The First Film Noir movie?
This almost comical Murder Mystery Who-Dunit movie is
according to the great Film Noir expert Eddie Muller, the undisputed
King of the
audio commentaries, The First Film Noir movie. A proto noir with it's
visual style, a style that was to become the standard of the genre,
if The Master say so, it's so. The DVD sleeve talks about a "Dark
and menacing film" but i disagree with this, the visual style may
but the plot is a burlesque crime mystery and far from dark and menacing,
so i wouldn't define this as a Film Noir, but Muller is the expert.
Maybe this american genre started with Billy Wilder's 1943 Double Indemnity
and yes, The Maltese Falcon is no Film Noir either, not for me
anyway as i crave some despair and desperation to my
favourite film genre of all time (my second favourite genre - The Giallo).
"Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" the paper-boy
shouts in the intro to the film when the model Vicky Lynn has been murdered
and a police
hunt is on. Her agent Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature) is questioned
by the police and he tells us, in a Flashback - the flashback, the most
used story vehicle during the 1940's? about how he met Vicky (Carole
Landis) at a café.
When he saw the beautiful waitress with the torpedoes he decided he
wanted to help her going somewhere, and he and columnist Larry (Allyn
Joslin) and actor Robin (Alan Mowbray) introduces her into the NY high
society and soon she gets her first modelling offers.
Vicky becomes someone, dumps Frankie, and says yes to a film contract
and just when she's about to leave for Hollywood, she's murdered.
Who Dun it? Is it Frankie, Evans, Ray, hotelboy Harry (Elisha
Cook Jr. in one of his myriad of small roles), sister Jill (Betty Grable)
or even the
strange police inspector investigating the case, Ed Cornell (played
by the fascinating Laird Cregar) ?
The film was presented in 4:3 fullscreen original ratio,
black & white, english mono 2.0 audio.
Extra: A great audio commentary with Eddie Muller (aaaah,
i love him, he's the greatest to listen to), a deleted scene with Betty
and an alternate opening sequence, a Theatrical trailer and 3 trailers
for other Fox movies, insert sheet with text
The Tragedies of Laird Cregar and Carole Landis
Eddie Muller tell us about the film and the actors and
as usual with respect, admiration and empathy, about the tragedies around
the early deaths
of Cregar and Landis. The Big man Cregar, the character actor with the
soft voice dreamt of being a leading man and tried to lose so much
weight that he died of a heart-attack in 1944 only 31 years old.
Poor Carole Landis suicided with sleeping pills due
to an unhappy love affair and died only 29 years old.
There's an infinitely sad photo of her body, lying on the floor looking
like she searched after something before everything ended. Eddie Muller
tell about how poorly she was treated by Hollywood, and she received
no respect even though she tried hard, like going on soldier tours during
WW2. The misanthropical and nihilistic experimental filmmaker Kenneth
Anger writes in his Pitch-Black and unpleasantly sleazy Hollywood
Babylon books about the unknown side of the film industry, about the
misery, sicknesses and suicides.
Often he is empathic about the unhappy stars but sometimes just nasty
and sleazy. He gloats in their misery.
Anger says that she was called "The Studio Hooker"
by 20th Century Fox staff as she supposedly on a regular basis satisfied
the sexual needs
of the big boss, creep Darryl Zanuck in his office. He used his power
and maybe she had to to get any roles, the famous casting couch.
He's the Pig and she got the blame, yuck, what a disgusting world we
live in. I suppose poor Carol had such a voluptuos figure that men did
take notice of her, and at Fox that was equal to the Evil Eye. The boss
males at the film companies used their positions to extort sex from
female actresses, and people put the blame and hatred on the girls,