Jennifer (1953)

|
Is the truth about a young woman’s disappearance being covered up? Ida Lupino thinks maybe so . . .
|

US / 73 minutes / bw / Monogram Dir: Joel Newton Pr: Berman Swarttz Scr: Richard Dorso, Bernard Girard Story: Virginia Myers Cine: James Wong Howe Cast: Ida Lupino, Howard Duff, Robert Nichols, Mary Shipp, Ned Glass, Kitty McHugh, Russ Conway, Lorna Thayer, Matt Dennis.

Thirtysomething secretary Agnes Langley (Lupino) eagerly accepts a job as caretaker of the old Gale estate outside Montecito, somewhere within striking distance of Santa Barbara, Southern California.

Ida Lupino as Agnes.

According to Lorna Gale (Shipp), the family member who shows Agnes round the mansion and interviews her for the post, the previous caretaker, Lorna’s cousin, Jennifer Brown, simply upped and disappeared one day. Agnes isn’t Continue reading

Suddenly (2013)

|
Ray Liotta and Erin Karpluk in an interesting (albeit highly flawed) remake of a noir classic!
|

vt Code Black: President Down
Canada / 90 minutes / color / Odyssey, Nasser Group North, Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, CPTC, Insight, Cinedigm Dir: Uwe Boll Pr: Kirk Shaw Scr: Raul Inglis Story (uncredited): Suddenly (1954 screenplay) by Richard Sale Cine: B. Uegama Cast: Ray Liotta, Erin Karpluk, Dominic Purcell, Don MacKay, Cole Coker, Tyron Leitso, Michael Paré, Steve Bacic, Garry Chalk, Brendan Fletcher, Darryl Shuttleworth, Chris Shields, Haig Sutherland.

Suddenly - 0 opener

This is a remake (albeit this goes unacknowledged in the credits) of the well regarded 1954 movie SUDDENLY, dir Lewis Allen, with Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason and Nancy Gates. For obvious reasons, then, I won’t go into the plot in too much detail.

En route to his vacation, the US President is going to make a brief, hitherto unannounced stop in the remote small town of Suddenly. The secret services, led by Agent Dan Carney (Bacic), descend on the town a few hours beforehand to establish security measures in cooperation with local Police Chief Grant (Chalk) and his two deputies, Reg Anderson (Fletcher) and Tod Reed (Liotta)—the credits get the latter character’s wrong, listing him as Tod Shaw.

Suddenly - 2 It's a wonder Tod is still maintained by the PD

It’s a wonder Tod (Ray Liotta) is still maintained by the PD.

Suddenly - 2a And it's largely because of the goodwill of Chief Grant that he is

And it’s largely because of the goodwill of Chief Grant (Garry Chalk) that he is.

But a domestic terrorist group, the Committee, has got wind of the whistlestop visit and sent in a trio of fake agents, Baron (Purcell), Wheeler (Leitso) and Conklin (Paré). These three take over, with her permission, the home of Continue reading

Morton Thompson’s Not as a Stranger (1955)

vt Not as a Stranger
US / 136 minutes / bw / Kramer, UA Dir & Pr: Stanley Kramer Scr: Edna Anhalt, Edward Anhalt Story: Not as a Stranger (1954) by Morton Thompson Cine: Franz Planer Cast: Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, Myron McCormick, Lon Chaney Jr., Jesse White, Harry Morgan, Lee Marvin, Virginia Christine, Whit Bissell, Jack Raine, Mae Clarke, William Vedder, John Dierkes, Jerry Paris, Juanita Moore.

Kramer’s first movie as a director has little noirish interest outside its cast, which is crowded out with major and minor contributors to the genre, such as Mitchum, Grahame, de Havilland, Sinatra, Crawford, Morgan, Marvin, Christine and a number of familiar faces among the extensive list of uncredited actors. Its source, Thompson’s novel, was a whopping medical drama exploring the same thematic territory that the UK author A.J. Cronin had mapped out a quarter of a century earlier in novels like The Citadel (1937).

Lucas “Luke” Marsh (Mitchum) is a medical student dedicated to the point of obsession in his studies at a big-city teaching hospital; unfortunately, his father Job (Chaney) has drunk all of Luke’s inheritance from his mother and, though Luke’s tutor Dr. Aarons (Crawford) and best pal Alfred “Al” Boone (Sinatra) lend him some money toward paying his fees, it’s only enough for the hospital bursar (Dierkes) to give him a 30-day extension before, unless he finds the rest, he’ll be expelled.

Not as a Stranger - Pic 1

Robert Mitchum as Luke Marsh with Gloria Grahame as the predatory widow Harriet Lang: “They always warn you about solitary drinking,” she purrs at him, “but they never tell you how to get people to stay up and drink with you.”

Shy Swedish–American nurse Kristina “Kris” Hedvigson (de Havilland) worships the ground Luke treads on; so far as he’s concerned, she’s just an older woman who’s kind enough to help him from time to time. (In fact, de Havilland was just a year or so older than the supposedly student-age Mitchum. Sinatra was actually older than de Havilland.) But, at a smorgasbord party that Kris throws, her friend Bruni (Christine) brags that Kris has extensive savings; soon, to the horror of Continue reading