|Our very bad bad Noir Girl.|
Dark Passage and the film I watched last night on TCM, The Lady in the Lake, are shot almost exclusively from the protagonist's point of view. The only time we see Robert Montgomery (who also directed The Lady in the Lake) is when he is facing a mirror. M-G-M (who were not crazy about Montgomery's idea, and also forced him to shoot a number of shots of him at a table, guiding us through the story) advertised the film as not only starring Montgomery and Audrey Totter, but YOU! , as well.
But, for whatever reason, this time I enjoyed it tremendously, savoring every last little minute. Actually, I think I know the reason why I liked this film and style so much this time, and it was not because of the English show, Peep Show, or the computer game, Facade.
It was because of Audrey Totter.
When you do a film like this it gives enormous freedom and flexibility to the actors with their performances. And, Ms Totter -- who plays every scene directly to the camera as if she is speaking to Montgomery -- runs wild with it. She camps and mugs and purrs and whispers and flirts and shows off that dynamite figure of hers (Irene did the costumes, and there are some spectacular collarless frocks with tiny cut outs at the neckline, including one lined with lace that runs down the center of her chest to the the skirt, that are to die for) and completely steals the picture. I would also like to mention here my "Lilith (from Cheers) Complex". Oftentimes, I prefer actresses with their hair up or pulled back in elaborate or severe sets, than their hair down or loose. Which goes against the whole pulp/noir ethos. Marlowe/Spade/Nick Charles will not even notice a woman unless her hair is down.
The story is your typical noir detective thing-y. It is based on a Raymond Chandler book, a Philip Marlowe tale from Southern California. And, it is not the reason to see the film.
Go see Totter -- fantastic name! -- do her thing. It is a Camp Treat! Delicious.
P.S. Facade gang, when is The Party coming out?