Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 7

Last Thursday Noir City's international tour landed in Argentina, and Ferdinand Peña (the man famous for finding the most complete version of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS) was back in the Castro to dub Eddie Muller not just the Czar, but now the Emperor of Noir. As a loyal subject of The Empire, I approve!

NEVER OPEN THAT DOOR (NO ABRAS NUNCA ESA PUERTA) (1952): Actually a pair of films based on Cornell Woolrich stories (it was supposed to be a trilogy, but the third one, IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE, grew to the size of it's own 73 minute feature, hopefully coming to Noir City in the future.) The first story, SOMEBODY ON THE PHONE is a tale of gambling, debt, blackmail, and revenge. A brother sees that his sister is being blackmailed. He has even cracked their "phone code." So he seeks out the man he saw her talking to at a casino, set on the belief that he must be the extortioner and he must die. Then in the second half, HUMMINGBIRD COME HOME features a blind mother, a wayward son, and his gang that have escaped to his childhood home to lay low after a robbery. The blind mother, who of course can "see" more than anyone else, is absolutely brilliant. And, surprisingly, a crack shot.

HARDLY A CRIMINAL (APENAS UN DELINCUENTE) (1949): A lowly bank clerk (Jorge Salcedo,) just scraping by, learns of a loophole in the law. See, the penalty for embezzling is six years--no matter how much was stolen. So he embezzles, fully intending to get caught. All he has to do is hide the money, survive six years in prison, and walk out with more money than he could make in a century of being a clerk. Sure, prison is harder than he thought. But the real difficulty is all the people who want to know where the money is--the good guys and the bad guys. Especially when they learn that they can get to him through his girlfriend. This was billed in the program as the "best Argentine film noir of the 1940s." Well, I can't say that I've seen much to compare it to, but I'll say it certainly put the bar pretty high. And yes, that is a hint that Noir City should play more Argentinian noir in the future.

Total Running Time: 173 minutes
My Total Minutes: 348,894

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