Dark Corner (1946)

August 4, 2011

 

Directed by Henry Hathaway for 20th Century Fox who also directed one of my all time favorite pictures Call Northside 777 starred Lucille Ball, Mark Stevens, Clifton Webb, and William Bendix in a Leo Rosten story about an ex con Bradford Galt (Stevens)who heads to New York to startup his own detective agency. His secretary played by Ball is not your typical femme fatale in a noir movie. Oh she has some of the usual Chandler one liners but didn’t deliver them like Mary Astor, Jane Greer, and others. Clifton Webb as the art dealer Hardy Cathcart is his usual caustic self. There is a triangle involving Galt’s former partner who double crossed him in San Francisco Jardine played by Kurt Kreuger and Mrs. Cathcart who was the femme fatale played by Cathy Downs. Bendix is the nasty hit man Fred Foss who is hired by Cathcart to kill Jardine and pin the murder on Galt. He does kill Jardine but his payoff is being pushed out of a window from thirty floors up by Cathcart. However in the end Mrs. Cathcart kills her husband for taking away her lover completing the plot. Of course private eye and secretary get married. Don’t they always? I don’t think Ball did a very good job but I thought Stevens was excellent along with Webb and Bendix. The soundtrack was a bit unusual using Eddie Heywood and orchestra playing sweet band arrangements of popular songs. The main title was the classic “Street Scene” composed by Oscar winning Alfred Newman. He was given no credit. Definitely worth a watch in spite of a weak performance from Lucille Ball and a good example of film noir of the 40’s. (***)

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