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Friday, November 08, 2019

TCM’s Film Noir of the Week Saturday Night-Sunday Morning at Midnight and 10 a.m. ET is Mervin Leroy’s Johnny Eager (1942), Starring Robert Taylor, with Lana Turner, Van Heflin, Edward Arnold, Robert Sterling and Henry O’Neil, and Written by John Lee Mahin and James Edward Grant, Based on Grant’s Original Story

By David in TN
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 5:15:00 P.M. EST

TCM’s Film Noir of the Week Saturday Night-Sunday Morning at Midnight and 10 a.m. ET is Mervin Leroy’s Johnny Eager (1942), with Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Van Heflin, Edward Arnold, Robert Sterling, and Henry O’Neil.

Film Noir Guide: “A seemingly reformed ex-con (Taylor) has taken a job driving a cab, but it’s all an act to fool his gullible parole officer (O’Neill). In reality, he’s still the number one hood in town and is desperately trying to open a dog-racing track. But that’s not going to happen on the watch of the incorruptible D.A. (Arnold).

“Luckily for Taylor, Arnold’s stepdaughter (Turner), falls hard for him. After tricking the girl into plugging one of his own men in the back, Taylor blackmails Arnold into laying off his gambling operation. Meanwhile, the grief-stricken girl is in a near catatonic state, prompting her former boyfriend (Sterling) to make the gangster an offer he can’t refuse.

“The alcoholic Heflin is the closest thing to a conscience that Taylor has, but even Heflin continues to be amazed at the sociopathic behavior of his friend. A thoroughly enjoyable study of a morally bankrupt heel who learns a noirish lesson about love and friendship, Johnny Eager is a showcase for Taylor, cast against his usual good guy image. Heflin almost steals the film in an Academy Award-winning performance. Sterling later starred in the 1950s TV comedy series Topper, along with his wife Anne Jeffreys.”

David in TN: Taylor did like to play villains at times, such as a Communist spy in The Conspirator (1949). Let’s see if Eddie Muller takes his usual potshot at Robert Taylor.




2 comments:

David In TN said...

This month, Bette Davis is TCM's Star of the Month. On Tuesday, November 12, at 6:15 pm ET, Marked Woman (1937) gets a rare showing. Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart co-star with Eduardo Cianelli as a mob boss based on Lucky Luciano.

Marked Woman (https://classiccinemaonline.com/blog/67-marked-woman-1937) was "ripped from the headlines," being based on the 1936 Lucky Luciano trial. Humphrey Bogart plays against type, usually in the 1930s Bogey played a mobster. This time he played a crusading prosecutor based on Thomas E. Dewey. Davis' character supposedly works as a "clip joint" hostess. In real life, they were prostitutes.

In the movie, the Cianelli character is tried for murder. In real life, Luciano was tried for running a prostitution ring.

I highly recommend Marked Woman. Bogey's character usually was a blend of idealism and cynicism. Here, Bogey plays a Tom Dewey type combining idealism with realism.

David In TN said...

TCM's Film Noir of the Week Saturday Night-Sunday Morning at Midnight and 10 am ET is The Hitch-Hiker (1953), directed by Ida Lupino and featuring Edmund O'Brien, Frank Lovejoy, and William Talman.

Film Noir Guide: "Two buddies (O'Brien and Lovejoy) heading north to the mountains for a fishing trip impulsively decide to drive south toward Mexico instead. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker (Talman), an escaped convict who has been robbing and killing motorists. The unlucky friends are forced to drive the killer five hundred miles across the desert to the Mexican town of Santa Rosalia, where the killer hopes to find a boat to take him to California. One of the hostages cracks under the strain; the other remains calm and hopeful. Talman is terrific as the sadistic psycho with a paralyzed eyelid that never closes, even when he sleeps. Based on the true story of a real-life spree killer, The Hitch-Hiker is a bit dated but definitely worth a viewing."

Right befre The Hitch-Hiker, at 10:15 pm ET TCM shows the 1971 crime drama The Anderson Tapes, starring Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, and Christopher Walken in his film debut.

Connery is a burglar paroled after 10 years in prison. After visiting high-class call girl Cannon in her upscale East Side apartment, Connery's character, Duke Anderson, decides to tob the building and recruits a crew and seeks Mob money to fund the project.

The Anderson Tapes was the first major film about the prevalence of electronic surveillance and security cameras. Ralph Meeker plays a NYPD Captain who show up to foil the crime.

Right after The Hitch-Hiker, TCM at 1:45 am ET features the delightfully politically incorrect John Ford's Drums Along the Mohawk (1939).