Starring Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde, Celeste Holm, Richard Widmark
Directed by Jean Negulesco
Plot: “A nightclub owner frames a romantic rival for murder.” (from TCMDb)
I can’t remember where it was that I saw this clip (shout out if it was you and I’ll credit your blog), but when I first saw it a month or so ago it made me want to check out this film. Luckily, I was able to get it through our state inter-library loan system, and I’m so glad I did! This film did not disappoint.
** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS **
I didn't think I liked film noir, but this was really excellent. (Though I guess some would say that it's not technically noir because **BIG SPOILER** it has a happy ending.)
Richard Widmark’s performance is one of the best parts of this film. It’s one I could watch over and over, I think, because he’s just so deliciously villainous in it. He manages to be both amusing and frightening at the same time.
Cornel Wilde’s role isn’t quite a showy as some of the other players in this, but he does a good job as the strong and steady man.
There's something about Ida’s character I didn't like. She's too sassy and sure of herself, and I don’t like how she plays up to Pete. Plus, it is rather hard to believe that their relationship is more than passing infatuation. It was difficult for me to really buy the chemistry between these two. It didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the film, though, because there’s so much more going on than just their relationship. Of course, Ida’s performance is top notch. I did have a hard time believing that her singing really drove that much business to the road house, though!
I love how she totally shuts down Cornel's character when he tries to dump her at the depot. One tough dame.
Celeste Holm is great in this as Susie. Even after the man she is kind of interested in falls in love with someone else, she is not vengeful or full of spite. She just does what is right and tries to help the them. She was also not afraid to face Widmark’s character. I did feel a little sorry for her, though, because I think she deserved to end up with Pete (though I know of course that the movie would not have worked out the same that way).
Ida’s face may not be traditionally beautiful, but it is very captivating. I want to see more of her movies (especially if they are all this good). She's just so unique. I don't really 'love' her yet, but I'm definitely intrigued by her.
I can’t believe I didn’t get any screencaps with people smoking because there is an insane amount of it in this film. I know most old movies include some cigarette use, but this one seemed like it had an extra lot of it! Ida’s character in particular is rarely seen without a cigarette.
This film has a great dark, atmospheric feel.
Definitely see this. The performances, cinematography, plot, and dialogue are all really great.
Yeah, there are improbabilities and contrivances, but I didn’t really notice any of them during the film. I was too caught up in the plot to care about the details.
Oh, and if you have seen this, please recommend any other similar film noirs that you think I would like. I think I may be slowly changing my mind about this genre!