The night was dark, as dark as it gets.
Piercing the veil were the far off distant lights of San Francisco. I didn't have the stomach for a night on the town but after sampling the office bottle, I hit the bars looking for trouble.
I soon found it.
Her skin was as pale as an Alaskan snowflake and her eyes cut through you like a slug from a .45. She knew all the right words and the all the right movements, like a perfected routine, it was only a matter of time before she made me kill again.
Oh hello everyone!
I thought I'd introduce this FFFD with some original prose because this week it's been all about FILM NOIR.
Yes! The hard looking, fast talking, well dressed men and the seductive, dangerous femme fatales have been my bread and butter this week, and I'm most satisfied.
I am so satisfied in fact, that I'm planning a run of five noir films over five days for my first ever FFFD week long entry, sort of.
We start this entry with:
This Gun For Hire (1942)
Goddam! Look at that poster!
Although he only receives fourth billing for this film, the true star and main character of this film is really Alan Ladd and his character Raven.
For starters, apart from Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, the rest of the cast are more or less peripheral characters. The two billed actors of Robert Preston as the LAPD officer and Laird Cregar as the two timing businessman. Veronica Lake plays a magic performer who is in a relationship with the LAPD officer but partly falls for Todd's Raven character.
Certainly the Raven character is initially a hard one to love. The film starts and he's killed some people in cold blood and slapped a cleaner about for shooing away a cat, as you do. But his intial business with double crossing Willard Gates (Gregar) set ups a stirling revenge story where Raven finds his payment was paid with stolen money to set up his arrest.
The rest of the film is a perfect noir story as the moral but cruel man is driven by revenge against the man who did him wrong and finds a woman who falls for him and helps him on his quest.
Certainly, like most noir, the film looks incredible, the black and white German Expressionist type framing and colouring sticks in the mind and the film graces both glamerous clubs and grotty drain pipes.
The film doesn't make the most sense and throws in story lines regarding the Japanese and treason which is seemingly written in to make the anti-hero's motives not simply just emotion in nature, but also that he's doing the country a favour.
The film ends FAR too soon after the climax without really trying to explain how the character and the events have influenced the narrative, which is a shame really. The film was a really stylish, cold film noir before the ending just cuts into the moment where you really hope it wouldn't. Director Frank Tuttle has until this point put no foot wrong in showing us the story. There are incredibly subtle and tense scenes as well as the typical quieter moments between the anti hero and the femme fatale, which crackle in this film thanks to the acting of Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd.
An enjoyable film:
Tomorrow there will be another film review (The Glass Key) as well as more original FFFD film noir prose. Look forward to it!