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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Dark Corner

**** The Dark Corner. Drama.

Directed by: Henry Hathaway.

Starring: Lucille Ball, Mark Stevens, Clifton Webb, William Bendix.

We watched this one courtesy of Netflix. Dagny had put it in my queue--she's a big Lucille Ball fan--but it didn't arrive while she was here.

It's a 1940s film noir about a hard-boiled PI Galt (Mark Stevens) and his devoted and gutsy secretary Kathleen (Lucille Ball).

Galt's an ex-con who'd been set up by his former partner, Jardine, but he's (mostly) put it behind him. Except that it looks like Jardine isn't done with him.

As it turns out, someone's trying to provoke Galt into killing Jardine, and when that doesn't work, they up the ante. Through it all, Kathleen is not only right there by his side believing in him, but also coming up with smart suggestions when he's ready to give up.

Galt is a little more human than most 40s hard-boiled movie detectives--he shows emotions and doubts more than others I've seen. Whether that's due to the actor, the director, or the script, though, I couldn't say.

Even though the movie was made 5 years before I Love Lucy's debut, Lucille Ball's character was the star. She was smart and practical, and she was feminine without being fragile. And no, she wasn't funny--it wasn't a comedic role, and she still played it very well. Get over it.

It's not the best film noir I've ever seen--though I enjoyed the PI and his secretary very much, the other story, about Jardine, Jardine's lover, her husband, and his henchman, was a little confusing, and it took me until nearly the end of the movie before I figured out what the heck they were doing, and why we cared.

Of course, part of my confusion could have come from watching it over two nights, with 3 males, who consider fight scenes the only parts of movies that you need to be absolutely quiet for. Grrrrr. (And please, if someone can explain the logic of why it's perfectly okay to talk while characters are discussing the plot, but you must be silent during fight scenes when there's nothing to hear, I'd be really grateful--this is a question that's bugged me for years.)


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