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

Forties noir: Dead Reckoning

Humphrey Bogart is at his best as a hardboiled sleuth in this '40s film noir classic. In one of his most exciting roles, the inimitable Bogie plays Rip Murdock, an ex-G.I. trying to find out who framed his pal Johnny for murder - and then rubbed him out. Tracing his war buddy's shadowy past leads Rip to Coral Chandler (Lizabeth Scott) who was once Johnny's sweetheart. Now shes a chanteuse in a nightclub run by suave gangster Martinelli (Morris Carnovsky). Rip gets a taste of the beautiful blonde's seductive charms and soon finds himself ensnared in a twisted web of deceit and danger. Is Coral an innocent thrush - or is she a predatory siren leading Bogie to the DEAD RECKONING ?
as the dvd blurb says.
This 1947 noir is a nice discovery - a Bogie film I had not seen before and knew nothing about, but in the light of Lizabeth Scott's recent departure (at age 92) it seemed a good time to catch up with it. Its neat and very hardboiled, with some good dialogue, and director John Cromwell packs a lot into its 90 minutes - it has elements of THE MALTESE FALCON (with a duplicitious dame) and GILDA where the male bonds seem stronger than love for a female - Rip says he loved his dead pal more than he does Coral but he will get over his love for her ..... Riveting climax too and a surprise ending. That late 1940s ambiance is to the fore too, with those big cars and nightclubs, Scott wears some very 40s fashions including that snood for her hair.
Perhaps not one of Bogart's best - not another IN A LONELY PLACE or BIG SLEEP - but its filled with sharp witty dialogue and has all the noir trappings with lots of dark shadows, confessionals and voiceovers putting the murder plot in motion, as we see Rip (Bogie) looking at bodies in the morgue trying to find his lost pal - who was burnt to a crisp .... 
Poet and song-writer Fran Landesman (1927-2011) did a marvellous poem about Bogie, I love these particular verses:

With his five o'clock shadow / and his heart of pure gold /
He will always be Bogie / and he'll never grow old.

She's a girl who's in trouble / all her nights are like years /
She wears dresses of satin / and a necklace of tears.

She was Ida or Ingrid / till along came Bacall /
But he'll always be Bogie / and he's the king of them all. 

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