Let’s praise SIFF Cinema for its love of film noir and praise Maggie for introducing me to the joy of film noir (wish she could have been there) and Scot for sharing his free pass.
Try and Get Me! (1951), formerly titled The Sound of Fury, tells the sad tale of a good guy, down on his luck, who gets sucked into a life of crime. He’s pulled in by a small-time robber, who is portrayed with a hammy, scenery-chewing performance by a young Lloyd Bridges. It’s a pretty good film, with a moral about media hysteria, half-truths, and the harm that they can do. It was made during the McCarthy political witch-hunt era and no doubt reflected what was going on, and – what a coincidence – the director (Cy Endfield) moved to Great Britain after being blacklisted as a communist sympathizer.
Hell Drivers (1957). After moving to England, the director made this film about truck drivers carrying loads of gravel. Sound like a great topic? They drive dangerously fast under management pressure and people get hurt – hurt real bad. Some guys get their hearts in a twist over a spunky woman who works for the trucking company. Most interesting is that three of the actors went on to become famous onscreen secret agents: Sean Connery (007), Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man and The Prisoner), and David McCollum (The Man from UNCLE).
Oh yeah, apart from the noir fest, I also saw Silver Linings Playbook. It’s a mixed up film, but entertaining. A funny look at people with mental problems turns into a romantic comedy. Unpredictability is the strength of this film even though it does have an ending we’ve seen a million times before. Lots of twists along the way. Good performances. Jennifer Lawrence deserves the attention she’s getting.