User Reviews (12)

  • GUENOT PHILIPPE26 September 2010
    A rare Michael Curtiz gem.
    I really don't understand why this Michael Curtiz film is so hard to find. And since so many years. A rather good film noir, in the Warner Bors tradition, except that this time it was produced by Paramount Pictures. And like some other late Curtiz's films, there are no really great stars in this movie. Actors as we could have seen in B pictures. But this is definitely not a B picture.

    The usual topic of the triangle: Wife, husband and lover. The gal wants to get rid of her husband with the help of her lover. Characterization, music score, sets by night, everything is very interesting in this authentic and - I repeat - rare gem. Don't miss Nat King Cole singing "Never Let Me Go". A charming movie which reminds me my childhood.

    But it is not a masterpiece although.
  • melvelvit-130 October 2014
    8/10
    A suspenseful '50s noir from Michael Curtiz
    E.V. "Marsh" Marshall (Tom Tryon) is an up-and-coming sales manager for the Ralph Nevin (James Gregory) real estate empire but little does Ralph know that his top employee is having an affair with his slinky wife "Paulie" (Carol Ohmart). Parked in a lover's lane one night, Marsh and Paulie overhear plans for a quarter million dollar jewel heist and high tail it out of there but it does plant a seed. Paulie's husband beats her and she wants out but she came from the tenements and doesn't want to go back so she begs Marsh to help her break free by ripping off the jewel robbers...

    There's twists and turns galore in Michael Curtiz' suspense-filled '50s noir that for some reason remains unsung. This was no B-movie, either; it's a Paramount film in VistaVison produced and directed by an Academy Award winner with a sure hand for this sort of thing from a story by Frank Tashlin, of all people. The film "introduces" Tom Tryon, Carol Ohmart, and Jody Lawrance and although none of them went on to major stardom, Tom and Carol had respectable second tier careers. Ohmart was a very sexy lady with the kind of cruel beauty that lent itself well to femme fatale roles and handsome Tom conveys "conflicted" convincingly. Elaine Stritch (her feature film debut, as well) adds heart as Paulie's floozy friend from the old days before she married well and E.G. Marshall's on hand as the investigating police detective. Nat King Cole croons "Never Let Me Go" in the Crystal Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Recommended.
  • eric-baril20 January 2014
    8/10
    forgotten noir jewel by Michael Curtiz
    "The Scarlet Hour" is an outstanding surprise for noir fans : directed by Michael Curtiz in 1956, it is so rarely seen. And it deserves to be rediscovered on DVD.

    Carol Ohmart uses Tom Tryon to get rid of her husband. And there are so many tricks and twists growing violently crescendo all through the movie, you get stuck on your seat. That crescendo is brilliantly enlightened by Lionel Lindon ("Quicksand"), each frame being in perfect adequacy with all the events and accidents.

    Frank Tashlin is another great talent of this forgotten jewel. He is a specialist of comedies, "The Girl Can't Help It" and Jerry Lewis movies. "The Scarlet Hour" is his only participation to film noir. The second screenwriter is John Meredith Lucas, the foster son of Michael Curtiz, who had written Dark City in 1950.

    "The Scarlet Hour" must be one day available on DVD.
  • gordonl568 June 2014
    9/10
    Excellent hard to find Noir
    Warning: Spoilers
    THE SCARLET HOUR – 1956

    It is late at night and a car is parked in a secluded hillside "lover's lane" area. A couple, Carol Ohmart and Tom Tryon are adjusting their clothing etc after an obvious bout of back seat mambo. The pair duck down when a car with a single occupant pulls up down the lane. Then a second car pulls up with two men inside arrives. A man, David Lewis, exits the first car and meets the two, Jacques Aubuchon and Scott Marlowe from the second auto.

    Ohmart and Tryon are listening from behind the handy brush in front of their car. Lewis tells the pair that he has a job for them. He points up the hill to a large house. Lewis wants the men to break in and lift $350,000 in jewels from a safe. He gives the men the layout of the inside and where to find the safe. The owners will be on holiday when the job is to be pulled. They then all grab their own cars and drive off.

