5 March 2010 | MartinHafer
Not bad...but NOT film noir
This is from a new DVD collection of B film noir flicks from Columbia. However, inexplicably, this film was included in the collection--even though I'd argue that it's NOT an example of film noir. Perhaps it has a few noir elements towards the end of the film--but that is all. Instead, it's a picture about a very ambitious lady (Cleo Moore) who is bent on being a success--and possibly at all costs. I think that the presence of Ms. Moore in the film is exactly why they marketed it as noir--as she did make quite a few crime films in the 1950s.
The film begins with Moore blowing into a small town and getting arrested--even though she'd done nothing wrong. It was simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time--plus she just looked "bad"! Soon, an old photographer comes to her assistance and she, being a very jaded lady, assumes the worst. However, he really is a very decent fellow and helps her get on her feet and teaches her the trade. She also helps him stay sober and make something of himself.
Eventually, she and the old guy leave on amicable terms and she goes off to the big city to make a name for herself as a photographer. At first she tries to get a job with the local newspaper and when that doesn't pan out, she is able to make a much better living as a fashionable photographer--making the rich look great as well as doing commercial work. However, she also makes a deal with some underworld folks along the way--showing she is mostly concerned with her career and not how she makes it to the top. During this time, she has an on-again off-again relationship with a very young Richard Crenna. To me, this was a shortcoming in the film, as the crusty and highly curvaceous platinum blonde and young idealistic reporter seemed to have little in common.
Eventually, while at the very top of her career, she runs afoul of the mob so it's up to Crenna to come to save the day. This is cool, but you also wonder why he didn't just get the cops! Duh. still, it's a dandy film--mostly because Moore did such a nice job in the lead and it was nice to see her play a different role--a very competent 'dame'.
By the way, although the film played well at the time, some of it seems rather sexist and dated. Crenna wants to marry Moore and naturally it's expected that she'll give up her career--even though she is far more successful than he is! My how times have changed! Well acted and interesting, but not without a few logical flaws that, fortunately, don't harm the film so much that it isn't worth seeing. For Moore's character alone, however, it is worth seeing.