Join us on Twitter.com on Sun., Aug. 23, and tweet along with us as we watch — for free, online — two splendid film-noir movies: The Shanghai Gesture (1941), starring Gene Tierney and Victor Mature, and Behind Green Lights (1946), starring Carole Landis and William Gargan. Hosted by your good blogs Movie Movie Blog Blog and BNoirDetour. Click here for more information. B Noir or be square!
The film-noir blog BNoirDetour hosts a Live Tweet of a noir movie at Twitter.com every Sunday night starting at 9:00 p.m. EST. This Sunday, she has graciously allowed me to join her in Tweeting a movie of my choice after she Tweets hers.
BNoirDetour starts the party at 9 p.m. with The Shanghai Gesture (1941). It takes place in a Shanghai casino where the lives of the casino’s dragon-lady boss, a privileged young woman (Gene Tierney of Laura), a gigolo (Victor Mature), and a wealthy Englishman (Walter Huston) converge. As the movie is directed by Josef von Sternberg, who did his best to turn cinema into the Shrine of Marlene Dietrich, you have no reason to believe that this movie will be low-key in any way.
This movie will be followed by my choice and one of my favorite recent film-noir viewings, Behind Green Lights (1946). It stars the very likable William Gargan as a police lieutenant who does his level best to keep control of the many goings-on during the night shift at his police station. This includes a woman suspected of murder (Carole Landis), whom the lieutenant would like to avoid arresting because it would make the corrupt editor of the city newspaper all too happy. (Look closely at the actor playing the editor. He’s Roy Roberts, 20 years prior to gaining sitcom fame as Mr. Cheever, Mr. Mooney’s dyspeptic boss on “The Lucy Show”!)
To join our noir nosh, just log onto Twitter and type @BNoirDetour to get to the main host’s Twitter page for either the 9:00 or the 10:45 show, or type @MovieMovieBlogB to get to my Twitter page for just the 10:45 show. Either way, you’ll get a free link to each movie via YouTube. When you are instructed at the given time, just click on the start of the movie and follow along. No matter which movie you view, if you want to post comments about each movie while it’s running, use the hashtag #BNoirDetour, and you’ll be part of our Live Tweet.
My thanks to BNoirDetour for graciously letting me piggy-bank (for lack of a better word) on her Twitter following. We look forward to tweeting with you this Sunday night!
Behind Green Lights begins with a windy prologue that proclaims, “This is the story of one night in a big city police station — your city or mine[…]” — although your police station’s typical night shift probably doesn’t consist of a corpse getting dropped off at the front door, a medical examiner who’s regularly paid off for evil deeds, and a police lieutenant who falls in love with a murder suspect.
Lt. Sam Carson (William Gargan) tries his best to juggle the variety of work-related balls thrown at him in the course of an evening, all the while avoiding the temptation of bribery by Max Calvert (Roy Roberts), editor of the city’s biggest newspaper. When the corpse’s primary murder suspect becomes Janet Bradley (Carole Landis), Carson does everything he can to avoid booking her — mainly because Bradley is the daughter of a mayoral candidate whose opposing candidate is being assertively backed by Calvert.
Between the comings and goings at the police station and the variety of people who flit in and out of the corpse’s apartment when he’s still alive (via flashback), this movie has enough characters and slamming doors for a bedroom farce. It’s held together mostly by the very likable leads. Gargan is extremely charming as an Everyman police officer who almost seems to be in over his head, and he’s matched by Landis as a pseudo-glamorous suspect who, thankfully, isn’t all that she seems.
Clocking in at just over an hour, Behind Green Lights is a brisk and extremely enjoyable “programmer” of the kind for which 20th Century-Fox was famous in the 1930’s and ’40s. Other than some strained comic relief involving an elderly flower lady (who figures prominently in the plot), nothing seems forced, and it’s a rare film-noir that leaves you grinning from ear to ear.