YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 22: The Great Flamarion (1945)

I love, love, love today’s YouTube noir pick: The Great Flamarion (1945).

It’s another one of those films that, for decades, was completely off my noir radar. (Noir-dar?) Then, a few years ago, I was sent a copy of the movie by a fellow noir lover who I met through an Internet message board. And I STILL let several months go by before popping it into my DVD player. Once I did, I was kicking myself for letting so much time go by.

As I watched the opening credits roll, I saw that the movie starred Dan Duryea, who is one of my favorite noir perfomers; Erich von Stroheim, who played Max von Mayerling in Sunset Boulevard; and Mary Beth Hughes, who is in my very favorite episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, I Accuse My Parents (1944). Not only that, but it’s directed by Anthony Mann!! You know, the guy who gave us a slew first-rate noirs, including Desperate (1947), T-Men (1947), Raw Deal (1948), and Border Incident (1949). It was practically guaranteed to be a winner.

And I can tell you, I wasn’t disappointed.


Von Stroheim and Hughes.

Erich von Stroheim plays the title role, an expert sharpshooter who makes his living performing in an upscale vaudeville act. He’s aided by two assistants, the husband-and-wife team of Al and Connie Wallace (Hughes and Duryea). It turns out that Al is an alcoholic, and Connie’s sweet face is a perfect front for her mercenary, larcenous nature. It also turns out that, despite Flamarion’s steely persona, he’s no match for Connie once she turns on her considerable charms. And you can just imagine where that leaves Al.


Von Stroheim was multitalented; in addition to acting, he helmed such silent classics as Greed (1924) and The Merry Widow (1925), and authored screenplays as well as novels.

Vaudeville noir, courtesy of James Brown.

The cinematographer on the film was the incredibly prolific James Spencer Brown, Jr. He worked mostly with low-budget films, starting in the mid-1920s, for studios like Monogram and Republic. He died just four years after the release of The Great Flamarion, at the age of 57. 

Also in the cast is Esther Howard, who you’ll recognize from her appearance in numerous noirs, including Murder, My Sweet (1944), Detour (1945), and Born to Kill (1947)


Join me for my next YouTube recommendation on Day 23 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 22, 2020.

2 Responses to “YouTube Noir — Noirvember Day 22: The Great Flamarion (1945)”

  1. When I saw the title for today, I actually said out loud “I love this.” The cast drew me to it, and now we’re old pals. Every year when it comes to von Stroheim and Mary Beth’s birthdate tweet I always turn to Flamarion. Such a creature of habit. So boring. Maybe you can start a cult for the movie. Hey, if anyone can …

  2. I’m on it!

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