A private detective helps a prostitute being assaulted, and notices that she is wearing a very unique ring. She is later found murdered and there is no trace of the ring, which turns out to... See full summary »
A Los Angeles socialite kills a man while home alone one night and claims he was an intruder she did not know. It seems like a clear case of self defense until the story hits the papers and people connected to the dead man come forward.
Drifting floozy Billie Nash gets a bar job where she seduces the owner's husband by convincing him to defraud his drunkard wife in order to elope together to Mexico but a sleazy neighbor with designs on Billie jeopardizes her plans.
Hitchhiker Johnny McBride is badly hurt and loses his memory when the car he is riding in crashes. Two years later, a clue leads him to his old home town, where he finds he is a murder suspect. Johnny tries to discover the truth about the murder, while pursued by gangsters and several seductive women.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Spillane's misogyny distorts noir about amnesiac battling corruption
Contemporaneous with the noir cycle came the rise of the cheap paperback, bringing lurid crime novels with provocative cover art to racks in drugstores and bus depots. Spearheading this pulp revolution were the scribbles of Mickey Spillane, several of which became films: I, The Jury; The Long Wait; My Gun Is Quick; and Kiss Me Deadly the only indispensable title among them.
The Long Wait remains anomalous in that Spillane's thuggish protagonist, Mike Hammer, makes no appearance. Anthony Quinn hitches a ride in a car which promptly plunges into a ravine and bursts into flame. In the fire, he loses both his fingerprints and his memory. After two years working in an oil field, he's sent on a wild-goose chase to his home town, unaware that he's wanted for the murder of the District Attorney, who was prosecuting him for embezzling a quarter-million. His cauterized fingertips force the police to release him, but other parties want him dead. But he forges ahead with a two-pronged quest: to vindicate himself, and to find the girl he's told he once loved. She used to be called Vera shades of Moose Malloy and Velma in Murder, My Sweet (Farewell, My Lovely) but now she's...somebody else.
The four prime candidates for Verahood (Peggie Castle, Mary Ellen Kay, Shawn Smith and Dolores Donlon) become pasteboard targets at which Spillane can spew out his misogynistic venom. They're nothing more than scheming nymphos, throwing themselves at Quinn despite any prior arrangements they've made to insure their kept-women comforts. Inevitably they're terrorized and slapped around.
The movie's most visually arresting sequence (thanks to cinematographer Frank, or Franz, Planer) proves also its most sadistic: in an abandoned factory, lit with Expressionistic panache, Castle, bound with rope and under the muzzle of a gun, crawls across the floor to give Quinn a final kiss. Aficionados of film noir must, of course, grapple with the nettlesome problem of the femme fatale, the alluring but heartless Lilith who brings men gladly to ruin. But The Long Wait preserves an unregenerate, macho view of womankind that surpasses the merely dated or distasteful. It's a movie about the corruption of a small city that never questions the corruption of its own vision.
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