Thursday, February 7, 2013

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 9

Last Saturday at Noir City was Cornell Woolrich day and heavy drinking night. In fact, I'm just coming down from my hangover now. Gotta write this up before Indiefest starts.

STREET OF CHANCE (1942): A man (Burgess Meredith, young enough that he has dark hair!) gets knocked on the head by a falling beam. He's okay, he even knows who he is. Frank Thompson, office man and loyal husband. What he doesn't know is what he was doing in that part of town and why his hat and cigarette case are monogrammed DN. Well, it's a classic canard--the amnesia plot--but one of the first times it was ever used. Turns out a little over a year ago he lost his memory and became Danny Nearing. And now Danny Nearing is wanted for murder, but he doesn't know anything about it. A kinda wacky, twisty plot that was lots of fun (even if I guessed the ending in advance.) It even features an old, bedridden grandmother (Adeline De Walt Reynolds) who communicates by blinking her eyes!

THE CHASE (1946): Ex-navy man Chuck Scott (Robert Cumming) is so honest, when he finds a wallet on the ground he just takes a couple of bucks to pay for breakfast (he's really hungry) and returns it to the owner, even promising to make up the money he took somehow. Turns out, the owner is Eddie Roman (Steve Cochran,) a local gangster who decides he really likes Chuck and will make him his new chauffeur. His henchman (the always great Peter Lorre) doesn't like it one bit. But his wife Lorna (Michele Morgan) likes it just fine. Not only is Chuck handsome, but he might just be her ticket out of Miami--all the way to Havana. The middle part gets really weird (SPOILER ALERT: it all turns out to be a dream sequence) but the ending is pretty cool. And it features a crazy car with a gas pedal in the back so Eddie can control the speed while the driver just concentrates on steering.

THE WINDOW (1949): And finally, I ended the film-watching portion of the day with this Boy-who-cried-wolf story starring little Bobby Driscoll. He plays Tommy Woodry, who is constantly getting himself and his family in trouble with his tall tales (they almost lose their apartment when he tells his friends their moving to a ranch in Texas.) But when he actually witnesses a murder while sleeping on the fire escape, nobody believes him (shades of REAR WINDOW, also from a Cornell Woolrich story.) Wacky hijinx ensue, featuring Arthur Kennedy and Barbara Hale as Tommy's parents. Paul Stewart and Ruth Roman as the neighbors from hell. And an exciting finale in a condemned building. 

Then I had a filling, leisurely dinner, knowing I was about to pollute my stomach (and blood stream) with massive quantities of alcohol, because it was time for the Noir City Nightclub. What a party! Awesome people, music (including Erin Brazil and the Brazillionaires with their "Hitchcock Suite"), performances (including international burlesque star Evie Lovelle), and lots and lots of alcohol. I learned pretty quickly which bartender made the best (i.e., strongest) bourbon and soda. And the night was off!

I skipped Noir City Sunday to nurse my hangover and watch the Super Bowl, thereby creating a new hangover. Monday was kind of hellish. And here we are now.

Total Running Time: 233 minutes
My Total Minutes: 313,059

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