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Author Topic: Deadline At Dawn (1946)  (Read 992 times)
cigar joe
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« on: January 19, 2012, 04:41:11 AM »

Director: Harold Clurman screenplay based on Cornell Woolrich (writting as William Irish) story. With Stars: Susan Hayward, Bill Williams, Joseph Calleia, Osa Massen, Lola Lane and Paul Lukas. Another ensemble cast Noir, a bit dopey but with some nice twists.



Bill Williams a sailor on leave who wakes up in a strange apartment, he leaves the woman he finds there and stumbles out to the street where he finds refuge at a news vendors stand. When he pulls a handkerchief from his pocket a wad of money falls out to the street. He doesn't know how it got there. With his newly found riches he heads to a Ballroom Dance Hall where he meets taxi dancer Hayward. She feels sorry for him because her brother is a belly gunner in the service. They hit it off and he tells her of the money wad and they decide to take it back to the apartment he woke up in.

Hayward as taxi dancer fending off an admirer



Susan Hayward, Joseph Calleila, and Paul Lukas



Upon reaching the apartment they discover the woman murdered. While there (here is the dopey part) they leave fingerprints all over everything while deciding to try and find the killer before Williams is accused of the crime. The deadline referred to in the title is the time his bus leaves for Norfolk

If you don't analyze their decisions or the premise too much you will possibly find it entertaining, screwball noir 7/10  

Alternate Discussion from Film Noir & DVD discussion thread continues hear http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg140755#msg140755

dave jenkins on: July 22, 2010

Deadline at Dawn (1946) - 8/10. A sailor (Bill Williams) on liberty in NYC must prove his innocence once his "escort" from earlier in the evening is found dead, and he must do it in time to catch a 6 a.m. bus back to his ship (the deadline of the title). Helping him is a cynical taxi dancer (a young and scrumptious looking Susan Hayward) and eventually a cabbie with a weird accent (Paul Lukas). The cast of suspects include (shock!) Joseph Calleia as a gangster (never better). The improbabilities keep piling on (the body of the murdered woman has countless visitors but remains undetected by the police until almost the end of the picture--although a police station is right across the street!). At several points I wanted to throw up my hands, but I kept watching because of the script's endless string of inventive quips (IMDb has some of them here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038458/quotes). One exchange absolutely floored me. In a reflective moment alone with Lukas Susan Hayward speaks wistfully:

Quote
Hayward: How can you love a boy you've just met?

Lukas: How can a casual passing stranger change your entire life? You'd be amazed. My wife I met and loved in a minute. In a dentist's office. With all the vitamins, too. I love her to this day . . . although it's 16 years since she's been gone.

Hayward: No children?

Lukas: A girl. She's married now. Last year I put her husband in a dry-cleaning establishment. I had some savings. I'd die for that girl.

Hayward: Does she remember her mother?

Lukas: My daughter? Oh, very well. She even remembers the man.

Hayward: What man?

Lukas: The man my wife ran off with. You won't believe it, the first six years, I shaved every night before I went to bed. I thought she might come back.

The plot is absurd, but for dialog like this (which actually contains clues to the solution of the crime) the film is worth watching and re-watching.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 02:11:29 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 01:39:18 PM »

Did a rewatch, caught a Joseph Calleila line that had me chuckling, he plays Val brother of Edna Bartelli (Lola Lane), he is at Lester's looking at Constance Worth, Lester's squeeze, with a shit eating grin, he turns to Lester and remarks, "If she'd cut off her head she'd be pretty."

Sort of a screwball noir,  Wink 7/10

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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2017, 01:26:08 AM »

This played TCM Noir Alley yesterday. Ridiculous movie 5.5/10

Eddie Muller's intro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JRnZFPycKQ&feature=youtu.be

Eddie Muller's afterword https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj2-iuJ4KI8&feature=youtu.be

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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 09:37:49 AM »

Thanks D & D, as always appreciated.

I wouldn't call it Screwball Noir, it's simply too sad for this in the end.

I agree with Dave, the plot is absurd and highly improbable but who cares? Good performances and the dialogue make up for it. I really like this movie.

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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 09:48:55 AM »

Dumb plot doesn't have to equal a bad movie. But I don't find anything redeeming about this movie. I find the lines stupid, no great performances, the whole thing is shot on 20th Century Fox's backlot. Take, e.g., Melville's TWO MEN IN MANHATTAN, somewhat similar plot, using real locations, that's a good movie.

The most entertaining thing for me about wathcing this was Eddie Muller's telling us about Cornell Woolrich banging sailors  Grin

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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 12:49:59 PM »

Quote
the whole thing is shot on 20th Century Fox's backlot.
Doesn't matter. Pickup on South Street was shot on the backlot, and so was Black Narcissus, one of the most visually stunning movies ever.

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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 05:46:14 PM »

Doesn't matter. Pickup on South Street was shot on the backlot, and so was Black Narcissus, one of the most visually stunning movies ever.

Movies can certainly be visually stunning even when shot on set. But DaD is not visually stunning (despite sharing initials with someone who is)  Wink

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