Review: Affair in Trinidad

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Rita Hayworth is back after a 4 year hiatus and is teaming up with her Gilda co-star Glenn Ford. Affair in Trinidad is very similar to Gilda, but a bit of the magic is gone. Hayworth just left her third husband, Prince Aly Khan. She was broke and needed work. I’ve seen two different theories on this film. One,the studio put her in it, because they knew it was a sub par film. Two, they put her in this film because of it’s similarities to Gilda and knew it would be a big hit. Both came true to a certain degree. Fans filled theaters to see Hayworth again, so the film was successful at the box office. Those fans where a bit disappointed with the film though.

This film is directed by Vincent Sherman and released in 1952. The story starts with a dead body and it looks like suicide. It turns out to be Chris Emery’s(Hayworth) husband and it also looks like murder. Soon her husband’s brother Steve(Ford) shows up because of a letter he received. Not knowing his brother is dead, he learns of the death after he arrives in Trinidad. Steve, thinking it is a suicide starts looking for answers. Chris knowing it was murder, but the police do not want her to tell anybody they know it is murder, is caught between lying to Steve and trying to get him to trust her. Can Steve trust Chris? Will they find the murderer? Is this part of a bigger crime?

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This film may not be as good as Gilda, but it does have a few high points and is worth viewing. Hayworth does a couple song and dance routines to show her power over the men in her life. Both have shades of “Put the Blame on Mame,” especially the second one, where she does an impormtu dance to allure one man, while pushing another man away.

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Ford and Hayworth teamed up for 5 films through out their careers, starting in 1940 and ending in 1965. Gilda was their second film together and I suspect the other three where made to cash in on the success of Gilda. This film is worth watching for fans of the duo and is entertaining. If you have not seen Hayworth and Ford together before, go directly to Gilda first.

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Review: The Garment Jungle

The Garment Jungle is a classic film noir from 1957 mostly directed by Robert Aldrich, who did not get a credit for his work, and was completed by Vincent Sherman. This was also Sherman’s first directing credit in 5 years do to his name being on the gray list.

The stand out performance from Lee J. Cobb here is not surprising. He plays the owner of a garment manufacturer in the garment district in New York. Though this film came out the same year as Cobb’s most famous performance in 12 Angry Men, I could not help but notice some similarities to his performance in Thieves’ Highway. In both films he plays a man in charger and tries to keep the working man down. He is way more corrupt in Thieves’ Highway, and in The Garment Jungle he turns a blind eye to what is going on. Both films take a look at workers rights. Here is my review of Thieves’ Highway:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/08/23/review-thieves-highway/

These two films would make an interesting double feature, looking at a similar problem in two different industries on opposite coasts.

This film starts out with an argument between two partners, Cobb and his partner are discussing what the workers should be paid. Cobb is against the union and his partner is for it. His partner walks away and gets in the elevator. The elevator fails and his partner falls to his death. Cobb’s son, played by Kerwin Mathews, comes back to town and wants to work with his father. When a confrontation between a union organizer, played by Robert Loggia and Cobb happens in front of Mathews on the factory floor, it gets Mathews thinking. Mathews goes to Loggia where he meets the union organizer’s beautiful wife played by Gia Scala. The three work together to break the mob, which is behind trying to keep the company union free and hired by Cobb for protection. The situation escalates and soon turns violent. Will the mob break the union or will the union break the mob? Will Cobb finally look at employees rights or will he continue to support the mob? Who will survive and who will die in this war between the two?

Richard Boone plays the mob boss Cobb has partnered with and Wesley Addy plays the head thug for the mob. Both are great in their evil ways.

Besides Cobb’s performance, Robert Loggia’s performance is well worth checking out. The dynamic between him and his wife are very interesting. Even though he is a good man trying to do what is right, he has his dark side. I really got a vibe that he beats his wife even though he was madly in love with her.

His wife played by Gia Scala is also very good in this. Scala had a short career and looks to have had a hard life with bouts of depression and turned to drugs. This eventually ended her life at a very young age.

The Garment Jungle is a good classic film noir worth checking out. It is an interesting time capsule of the union movement in the 1950’s. It is especially interesting to look at the clothing industry then and compare it to how it works now.

