Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jason goes to Noir City--Monday, Jan 26th

This is the last I'll see of Noir City, as I'll disappear on vacation for a week before returning for Indiefest (however, there may be several posts on vacation). I have to say Noir City has been great fun, and I hope I can make more of it next year (hopefully enough to justify getting a pass). Anyway, I saw two movies last night, so let's get to it:

First up was the supernatural Faustian noir, Alias Nick Beal. Joseph Foster (Thomas Mitchell) is a district attorney in an unnamed state, and as good and honest as the day is long. In fact, the reform minded Independence Party is considering running him for governor. He's been going after the biggest crook in his city for a long time, and has built a pretty strong case. But he unwittingly mentions off the cuff that he'd "sell his soul" for a conviction. Enter Nick Beal (Ray Milland), who manages to provide just the evidence he needs, even though a) it was allegedly burnt, and b) he doesn't have a search warrant. Quickly cleaned up, though, and now his political career is off and running (for governor). Of course, he can't win without the support of the crooked machine in another part of the state. He refuses to make a deal, but luckily Nick Beal makes a deal on his behalf. Add to that his new secretary Donna Allen (Audrey Totter) who was hand picked by Beal is tempting him a little too much. The story becomes a struggle to keep his soul, although Beal outmaneuvers him at every move (even to the point of framing him for murder). A really cool story, albeit a very heavy-handed morality play.

And finally, Night Editor which Eddie Muller introduced as "clunky". That was an extreme understatement. It has a ridiculous framing device, being told late one night in a newspaper office, as the editor tells the inside story of a small old piece of news (it was originally a radio play, and later a TV series, but this was the B-movie in between). This time he tells the story of a cop who's always working the night beat. And by "working", I mean sneaking off with his rich, socialite mistress. One night while making out in a secluded place, they witness a murder. Problem is, he can't come forward without admitting his affair. Trouble's worse when an innocent guy is convicted and sentenced to the chair. But he collects "evidence" to put the wrong guy away. All is going well, until the murderer provides a perfect alibi--the rich mistress who's now dating him. Almost as sleazy as it is clunky. But still, I regret nothing.

And that's my experience at Noir City 2009.
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