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Author Topic: Girl Of The Night (1960) New York Call Girl Noir  (Read 288 times)
cigar joe
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« on: March 17, 2017, 03:46:23 PM »



Surprisingly good Psychological Woman's Neo Noir with an Oscar worthy performance by Anne Francis. Based on the book "The Call Girl: A Social and Analytic Study" by Dr. Harold Greenwald it was a doctoral dissertation on the psychology of prostitutes. Published in 1958.

Directed by Joseph Cates (Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)), the screenplay was written by Ted Berkman (Murder on Diamond Row (1937), The Green Cockatoo (1937), Short Cut to Hell (1957)) and Raphael Blau (Edge of Fury (1958)). The films cinematography was by Joseph C. Brun (Walk East on Beacon! (1952), Edge of the City (1957), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)), and the music was by Sol Kaplan (Trapped (1949), 711 Ocean Drive (1950), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), Niagara (1953) and, The Burglar (1957)).





The film stars Anne Francis (Rogue Cop (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Forbidden Planet (1956), The Satan Bug (1965), ) as Bobbie, Lloyd Nolan (veteran of & Classic Noir) as Dr. Mitchell, Kay Medford (The Undercover Man (1949), Guilty Bystander (1950), A Face in the Crowd (1957), BUtterfield 8 (1960)) as Rowena Claiborne, John Kerr as Larry Taylor, Arthur Storch as Jason Franklin, Jr., James Broderick as Dan Bolton, and Eileen Fulton as Lisa.


Bobbie (Francis)


Bobbie and Dr. Mitchell (Nolan)


Larry (Kerr)


Rowena Claiborne (Medford)

Girl Of The Night tells the story of Robin "Bobbie" Williams (Francis) a relatively "low mileage" call girl. When we first view her she is running terrified through the streets of Manhattan. A taxi cab picks her up and the driver takes her to her address. In the same building there is the office of Dr. Mitchell, who agrees to take a look at her, even though he is a psychologist. She tells Mitchell that she is a prostitute.



Dr. Mitchell is intrigued by all this and asks Bobbie if she'll agree to regular sessions on the couch... get your minds out of the gutter. Bobbie accepts the offer and we begin to hear and see her story in both audio and visual flashbacks.







Bobbie's sugar daddy "finesse pimp" is her "boyfriend" Larry (Kerr). He was supposed to watch out for weirdo S&M johns, but instead of accompanying Bobbie to the job decided to sit in cocktail bar and chat up a potential new "stable" gal named Lisa (Fulton).




Lisa (Fulton)









Rowena Claiborne (Medford) sort of the Madam of the call girl operation schedules the various tricks. Bobbie and new turnout Lisa are sent on a "date" with two business men of of whom is the out of town client of the other. When the out of town client leans a bit too heavily on new girl Lisa, he finds out that the girls are hookers. He begins to torment Lisa.  She freaks out and accidentally backs away and over a balcony falling quite a few stories to her death.











Bobbie is stunned when Larry gets angry with her for letting Lisa screwing up "date."  He roughs her up and she decides to leave the biz. She gets a job as a file clerk and with Dr. Mitchell's help begins to lead a normal life.



The film employs numerous sessions of questions and answers with Dr.Mitchell to reveal to the audience how a broken childhood, an absentee father, and being violated on a regular basis with a delivery boy who paid her off in candy, contributed to her present situation. Through all his help Bobbie begins to understand that her attraction to Larry is motivated by disgust and hatred. By giving Larry the money she makes, she sees him as lower than herself on the human trash heap.











It's all in all a pretty interesting film with quite a bit of insight into the sex worker business. The film is exceptional when you remember it was produced when the Motion Picture Code was still enforced. Anne Francis really gives an Oscar worthy performance. Lloyd Nolan plays the analyst to perfection. John Kerr as Bobbie's manipulating, suave, alcoholic pimp is equally good he reminds me of Steve Franken who played Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. in "The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis" (1959–1963). Kay Medford deals with life's unpredictabilities by staying heavily "on the sauce", she is equally convincing as the crumbling madam coasting on the down side of life.

Dark, uncomfortable, and at times noirish you can see why Girl of the Night disappeared from the cultural consciousness in the uptight 50s early 60s it was a bit ahead of it's time, then but the same film would need to be a bit more exploitive for today's audiences. It deserves way more recognition. Screencaps are from the Warner's Archive collection. A Café au lait Noir 7-8/10.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 08:42:37 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 06:17:55 PM »

Damn, where do you find all these wonderfully tawdry movies?

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Jessica Rabbit
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 08:38:32 PM »

Damn, where do you find all these wonderfully tawdry movies?

Jess, I just figured out that the 1958/59 year for Film Noir style cut off was just arbitrary. I think what's going on is as the Motion Picture Production Code weakened and film creators were allowed more artistic freedom, those that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as Horror, Thriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, etc.), those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, etc., situations were being lumped into or classed as Exploitation (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films), the noir-ish films that dealt with everything else, except Crime, concerning the human condition were labeled Dramas and Suspense. Those that tried new techniques were labeled Experimental.

I've just been going through the lists of Black & White American Films for 1958-1967 and checking them out to see for myself, I look at the director's filmography and cinematographer's filmography.

Here is a good example that I found yesterday for you watch Night Tide (1961) It's classified on IMDb as a Horror, Thriller, but in fact it's very noirish, the story is told with a faux fantasy angle, it's cinematographer (uncredited) Floyd Crosby did Man in the Dark (1953), The Naked Street (1955), Shack Out on 101 (1955), I Mobster (1959), that last film looks like it may be another "Lost Noir" to check out it's director was Roger Corman and it stars Steve Cochran.

Night Tide is on Youtube along with Why Must I Die? watch them quick you never know how long they'll be there.  Afro

Night Tide - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTsl9FAG0_w

Why Must I Die? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Etbl8wkS9bc

« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 08:50:05 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 10:11:27 AM »

I agree the cut-off date for Noir is arbitrary. To me Noir needed the Code, and when it was finally relaxed, movies were just labeled differently as you say.

Thanks for the links, I'll check them out.

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Jessica Rabbit
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 10:28:43 AM »

I liked Girl of the Night, but thought Night Tide was even better. It's strange, moody, surreal, and definitely  brings Carnival of Souls to mind.

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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 04:57:59 PM »

I agree the cut-off date for Noir is arbitrary. To me Noir needed the Code, and when it was finally relaxed, movies were just labeled differently as you say.

Thanks for the links, I'll check them out.

Yes, Noir needed the Code, but Neo Noir didn't.

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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 09:28:52 PM »

Jess, I just figured out that the 1958/59 year for Film Noir style cut off was just arbitrary. I think what's going on is as the Motion Picture Production Code weakened and film creators were allowed more artistic freedom, those that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as Horror, Thriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, etc.), those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, etc., situations were being lumped into or classed as Exploitation (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films), the noir-ish films that dealt with everything else, except Crime, concerning the human condition were labeled Dramas and Suspense. Those that tried new techniques were labeled Experimental.

Interesting observation!

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