Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 3

Trying to catch up, two more movies Sunday Night, a night of doubles:

First up, AMONG THE LIVING (1941). Albert Dekker plays a dual role as twin brothers John and Paul Raden. John's an industrialist and heir to the family fortune (their father just passed away). Paul is insane, locked in a room at the old family house (allegedly haunted), the victim of some apparent brain damage incurred as a boy when he tried to protect mommy from daddy. He's normally very sweet, even mistaken for a gentleman. Just so long as nothing reminds him of mommy's screams. John doesn't even know Paul is alive, but that soon changes after he escapes. The plot is kind of silly. Some of the double scenes are clever, making up in smart editing what they couldn't do with CGI. And Susan Hayward is adorable and sexy as love interest Millie Pickens.

Then there was A DOUBLE LIFE (1947) with the fantastic Ronald Colman. A couple of years back I saw William H. Macy at Cinequest, and he said in regards to "method" acting that if you really believe you're the character, that's not acting that's mental illness. Well, A DOUBLE LIFE is just about that, as Colman plays Anthony John, a highly accomplished actor. In the opening scene something is clearly odd--as he walks down the street and greets those people he knows, about half of them recall him as a great, engaging man and half recall him as a total monster. It's like no two people know the same Mr. John. A later bit of exposition between himself and his ex-wife/co-star Brita (Signe Hasso) sheds some light. Turns out when he's doing a comedy he's delightful. When he's doing a tragedy or dark drama, he's a beast. and, I suppose, he's everything in between. That's all fine and good, as his latest hit is a comedy, but know he has an idea to take the lead role in Othello. A fantastic take on acting as a mental disease, plus a breakout role for a young Shelley Winters.

Total Running Time: 171 minutes
My Total Minutes: 219,805

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