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Monday, December 7, 2009


Tight RKO film noir is helmed by John Farrow who brings out an abstract detachment that nicely serves the film’s remarkably unsympathetic leading characters and its logic-defying twists. It doesn’t plumb the existential depths like Edgar Ulmer’s Grade Z classic DETOUR/’45, but it’s pretty far out there. Particularly the lensing from Nicholas Musuraca which all but drowns us in oblique angles, severe contrast lighting & daringly long takes. Robert Mitchum plays the chump doctor who falls hard for his suicidal patient (Faith Domergue), unaware that she’s the wife and not the daughter of rich, old Claude Rains. Before you can blink, there’s a murder and the lovers are on the lam. Mitchum (typically superb) is wounded & weak, but that’s the least of his problems. Domergue is little remembered & wasn’t much of an actress, but she was Howard Hughes’ latest, so she got the showcase part. Well, she looks alright holding a gun which is half the battle in these things.

CONTEST: Scripter Charles Bennett did a lot of writing for Alfred Hitchcock and this film contains two striking prefigurations of story elements later found in PSYCHO/’60. Name them and win a MAKSQUIBS Write-Up of the NetFlix DVD of your choice.

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