Thursday, February 8, 2018

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 8

I hear I missed some great stuff Thursday while I was at Indiefest. I like to think all the Noir City denizens (Noir Citizens) missed out on something great, too. You just can't be everywhere at once.

But I was back in Noir City Friday night for a double bill.

THE ACCUSED (1949): A depressingly timely film, one that's right in place with the #MeToo movement, "Me, too" meant not just that you had been harassed or assaulted, but that you had killed your attacker in self-defense and then tried to cover up the evidence. Loretta Young plays Dr. Wilma Tuttle, a psychology professor. One of her students, Bill Perry (Douglas Dick) offers to drive her home, but instead they end up on a secluded beach where he starts to get a little too forceful. And she fights back, successfully, and makes it look like an accident. Pretty soon Lt. Ted Dorgan (Wendell Corey) is on the case, and Perry's guardian Warren Ford (Robert Cummings) is hanging close by. And both of them kind of fall for her (especially Ford.) Of course, this whole time she was acting in self-defense, so even as the evidence starts damning her, she has a solid defense (I'm no lawyer, but I assume self-defense was a pretty good excuse, even in 1949.) But then the ending is a little off-putting, with more of a note of "darn, we'll never convict her because she's pretty and sympathetic" rather than "attempted rapist got what's coming to him." Ah, the fun and pitfalls of judging films by the standards of different time periods.

THE THREAT (1949): And then Charles McGraw, being evil and nasty. He plays Red Kluger, an escaped convict from Folsom prison who has sworn revenge on the cop and DA who put him there. The cop is brave, smart, and dashing Detective Ray Williams (Michael O'Shea,) the DA Barker MacDonald (Frank Conroy.) Along for the ride is a showgirl, Carol (Virginia Grey) who Kluger suspects ratted him out. And so he gets them all and keeps them captive in a remote shack in the middle of nowhere, beating and torturing them because a quick death is too kind. You know, a real feel-good family film, full of tension and testosterone, but relying on a smart woman to save the day.

Total Running Time: 167 minutes
My Total Minutes: 467,440
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