Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '47 - Kristina Dijan ""

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Underrated '47 - Kristina Dijan

Kristina Dijan is a movie addict and collector who shares her viewing on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/HQofK/ ) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HQofK), writes at Speakeasy (https://hqofk.wordpress.com/ ) The Dark Pages and elsewhere.

Check out her other RPS lists here:
http://www.rupertpupkinspeaks.com/search/label/Kristina%20Dijan

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1947 was a great year for essential noirs: Out of the Past, Born to Kill, The Lady From Shanghai, Nightmare Alley, Lady in the Lake, Ride the Pink Horse and more. Here are a few more crime movies from that year that you may not know, but should:

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947; Robert Hamer)
A fantastic British noirish melodrama about one family’s mundane love and work struggles unfolding while unbeknownst to them, wife and mother Googie Withers is hiding her fugitive ex John McCallum in their home. In 24 hours, Withers has several nail-biting close calls with her criminal house guest while her busy little boy and warring step-daughters zip in and out, and hubby comes home unexpectedly. There’s a warehouse robbery, an attempt to fence the goods, all while a determined, amiable policeman Jack Warner works the case. Boxing, bookies, bad boyfriends, dance-halls, darts at the pub, adultery, stolen skates and a thrilling railyard chase to end that “average” post-war Sunday.
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Ivy (1947; Sam Wood)
Joan Fontaine’s husband Richard Ney is broke and boring but he won't divorce her; she dumps her lover, doctor Patric Knowles, but he’s too obsessed to ever let her go, and millionaire Herbert Marshall is perfect for her but too principled to go for a married woman. So Fontaine decides to solve all three problems with murder, poisoning one inconvenient man, then implicating and testifying against the other. As she tries to get out of the trap society has set for women of that era, she sets herself an inescapable one instead. Excellent suspense and superb cast (Una O’Connor great as a fortune teller); Fontaine is excellent, doing bad deeds in gorgeous gowns, with enough panic and charm to earn your sympathy.
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The Brasher Doubloon (1947; John Brahm)
George Montgomery is a more pleasant detective Philip Marlowe in a quippy, smart, twisted and softer-boiled mystery than the Humphrey Bogart or Robert Montgomery versions. A little old lady from Pasadena hires Marlowe to find the ultra rare and valuable gold coin of the title, then dismisses him. His further snooping uncovers a mess of psychological abuse, blackmail, gambling debt, mob activity and more coins. Moody Gothic atmosphere, a mansion under a dark cloud, and a victimized secretary (Nancy Guild) more averse to human contact than the X-Men’s Rogue (not to worry, Marlowe's willing to offer unlimited therapy sessions).
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Calcutta (1947; John Farrow)
Exotic mystery-adventure with pilots Alan Ladd and William Bendix investigating the murder of their buddy, which leads them into a diamond smuggling ring and always seems to loop back to buddy’s mysterious, deceptively sweet fiance and possible black widow Gail Russell. Russell’s stunning dark beauty and Ladd’s troubled icy toughness will have you glued to the screen. He wears his distrust of women and suspicion of her like a suit of armor; Ladd’s star power and buddy-chemistry with Bendix lift the otherwise average mystery plot.
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Repeat Performance (1947; Alfred L. Werker)
Surreal crime-fantasy soap opera cocktail that opens with a bang, when stage actress Joan Leslie guns down her failed playwright husband on New Year’s Eve, then is granted her wish to re-do the whole previous year. She tries to correct things that led to the darker timeline, like keeping her hubby away from the bottle and out of another woman’s clutches, also keeping her friend away from a predatory patron and an insane asylum. Suspense comes from watching Leslie try to bend history, and deal with the same events when she can’t--maybe she’s just fated to pull that trigger again on New Year’s. Great cast including Richard Basehart, Tom Conway and Louis Hayward.
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Railroaded! (1947; Anthony Mann)
Assuming you’ve seen Anthony Mann’s other 1947 noirs--T-Men and Desperate--then try a third one of his from that year, a fast and gritty movie wherein a holdup goes wrong, a cop is killed, and the crooks frame an innocent man. That man’s sister (Sheila Ryan) has no love for the police and tries to prove her brother’s innocence by getting way too close to creepy killer John Ireland. Thankfully, she also grows close to one police detective, old friend Hugh Beaumont, whose help comes in handy when things fall apart. Ireland makes a good villain--a twisted, woman-hating voyeur who perfumes his bullets.
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Honorable mentions:
Woman on the Beach (1947; Jean Renoir)
The Gangster (1947; Gordon Wiles)
The Unsuspected (1947; Michael Curtiz)

6 comments:

Jerry Entract said...

Terrific choices, Kristina, from a terrific year for movies! I could watch any one of those films right NOW - they really are my kinda movie. Special choice though falls to "IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY", an all-time favourite of mine. Not sure why I didn't include it in my own selection (yet to appear!).

KC said...

This was such an interesting year in film. So many odd, fascinating flicks. I love your choices and am very curious about It Always Rains on Sunday, as I have never heard of it.

Kristina Dijan said...

Thanks to both of you for reading! This was indeed such a terrific and therefore tough year to narrow down to a few, so hopefully I picked some good ones for people's watchlists. IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY is a great one, nice to see the interest in it, and more raves for it. Cheers

john knight said...

Inspired choices,to say the least.
As it happens IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY is my fave Brit Flick of all time.
THE BRASHER DOUBLOON may be second string John Brahm but still pretty darn good.
Nancy Guild should have had a far better career.
REPEAT PERFORMANCE a total knockout; which our friend Laura directed me towards.
Never heard of IVY so I will check that out ASAP.

Laura said...

This is a fabulous list, Kristina!!

I'm so pleased that REPEAT PERFORMANCE made the list as it's a film I've been trying to champion (thanks for the mention, John!). Such a great movie with a wonderful "vibe" to it.

I really like THE BRASHER DOUBLOON which has some great So. CA atmosphere. RAILROADED! is great and I was really lucky to see CALCUTTA on a big screen at Noir City this year. Such an unusual role for Gail Russell. I thought Ladd had a pretty steamy scene with June Duprez, too. :)

I need to see IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY from this list, which I have in my collection (thanks again John!).

Fantastic list I loved reading, and it encourages me to try to get to SUNDAY soon!

Best wishes,
Laura

Kristina Dijan said...

John and Laura--
IT ALWAYS RAINS ON SUNDAY got the most comments on twitter when this list was posted, love to see it has so many fans and hopefully more people look into it, easily one of my top discoveries of 2017 too. CALCUTTA must have been nice on a big screen, with actors looking like that :) I'm glad you mentioned June Duprez, she was great and could have got more screen time! Isn't REPEAT PERFORMANCE super? Always such fun to make these lists and read everyone else's. Thanks for the comments!