    Tryon and Ohmart climb back into their own car. As they drive back into town, Ohmart says they could start a new life with that kind of cash. It seems that the two have been carrying on behind Ohmart's husband's back, James Gregory. A twist, here, is that Gregory is also Tryon's boss. Gregory is a big time housing contractor with several tracts of houses on the go. He is also tight with a buck, and Ohmart is sick of him. Not to mention that Gregory is a very jealous type who has threatened to kill her if she ever left him.

    Ohmart suggests that they need money so they can "run away" from Gregory. "Why don't we rob the robbers?" $350 large would hit the spot cash wise. Tryon is a no go on this idea and thinks they should contact the police about the whole thing. "How do we explain what we were doing there?" ends that idea.

    Over the course of the next few days, Ohmart needles Tryon about his lack of funds etc, till he finally agrees to her plan about the jewels. This of course pleases Ohmart no end. Now they just need to play it cool till the day the robbery is to happen. Unfortunately for them, husband Gregory sees the two together and quickly realizes he is being played. He comes up with a plan to kill Ohmart and Tryon the next time they have a rendezvous.

    On the night of the robbery, Ohmart is going out for a few drinks with family friends, Elaine Stritch and Billy Gray. Gregory says he can't join them as he has a late meeting at the office. After a few drinks at the club, Ohmart asks pal, Stritch to cover for her. She needs to dash off for a visit with a friend. Stritch gives that knowing smile, Ohmart has a bit on the side, and agrees to cover if any questions are asked.

    Ohmart grabs her car and roars over to pick up Tryon. They then speed to where the home robbery will be. They are there 30 minutes before the real robbers show. Tryon heads off to hide in some nearby bushes. Ohmart parks down the road and waits. What Ohmart and Tryon failed to notice, is that they were followed by Gregory. Gregory was not going to any business meeting. Gregory figured that the wife would duck out to visit Tryon, and he was right.

    Gregory parks his car, then sneaks up on Ohmart, he pulls out a gun and jumps into Ohmarts's car. Needless to say this shocks the hell out of Ohmart. Gregory growls that he intends to kill both her and Tryon. Gregory of course has no idea about the robbery. The two struggle over the gun which discharges, killing Gregory. The frightened Ohmart then shoves Gregory out on the side of the road. She fails to notice that her very distinctive bracelet went out the door at the same time.

    Back at the house, the two jewel thieves have pulled the robbery and exit the home. Tryon steps out of the dark and sticks a gun in their faces. He relieves the two, Jacques Aubuchon and Scott Marlowe of the swag, then hotfoots it down the road to Ohmart's car. The two thugs recover their senses and give chase, taking pot shots at Tryon. Tryon makes the car and leaps in, Ohmart jumps on the gas and they speed away. Aubuchon and Marlowe find Gregory's body and figure he must of caught a round that they fired at Tryon. The two give the body the once over and find the bracelet. This, they pocket before fading into the night.

    Ohmart drops Tryon and the jewels off at his apartment and speeds back to the club. She has a need for a few drinks to steady her nerves. Afterwards the three, Ohmart, Stritch and Billy Gray come back to Ohmart's for a nightcap. Waiting there, are Police Detectives, E.G. Marshall and Edward Binns. Gregory's body has been found out on a hillside road. Of course Stritch and Gray give Ohmart an alibi. They all say that Gregory had gone to the office for a late meeting. The Police thank them and head off.

    Tryon and Ohmart, new to this game, of course fumble the ball and things come unglued rather quickly. The bracelet is soon traced to Ohmart by the thugs. Without giving away the actual ending, suffice it to say that a few more bodies are soon joining Gregory in the morgue. There is a real unexpected twist involving the jewels.

    Well worth a watch if you can find it.
  • mark.waltz25 August 2015
    7/10
    Desperation leads to destruction.
    Warning: Spoilers
    She's a tramp married to a violent older man, He's an employee of that very jealous husband who knows she's a tramp but can't prove it. They are desperate to escape her miserable existence, but she's reluctant to leave the financial support she gets behind. So while they are hiding out in lover's lane, they overhear the plot to rob a house while the owners are out of town. So she suggests that they rob the robbers and go on the run, and he becomes the total sap and agrees. But things don't always go as planned, and gunshots go off, turning their plot upside down and leaving somebody presumably dead.

