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: Somewhere In The Night (1946) Amnesiac Noir  ( 3281 )
cigar joe
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« : January 11, 2016, 04:08:38 AM »


In our POV we see a light, at first it's unfocused we hear the voice of John Hodiak wakening in a military field hospital. We find out in side conversations that he caught a grenade in the jaw, it's wired shut, he can't talk. In Hodiak's voice over narration we learn that he doesn't know who he is, but everyone keeps calling him Taylor, who is Taylor? An orderly comes by and gives him a shot of morphine, he goes under again the light goes out. He awakens in a military hospital he searches the draw by his bed and finds a wallet. It's George Taylor's wallet and in it is a hate letter from a woman who concludes with the line that she hopes he dies. We cut to s scene where Taylor is discharged and during his last interview he's asked if he wants his belongings shipped to his home town Los Angeles. Taylor hesitates since he doesn't know who he is or where he lives. The orderly conveniently reads off the name of the hotel he gave as his last LA address.
In this, of one the first of the amnesiac trope based noirs, George Taylor becomes an amateur detective on a trail to find himself. Now some may argue that 1942's Street of Chance was the first but in that film Burgess Meredith's hit on the head returns his memory, it's kind of in reverse.

A Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation release Somewhere in The Night was directed and co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and based on Marvin Borowsky's original, unpublished story "The Lonely Journey" and his accompanying screenplay. Cinematography was by Norbert Brodine. The film stars John Hodiak (Desert Fury,  The Bribe)as George W. Taylor, Nancy Guild (The Brasher Doubloon ) as night club singer Christy Smith, Lloyd Nolan (Lady in the Lake ) as Police Lt. Donald Kendall, Richard Conte (12 Film Noir)  as nightclub owner Mel Phillips, Fritz Kortner (The Brasher Doubloon , Berlin Express ) as Anzelmo aka Dr. Oracle a con man spiritualist, Sheldon Leonard (Decoy,  The Gangster, ) as Sam, Margo Woode as hooker con woman Phyllis. The film also has cameos by Whit Bissell (Brute Force, Raw Deal, He Walked by Night, Side Street) as John the Bartender and Harry Morgan (The Gangster, Red Light, Appointment with Danger ) as the Public Bath attendant.
When George gets to LA he checks the hotel he gave as his address, they don't have a record of him. From the baggage he checked before entering the service he finds an automatic pistol and a letter of introduction to himself to a bank with $5000 in an account under his name that signed by a Larry Cravat. As he sleuths his way about LA's seedy side, a public bath, a skid row mission, a cellar nightclub, a phony fortune teller, a looney bin, and a come on from an overtly friendly hooker. He discovers that some people don't like him asking about Cravat and that others are looking for Cravat also.

Hodiack (Taylor) and Guild  (Christy)
Taylor befriends a chanteuse Nancy Guild after he breaks into her dressing room while on the run
from thugs. She introduces him to her nightclub owner/boss Richard Conte, and also to a friendly police detective Lloyd Nolan.

Woode as hooker Phyllis
He finally discovers that the reason for all the interest in Larry Cravat is that he dissapeared with $2-million in Nazi money.  Lots of twists and turns in this entertaining film, some great lines also:
Phyllis: "Who is the character with the hair" (to Christy) "that is why I haven't seen you around" (to Taylor)
Christy: (to Phyllis) If its around I'm sure you'll get it".
A Great Noir, stylistic, some location shots of what looks like The Sunshine Apartments on Bunker Hill, across from Angels Flight which does not make an appearance, most of the rest looks like backlot sets 8/10

original post here:

« : May 02, 2023, 01:41:05 PM cigar joe »

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dave jenkins
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« #1 : January 11, 2016, 07:50:39 AM »

Czar Eddie says it's okay to make fun of Hodiak's mustache.

"McFilms are commodities and, as such, must be QA'd according to industry standards."
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« #2 : November 21, 2023, 11:04:47 AM »

It was almost a classic until the final 20', with all explanations, re-explanations, turn-arounds and what else: I just stopped following the dialogues. That makes it a 7/10.

As Francis Nevins jr does explain, the first amnesiac literary noir was Woolrich's Murder on My Mind, published in August 1936 (I've just read it as Morning After Murder). And in the same year as this movie another amnesiac noir was released: So Dark the Night.

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