Saturday, January 06, 2018

TCM's Film Noir of the Week is Back! Red Light (1949) Stars George Raft, Virginia Mayo, and Raymond Burr! Sunday, January 7 at 10 a.m. ET



By David in TN
Friday, January 5, 2018 at 5:55:00 P.M. EST


George Raft, the man who made Humphrey Bogart a star, with his dear childhood friend, Ben Siegel. Some people called Siegel “Bugsy,” but not to his face. Not, that is, if they wanted to live. Siegel is also famous as “Moe Greene,” the name that Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola gave him in The Godfather (1972), in which Alex Rocco (1936-2015) played him. Siegel/Greene, the man who founded Las Vegas as a utopia for mobsters, was a figure of such mythic stature that even in death, he played a huge role in The Godfather, Part II (1974). Puzo and Coppola gave the Meyer Lansky character, “Hyman Roth” (Lee Strasberg) one of the greatest speeches in pictures about Greene. Barry Levenson would devote an epic biopic to Siegel, Bugsy (1991), starring Warren Beatty.



TCM's Film Noir of the Week returns Sunday, January 7 at 10 a.m. ET. This week's feature is Red Light (1949). It stars George Raft and Virginia Mayo, with Raymond Burr in another Noir "heavy" role.

George Raft and Virginia "Ginnie" Mayo

Raft is a trucking business owner whose brother, a priest, is killed on the order of Burr, whom Raft had caused to be sent to prison.

Raymond Burr, left



I read in a film noir book that George Raft “couldn't act.” Presumably, this is because Raft tended to give the same characterization in every film.

Gene Lockhart


N.S. Fortunately, Raft also had bad professional judgment. Humphrey Bogart became the immortal “Bogie” by taking great roles Raft had rejected, like Baby Face Martin in Dead End (1937), Roy “Mad Dog” Earle in High Sierra (1941), and Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon in the same year. However, if Raft had taken them, we probably wouldn’t even know they were so great.

Dead End (1937)

High Sierra (1941)

The Maltese Falcon (1941)


Anonymous said...

Thank you..I really enjoyed this movie,especially the ending!

David In TN said...

On Monday night, January 8, TCM has a True Crime Night, starting with Richard Brooks' In Cold Blood (1967) at 8 pm ET.

Brooks pushes an anti-death penalty theme by focusing on the killers played by Robert Blake and Scott Wilson, instead of the victims. Much of the film is spent making you feel sorry for them.

The "raspy-voiced" (per Eddie Muller) Paul Stewart plays a reporter who wails in effect, "Both are murder, the Clutter killings and hanging the two killers. Both murder." Stewart's character hangs his head and weeps as poor Perry Smith takes the drop.

This was Richard Brook's apparent message.

The night follows with 10 Rillington Place (1971) about a serial killer in 1940's and 50's London, and The Honeymoon Killers (1969), Dog Day Afternoon (1975).

The final entry deserves special mention, The Phenix City Story (1955) at 4:45 am ET. Set your DVR's. This one stars Richard Kiley, John McIntire, and James Edwards, in a key supporting role. In the Fifties, when a black actor was needed, Edwards was called on. Phil Karlson directed. It was the type of film Karlson was known for.

The Phenix City Story concerns the "Dixie Mafia." McIntire plays Albert Patterson who was shot by the mob after winning the Democratic nomination for Alabama AG.