Archive for the ‘PULP’ Category

Slightly Scarlet

21 Apr

Slightly Scarlet — Directed by Allan Dwan. Gangster Crime In High Places. A free lance photograqpher takes over a crime syndicate. 99 minutes Color 1956.


The great Robert Alton filmed this for RKO in colors that on the small screen smear. (Alton filmed the big ballet sequence of An American In Paris, so you know what he can do.) This film is sold as a noir, but it is not; it is a crime story, and, since it is not in black and white, how could it be noir? The presence of two redheads, Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl, commanded color, one supposes, but the story is ridiculous in color. And to prove it, the two women never seem to get out of cocktail dresses worn as street clothes at all times of the day. The garishness is without the strength you might find in a Fox musical, say, and the three leads, John Payne, Dahl, and Fleming were never stars; they were leading man and women; they were never asked to carry a picture, but just to throw their sex appeal in the direction of the stars who did carry it. Here, even the three of them together cannot carry the picture. Fleming is of the petrified wood school of acting whose doyenne was Marlene Deitrich. Her brassiere is, like her face, a stony sierra. Never have such peaks been scaled so perilously; they span continents. Arlene Dahl throws herself about like a frisbee seeking a catcher in the part of the mad sister. John Payne is handsome, sexy, dimpled, and lends his stalwart sensuality to a role for which none of those attributes are required. I thought I would never say these words, but where is Richard Widmark when we need him? Alan Dwan, who started directing films in 1911, briskly drove this ambulance to the ER. We forgive you, Allan; nothing could be done to save it; the patient was dead on arrival.



Evelyn Prentice

26 Mar

Evelyn Prentice. Directed by William K Howard. Pulp. She is the wife of a lawyer too busy to pay her much mind, so she commits an indiscretion. 78 minutes Black and White 1934.

* * * *

Myrna Loy is something to behold! Those huge wide-spaced eyes made up to a fair-thee-well. And those clothes! — wow! Such a lovely lady, already pretty much cast as the perennial devoted wife by now. A huge star, though, in the 30s. And here she has top billing. If you don’t expect a picture of this era to be a picture of our era, you won’t expect caviar to be cabbage. It’s an artifact of its time. Beautifully lit and filmed and costumed, and with William Powell nifty and droll in double breasted suits, the story is gripping — and it is a story — and it does wrap up after about an hour. This was Rosalind Russell’s first film, and you can see they did not know what to do with her yet. Everyone in it is good. It’s as smooth as whipped cream. Don’t expect shepherd’s pie.


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