2 June 2008 | johno-21
Battle of the bottle
I recently saw this at the 2008 Palm Springs Film Noir Festival. Actor Richard Carlson is behind the camera as director for this film from the later part of the Film Noir genre. Paul Baxter (George Nader) is a former newspaper reporter who is washed up and unhireable at only 30 years old because he's an alcoholic. Penny Spencer (Joanna Cook Moore) is his soon to be former girlfriend who is giving him one last chance. She wants him to go on the wagon for one day and has arranged with her police detective brother Lt. Spencer (Brian Keith) for Paul to observe a stakeout and apprehension of the city's most wanted criminal. She's in the newspaper business herself and has put together a file on the criminal Dutch Hayden (Frank DeKova) for Paul to study up on so he can write a story of the arrest and scoop all the crime reporters which will lead to him getting a full-time newspaper job and he'll stop drinking and Paul and Penny will then be able to live happily ever after if only he can stop drinking for one day and write the story. I'm sure most people who have dealt with alcoholism and those who treat it would have a hard time buying into this 24 hour self curing treatment but the film does deal with the destructiveness of alcoholism. Paul is faced with a series of temptations throughout the film as he struggles to stay off the hooch. Virgina Field is in the cast as burlesque dancer Florence Knapp, the moll of Dutch Hayden. Alec Coppel and Norman Jolley write the screenplay based on an Argosy Magazine story by Hugh Penecost. Three time Oscar nominee William E. Snyder is the film's cinematographer. The story is highly implausible and simplistic but isn't too bad and it's a relatively short film at 73 minutes and I would give it a 6.0 out of 10.