Moontide (1942)

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Ida Lupino and Jean Gabin (and Claude Rains and Thomas Mitchell!) in a strange piece of borderline noirishness!
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US / 95 minutes / bw / TCF Dir: Archie Mayo, Fritz Lang (uncredited) Pr: Mark Hellinger Scr: John O’Hara, Nunnally Johnson (uncredited) Story: Moon Tide (1940) by Willard Robertson Cine: Charles Clarke, Lucien Ballard (uncredited) Cast: Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Thomas Mitchell, Claude Rains, Jerome Cowan, Helene Reynolds, Ralph Byrd, William Halligan, Victor Sen Yung, Chester Gan, Robin Raymond, Arthur Aylesworth, Arthur Hohl, John Kelly, Ralph Dunn, Tully Marshall, Vera Lewis, Tom Dugan.

On Amazon.co.uk a commenter called Now Zoltan (I assume that’s not his real name) has complained that I omitted this movie, which he regards as quintessential to the genre (“a cornerstone noir, one of my favourites”), from my A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir. He also complained about a typo as if it were an error of fact, which I thought was a bit unfair: 675,000 words of information-dense text? Of course you can expect a few typos—though hopefully not very many!

Anyway, I checked my entry for this movie in my personal catalogue and saw that I’d given it the NSH (noirish) rather than the NOIR classification. Since it stars Lupino, Gabin and Rains, three of my all-time favorite actors, and since Fritz Lang was involved, in the ordinary way I’d have bent over backward to include it in the book—i.e., to persuade myself it was sufficiently noir that it oughter go in.

An enigma on the back of a conundrum, and puzzling too.

It had been yonks since last I’d watched the movie, and to be honest I could remember little about it, so I decided to give it another whirl to see if I could work out why I’d decided to omit it. Here goes.

Jean Gabin as Bobo.

Bobo (Gabin) is a longshoreman, and ostensibly a good one, but he has a penchant for hard drinking. Tonight in the saloon called The Red Dot he’s well and truly hammered, to the dismay of his sidekick Tiny (Mitchell), who wants to Continue reading

Rogues Gallery (1944)

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The sassy crime reporter, her sidekick photographer
. . . and murder! Have we been here before?
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vt Here We Go Again
US / 57 minutes / bw / American Productions, PRC Dir: Albert Herman Pr: Donald C. McKean, Albert Herman Scr: John T. Neville Cine: Ira Morgan Cast: Frank Jenks, Robin Raymond, H.B. Warner, Ray Walker, Davison Clark, Bob Homans, Frank McGlynn, Pat Gleason, Edward Keane, Earle Dewey, Milton Kibbee, Gene Stutenoth, George Kirby, Norval Mitchell, John Valentine, Jack Raymond, Parker Gee.

Rogues Gallery - 0

One of the countless comedy mysteries that were churned out as B-movies in the 1930s and 1940s, this features a familiar pair of protagonists: the smartass reporter and her photographer sidekick.

Reporter Patsy Clark (Robin Raymond) and photographer Eddie Jones (Jenks)—not Eddie Parker, as sometimes listed—work for the Daily Express. Just to avoid confusion, this isn’t the London Daily Express but a newspaper—a newspaper seemingly somewhere in California, presumably not too far from the PRC lot. Their editor, Gentry (Keane), sends them out to cover the story of a new invention devised by one Professor Reynolds (Warner) under the auspices of the Emerson Foundation, whose head is John Foster (Clark). Even though Foster’s nephew Jimmie (Walker) is a journalist, Foster and his companions on the Emerson Foundation board don’t much hold with the breed, and so Foster’s butler Duckworth (Kirby) throws Patsy and Eddie out on their ears when they try to get in for an interview.

Rogues Gallery - 1 Patsy and Eddie try to put a bold face on their latest failure

Patsy (Robin Raymond) and Eddie (Frank Jenks) try to put a bold face on their latest failure. That thing on Patsy’s head is a hat, and it’s apparently glued there.

Their next attempt is to go to the Emerson Foundation labs hoping to Continue reading