Saturday, January 30, 2016

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 4

Last Monday was Humphrey Bogart night. Excellent!

IN A LONELY PLACE (1950): Bogart is Dixon Steele, a Hollywood screenwriter. He's also got a bit of a drinking problem, and a bigger anger problem. He's given a book to try to adapt, and he brings a coat-check girl home from the club to tell him the story (he overhears that she has read it.) It's all innocent, and she leaves relatively early. But the next morning there's a problem--she's been killed, shoved out of a car down a canyon. And Dixon is the prime suspect. Gloria Grahame as his neighbor Laurel Gray comes to his rescue as his alibi. And then as his friend, lover, muse, fiance... But the cops keep putting the screws on him, and the strain gets to be too much. She sees a bit of his temper, and starts wondering if maybe he does have it in himself to kill... Excellent acting, a well crafted story and character study of the near-psychotic man.

THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS (1947): Hey, I've seen this one Noir City. Let's take a look at what I said back then:

Bogart plays Geoff Carroll, an American painter in England. He falls for his 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.

Yup, that still sounds about right. Especially the creepily mature daughter part. What fun.

Total Running Time: 193 minutes
My Total Minutes: 415,253

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