STUDIO EXEC’S FILM NOIR BUCKET: 1. THE DARK CORNER
FILM NOIR BUCKET – Don’t know where to put it your film noir? Put it in Studio Exec’s Film Noir bucket?
I’ve been obsessed by Film Noirs recently so I’ve decided to keep this mini-blog for anyone interested. I’m starting with Henry Hathaway’s 1946 thriller The Dark Corner starring Mark Stevens as private investigator Bradford Galt. He asks his secretary Kathleen (Lucille Ball) to help him catch a man who has been following him, the thug (William Bendix). It turns fishy when it turns out he might be working for Tony Jardine (Kurt Kreuger). Jardine is an old enemy of Galt who was once in prison. In turn Jardine is wrapped up with Hardy Cathcart (a silky Clifton Webb), a wealthy art-gallery owner.
Watching a lot of noirs, I keep picking up on details. Like a woman who shoots a man, empties the gun into him and then throws the empty gun at his body in an act of final frustrated spite. It’s great. Someone else gets tossed out of a window and there’s a superb little car chase in midtown Manhattan.
Mark Stevens is fairly drab as the ex-con turned PI who finds himself in a fix. Part of the problem is that he doesn’t instigate anything and so he’s just playing catch up for most of the film. William Bendix is a face that pops up a lot in these films and is always a reliably amusing presence (he’s great in The Glass Key with Alan Ladd).
The real star is Lucille Ball, who is excellent as the PI’s secretary who is ‘playing for keeps’, even if her breeziness is not particularly Dark Corner-sih. Hathaway would go on to direct Marilyn Monroe in Niagara.
This is not anything like the best place to start but it has some very fun moments.