Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Two O'Clock Courage (1945)


"For an innocent man, you're wearing the wrong clothes!"

*** out of 5

This story comes just on the cusp of the prime era of film noir, but it's more of a Frankenstein halfbreed of noir trappings and screwball comedy performance. If I described the plot- "amnesiac wanted for murder must acquit himself," and listed the credits: Tom Conway, Ann Rutherford, Jane Greer, and directed by Anthony Mann, you'd chant NOIR! NOIR! NOIR!  but watching how it plays out, it readls like a fast-gabbing screwball comedy.  In addition to elements like Richard Lane as the wise-acre reporter on the case slowly driving his frustrated editor crazy with late edits as the plot twists,  we also have a humorous appearance by everyone's favorite Hollywood drunk, the eternally sloshed Jack Norton.  Take this same script and film it a couple years later, and you could probably have a good little potboiler, but here, it simply lacks the edge to be a true noir.  Not that it isn't a lot of fun to take in, because it is,  the 66 minute running time keeps the story hopping along too quickly to be boring, and the back-and-forth between Conway and Rutherford is quite enjoyable right to the finish.

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