Saturday, December 29, 2012

SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943)

Life in a small town is so boring, so young Teresa Wright is quite excited when her Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten) comes to visit her family.  Things are all hunky dory for a few days until Teresa starts to notice a few odd things about her uncle who she hasn't seen in years.  First off, he's kinda an asshole.  Secondly, he carries a lot of cash on him and acts peculiar.  Thirdly, he's a fucking serial killer!!!  And worst of all: he knows she knows.  Yikes!

In the hands of Alfred Hitchcock this story rocks.  A lot of directors would be clumsy and screw the whole thing up, but Hitch plays it perfectly and even for such an old film it's still pretty exciting.  The story's logic is stretched a few times, but it's alright.  Great photography, quick pace, quirky characters, Skinny Puppy sample, strong performances, dark humor, lots of vampire themes/references.  Solid Hitchcock outing.  Worth a watch for sure.
 On the set.

 I recognize that big ol' head off to the left.

 Oh shit!  It's the Skimmer from T-MEN!

 Film debut of Hume Cronyn.

THE CANARY MURDER CASE (1929)

Very rough around the edges early talkie mystery starting a pre-THIN MAN William Powell as detective Philo Vance.  Apparently a stage performer by the name of the Canary has her hooks into the son of a wealthy banker.  She plans on blackmailing him and when his father goes to talk some sense into her she winds up very dead.  Around the same time a whole slew of wannabe Canary fuckers were hanging around her crib, so now it's up to Philo Vance to figure out who all was there and who did the killing.

Sounds exciting, but it's not in the least.  Powell might have been at the top of his game in the mid-30's, but here with this script he's pretty dull.  But not as dull as those around him!  My Satan, it was torture getting through this...and I love old movies.  If it hadn't been for my curiosity to see a young William Powell and Jean Arthur I probably would've never made it through.  And speaking of Jean Arthur: she has like one minute of screen time.  Louise Brooks doesn't have much more.

Watch it if you want, but I'll never watch it ever again.