Private Hell 36 (1954)

Lupino, Cochran och Duff

US Olive Films - Paramount DVD edition

It takes some time before this film gets going, and that's because of the year it was made, 1954, because of the opressive McCarty-ism
and moral panic that plagued USA during the 1950's any Film Noir crime thriller had to begin with some high-and-mighty narrator
telling us about all the brave policemen fighting crime, all patriotic soldiers doing their duty to protect the american people against the
evil russians and bla bla yada yada ..... snore, Zzzzzzzzz. In the McCarthy era Hollywood was reined in by clueless commie-hunters and
dried-up spinster churchladies, by fascists and haters of art.
Crime doesn't pay! To oblige the film censors many 1950's Noir movies had to bore us with these intros.

The director was Don Siegel, The Master of the Crime Action with favourites as 1971 Dirty Harry, The Re-make of The Killers in 1964,
Charley Varrick 1973 and with sci-fi horror as 1956 The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.
At this time he was married to Swedish actress Viveca Lindfors, i think, and he really mastered the crime action scenes as we can see in
the Drugstore shoot-out and with the car going off a cliff, without mysterious spontaneous combustion, thanks.
After a robbery a counterfeit 50 dollar bill is found by the police, and crime cop buddies Steve Cochran and Howard Duff follow the
traces to the nightclub The Emerald Club, where Ida Lupino á la any Film Noir Femme Fatale talk-sings with a husky smoky voice
(Something she did also in 1948 Roadhouse by Jean Negulesco)

Howard Duff

The Cop duo has until now seemed to be good guys and untouchable, uncorrupted. Duff's Malone happily married to Dorothy
and the younger cop Cochran looking honest him too and with the first half of this movie a bit uneventful and dragging.
But, after Cochran's cop having met Ida Lupino everything is changed. When the cop duo finds a suitcase or bag full of money (i can't
remember, many years since i saw this film), and the guilty perp has died and there are no witnesses, then the temptation gets to big
and they take the loot and hides it in a trailer, no.36 in the trailer park.
Maybe Siegel remembered this and used the trailer park setting again in his great 1973 Charley Varrick with Walter Matthau?

Don Siegel - Charley Varrick (swedish title: Fallgropen) 1973

Steve Cochran's Cal's true self is showing and he's a rotten person and Howard Duff's Jack Malone is plagued by guilt.
The question is: Will they get to keep the money and everyone will live happy afterwards?

The film was presented in widescreen 1.78:1 original ratio, black & white, english audio mono, no extras
Ida Lupino was one of the scriptwriters


Back to Film Noir page