A busy week meant only a little film time…
Dark City (1950): I stumbled onto this film via YouTube, surprised to find its title shared by the 1998 neo-noir. I was then surprised to find it was Charlton Heston’s first leading role as a criminal who begins to change his ways. It’s noir light, to be sure, and I’ve never seen Lizabeth Scott less appealing as a clingy club crooner (whose singing voice is dubbed). Viveca Lindfors is better in a supporting role. Despite the forced, unconvincing ending, I did enjoy the ride. Still, I have to say NOT RECOMMENDED unless you have patience for a lot of dubbed musical numbers, a surprisingly dependent Scott, and an unearned happy ending.
Wicked as They Come (1956): Though late in the classic noir cycle, I truly enjoyed this oddball flick, which I found on YouTube. I’d recently rescreened Pushover for #BNoirDetour, and followed this by checking out the hunky Phil Carey in what turned out to be a truly disappointing pilot for Philip Marlowe, a half-hour series that lasted only a year (1959-60). (Carey does his best, but the writing/plot is awful.) I hankered for some good noir featuring Carey, and I found it in Wicked as They Come, co-starring Arlene Dahl as an unrepentant gold digger who makes her way through and up a chain of men (a noir version of Stanwyck in Baby Face). Carey’s middle-class advertising agent Tim O’Banion likes then loves her, despite her calculating coldness and fear of being touched. Eventually, he discovers that, unlike many of the femmes fatale in noir, Dahl’s Kathy has a terrible past experience that explains her present-day ruthlessness. Ultimately, Kathy’s treatment of the various men in her life leads to homicide, and she winds up in jail. Tim stands by her, and the film ends on a surprisingly ambiguous note that suits it well. Quite RECOMMENDED.
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