    Carol Ohmart is the seductive young wife with James Gregory ("The Manchurian Candidate") as her husband who is determined to help employee Tom Tryon move ahead in his real estate business, unaware that he's helped himself to Gregory's hearth and home already. The heat between the two lovers is undeniable, and Ohmart isn't without some heart. Of course, Tryon is totally suckered into her schemes, and witnessing the violence that Gregory inflicts on his wife, it's difficult not to blame Ohmart for plotting against him. Jody Lawrence displays vulnerability as Gregory's secretary, giving her all in a scene where Tryon walks into hear her taking dictation from a tape-recorder of the dead man. Later, Tryon finds out that his boss was onto him, and now he must really figure out how he's going to get out of this mess.

    The wonderful Elaine Stritch is an instant scene-stealer as Ohmart's old burlesque girlfriend, singing a bit of "When I take my sugar to tea". Fresh from success on Broadway, this was Stritch's film debut, and even though her part has no bearing on the plot, she does get to provide not only an alibi to Ohmart but good insight into her fun-loving character as well. "General Hospital's" very first Edward Quartermain (David Lewis) is present as the mastermind behind the home break-in, while E.G. Marshall is the law enforcement officer put in charge of the investigation. "This is one for T.V.", Marshall comments, realizing that the case he's on (which appears to be suicide since Gregory was killed by his own gun) is more convoluted than anything on "Perry Mason" or "Dragnet".

    A nice little sleeper of a film noir (late in the genre), this isn't anything we haven't seen before ("Double Indemnity", "Decoy", "Out of the Past" cover pretty much the same territory), but it is extremely well crafted. This shows how people who get involved in these types of situations crack under the pressure of not knowing what's going on in the minds of everybody else around them and how they pretty much do themselves in through just the emotion of guilt and paranoia. Director Michael Curtiz makes this speed along like a cross-country train where the only thing waiting at the end of the line is retribution and justice.
  • robert-temple-118 May 2013
    8/10
    'You see that building over there, Marsh? That's where I grew up.'
    This is a superb film noir directed by Michael Curtiz, which has never been officially reissued in video or DVD format. The film introduces three new lead players, Carol Ohmart, Ton Tryon, and Elaine Stritch, who here all appear in their first feature film. This was clearly a conscious decision by Paramount to try and create new stars. They took an excellent script and entrusted the project to the capable hands of Oscar-winner Michael Curtiz, who is of course most famous for directing CASABLANCA (1942). Carol Ohmart is the femme fatale. She has a low dusky voice and moves, speaks and acts like Barbara Stanwyck. Stanwyck was twenty years older than Ohmart, and perhaps it seemed time to try and reinvent her. Ohmart does an excellent job and there is nothing to complain of about her performance except for one thing, and that is that she did not possess the natural magic of a true star. In this film she is highly effective, but we are not entranced. What is there that makes one woman spellbinding and another not? We will never know the answer. Young Tom Tryon as the earnest, love-crazed male lead is very good, though at that age he looked a bit weird, and he was much more effective and better looking when he was older and had developed a bit of gravitas, as for instance in THE CARDINAL (1963). Elaine Stritch is given a substantial supporting role, and she makes the most of it, stealing plenty of scenes (though apparently without meaning to do so) and showing what stuff she is made of, as the decades which followed have proved. Michael Curtiz does his usual excellent job of directing, and the story really does have some surprises and twists. This is no B picture, it is the real thing. Ohmart is a gold-digger who has married a rich older man (played by James Gregory) for whom she has no affection whatever. But then, her affection is reserved for herself. She does however have a mad passion for Tryon, and must have him. 'I want you,' she says to him repeatedly, like a Roman Empress deciding to conquer Cilicia before the week is out. They can't keep their hands off each other, and their mouths are glued together and they simply can't tell whose arms are which. A slight problem! Tryon works for the husband. Also, the boss's secretary, played with doe-eyed devotion by Jody Lawrance (who retired from acting only 12 years later at the age of 38, and died aged only 55 in 1986), is hopelessly in love with Tryon, who does not notice. This film is notable for an appearance by the singer Nat King Cole, who sings an entire song, 'Never Let Me Go' (composed specially for this film), standing and smiling in a nightclub into which Ohmart briefly goes before slipping out on one of her sinister errands of passion. The film begins with Ohmart and Tryon sitting in an open convertible on a warm summer night on the hills overlooking the lights of Los Angeles. They have been necking passionately and suddenly two other cars drive up nearby, which do not see them. Men get out of each car and a rendezvous takes place, in which a jewel robbery is planned, and the couple overhear all the details. Who is the mysterious and genteel man who is organising it? Later in the film we get a real shock when we find out who he is. (No, it is not Ohmart's husband. Try again. Give up, you could never guess.) Ohmart wants to run away with Tryon, who 'has no money' (at least not enough for her), so she browbeats him into robbing the robbers and taking the $350,000 worth of jewels from them as 'running away money'. When Tryon protests, Ohmart ruthlessly scorns his comparative poverty, and says 'I've been poor before.' But of course, this being a film noir, things go terribly wrong. And go on going wrong. And go on going even more wrong. And everything becomes impossibly tense, so that sweat practically breaks out upon the celluloid itself. And then more surprises come, and yet more tension. The screenwriter has no mercy on us. And Ohmart is relentless, as greedy and passionate as Stanwyck in DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), a role on which she clearly modelled her own performance. This really is a good one. I would say don't miss it, but first you have to find it, and that is even more difficult than solving the plot. Type it into Google with the word 'buy'.
  • calvinnme19 November 2016
    8/10
    Nifty and rare little noirish drama
    Carol Ohmart and Tom Tryon are having a little rendezvous on a deserted road, when they overhear three guys plotting to knock over a house and steal $350,000 worth of jewelry. Since Ohmart is trying to ditch her husband (James Gregory), she eventually concocts a plan to rob the burglars, and suckers Tryon into it. The plan almost comes off … except that Gregory suspects the two are getting it on, and follows them. Tryon holds up the burglars, but as he makes his escape, the two burglars fire at him. Meanwhile, as Ohmart waits for Tryon in the getaway car, Gregory confronts her. Ohmart shoots him, and lets Tryon think the burglars hit him by accident. Of course, things slowly unravel from there, and there is also a neat twist involving the owner of the jewels.

