The Strange Mrs. Crane (1948)

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You can’t leave your past behind!
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vt Beyond Reasonable Doubt; vt Guilty Woman
US / 62 minutes / bw / John Sutherland Productions, Pathe, Eagle–Lion Dir: Sherman Scott (i.e., Sam Newfield) Pr: John Sutherland Scr: Al Martin Story: Frank Burt, Robert Libott Cine: Jack Greenhalgh Cast: Marjorie Lord, Robert Shayne, Pierre Watkin, James Seay, Ruthe Brady, Claire Whitney, Mary Gordon, Chester Clute, Dorothy Granger, Charles Williams, Emmett Vogan.

A cracker of a minor film noir that seems to have passed under just about everybody’s radar—mine included, until now.

Jenny Hadley (Lord) used to be in partnership with Floyd Durant (Shayne) in a blackmailing racket: she’d get into compromising positions with married men (like Comstock in Chicago who “fell so hard for her he wouldn’t even go to the police”) while Floyd did the rest. As you’d expect, it wasn’t just in their extortioning game that Jenny and Floyd were partnered.

Marjorie Lord as the very respectable Mrs. Crane . . . but in reality
a femme fatale.

Now, though, Jenny has left her life of crime—and Floyd—behind, and has become ultra-respectable Mrs. Gina Crane, wife of the much older lawyer Clinton Crane (Watkin), who’s the pundits’ favorite to triumph in the upcoming state gubernatorial race.

When Clinton wins his primary, Gina (as we’ll call her for convenience) reminds him of his promise to Continue reading

Heartaches (1947)

Here’s a very shy contribution to this splendid endeavor:

US / 71 minutes / bw / PRC Dir: Basil Wrangell Pr: Marvin D. Stahl Scr: George Bricker Story: Monty F. Collins, Julian I. Peyser Cine: Jack Greenhalgh Cast: Sheila Ryan, Edward Norris, Chill Wills, Kenneth Farrell, James Seay, Frank Orth, Chili Williams, Al LaRue, Charles Mitchell, Phyllis Planchard, Ann Staunton, Arthur Space, Keefe Brasselle, Edward Earle, Terry Moore, Minerva Urecal, Mack Williams.

Heartaches 0a

Vic Morton (Farrell) is the latest singing sensation to come to Hollywood, having signed a contract with Majestic Studios. In a very interesting opening sequence to this movie, we’re shown, after a brief account of Hollywood, the trailer for Vic’s first movie, also called Heartaches, as supposedly projected inside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. He sings the popular 1931 title song (music by Al Hoffman, lyrics by John Klenner) while languidly romancing an unnamed blonde (Moore).

Heartaches 0b

Cut to a while later. Heartaches has been a big success and Majestic is pushing ahead with Vic’s next vehicle, Broadway Ballad. We discover almost immediately a carefully guarded secret: Vic can’t sing. That mellifluous tenor voice emanates from his regular accompanist, songwriter and old band friend, the homely-faced “Bogey” Mann (Wills), with the handsome Vic merely lip-synching. The pair are rehearsing in the company of publicist Toni Wentworth (Ryan) when the secret is almost blown wide open: into the Continue reading