A Great Classic of Film Noir and 20th Century Fox follow-up to the Otto
Preminger Masterpiece Laura.
Small time hustler Eric (Dana Andrews) arrives to a
sleepy Californian coastal town with only one dollar in his
pocket. He meets the local No.1 beauty, the harder than hard food-joint
waitress Stella (a Sensational Linda
Darnell) and probably The Local Slut, and the sexual attraction
between them just crackles ... Zap, Pow !
Darnell, the ultimate Film Noir waitress, life-weary, hardened but sexually
BUT, to successfully manoeuvre her into the bed for
some hot sex he needs dineros, greenbacks, and lots of
them as she's tired of the local loosers. The Plan: 1. A lonely, sexually
starved and wealthy church lady in June
(Alice Faye) and 2. A handsome man in Eric to con the lady out of her
He's about to rip-off poor June and then disappear with the Slut when
there's a murder and a change of plans.
Andrews and Darnell are perfect as The Bad Couple as the sexual chemistry
between them feels true, but
maybe this film is a bit too uneven to be called a Masterpiece ....
or maybe not? When Stella is killed off, the
film looses the intensity .... it's almost as LaShelle, the lighting
crew and her male customers at the joint all let
out a united Noooooo .... Stella come back.
Even Dana Andrews himself admits that ... "Linda Darnell was the
best thing in the picture".
Alice Faye, 20th Century Fox big 1940's musical star was promised the
main female (non-singing) role of
June. She was supposed to be the star but legend
says Darnell dated someone important and the camera
concentrated on Darnell (wisely, i say ...) and many of Faye's dramatic
scenes ended up on the cutting room
floor and poor Faye was furious and even quitted making films.
At 20th Century Fox they surely realized they had some dynamite in their
hands and they decided to use it -
Warning! Here's a heterosexual old gaffers ode
to the beauty of Linda Darnell - stay away if allergic
Young Linda (Photo: Frank Powolny, 20th
Ronald L. Davis Hollywood Beauty - Linda Darnell and
the American Dream (University of Oklahoma Press, 1991)
A tender and a bit sad portrait about the beautiful actress Linda Darnell
with insights, empathy and warmth
Linda Darnell's explosive performance 70 years ago ....
or, to be honest .... her gorgeousness makes this film
remembered even today. Also the Sensational film noir style cinematography
from Maestro Joseph LaShelle
is a joy to see, his camera is having sex with her, WOW! .... and Dana
and the others look great too.
She's sensational and the world's (male) audiences must've watched the
ongoings with gaping mouths bombed
down into their seats. The Art of the Great Joseph LaShelle made 2 actresses
Film Goddesses, Gene in 1944
Laura by Otto Preminger, and Linda in this 1945 follow-up to Laura.
LaShelle had already photographed her earlier the same year in the Great
Hangover Square directed by John
Brahm, and also there with devastating effect when she played another
Bitch role. Darnell was made playing a
plottering Femme Fatale. Let's not forget the music by David "Laura"
Dana Andrews, no words needed, a great actor that always
delivered. Of the Darnell films i've seen (not that
many though) my No.1 performance of her is the one as the white trash
bum Edie in Joseph L. Mankiewics
racial hate noir thriller No Way Out from 1950, Stella in Fallen Angel
as No.2 and Netta Langdon in Hangover
Square as No.3. Forever Amber 1948 was a mess and i haven't seen the
1949 A Letter to Three Wives
Original ratio 4:3 fullscreen, black & white, english audio 2.0
stereo or mono with english subtitles
Extras: a very good and filled with information commentary track from
the Maestro of Film Noir Commentary
tracks - Eddie Muller (i love this guy) and the daughter of Dana Andrews,
Susan, picture galleries (publicity,
production/unit photography), trailer and a info sheet
.... If Only Section: The commentary track to Leave Her To Heaven had
featured Eddie Muller