We watch people boarding a bus, circa 1944/45/46. A man is seated in the back quietly, when a soldier sits down next to him. For what must represent at least an hour or two of traveling the soldier is just jabbering away, while the man next to him is...well trapped, hoping this clown will just move away, leave the bus, or shut up. Finally they are the last two on the bus when they reach a stop. The soldier says it's his stop, picks up his duffel bag, says good bye to the man, pulls out a gun with a silencer, and shoots him. He then pulls a large package out of the dead man's pocket, puts it into his duffel bag, and leaves the bus. And our movie of the week begins.
GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE was a valentine to the film noir of the 1940s and 1950s. Barbara Bain is the woman who goes to the private eye offices of Richard Boone. She is looking for her brother, who is missing. Soon it turns out this missing man is the "soldier" in the opening of the film. But the identity of the dead man is learned too - it is a courier carrying papers concerning the nightclub run by Vicor Buono. Boone's job is to find the missing man, but also to find out why the courier was hit. And there some people who appear not to want Boone to find any of this out.
But from the start the film is goofy. Boone's partner - one hesitates to call him his "Miles Archer" - is diminutive, but great actor Michael Dunn. Their firm is not doing so hot, which may explain Bain's hiring them. But soon Dunn's height shows it's usefulness. Somebody knocks at the firm's door, and Dunn goes to answer - and six bullets are pumped through the door's center (which would have killed a regular sized man answering, but happens to pass over a surprised Dunn's head). Unlike Bogart in MALTESE FALCON, Bain is no Mary Astor. In fact she remains consistently business-like regarding why she hired Boone (much to his dismay).
The obvious villain, of course, is Victor Buono as "Julius Limeway", a definite part in homage to the great Sidney Greenstreet. Buono is always seen at his nightclub, usually dining. He wears white tuxedos all the time. Dunn, getting fed up with Buono's sinister airs, lectures him before leaving that if he is going to wear white, he should not eat dishes with tomato sauce. Dunn and Boone leave the scene to Buono, last seen dipping his napkin into a water glass and rubbing his suit's lapel very heavily.
It was a different and welcome television movie, and one hopes it will show up again some time.
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