Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 6

I skipped day 5 (Tuesday) because...well, I was cheating on Noir City with a different film festival. It was the Cinequest media launch, and I just had to be there. By the way, check out the Cinequest trailer.

But on Wednesday I was back for a double bill of Doris Day.

LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (1955): The Ruth Etting story, as a musical melodrama, in bright colors. I don't care if that doesn't sound entirely noir, it's a great picture and Doris Day is great in it. She plays Ruth Etting, who stars as a dance-hall girl and works her way up to be the biggest recording star of the 20s. James Cagney stars opposite her as Martin "Gimpy" Snyder, a gangster with a limp who runs the laundry racket in all the Chicago nightclubs. And who takes an interest in her and uses his muscle to put her on stage. And it turns out she's good. Really good. Like good enough that you can manage her legitimately and let her become a star based on talent. But that's not Gimpy's way. It becomes a story of him suddenly not being the great man who calls all the shots, and he doesn't like it one bit. Great (true) story, great acting, great soundtrack, everything is just great.

YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN (1950): This is practically the jazz variant of HUMORESQUE from the other night. But instead of John Garfield we get Kirk Douglas. And instead of a violin with get a trumpet. And instead of a classical music we get jazz. And while there is a love triangle with him, Doris Day, and Lauren Bacall (who is pretty clearly bisexual) his ultimate love is always his music. Music his way, without compromises. Which makes it really hard for him to keep a job in a dance band, much less keep a relationship with a human. Well, except maybe his buddy and pianist Smoky (Hoagy Carmichael.)  Fantastic.

Total Running Time: 234 minutes
My Total Minutes: 415,487
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