    There is some talent involved – Michael Curtiz directed, and keeps the pace moving fairly well. The supporting cast is good, and features Elaine Stritch as Ohmart's friend, and E. G. Marshall and Edward Binns as a couple of detectives. Richard Deacon has a bit as a jeweler. David Lewis (who played Edward Quartermaine for so many years on "General Hospital") makes his film debut. As a bonus, Nat King Cole appears and sings "Never Let Me Go." Tryon is acceptable in his role, but that's about it. Ohmart, who was wonderfully treacherous as Vincent Price's wife in House on Haunted Hill, looks great, but her voice is a little too monotone to suit me.

    One of the screenwriters is billed as Rip Van Ronkel. Apparently he didn't want to use his real name, Rupert Stiltskin.
  • bnwfilmbuff26 March 2017
    10/10
    Exceptional Noirish Drama
    This is a masterpiece with a plot that keeps developing new twists throughout the entire film directed by one of the greats, Michael Curtiz. I was drawn to the film by Curtiz' being the director but the casting and the cast are marvelous. Carol Ohmhart is beautifully sinister and Tom Tryon gullibly smitten in what starts out as a love triangle but evolves into something far more devious and complex. The supporting cast shines with E.G. Marshall and Edward Binns as the law and James Gregory as Ohmart's wealthy husband especially notable. A rare performance in film by Nat King Cole is an added treat. This was quite a find and highly recommended.
  • clanciai29 January 2018
    10/10
    "When I am dead you may not even drive me to the morgue."
    This is unusually funny for being a noir. The plot keeps developing in most surprising and sometimes hilarious new directions, as the complications pile upon each other in this (for the police) inextricable murder mystery, while not even the perpetrators themselves, not any one of them, really can understand what happened.

