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The wife of an alcoholic writer must take a job as a taxi driver to make ends meet. A young man she picks up as a fare befriends her, but when her husband is found murdered, the police suspect she and her new "friend" committed the murder.
John Barrington escapes from an asylum for the criminally-insane and finds refuge on the ranch of turkey-raiser Ezra Thompson. Barrington, who has suffered from amnesia, finds his memory returning slightly and he sets out on his mission of learning the truth about whether or not he really murdered his sweetheart and is actually insane. He goes to Los Angeles to visit his oldest-and-best friend, psychiatrist David Dunbar, who was a witness to Barrington's crime. Dunbar repeats his story to Barrington, convinces Barrington that he did commit the crime, and then betrays him to the police. However, Thompson, Connie Carter and others are not totally convinced of Barrington's guilt. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What a strange little film, and fun and dramatic and worth every minute
The Scarf (1951)
A peculiar but sometimes charming movie, filled with empty moments, people sitting and talking, the wind whistling through trees in the desert, and a possible killer on the loose. The best parts for me were the odd pairing of a loner woman played by Mercedes McCambridge and the leading man on the run, John Barrington (John Ireland). Later, both of these characters appear in different places, sometimes crossing paths. McCambridge is a sharp, funny, slightly tragic actress, and Ireland is a super sweet guy. They make a surprising pair.
The setting for all this is a nice little village on the edge of the desert, and a dry turkey farm out of town. As Barrington suffers with his guilt and doubts about having committed a murder (strangling someone with a scarf), he bounces from place to place, just barely avoiding trouble. People are rough and Barrington can't get his head together, but he plugs along, butting against McCambridge at times, and the tensions grows before you realize it.
It isn't quite a Hitchcockian innocent man on the loose. We doubt him, too. We are unravelling the problem as they go. It isn't always a remarkable unfolding of events, but it has remarkable moments, and a strange, spare mood that is possessing. At first I almost stopped watching it because it was a bit clumsy and raw, but that becomes smoother and more essential over time. Eventually it becomes downright idiosyncratic in the best ways, just on the happy edge of weird. There's even a barroom scene with McCambridge singing a simple blues song, pretty amazingly.
The plot takes on some forced twists toward the end, but they are still dramatic ones. "The doctor is allergic to irrelevant laughter."
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