Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Laura G ""

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Underrated Detective/Mysteries - Laura G

If you weren't already aware, Laura runs the wonderful blog Laura's Miscellaneous Musings, which is a must for any classic film fans!
She is a person  I go to regularly for movie recommendations and she's turned me on to many a great film! In fact, she just recently did a great list of Underrated Westerns for me and you should check it out:
Laura can be found on Twitter here:

TWO O'CLOCK COURAGE (Anthony Mann, 1945) - This fast-paced charmer, a remake of TWO IN THE DARK (1936), stars Tom Conway as an amnesiac who stumbles in front of a taxicab driven by Patti (Ann Rutherford). The pair spend the evening unraveling the man's lost identity and solving his possible connection to a murder. Conway and Rutherford are appealing and have a nice camaraderie, with a supporting cast including Jane Greer, Jean Brooks, and Richard Lane. Fast-paced and engaging fun from early in the career of director Anthony Mann. Photographed by Jack MacKenzie.

Not available on DVD, but it's shown from time to time on Turner Classic Movies.

THE DARK CORNER (Henry Hathaway, 1946) - Mark Stevens plays P.I. Bradford Galt, an ex-con, with Lucille Ball costarring as Kathleen Stewart, his Gal Friday. Reed Hadley is the police lieutenant keeping tabs on Galt. Who is the mysterious man tailing Brad, and who framed him for murder? The film is a piece of noir bliss, with great dialogue and sensational shadowy black and white cinematography by Joe McDonald. The film also has a terrific soundtrack, including Alfred Newman's "Street Scene" over the opening credits and Harry Warren's "The More I See You" and "There Will Never Be Another You" as background music. Clifton Webb, William Bendix, and Cathy Downs costar.

Available on DVD as No. 8 in the Fox Film Noir series.

BLACK ANGEL (Roy William Neill, 1946) - This is one of a couple key films which caused me to become a big fan of Dan Duryea. He's heartbreaking as Marty Blair, an alcoholic whose scheming wife is strangled. After Kirk Bennett (John Phillips) is arrested for the murder, Marty teams with Kirk's loyal wife Cathy (June Vincent) to find the real murderer and save Kirk from the electric chair. Marty and Cathy get jobs as a pianist and singer at a nightclub in order to further their investigation. Marty sobers up and glimpses the tantalizing possibility of a normal life with a good woman; the longing he conveys for Cathy is palpable and quite romantic, while Vincent is a fresh screen presence, believable and appealing. This moving film, which has superb cinematography by Paul Ivano, deserves to be much better known.

Available on DVD in the Universal Noir Collection.

THE BRASHER DOUBLOON (John Brahm, 1947) - The most famous movie incarnations of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe are Humphrey Bogart, Dick Powell, or even James Garner, but George Montgomery does a fine job in this lesser-known movie. THE BRASHER DOUBLOON is an atmospheric film with superb black and white photography by Lloyd Ahern, who does amazing things with both shadows and sunlight; this film, more than any other, captures the feel of Southern California's warm Santa Ana winds, as trees rustle in the sunshine. The Rose Parade is a key plot point in the film, and funnily enough I once watched the parade from the windows of the very building where the murder takes place!

EYE WITNESS (Robert Montgomery, 1950) - The British-made courtroom mystery EYE WITNESS was Robert Montgomery's final onscreen appearance, as well as the last of five films he directed between 1945-50. Montgomery plays a New York attorney who receives an urgent cable advising him that a British friend he served with during the war has been jailed for murder. Montgomery immediately flies to England, where he not only attempts to track down a mysterious eye witness but must learn to navigate the intricacies of the British legal system. Adam's desire to move quickly is at odds with his British counterpart's more painstaking approach, yet they eventually come to respect one another and work well as a team. Montgomery charmingly captures slow-paced British village life, counterpointed with American Big Band style music on the soundtrack.

Available on DVD from VCI in the "Forgotten Noir" series.


Caftan Woman said...

I didn't realize "Two O'Clock Courage" was a remake. I must check that one out as well. "The Brasher Dubloon" has been in my sights for a while. Must get to it.

Laura said...

I like the original film with Walter Abel and Margot Grahame as well, although I prefer the remake. Hope you can check it out along with THE BRASHER DOUBLOON!

Best wishes,

Jerry E said...

Great choice, Laura! These are all films I would consider underrated and put in a list myself, with one exception. "Eye Witness" seems to have completely escaped my radar and it is obvious from what you have written that I need to seek it out.

Laura said...

Thank you, Jerry! You know, you're so knowledgeable about lesser-known films you'd be a great person to make viewing suggestions to Brian. :)

Let me know what you think of EYE WITNESS when you get to see it!

Best wishes,

Jason said...

I love BLACK ANGEL. Everything about it is superb, and it's especially great to see Duryea in a much more sympathetic role than usual. That opening shot that zooms up the side of the building is still one of the greatest things I've ever seen.

Laura said...

I so agree with you, Jason! The photography of BLACK ANGEL was outstanding, along with the rest of the film. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

Best wishes,

Jerry E said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts, Laura.
I don't know whether such a thing would be welcomed by Brian - would not wish to be presumptuous.

I really liked another film that Robert Montgomery directed and "starred" in - "THE LADY IN THE LAKE" in which he played Philip Marlowe but never appeared (except once in a mirror reflection). Very clever idea.
Best wishes,