6 January 2010 | blanche-2
'40s noir starring John Hodiak
John Hodiak is a war vet with amnesia who searches for his identity and possible complicity in a crime in "Somewhere in the Night," a 1946 film also starring Nancy Guild, Richard Conte, and Lloyd Nolan. The film is directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and he also co-wrote the screenplay with Howard Dimsdale.
Severely wounded in the war, Hodiak's character, George Taylor, has had to have facial reconstruction. His recovery is slow, and he can't remember anything. He has a partial letter on his person telling him that he's despicable, and when he picks up his belongings, he finds a letter from one Larry Cravat. Investigating Cravat leads him to murder, stolen money, and some unsavory characters who are after him.
This is a muddled movie that still manages to be absorbing, probably because of the talent behind and in front of the camera. Nancy Guild plays a singer in a club owned by Richard Conte. She becomes interested in Taylor and tries to help him. Guild is attractive and looks like a noir heroine in the Bacall-Raines genre, but she delivers her lines in a very flat manner. Lloyd Nolan as a police detective is terrific as always, and Conte gives a smooth performance.
You have to pay attention to "Somewhere in the Night" or you'll get lost - sort of like the hero does at points in the movie. Still, it's worth seeing.