Dr. Christina J. Johns
I Love Trouble (1947-48)
I LOVE TROUBLE (1947)
Starring Franchot Tone (43 at the time), Janet Blair, Adele Jergens and a small part for Raymond Burr.
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon.
Music by George Duning
Costumes (gowns) by Jean Louis
This is a long movie (2 hours) but well worth the watch. It is the studio’s try out of Franchot Tone’s for a private detective series. While Tone is usually fun to watch, I don’t think he has the same sort of edge as the noir detective Dick Powell had or the charm of William Powell.
As most of the reviewers point out, this script is straight out of the Chandler/Hammett line of novels with the suave, wisecracking detective, but it is well worth watching.
My favorite lines from the film are:
Heavy: This is a gun in your back.
Tone: Yeah, I’ve seen one before.
The filmscript was written by Roy Huggins and was based on his novel “The Double Take.” This same character, Stuart Bailey, was played years later by Efrem Zimalist Jr. in the television series 77 Sunset Strip.
Huggins created a number of the most famout TV movie series - Maverick, The Fugitive, The Rockford Files, and 77 Sunset Strip.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I did, however, stop it at one point and noticed that there was an hour and 8 minutes more to go. I was surprised. Some of the reviewers criticized the movie for the length, but it held my attention throughout.
It’s a bit amazing that the film does hold the attention since the plot is as one reviewer noted “confounding.” He said that he could not “figure out who was who in this impossibly complex story.”
This makes the film very much like “The Big Sleep,” which created a template for the detective film noir. “The Big Sleep” is also widely considered to be impossible to decipher, but completely enjoyable nevertheless.
Part of the difficulty in understanding the story line in this film is that even though Huggins adapted his own novel, and some of the scenes are lifted directly from the book, the story (according to a reviewer who had read the novel) has been speeded up and abbreviated and some of the names changed.
It doesn’t help that most of the women look extraordinarily alike. And most of them have multiple identities in the plot. One of the reviewers noted: “I thought the various babes were all the same person.” And, there are a lot of babes all with complicated histories.
Added to this is the fact that the two foreign husbands also looked just alike to me and their accents were indeterminate.
A number of the reviewers just could not accept Tome in the role of a smart mouthed, hardnosed detective. I have always thought Tome was an acquired taste, and he is truly dreadful in films which I suspect he detested.
(Note: There is one film he made with Joan Crawford, for example, where they had him dressed up in lederhosen.)
As one reviewer noted: “All the sweeping fedoras and dangling cigarettes in the world can't make Tone fit into this role.”
Tome always considered the business of film making as invasive to the private lives of the actors. He also felt that films required a totally different pace from theatre performances. I never saw him in a theatre performance, but I suspect he never quite felt comfortable with the film pace.
When he was married to Joan Crawford she (predictably) tried to take over promoting his career. Tome, however, was always more interested in theatre, even in small productions than film. It is thought that this difference between the two was one of the reasons for their divorce.
So, to me, Tome’s performances always have a “hostage” feel to them. I get the impression that he doesn’t really want to be where he is. But, he usually manages to pull off a credible performance.
When some heavies were beating up on Tone, I thought I saw Raymond Burr lurking on the sidelines. When the man spoke (he has about three lines) there was no mistaking it was Burr. This was an extremely small part and Burr would have been 31 at the time this film was made. So, he came into prominence a lot later in his life than I remembered.
All the prints of “I Love Trouble” were thought to have been lost for decades. A restored version of it was shown in a film festival in 2007, and I think this is the first time it has been shown on television (TCM). One reviewer snarked that this movie wouldn’t have received a second glance if it hadn’t been thought lost. I disagree. I think it is a fun romp even at two hours.
One of the other things I noticed in the film and then read comments about from other reviewers is the soundtrack. As one of the reviewers put it, the soundtrack tries way too hard to give the viewer advanced notice of the tone of the scene. The soundtrack tries to be “the star of the film.” It does signal lightheartedness, like when Bailey crawls out from under a bed where he has passed out and finds a beautiful babe in the bed. And it gives advance warning of danger. It seems to me that audiences in 1948 would have been too sophisticated for this. One of the reviewers thought that this soundtrack was so invasive and insulting he couldn’t watch the movie. But, for me, it faded into the background.
The film was well directed by S. Sylvan Simon. One of the reasons that name is not more familiar is that he died only three years after making the movie at the age of 41.
Book reviews, movie reviews, classic movie picks, classic actor picks, a discussion about all things arty.
|Posted on April 20, 2021 at 9:50 AM||comments (1)|
I Vitelloni (1959)
I am not a Fellini fan, but my recent discovery of the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, motivated me to watch “I Vitelloni” on TCM. I don’t know that I Vitelloni will turn me into a Fellini fan, but I enjoyed it.
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|Posted on February 17, 2021 at 4:25 PM||comments (6)|
KISS OF DEATH
NOTES ON COLLEEN GRAY
BLOG #GRAY DRAFT
Coleen Gray who made “Kiss of Death” with Victor Mature in 1947, helped Eddie Muller (TCM Film Noir Host) write the book “Dark City Dames” (2001)
The ...Read Full Post »
|Posted on January 29, 2021 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
Dombey and Son (2007)
Amazon Prime (in French with subtitles)
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
An extremely handsome but annoying very rich man proceeds to ruin his life and the lives of those around him before finally coming to terms with his sins.
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|Posted on January 18, 2021 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
KISS OF DEATH (1947)
Richard Widmark (1914-2008)
Richard Widmark was a film, stage and television actor as well as a producer. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor academy award for his first film part playing Tommy Udo in “Kiss of Death” (1947)....Read Full Post »
|Posted on January 17, 2021 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
You can watch "Kiss of Death" here:
|Posted on December 30, 2020 at 6:55 PM||comments (0)|
Kiss of Death (1947)
KISS OF DEATH (1947)
Topics: Film-Noir, Crime, Victor Mature, Richard Widmark,
Victor Mature (Nick) becomes a squealer for the DA’ (Brian Donlevy) because of his children. ...Read Full Post »
|Posted on October 25, 2020 at 4:10 PM||comments (3)|
The Painted Veil (2006)
Stars: Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Live Schreiber
Screenplay: Ron Nyswaner
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|Posted on September 25, 2020 at 6:05 PM||comments (0)|
Adrian Adolph Greenburg (1903-1959)
Adrian designed the costumes for hundreds of MGM films between 1928 and 1941, most famously for the Wizard of Oz. He designed the ruby slippers.
He worked for the biggest stars of the day – Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Jeanette MacDonald, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford.
Famous films: The Women (which included a technicolor fashion of his...Read Full Post »
|Posted on September 23, 2020 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
THE PAINTED VEIL (1934)
Greta Garbo, Herbert Marshall, George Brent
• 1957 with Eleanor Parker (the Seventh Sin).
• 2006 with Naomi Watts.
Directed by Richard Boleslawski
Screenplay: John Meehan, Salka Viertel and Edi...Read Full Post »
|Posted on September 18, 2020 at 3:30 PM||comments (1)|
Dial M for Murder
Article: Deconstruction of a Scene
This article is about one scene in the film “Dial M for Murder” that b...Read Full Post »