    The lead played by Carol Ohmart would have been perfect for Barbara Stanwyck, and at moments Carol actually looks like Barbara, and most strikingly so in the last scene. Tom Tryon is like a substitute for Montgomery Clift, the same kind of helpless gullible victim of a superior woman who knows her arts, and there are even some Hitchcock moments in this film, like in the bathing sequence, when you all the time are aware of a third man watching them, although he doesn't come forward until afterwards. The major comic ingredient is Elaine Stritch as the constantly slightly tipsy friend, one of several friends earnestly doing what they can to help the puppets of a grimly ironic destiny out. You expect more murders and gun shots in this drama of passion, but it's not necessary. The plot is quite enough entertaining in itself, no further exaggerations are needed, and even the end with its perfect cliffhanger question mark is satisfying as such. No further action is needed.
  • writers_reign11 June 2017
    6/10
    Red Handed
    Warning: Spoilers
    Apart from movies another passion of mine is Popular Song - the kind that peaked in the late thirties/early forties as opposed to the graffiti linked to a beat that came in in the mid fifties and refuses to go away. Often a song would originate in a non-musical film (Again - Roadhouse; Mam'zelle - The Razor's Edge) and The Scarlet Hour was a case in point, Paramount staffers Ray Evans and Jay Livingstom (To Each His Own, Mona Lisa) came up with a doozy, Never Let Me Go, and Paramount signed Nat Cole to perform it in a stand-alone sequence in a night club. That was my sole reason for purchasing this DVD but it's not too hard to take, an interesting cast, seasoned director, albeit the plot is turning a little yellow at the edges and Elaine Stritch makes off with everything worth stealing.
  • MartinHafer23 February 2017
    7/10
    A reworking of the classic Zola novel "Therese Racquin".
    Emil Zola isn't a guy you normally associate with screenplays, but this 19th century writer penned a story that's often been reworked by other writers into best selling books and movies. James M. Cain's novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice" was essentially the Zola story reworked into a contemporary setting. And, "The Scarlet Hour" is essentially the same notion. All these stories are about an adulterous wife who is bored by her husband and ultimately ends up killing the husband. This is only half the story...the other half is how the killer falls apart psychologically and ultimately pays the price for their infamy.

    When the film begins, Pauline (Carol Ohmart) is having an affair with Marsh (Tom Tryon). Little does the husband (James Gregory) know that his most trusted employee is his wife's lover! Ultimately, the wicked wife convinces the lover to participate in a robbery in which they'll steal from the husband...and the husband is killed in the process. After, Marsh is pretty cool...but Pauline is a mess at times and definitely the weak link in the plan. This is interesting, because before SHE was the cool one...the femme fatale...yet now she's going to blow it unless she cools it and fast.

    So is this variation on the old story any good? Yes, though I think the story does suffer a bit in the way the wife acts throughout the film. I mentioned above how cold and dangerous she is. After all, the plan is hers. But then she gets a bad case of nerves...which, considering the first portion of the film really is not consistent nor does it make a lot of sense. This does not ruin the film...it's just a strike against it. As far as the rest of it goes, it's enough of a reworking that it still is interesting and worth your time. Well made...just not super-original.
  • madmonkmcghee7 November 2015
    6/10
    Noir by the numbers
    Desperate housewife wants to run off with her lover, and to get the much-needed cash they rip off a couple of jewel thieves. The jealous husband gets wise to their scheme and tries to beat his wife into submission. In the scuffle his gun goes off, killing the wife-beater. Welcome to Noir Country. This movie starts off promisingly enough, but ultimately disappoints. The main problem are the two leads, who just aren't engaging enough to root for. Especially Tom Tryon as the hapless lover is just not up to it, being weak-willed and spineless from the get-go. Me, i would not organize a kids party with this drip, let alone a jewelry heist. Carol Ohmart is a shade better, but again fails to engage much sympathy. In fact the best performances are by Elaine Stritch and Scott Marlowe as the fun-loving friends of the estranged couple. David Lewis is also suitably menacing as the brains behind the robbery gone wrong. A lot of possible suspense is also prevented by the fact that, as in most 50's thrillers, the police is always just one step behind the culprits. So it's just a matter of time before everybody gets their rightful punishment. ( Phew, that's a relief!) If you're a noir addict like me you might give this one a once-over, but probably once will be more than enough.