Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 3

A double bill of Douglas Sirk noir last Sunday

SHOCKPROOF (1949): Patricia Knight plays Jenny Marsh, a dame who just got out of the joint after 5 years for a self-defense murder. Cornell Wilde plays Griff Marat, her parole officer. He's tough but fair, and always gives his parolees a good chance. In fact, his life seems to be filled with parolee friends whose lives he has helped turn around. He sets her up with a job, but there are some strict rules on her parole. No associating with her former criminal associates, most importantly Harry Wesson (John Baragrey.) And, strangely enough, no getting married. Well, she pretty quickly breaks that first rule, but he gives her a second chance. And it's quickly apparent that he's not doing this just out of his good nature--he's kind of sweet on her. And maybe she's sweet on him, too. Or at least pretends to be, and it's a relationship that Harry encourages for his own schemes. But things go a little awry when she falls for Griff for real. The dramatic build up really pays off with an exciting final act. The screenplay was written by Samuel Fuller, who wanted it to end in a hail of bullets. That was nixed by the studio in favor of a softer ending, but one I really like anyway.

SLEEP, MY LOVE (1948): Alison Courtland (the amazing Claudette Colbert) wakes up on a moving train, panicking because she has no idea how she got there. It seems she's been having these odd episodes just recently. In any case, she is soon helped back to New York and the loving hands of her husband Richard (Don Ameche) but not until meeting the nice friend-of-a-friend Bruce (Robert Cummings.) Well, it quickly unfolds that her husband is behind her episodes, in cahoots with an odd trio of a photographer/con man (George Coulouris,) his daffy wife (Queenie Smith,) and bombshell model Daphne (Hazel Brooks.) Danger and double-crossing ensues. A great little story, and so weird to see Don Ameche being so evil.

Total Running Time: 173 minutes
My Total Minutes: 379,761

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