When critiquing any film noir it is essential that one suspend disbelief to allow for the heightened dramatics and artistic license which are germane to the genre, but this dark murder mystery from director H. Bruce Humberstone is just too sloppy to forgive. As a policier its conspicuous disregard for proper procedure stretches plausibility past the breaking point with cops sauntering in and out of people’s apartments without an invite or a warrant and on-duty officers making deals with suspects on a lark. And aside from Laird Cregar’s chilling performance everyone else seems to be reading their lines off the back of their hands, especially a woefully miscast Mature who stumbles and emotes his way towards the film’s laughably naïve conclusion. But the cinematography revels in New York’s nightlife and the strange musical score—including a revised orchestral version of “Over the Rainbow”—counteracts much of the film’s noirish nonsense. Worth a look for diehard fans.
This is a 1941 film noir directed by H. Bruce Humberstone, based on the novel of the same name by Steve Fisher.
Shot in a naturalistic style, the film shows how dark photography can increase a brooding mood and make the film more tense.
The conclusion is filled with plot twists and surprise character revelations, as the marvelously sinister performance by Laird Cregar as the sicko detective dominates the screen.
However, the plot is overly ill-contrived in the first.
I can hardly believe that a supposedly hard-boiled detective falls in love with an empty-headed waitress.
A thriller and a "Who Dun It" of the first order!! A detective seems to want to convict an innocent man of a killing of his girl friend. Victor Mature stars as Frankie Christopher who is a publicity man trying to get an unknown model fame and fortune. The cops seem to think he killed her when she is found dead in her apartment. The clues all point to him, but did he do it? It is a great script and the cast is perfect. See if you don't find yourself wondering, "Who Killed Vickie?"
Kind of a strange movie. I guess it could be termed a Film Noir Comedy ? Betty Grable (while being very pretty) and Victor Mature (not taking anything seriously) always seem to be acting .......and with Somewhere Over the Rainbow always playing in the background. If it wasn't for the awesome performance of Laird Cregar as the creepy detective, it might as well been an Abbott & Costello who done it. It's the type of stalker story that has been done much better in today's films (and probably too much), but back then, the killer's ID was telegraphed ahead of time, so the ending isn't as shocking as it should have been......and Somewhere Over the Rainbow didn't help. The original title of the film was "Hot Spot", but audiences thought it was another Betty Grable musical comedy, so the title was changed. In reality, the audiences weren't far off. I would like to see the remake from 1953 called "Vicki". Hopefully, they got it right that time.
For a movie made in 1941, this entertaining little thriller looks and feels like something made much later when the "Noir" cycle would have been in full swing. More than worth a look for anyone who enjoys 40s thrillers/mysteries and required viewing for "Film Noir" fanatics..
3 Stars A better than average detective or film noir. Worth a look.
Boring and slow.
For noir romantic comedy fans; I know you're out there. For acting students, this is a handy film to compare the "outer" acting of old Hollywood films, with the "inner" or Method acting of future generations (watch how Cregar slides his sly bulk in and out of doorways.) The only thing that really doesn't work is the soundtrack, which is based on -- I'm not kidding -- "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
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