Review: The Unfaithful

The Unfaithful is a classic film noir from 1947 directed by Vincent Sherman. The writing team on this film is the real story here. We have David Goodis teaming up with James Gunn for the screenplay. This is loosely based on the novel, The Letter by W. Somerset Maugham. Yes, that’s right, this is based on the same material as The Letter starring Bette Davis,which came out just 7 years earlier. Maugham was not given a writing credit for this film and the setting is moved from a rubber plantation to the urban setting of Los Angeles.

This film revolves around Ann Sheridan, who plays Chris Hunter. Chris is married to Bob Hunter, played by Zachary Scott, who is a war veteran and is now a business man in the housing business. He is out-of-town as our film starts, showing Chris on the phone with Bob as they make plans for the next morning when Bob comes home from Portland. Chris tells Bob she will be going to a divorce party for Bob’s cousin, Paula, played by Eve Arden. The party highlights Paula being proud of her new-found freedom, and everybody seems to be having a great time. Chris heads home in the middle of the night and as she opens her front door a shadowy character grabs her and shoves her in the house. As the viewer we witness the struggle through curtained windows and cannot tell exactly what is happening. Bob flies home and is confused when his wife is not at the airport to meet him. He calls home and soon grabs a taxi to rush to his house. He finds the police are there as well as his friend and lawyer, played by Lew Ayres. The dead body still sits on the floor of the home as the investigation continues. Chris is obviously distressed as she tells her story of self-defense. As our story continues we learn more about the victim and why he may have been there. Was this self-defense? Will Chris and Bob’s marriage survive this?

It seemed to me that this film is more than a mystery noir, but a real look at Post-War marriage. This shows a woman who was living by herself for two years while her husband was in the Pacific. The question this film asks is, can what happens in those two years be forgivable? Should the couple even tell each other what happened in those two years? Can a good marriage survive anything? We see one divorce at the beginning of the film showing a strong woman willing to go on in life by herself. I took Eve Arden’s character as a strong feminist, especially for the 1940’s, I would be interested in learning if the writers intended this or if she was to be perceived as something else.

The other thing that stood out to me is another great performance from Ann Sheridan. She really is hard to read in this film as our loyalty to her shifts from the poor victim to murderer and back again a number of times. In the end do we really learn the truth? Is she just another evil femme fatale or is she the victim of circumstance?

This film is a must see for fans of Ann Sheridan and would make for an interesting double feature with The Letter from 1940. I have not seen The Letter in a while, so I will not try to comment of the similarities and differences at this time.

Review: Nora Prentiss

OK, after watching this and Woman on the Run, which came out three years later and I reviewed earlier on this site, I’m a huge fan of Ann Sheridan. Nora Prentiss is a classic film noir from 1947 directed by Vincent Sherman.

This is a unique film in the classic film noir period. The first scene is a man covering his face and not wanting to talk to the press. The press is asking if “he really killed him” and similar questions. If it was not for this scene letting us know we are going into some dark noir story in this film, we may not think it was noir film for the first 40 minutes or so. The first part of this film is a love story between Dr. Richard Talbot played by Kent Smith and Nora Prentiss played by Sheridan. They meet when Nora is accidentally hit by a car and is brought to Dr. Talbot for examination.

Nora flirts with the Doctor and has him drive her home. When she finds out he is married, she apologizes for being fresh with him. Of course it is too late as Dr. Talbot is already having feelings for Nora, and you can see why. Sheridan does a great job of having you fall in love with her so you can easily see why Dr. Talbot would. Nora is a lounge singer and soon the Doctor goes to the night club to see her sing. The relationship progresses and Dr. Talbot says he is going to ask for a divorce that night. Talbot goes home and finds a party going on for his daughter’s 16th birthday, which has slipped his mind. We soon see Talbot start to lose his mind. Soon Talbot is seeing a patient, who drops dead in his office. Talbot noticing the striking resemblance between himself and this man and decides to trade places with him. So he fakes his own death, using the patients body and moves from San Francisco to New York with Nora. Nora has no idea this has happened and is happy that her love has decided to go to New York with her. We now see in the second half of this film why it is considered a noir! Will Talbot totally go crazy and hurt Nora? Will Nora figure out what her boyfriend has done to get out of his marriage? Will the dead man’s past come back to haunt our couple?

This is a very good classic film noir with two great performances from our leads. This film doesn’t seem to get the recognition it deserves and I’m not sure why? This is a film that needs to be seen more. Go watch it and then tell a friend or two about it as well. If you like classic film noir or just classic film, this is worth your time.