Sunday 9 November 2014

Somewhere in the Night [1946]

Somewhere in the Night was one of those lesser-known noirs that, nevertheless, had the necessary wherewithal to keep one engaged through infusion of noir archetypes with a script that was never short of dramatic moments. Its intriguing tale of an amnesiac, who may or may not have committed crimes in his past, putting together the various jigsaw pieces of his lost memories, reminded me a little bit of Nolan’s Memento. George Taylor (John Hodiak), a cynical war veteran and a quintessential noir protagonist who has just woken up from a coma, remembers nothing of himself and his past. A handsome but cryptic some of money left by a mysterious Mr Larry Cravat, who no one knows well but everyone seems to be after, forms the starting clue in his labyrinthine journey to unearth his past, his identity and possibly a huge stash of money with links to Nazi Germany. Along the way he becomes acquainted with beautiful nightclub singer Christy (Nancy Guild), Christy’s overly philanthropic boss (Richard Conte), a slippery and unctuous thug (Fritz Kortner), a surprisingly even-natured cop (Lloyd Nolan), among others. The film painted a downbeat picture of the seedy underbelly of post-War America, with the socio-political context providing a relevant undercurrent to the tale of deceit, double crossings and crime. The excellent B/W photography, with a heavy dose of static expressionism, added to its moody atmosphere, which compensated for the rather lackluster lead performances. Even though the premise asked for an unpredictable storyline, it felt tad too serpentine at times. The length, too, could have been made crisper. On the whole it was a decent thriller served straight up.

Director: Joseph L. Mankeiwicz
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Thriller
Language: English
Country: US

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