Monday, November 10, 2014

Nocturne (1946)

**** out of 5

"He was A ladykiller- but don't get any ideas- I'm no lady."

This film represents the kind of story that is the bread and butter of any noir fan's playlist.

The opening scene nails that film noir feeling, with an off-kilter womanizing pianist blithely giving his latest fling the kiss-off while composing her a farewell tune on the keyboard, until his nocturne (That's the title, get it?) is interrupted by a gunshot that ends his heartless rhapsodizing.
George Raft is a police detective on the trail of a killer.  He tracks down all the possible suspects with a dogged determination that gets him in trouble with his boss and his badge taken from him, and still he presses on.  His number one adviser on the case? Amusingly, its his mother, whom he still lives with.  Mabel Paige brings a lot of humor to the part, which ends up being pivotal unraveling the mystery.  Joseph Pevney plays another pianist, called Fingers, who knew the deceased, but didn't have as much luck in his career.  Lynn Bari is the main female character in the story, toward whom George Raft find himself drawn despite her being a key figure in his investigation.  She's more of an Almost Fatale, because she turns out to be the Good Girl, despite initially being more of a temptation to Raft than an honest love interest.
There are some slow scenes in the film, which is more the result of poor editing and a middlin' director behind the camera, but the script is full of great noir dialogue and patter. It's no wonder, as it is crafted by Jonathan Latime, who has a long list of great credits to his name, from early protonoirs like The Glass Key, to full-on noir classics like The Big Clock and Night Has a Thousand Eyes, to the sequel to From Here to Eternity-- Back From Eternity, to several episodes of Perry Mason and even a Columbo title to his name.
Fun B-movie noir like this shouldn't be missed.

1 comment:

  1. I have no idea what lady killer is supposed to mean. It's in a movie title. it's in a maroon 5 song. no idea. I guess I COULD google it...