Hold on to that cheap cigar, y’all … it’s Noirvember!

What’s Noirvember? The creation of Marya over at Cinema-Fanatic.com, Noirvember is an awesome month-long observance of all things film noir. And I can hardly believe it, but this is my seventh year participating in this event! This means that I’ll be posting about film noir here at Shadows and Satin every day this month – I hope you’ll join me for this shadowy celebration!

This year, I’m doing something a little different. I like to recommend movies to film noir lovers, but all too often, they’re impossible to find. And there’s nothing worse than being told about a great film you should watch, only to learn that you can’t watch it. (Well, I guess there are lots of worse things than that, but you know what I mean.) So, every day during Noirvember 2020, I’m going to shine the spotlight on a film noir that you can find on YouTube. And, while everyone doesn’t have access to YouTube, it sure beats a blank!

For my first YouTube noir pick of Noirvember, I’m selecting a film that I tuned into just last week, while I was finishing up the September/October 2020 issue of the Dark Pages newsletter. (In case you’re not familiar with this publication, it’s a bi-monthly hard copy and electronic newsletter focusing on all things noir, which is now in its 16th year. If you’d like to receive a sample electronic copy, just click here! (Thus endeth the shameless plug.) Anyway – whenever I’m working on the Dark Pages, I like to have a noir feature playing in the background that helps to set the mood, but I always choose a film I’ve seen before so it won’t be a distraction. The film I picked the other day was Scandal Sheet (1952), with Broderick Crawford, John Derek, and Donna Reed. But, as it turned out, it wasn’t a wise choice – I’d forgotten how good it was; it took me twice as long to finish the newsletter, because I couldn’t stop watching!

WHAT IT’S ABOUT?

Crawford’s Mark Chapman turns a failing first-rate paper into a thriving scandal rag.

Crawford stars as Mark Chapman, an ambitious newspaperman who takes over a once-distinguished but now-struggling New York publication and increases the circulation by promoting a series of scandals and publicity stunts, like the wildly popular, newspaper-sponsored Lonely Hearts Ball. Mark gets more than he bargained for, though, when an attendee at the ball turns out to be the wife that he abandoned 20 years earlier. And believe me when I tell you that she’s none too pleased to learn that her long-lost spouse has a new name and a successful career while she’s living in a one-room dump and barely making ends meet.

I don’t want to reveal anything more about the plot, but let me just say that this movie grabs you in the first couple of seconds and never lets go. It’s like getting a box of candy in a plain wrapper that turns out to be filled with Godiva chocolates. Unexpectedly, undeniably delicious.

WHAT ELSE?

This ain’t no Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Mark Chapman’s wife is played by Rosemary DeCamp, best known for her homespun performances in films like Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Rhapsody in Blue (1945), and On Moonlight Bay (1951). You’ve never before seen DeCamp as she appears in this film. Trust me.

The film’s director, Phil Karlson, also helmed several other memorable noirs – Kansas City Confidential (1952), 99 River Street (1953), The Phenix City Story (1955), and The Brothers Rico (1955). More on a couple of these later in the month . . .

Aside from the fact that it’s a darn good noir, this film holds a special place in my heart – its working title was The Dark Page, the same name as the Samuel Fuller novel on which the movie was based.

TOMORROW:

Join me for my next YouTube recommendation on Day 2 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 1, 2020.

12 Responses to “Hold on to that cheap cigar, y’all … it’s Noirvember!”

  1. What an excellent Idea to recommend movies you can see on YouTube! I’d never seen Scandal Sheet, and I really enjoyed it.

  2. I never saw the movie and I am shocked to see a picture of Rosemary DeCamp smoking. I listened to her for years when she was the nurse for Dr. Christian on the radio. And then when I did see her in a movie she was still as sweet as ever.
    PS: I will have to watch it. Good review.

  3. Great idea! And a chance to see again films you might not have looked at for a while. So glad you are back with Noirvember.

  4. Henry O’Neill blew me away in Scandal Sheet. The memory of his drunk reporter has driven a lot of the plot out of my head. YouTube, here I come!

  5. Enjoyed again, though I wasn’t convinced by John Derek. I know he was supposed to be a young go-getting reporter but he looked so young. No connection between him and Donna Reed.
    But a great Sam Fuller story.

  6. This is a great idea! Thanks!

  7. […] Island (1955). He also helmed several other noirs, including Scandal Sheet (1952), one of my YouTube recommendations from earlier this month, and The Brothers Rico (1957), which may show up as one of my picks before Noirvember 2020 comes to […]

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