-spoken low voice, is remarkably believable and natural. At times a surly cad, his jaded delivery is not forced or showy. A lot of other actors would play this heavy with a much less natural quality, but Young does no scenery chewing. I’m not sure if the ugly ties he wears in this film are meant to give us a clue to the rapacious and uncontrolled opportunism of the character, but Young needs no showiness to color this man a cad. He does all right in his own intriguingly quiet way.
Robert Young is a Wall Street broker we first see in a pleasant cozy lunch for two with Jane Greer, an elegant young professional woman. They are intelligent and charming, and the obvious pleasure they take in each other might indicate this film is to be a lighthearted romantic comedy. Mr. Young seems a good natured, decent chap so far, but soon we learn that he is married, and these are stolen moments with a young woman who has decided that being his mistress is not for her. She breaks off the relationship, but he insists that he will leave his wife for her.
However, once we follow him home to his ritzy apartment and meet his society wife, we learn that she is the one with the money, and though she cavalierly allows him to leave their marriage, she cleverly dangles a carrot. She will buy him a partnership in a west coast brokerage and a swell new apartment away from her busybody relatives.
Even by the expression in Robert Young’s face and the change in his tone of voice, we realize as he mulls this over that he’s not going anywhere. True love is swell and all, but money is what he really likes to cuddle up with. Off they go, marriage intact, to Los Angeles. Nice train ride here, with the passing scenery shown projected out their compartment window. (Have a look here for a previous blog post about some favorite train scenes.)
Another subtle mood change occurs as we see Mr. Young at work in the brokerage house in which he is now a partner. He is surly. He is bored. Enter party girl Susan Hayward who goes after him with everything but a harpoon.
As Mr. Young describes her, “She looked like a very special kind of dynamite neatly wrapped in nylon and silk.”
Typical of film noir, most of the story is told in flashback, with occasional narration from Young.
When, despite being the girlfriend of his partner, Miss Hayward propositions him, Mr. Young replies, “I thought Trent had the franchise.”
Hayward, whose performance is much less subtle than Young’s, is brazen, while he is utterly uninterested in consequences. A perfect match.
Miss Hayward shares an apartment with a professional woman who is a dietician. When Young asks her if the roomie is even prettier, Hayward responds sarcastically, “She looks like a dietician.” Thus, evidently dieticians joint the ranks of librarians in old movies as unmarriageable.
But Young’s cool, super-organized society wife played by Rita Johnson has caught on to his latest extramarital shenanigans, and relocates them to an isolated desert ranch, with no phone so he can’t call his girlfriends, and sells his brokerage partnership out from under him. She does not demand he stay with her. But if he leaves, he goes without her money.
This is Robert Young’s weakness, and he agrees once more to be put on a short leash. But Susan Hayward doesn’t go quietly. Both his wife and his mistress display more moxie than Young, but he is never played as a weak or even cleverly conniving man. Just a very lazy man who wants his various comforts without having to work for them.
There are some interesting twists in the plot involving a check made to cash he gives to Susan Hayward to entice her back, and a car accident and another separate freak accident which leaves both ladies dead. Young had been prepared, after the death of Hayward in which she was mistaken for his wife, to actually kill his wife. His motives, interestingly, having noting to do with hatred for her, only so that he can control her money himself and be free with what uncannically seem like a spoiled teenager’s desire to be free of parental rules.
But this is film noir, and the hand of fate, though uncredited, has a major role in this movie. His ex-brokerage partner is searching for the missing Susan Hayward, who though she had no family to mourn her demise, is owed $72 for almost two weeks pay and he hunts for information on her. Her dietician roomie, who we see indeed looks not unlike an unmarriageable librarian, shows up because Hayward owes her $84 for a month and a half rent.
His first mistress, the nice girl Jane Greer, who he “coincidentally” meets in the Caribbean where she is on a working girl’s $270 16-day holiday tour, is also part of the plot to uncover Robert Young’s responsibility in the death of Susan Hayward.
The cops get involved, and Robert Young tells us the entire plot of the movie in flashback from the witness stand at his trial, in rambling prose that would never be allowed in a real trial. The wonderful irony is that though Young is actually innocent, a surprise O. Henry ending seals his fate. Fate has decided he couldn’t be more guilty.
Meet Me in Nuthatch - A publicity stunt to attract tourists to a small dying town results in the entire community turning the clock back to 1904. It is local Christmas tree farmer Everett Campbell’s idea, after watching the film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” his young daughter’s new favorite movie. What begins as half practical joke and half desperate ploy initiates the rebirth of Nuthatch, Massachusetts. Tourists do come, along with the media. To Everett’s dismay, his campaign to save their community results in also attracting representatives of a chain of theme parks who want to buy Nuthatch 1904. Everett now stands to lose his town in a way he never imagined, and the community is divided on which alternate future to choose. A local drug dealer, the longtime enemy of Everett, may hold their future in his hands unless Everett can pull off his most spectacular, and dangerous, practical joke.
“…a comforting, pleasant read that stays with you even after the last page is turned. After finishing the book, I found myself still musing about the relationships and how they'd changed and progressed. This book was a nice, hot chocolate sort of read.” Grace Krispy, "MotherLode" blog book review.
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