Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Fifties noir: This Is My Love = B-movie heaven

This was one of my first posts here, on a 1954 rarity, a superior B-movie I like a lot

THIS IS MY LOVE, 1954 - Linda Darnell is Vida, the unmarried sister of the more vivacious Faith Domergue married to crippled ex-dancer Dan Duryea who is very jealous of his young attractive wife. Vida lives with the mismatched couple and works in their diner and is engaged (or stringing along) a very dull boyfriend, until one day his friend, Rick Jason, walks in and seems the answer to Vida’s dreams. He is merely leading her along however until he meets the vivacious Faith, thus setting in motion a tale of rage, murder and revenge, played out in lurid colours as the girls sling hash in the diner. 

'50s lurid melodramas don’t come much better than this, as directed by Stuart Heisler. Unlike the glossy memodramas of Douglas Sirk, this is a gritty, downbeat affair. Linda Darnell is as terrific here as she was in A LETTER TO 3 WIVES
A friend of mine, Jerry, loves it too, and his IMDB review is perfect:
As soon as Franz Waxman's lush score swelled up over the credits I knew this one would deliver - and I wasn't disappointed. Vida (Linda Darnell) is a "spinster" who slings hash in her Brother in Law's diner and is engaged to the world's most boring man. Into the diner wanders her fiancĂ©e's army buddy - foxy Rick Jason - a "gas station casanova", and when left alone together Rick comes on to her... she plays hard to get - so hard to get in fact that Rick turns to her married sister Evelyn (Faith Domergue) for comfort, and the stage is set for resentment, deceit, adultery, jealousy, sibling rivalry.. and murder. 
This one really deserves to be better known. I'm not sure whether the lurid greens and purples that dominate the colour scheme are symbolic of the jealousy and anger simmering below the surface, and mark out Stuart Heisler as an neglected auteur... or it was just a lousy print. Connie Russell sings the title tune with lyrics as Darnell and Jason go out dancing. Dan Duryea is a bitter cripple. and Darnell is absolutely heartbreaking here - never knew she had it in her. Its everything I wanted from Douglas Sirk or late period Minnelli and never got. Absolutely delicious from start to finish and highly recommended. 9/10

[Rick Jason was back in the '50s diner milieu in the downbeat '57 Fox film of Steinbeck's THE WAYWARD BUS as the bus driver married to shrewish diner owner Joan Collins (which Linda has tested for and would have been ideal casting) and with down-on-her-luck stripper Jayne Mansfield also on board the bus]. 

6 comments:

  1. I love this one too and it's so damnably hard to find. Absolutely one of Linda's best performances and her fights with Duryea are brilliantly played by both. I know it was a Republic picture so I suppose it's a rights issue with whatever studio bought their library but would love to see it again.

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  2. Yes its a shame its unobtainable now, at least THE WAYWARD BUS finally made it to Blu-ray (in USA).

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