The Scariest Men in Film Noir: Part 3
So many scary dudes . . . so little space.
- Vince Stone: Lee Marvin in The Big Heat (1953). Wow. There is, admittedly, a thin line between scary and just plain mean. Vince erased that line with a pot of hot coffee – which he threw in his girlfriend’s face.
- Sidney Winant: Mike Mazurki in Dark City (1950). Winant was a tenacious killer who picked off nearly every member of a fateful poker game that led to his brother’s suicide. But at least he had an excuse. He was a certified nutjob.
- Victor Grandison: Claude Rains in The Unsuspected (1947). Wealthy, intelligent, and charismatic, Grandison had no qualms in hanging his secretary, shooting his niece, causing the fatal auto accident of his niece’s husband, and trying – albeit unsuccessfully — to murder both his ward and her would-be spouse. Grandison was nothing if not determined. Scary, but determined.
- Johnny Rocco: Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo (1948). Among his scary deeds: holding hostage the occupants of a resort hotel, killing a sheriff’s deputy, and pinning the deputy’s murder on two innocent locals (ultimately resulting in their deaths at the hands of the law). Plus, he was a big ol’ meanie with his treatment of his boozy moll, Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor).
- Don Brady: Mickey Rooney in Quicksand (1950). A womanizing auto mechanic, Brady falls for a sexy cashier in a diner and winds up committing a series of misdeeds – from “borrowing” $20 from the register at his job to pay for their first date, to strangling his boss – that are so stupid they can only be termed as “scary.”
- Ronald Mason: Zachary Scott in Danger Signal (1945). Mason was charming and handsome, with a smooth talking manner and a considerable literary ability. Quite a catch, no? No. He was also a liar, a thief, and a murderer. Can’t judge a book by its cover.
- Dimitrios Makropoulos: Zachary Scott in The Mask of Dimitrios (1944). A mysterious master manipulator, Dimitrios was aptly described by one character as “ruthless and primitive.” He winds up in a lucrative position in the world of finance, but not before leaving behind a trail of victims – from the partner he double-crossed in a jewel-smuggling ring, to the meek government official he pressures into committing a crime that results in the man’s suicide. Nobody was safe with this guy around – heck, he even faked his own death.
- Arthur Bannister: Everett Sloane in The Lady From Shanghai (1948). This morally bankrupt attorney was another manipulator, this time coupled with an obsession for his beautiful wife (Rita Hayworth). His fanatic fixation leads him to act as the puppeteer in a complex murder scheme that was as confusing as it was scary.
- Joe Kellerson: Paul Stewart in The Window (1949). He tried to kill a little boy. A little boy!
- Emmet Myers: William Talman in The Hitch-Hiker (1953). A vicious serial killer who terrorizes a couple of fishing buddies who pick him up on the road, Myers was at his scariest when he was asleep. The killer suffered from a paralyzed eye that stayed open even when he was visiting the land of nod. Yikes.
- Sam Wild: Lawrence Tierney in Born to Kill (1947). Sam WILD. Really, what more do you need to know?
Stay tuned for Part 4 in The Scariest Men in Film Noir!