Under the Bridge of Fear (2013)
Hard-boiled Private Eye Hamilton Drake is called in by notorious society dame Georgia Thurlow to chase down the rat who's been blackmailing her. Drake is led to The Bridge Club. But in this Sapphic underworld, nothing is ever simply black and white. A Film Noir thriller with a colorful twist.
Hard-boiled private eye Hamilton Drake is called in by notorious society dame Georgia Thurlow to chase down the rat who's been blackmailing her and a famous movie star. But in this sapphic underworld, nothing is ever black and white.
- Georgia Thurlow is a wealthy socialite who finds trouble wherever she goes in 1949.
Georgia has hired Private Eye Hamilton Drake because she's being blackmailed with lewd photographs from a private party she has attended with a visiting Hollywood movie star, Carrall Cordova.
Georgia and Drake have had a past, but it is only hinted at.
Drake arrives at her mansion, and is met by the perky maid, Cambie Dunsmuir. Cambie is about to reveal something to Drake but is interrupted by Georgia, who dismisses her.
As Georgia relates the Blackmail to Drake, showing him a vague photograph of an orgy, and a page torn from a detective novel called "The Dark Canal of Fury", Carrall Cordova enters and introduces herself. She has a sycophantic servant Nicola Comox. Both Georgia and Carrall pour on the sexual charm to Drake. Georgia lights his cigarette,and gives him the box of matches, which have The Bridge Club logo on them. Drake doesn't notice the logo. Carrall Cordova and Nicola Comox leave, and alone, Georgia kisses Drake asking him to take the case for her, and not just money. As Cambie serves him a drink, Georgia takes it,and suggests Drake get on with his investigation. He leaves.
Drake tracks down the Blackmail point man, Little Davie Denman, in a Pool Hall. Little Davie has a very tall girlfriend, Columbia Hastings, whom he banters with just before Drake finds him. Drake roughs him up, and finds out the Blackmailer is Robson Burrard, who owns a night club cabaret called The Bridge Club. Drake takes Little Davie's cigarette and leaves him fuming at the pool table.
In another club, The Volcano, Burrard watches chorus girls rehearse a routine with a young Shirley Temple-like child tap dancing in front of them. A phone is brought to him- it's Little Davie Denman. Burrard stops the rehearsal, telling the child to beat it because she can't dance, reducing her to tears,and takes the call.
Drake goes to the club, which has a wild audience watching burlesque, and sees Cambie working as the Club's cigarette girl. He gives her money asking her to keep Robson busy while he searches his office. He finds a lobby phone and calls Georgia, telling her to come down to the club as he has located the Blackmailer and the photographs. She says she doesn't know where the club is, and will take a cab. Drake lights his cigarette,and notices the logo on the matches Georgia gave him. Suddenly, the match flame is in colour! As Drake sees the colour, it dawns on him that Georgia just claimed not to know the club. Everything is no longer Black and White about this case.
Georgia arrives at the club, and goes to kiss Drake, but he holds back. As he does so, he notices her eyes are Green! He remarks on it, and she says she loves his grey eyes, and talks about love. But he is all business. Playing along, she tells him she brought the ransom money, just in case. They go inside. The crowd is wilder now, and an MC invokes the crowd to let loose as semi-naked women perform in front of a band and singer. Drake leaves Georgia to go up to Robson's office. Georgia takes a front table, next to one with Little Davie Denman, Columbia Hastings and Nicola Comox.
Drake enters Robson's office where he meets Robson's alluring secretary, Alma Dunbar, who is reading a detective novel. It is The Dark Canal Of Fury! Drake produces the missing page and enlists the eager, Robson-hating Alma to help him find the photographs. He does so, also finding ones of Alma, but as they are about to go, Robson appears in the doorway, holding a gun, and also holding Cambie in a choke hold. He throws Cambie down and tells her never to try and stall him again. He tells her to go and keep "selling promises". Robson tells Drake and Alma to put their hands up and he'll take the photos.
Just as he is about to do so, Georgia appears behind him, holding a gun. She tells Alma to grab her things, and explains to Drake that she intends to kill Robson, as he's been blackmailing her and Carrall for a year, and has also blackmailed Cambie and Alma into working for him. But gunshots from a Gun Crazy Burlesque Act downstairs on the club stage startle her, and Robson disarms her and ushers her into his office. He tells them it's over for all of them. He says "So long, it's been a fun ride." He points the guns at them, and three loud shots ring out -two from the burlesque act and the third from right behind Robson Burrard. Suddenly, Burrard squints, then falls to the ground, dead. Shot from behind by The Club's MC, who turns out to be Carall Cordova in drag!
Carrall steps over Robson's body and kisses Georgia passionately. Drake says, "Ah, love at first sight" mocking Georgia's earlier line to him outside the club. Carrall Cordova asks for the photographs. As Drake hands them to her, she slugs him with her gun, knocking him out.
Alma asks why she's done that,and Georgia and Carrall explain that they are making it look like a robbery gone wrong. They scatter money all over the place. They get Alma to open Robson's safe and pull items out. They switch guns, putting the murder weapon in Drake's hand and firing a round into a wall. Robson is dead, they have the photos, they're all free. They invite Alma to join them, and she tells them she needs to grab her things. Georgia, Carrall and Nicola leave with the photos.
Alma stays and goes to Drake, who is actually conscious. He gets up, Alma takes the gun from him and puts it in her purse. Drake takes a wad of the money and gives it to her, telling her to start fresh somewhere else. Drake fishes out the photographs he'd dropped in the waste bin earlier, and places them around Robson's body. They call the police.
Back in the Club, there is a mad, wild scene as the audience is in a Frenzy watching Carrall Cordova and Georgia Thurlow burn the photographs. Little Davie Denman jumps onstage with them, pulls off both hat and coat and tears "his" shirt open, revealing "he" is a "She"! As this goes on, Drake and Alma escape along the side, unseen by the Femme Fatales on stage. The Club is now in full color, but Alma and Drake remain in Black and White.
At the club entrance, Drake and Alma run into Cambie. drake gives her a big wad of Georgia's cash, and tells her to get away. She leaves, as do Drake and Alma. The police sirens can be heard above the crazy maelstrom of noise in the club.
Outside, under the imposing arches of the Burrard Bridge, Alma walks with Drake,and asks him, "Where to now, Partner?" Drake stops and says he likes to work alone. They have some playful banter with sexual undertones, and laugh as they walk away, safe in their black and white world, as the police sirens blare in the distance.
We crane up as they disappear into the night.