2 July 2006 | Spondonman
A partial classic I'm partial to
My recording off UK Channel 4 13th Feb 1987 is nearing its end cycle, hopefully the next time I want to trot this episodic classic out it'll be on DVD. Because it was Chandler I always regarded it maybe too highly, but it certainly has some powerful noir-ish moments whilst remaining essentially a normal Paramount studio-bound potboiler.
War vet Alan Ladd comes home to find his wife playing around, gets accused of murdering her while being picked up by Veronica Lake. They indulged in some snappy laconic Chandler-banter but that's as far as their relationship seemed to progress. Murder and mayhem follow Ladd while monkey-music followed his buddy William Bendix. I always wondered: how on Earth did Buzz settle down afterwards, especially when rock & roll came? Everyone has angles or axes to grind, is edgy, dislikeable, seedy or all three, the house-peeper particularly coming in for a lot of stick. Some savage and clunky fight scenes might surprise especially at the Old Cabin when juxtaposed with the romantic nightclub scene. The atmosphere throughout is perfect as was only possible on nitrate film stock. The only thing I never liked was at the climax after Hendrickson asks "You didn't think you were going to walk out that door did you?" - a heavily contrived and swift ending follows.
It was a stranger to me a long time ago, but has been a firm friend of mine for decades now. Did the horticulturists ever succeed in creating a real blue dahlia?