Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jason goes to Noir City--Day...Thursday

I've missed too much, what with having my regular job. Anyway...

Thursday was a day of husband and wife insanity. First the husband, and the immortal Humphrey Bogart in THE TWO MRS CARROLLS (1947). Bogart plays Geoff Carroll, an American painter in England. He falls for hos sketch model Sally Morton (Barbara Stanwyck) while on a trip to Scotland. Only problem is he's married. But his wife dies, even though he took such great care of her, bringing her milk and everything. The new Mrs Carroll works out fine, until he starts acting weird. Maybe it's just exhaustion from his latest masterpiece, or maybe it's their new neighbor Alexis Smith (Cecily Latham), who flirts with him pretty hard. Bogart always bring something interesting to his roles, and dances across the line from calculating and insane fairly nicely (love the ending). In fact, all the acting is great, especially his creepily mature young daughter Bea (Ann Carter). It is more than a little daffy--it got many big laughs, not all of which were intentional. And it sometimes falls into self-parody, like when Bogart meets his wife's ex-boyfriend and announces "This looks like the start of a beautiful hatred." Fun for a laugh, but the uneven tone takes away from the greatness this story and this cast could've created.

And then it's the wife's turn to be crazy in MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945), sorta. It's more like fake crazy, which is okay because it's also a fake wife. Allow me to explain. Julia Ross (Nina Foch) is a young woman on her own in London. She goes to a secretarial employment agency where Sparkes (the odd-beaked Anita Bolster, also in THE TWO MRS CARROLLS) tells her she has a client who insists on a secretary with no attachments (nothing suspicious about that). See, too many of them have quit after just a few months due to family or boyfriend obligations. Well, she has no attachments, so she goes to work for Mrs. Hughes (Dame May Whitty, also in GASLIGHT). But she falls asleep after on cup of tea, and wakes up 2 days later, in a house by the sea, dressed and addressed as Mrs. Marion Hughes, the wife of Mrs. Hughes's son Ralph (George Macready). Wonderfully fast paced and tense, it packs a hell of a story into 65 minutes. The tension starts with her waking up, and the audience is just as trapped and bewildered as she is. Excellent story, and brilliantly executed.

Total Running Time: 164 minutes
My Total Minutes: 219,969

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