Thursday, February 8, 2018

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 9

Still splitting time between Noir City and SF Indiefest. Last Saturday I only caught the matinee in Noir City.

SOUTHSIDE 1-1000 (1950): A crackin' good story about counterfeiters and the Secret Service going after them (trivia, the Secret Service didn't start out primarily as bodyguards for public officials. They started as a law enforcement agency specializing in tracking down counterfeiters.) An ace counterfeiter (Morris Ankrum) actually created the fake plates in San Quentin prison. That's the start of the case, as agent John Riggs (Don DeFore) goes undercover as Nick Starnes, working his way all the way up to the boss, Nora Craig (Andrea King.) Passion ignites, but justice trumps passion for the valiant and dedicated men of the Secret Service.

THE UNDERWORLD STORY (1950): And then what's better than dangerous Dan Duryea. In a similar setup to ACE IN THE HOLE he plays a disgraced newspaper reporter looking for another shot with a small town paper. (His name is Mike Reese, who I kept hearing as "My Crease," a possibly intentional play on words indicating what an asshole he is.) Of course, he's Dan Duryea, so he's over-the-top cynical and scheming, buying a share of a small-town paper, making him a business partner of the highly skeptical Cathy Harris (Gale Storm.)  But he ends up on the right side, defending a poor innocent girl Molly Rankin of murder (Mary Anderson, in unfortunate and cringe-worthy blackface.) Sure, he's only doing that to sell papers and advertising, but at least he's on the right side and has the town behind him. Unfortunately, that can change pretty quickly, as the father of the deceased happens to be a big-time newspaper publisher (Herbert Marshall,) and pretty well connected to the mob (in the person of Howard Da Silva.) And even though he knows Molly is innocent, he's still going after her rather than let the truth out, because...[no spoilers here, I've already spoiled enough.] Anyway, what's stranger than Dan Duryea being on the right side? Staying there, on principles, and taking a beating and becoming a hero by the end. Still a scheming son-of-a-bitch, but at least this one time, a heroic one. Now that's a pleasant surprise.

Total Running Time: 164 minutes
My Total Minutes: 467,604

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