A nerd discovers he's wanted for murder, after escaping death from wreckage plummeting from a skyscraper. Passerby Frank Thompson wakes up in the street, believing it's his lucky day, then ... See full summary »
Returning a lost wallet gains unemployed veteran Chuck Scott a job as chauffeur to Eddie Roman, a seeming gangster whose enemies have a way of meeting violent ends. The job proves nerve-wracking, and soon Chuck finds himself pledged to help Eddie's lovely, fearful, prisoner-wife Lorna to escape. The result leaves Chuck caught like a rat in a trap, vainly seeking a way out through dark streets. But the real chase begins when the strange plot virtually starts all over again... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In just the first scene, the noir schmuck, an ex-GI back from the war, is wistfully looking at a man frying bacon behind a shopwindow, dejectedly looks down, whereloin a sardonic twist of noir fate, he discovers a wallet full of money. Being a straight-up guy, he shows up at the man's (a mobster as it turns out) place in Miami, where he's hired as a driver, falls for the unhappy wife, and elopes with her to Havana, as usual in noir standing in for desire.
Okay, as dreamy as it is the setup, the movie outright failsthe acting is stiff, the romance is forced, the pace lethargic, the camera uninteresting.
But even botched Woolrich is something, and this one's just so bizarre. Here's some notation: the narrator, our GI schmuck, suffers such intense anxiety (possibly related to the war: also seen in Woman in the Beach and Deadline at Dawn), midway through the narration breaks down and re-arranges the world. This is preceded by his own death following a very murky chase through Havana, another deeply noirish twist. Anyway, it turns out he was never in Havana, though he has two tickets in his pocket.
Obvious hallucination, but the weirdest thing is as follows: when the hallucination starts is undefinable, the ensuing 'real' story picks up from some point in the preceding film and culminates in a previously hallucinated moment in Havana. It's strange, because nothing is really done with it. But as clear explication of noiras with Woolrich's Fear in the Night, too clear for my tastethis is straight to the point. But it isn't a great film.
Noir Meter: 3/4
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