Three more films from the 40s-50s this week.
Desk Set (1957): I’m not a fan of Tracy-Hepburn flicks, and this tops the least favorite list for me as of now. I watched it with a friend who’d been wanting to see it, and we did a lot of groaning at the slow pace, poorly handled complications, flatness of Gig Young,dull role for Spencer Tracy, and sexism in the Hepburn role. I’m surprised this is the best Tracy and Hepburn could get. It seemed more like Doris Day/Rock Hudson reactionary crapola and the ending was especially cheesy. The one redeeming facet in the film for me was Joan Blondell’s performance; she’s a quick-witted gem. NOT RECOMMENDED.
The 13th Letter (1951): This film about a writer of poison pen letters boasts Otto Preminger as its director and a hell of a cast, including Michael Rennie (at his very best), Charles Boyer, Constance Smith, and Linda Darnell (in a role that should’ve been better written). I watched The 13th Letter after seeing Rennie in his final unbelievably dreadful film, Assignment Terror (1970) — courtesy of a #TrashTue live tweet, because I needed to remind myself that the man could act. I was reassured, but that doesn’t mean the film itself is as good as Rennie is in it. Part Agatha Christie type thriller, part B noir, the film keeps you guessing until the end. Lightly RECOMMENDED for fans of noir and Michael Rennie.
Street of Chance (1942): I spotted this film, featuring an early femme fatale role for Claire Trevor and an interesting lead for Burgess Meredith. The amnesia theme is fairly thin and the plot even thinner, but I enjoyed the leads as well as Sheldon Leonard as the unflappable Detective Joe Marucci enough to make it a RECOMMENDED B feature.