Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 7

Two more films last Thursday night, featuring American filmmakers abroad in England (and escaping the Red Scare with-hunts.)

THE HIDDEN ROOM (1949): In the first of the two features about psychologists named Clive, Robert Newton (later to influence many a drunken white boy every September 19th with his iconic "Arrrr!" as Long John Silver in TREASURE ISLAND)  plays Dr. Clive Riordan. His wife Storm (Sally Gray) has been having multiple affairs throughout their marriage. So he plots ahead for the next one, and poor Bill Kronin (Phil Brown, later to be famous as Uncle Owen in STAR WARS) will be his victim. He has planned the perfect murder, keyed around the unorthodox tactic of not actually killing his victim. Or at least, not right away. Instead, hide him away in the titular hidden room. There, when the interest in his disappearance has died away, he'll poison him and dissolve him in a solution of his own design. After all, disposing of the body is the hardest part of a murder. A great story, well played out. And I'd never dare spoil it, whether he actually gets away with it or not.

THE SLEEPING TIGER (1954): Our second Clive is Dr. Clive Esmond (Alexander Knox,) a psychologist who can also take care of himself in a fight. So when a wayward youth tries to rob him at gunpoint, he simply disarms the man and takes him home. There he has a theory to put to the test--that with proper care and treatment this man, Frank Clemmons (Dirk Bogarde) can be rehabilitated. That it's his station in life that drives him to criminal tendencies. Which is a fine theory, but it doesn't take into account either his wife's (Alexis Smith) fear at sharing their home with a desperate man, or the chance that her fear might turn to infatuation at such an exciting young man sharing their home.

Total Running Time: 185 minutes
My Total Minutes: 380,527

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