Archive for February 25th, 2011

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Director: Alfred Werker and Anthony Mann

Producer: Bryan Foy and Robert Kane

Screenwriter: John C. Higgins and Crane Wilbur

Cinematographer: John C. Alton

Music: Leonid Raab

Studio: Eagle Lion 1948

Main Acting: Richard Basehart and Roy Roberts

I’m not the biggest fan of narrated police procedural semidocumentary pictures that were very popular in the mid to late 40s. Besides the stale aroma of governmental propaganda, I always found those booming voices to be hopelessly quaint and annoying. Both The Naked City and T-Men are generally talked about with reverence, yet neither is remotely great in my eyes. I consider both to be okay movies but have a hard time swallowing the intrusive rigmarole that those explanatory antiquated chronicler’s recount. Even He Walked By Night, which has always been my favorite of this ilk can still grate at times. I swear Ed Wood used the same guy in Glen Or Glenda to harp on about “satin undies”. Still, discounting this one flaw, Alfred Werker/Anthony Mann’s film really works in almost every other way and comes only a few inches from being pitch perfect.

Anthony Mann, while uncredited, is said to have actually directed most of He Walked By Night. Along with the great John Alton handling the cinematography, it’s not hard to see the visual and thematic similarities this picture shares with other Mann/Alton joint ventures like T-Men and Raw Deal (the cinematography of He Walked By Night is Alton’s peak achievement in my opinion). While Alfred Werker was considered a solid craftsmen and dependable journeymen who helmed the entertaining The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes (1939), he was not known for creating gritty film noirs throughout his career. I would say it’s safe to wager that Mann was the one who made this 1948 Eagle Lion picture worth watching. When Alton’s shadows take center stage, the result is tough, dark, and full of enough grime to get every noirist’s heart aflutter. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 1958 122m) DVD2/5 (France/Russia only)

Aka. Love is my Profession

She’s impulsive and loves sex

Raoul Lévy  d  Claude Autant-Lara  w  Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost  novel  Georges Simenon  ph  Jacques Natteau  ed  Madeleine Gug  m  René Clourec  art  Max Douy

Jean Gabin (André Gobillot), Edwige Feuillère (Viviane Gobillot), Brigitte Bardot (Yvette Maudet), Franco Interlenghi (Mazzetti), Nicole Berger (Jeanine), Madeleine Barbulée (Bordenave), Julien Bertheau (Inspector), Mathilde Casededus (Anna), Jacques Clancy, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Annick Allières, Claude Magnier, Albert Rémy,

When it comes to entries like this, I know I must put my hands up and acknowledge that very few critics or commentators would find it so worthy.  Essentially, it’s merely a well- packaged melodrama of its day, which drew people to it on account of its cast, especially that 5’7” of perfection that was Brigitte Bardot.

            Then let’s cut forward over forty years to another film of the same Simenon tale, En Plein Coeur, starring one of the French starlets du jour, Virginie Ledoyen.  It was lifeless, and Ledoyen, who the camera does love, just didn’t cut the ice.  You can stick around and hope, but there will never ever be another Bardot.  The cinema has given us many icons who rate a ‘10’ on the feminine perfection scale, but Bardot is the only one who would satisfy Nigel Tufnel and go up to ‘11’.  Hot, sexy, alluring, pouting, you’re still doing her scant justice: Aphrodite herself would be green with envy. (more…)

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