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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE (1947)

The trio from that fine mordant murder mystery GREEN FOR DANGER/’46 (see below), Trevor Howard, Griffth Jones & Sally Gray, co-star in this considerably bleaker Brit-noir about an ex-WWII pilot who’s framed for murder by his pal in the black market trade. It’s certainly the darkest thing Noel Langley ever scripted (he was the lead writer on THE WIZARD OF OZ/’39) and it’s well directed (in pieces) by Alberto Calvalcanti, a Brazilian émigré whose films (the few available) never quite add up. (He’s really only known for the portmanteau pic DEAD OF NIGHT/’45 and for his tasty, but awkwardly abridged NICHOLAS NICKLEBY/’47) In addition to the well caught underworld atmosphere (deeply textured chiaroscuro lensing from Otto Heller), there are a few superb Music Hall sequences (dig those footlight accents) which make one yearn for a chance to see Calvalcanti’s backstager, CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE/’44.

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