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Author Topic: Street Of Chance (1942)  (Read 1290 times)
cigar joe
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« on: March 31, 2012, 06:53:57 AM »



Director: Jack Hively screenplay by Garrett Fort based on a Cornell Woolrich novel "The Black Curtain", the first Woolrich work to make it to the screen. It stars: Burgess Meredith, Claire Trevor, Sheldon Leonard, and Louise Platt. Could very well be the last proto Noir or the first Noir, also the first film in Production immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

It stars Burgess Meredith as Frank Thompson aka Dan Nearing who while walking along Tillary Street is hit by debris toppling from a house undergoing demolition.



When he regains consciousness he finds a cigarette case and the inside of his hat band marked with  the initials D.N. and heads to his brownstone apartment house to find a vacancy sign in his window, confronting the landlady she tells him that his wife moved out a year ago.  So begins the first Noir amnesia story and we follow Meredith as he tries to put the recent past events back together.

Pratt



With his wife's address given to him by the landlady Frank reunites with his wife (Pratt), and she deduces that he must have gotten amnesia and takes him back in. On his way back to his old job as Frank Thompson he sees a stranger (Sheldon Leonard) glaring at him in a threatening way. He darts into an elevator and escapes Leonard. After work as Frank leaves his office Leonard begins to chase him. Frank hails a taxi and escapes but Leonard is able to catch up with the cab when it stops for traffic and finding the door locked he beings to break the glass window with his revolver until the cab speeds away.

Leonard



Leonard & Meredith taxi cab confrontation





That evening Leonard and a couple of men arrive at Frank's wife's apartment house and begin to break down the door. Frank & Pratt escape up the fire escape and across the roof tops to an unlocked access door. Frank sends Pratt to her mother's while he decides to find out what is going on and Frank figures out the the answer must be back on Tillary Street. He heads back to Tillary and begins to try and discover what he's been doing the past year there he finally meets his girlfriend Ruth (Trevor).

Noir Cinematography stylistic camera angles





Our first view of Trevor as she sticks her head out of her apartment window



Trevor



Trevor & Meredith



From what I've read Street of Chance and Moontide are much darker visually and more completely rendered in shadow than earlier films, and Street of Chance has a femme fatale. Moontide's filming straddled the events of Pearl Harbor but Street of Chance was filmed amid the frenzy, chaos, and constraints of wartime LA.

Interesting film, Meridith is great, Leonard obsessed, Platt and Trevor are good, the DVDR copy I watched is BAD who knows how many generations removed from the source so its very washed out looking I upped the contrast a bit on the screen caps 6-7/10.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 01:52:17 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 12:21:28 PM »

Thanks, Joe, interesting. It's nice to know where the first amnesia noir story comes from.

I wouldn't get too excited trying to pinpoint the first "noir" or "proto-noir" or what have you, but if there is such a thing, this ain't it. I Wake Up Screaming (1941) antedates this, as does Stanger On The Third Floor (1940). Both use Expressionist lighting. These techniques were not discovered because of war rationing and restrictions--they had been practiced in Europe for years--but they may have gained popularity amongst filmmakers as rationing and restrictions came in. But one should also not discount the influence of Citizen Kane on filmmakers either; Welles's film did a great job promoting the aesthetic appeal of Expressionist techniques to industry professionals.

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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2014, 09:07:20 PM »

The print we saw at the Film Forum was much better.

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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2014, 12:45:58 AM »

I thought this movie was shit.

Btw, Claire Trevor and Louise Platt - reunion of the gals from STAGECOACH Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 01:45:32 PM »

I thought this movie was shit.
Yeah, pretty bad.

FWIW I just found out it was remade in 1962 for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour as "The Black Curtain."

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