Noirvember Day Six: Film Noir Friday on TCM
Are you in the mood for some first-rate noir? Then tune into Turner Classic Movies Friday night for back-to-back-to-back noirs that will satisfy any shadow-seeker: Detour, The Hitch-Hiker, and Gun Crazy. What more do you want?? Read on to find out why you need to be no place but in front of your TV screen on Friday!
Tom Neal stars in this grim story about a hard-luck everyman who makes wrong choices and finds himself caught up in circumstances beyond his control (not unlike Neal himself – but that’s another story for another post). As the film begins, Neal’s Al Roberts, a New York piano player, decides to follow his fiancée, Sue (Claudia Drake), to Hollywood, where she plans to seek fame and fortune as a singer. But his trip to the coast turns out to be more than Al bargained for. As much as I’m tempted to let just a tiny bit of spoilerage seep out, I’m going to exercise every bit of restraint I can muster, just in case you’ve never seen this gem. I’ll just say this – Neal’s co-star is Ann Savage, and a more apt name you’ll never hear.
Favorite quote: “That’s life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you.” – Tom Neal
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
Directed by actress Ida Lupino, this film was labeled by one reviewer as “71 terror-stricken minutes.” It stars William Talman as Emmet Myers, a vicious serial killer who terrorizes a pair of fishing buddies (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) who pick him up on the road. The two men are forced at gunpoint to drive to Mexico, and their plans to escape are dashed when they learn that Myers suffers from a paralyzed eye that remains open even when he is sleeping. Keep the lights on when you watch this one.
Favorite quote: “Nobody ever gave me anything. So I don’t owe nobody.” – William Talman
Gun Crazy (1950)
Released as Deadly Is the Female, this riveting feature opens by showing young Bart Tare (Rusty Tamblyn), who is so fascinated by weapons that he is sent to a reform school for breaking into a gun store. Years later, the now-grown Bart (John Dall) returns to his hometown, and when he accompanies two boyhood friends to a local carnival, he is drawn by the antics of Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins), who works as a sharpshooter in the carnival’s sideshow. When Bart bests Annie in a shooting match, he is hired by the carnival, and the rest is noir history.
Favorite quote: “I’ve been kicked around all my life, and from now on, I’m going to start kicking back.” Peggy Cummins
Mark your calendar, synchronize your watch, set your VCR, or do whatever you have to do – but don’t miss this trio of great noirs! You won’t be sorry.
Join me tomorrow for Day Seven of Noirvember!