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: The Flame (1947)  ( 1294 )
cigar joe
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« : January 14, 2021, 05:57:38 PM »

A Christmas - New Year Noir Meller.



Directed by John H. Auer written by Lawrence Kimblefro a story by Robert T. Shannon.

Here's a "C" Noir from Republic Pictures that's just a bit of a ratchet up from every Hugo Hass "prodution" I've seen. But what Hugo always got right is the inclusion of a sleazy blonde bombshell in every one of his Noirs. A blonde who knew the sore and could always make a living on her back in a pinch

Auger includes a foreign born blonde but instead of sexy she comes off demure and mousy. Vera Ralston, a born in Czechoslovakia ice skater, is playing an ex French Nurse, she must be Republic's answer to Belita, another foreign blonde who failed to ignite in America.

Auer went to to make two other excellent noir The City That Never Sleeps and a favorite of mine Hell's Half Acre.

What The Flame has going for it is a great opening Noir eight minutes that has a jazzy almost rockabilly soundtrack, and then periodic appearances from Broderick Crawford and Constance Dowling which tend to make up for the draggy soap opera sequences.

The opening eight
https://www.facebook.com/isidore.ducasse.35912/videos/103344365074080/

After those first eight minutes the flame out begins when we get to the flashback. Much like The Set Up,( thought it's actual runtime is 1:37 minutes)  The Flame in real time takes place in the hour before 12 on New Years Eve.

« : January 14, 2021, 06:02:14 PM cigar joe »

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« #1 : October 26, 2023, 05:42:24 AM »

The Flame (1947) - 7/10. Perhaps the best of the grifter-who-marries-the-ailing-millionaire-hoping-for-the-inheritance-say-how-much-longer-before-this-sucker-kicks-off? formula. Plot complications arrive in the form of new characters--we're thirty minutes in before Broderick Crawford shows up to pull the grift within the grift. Some of the dialog isn't bad: "Confucius said that?" "Confucious or Walter Winchell. I know I read it somewhere." The acting is better than it needs to be, too. And even though most of the action takes place in flashback, when we return to the present at the end we still get a short bonus flashback and then a solid DOA finish. At times this seems like a clutch-the-handbag-tighter-dear woman's picture, but Selby called it right: it's noir. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-89gDgAed7k



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« #2 : October 26, 2023, 06:32:32 AM »

The Flame (1947) - 7/10. Perhaps the best of the grifter-who-marries-the-ailing-millionaire-hoping-for-the-inheritance-say-how-much-longer-before-this-sucker-kicks-off? formula. Plot complications arrive in the form of new characters--we're thirty minutes in before Broderick Crawford shows up to pull the grift within the grift. Some of the dialog isn't bad: "Confucius said that?" "Confucious or Walter Winchell. I know I read it somewhere." The acting is better than it needs to be, too. And even though most of the action takes place in flashback, when we return to the present at the end we still get a short bonus flashback and then a solid DOA finish. At times this seems like a clutch-the-handbag-tighter-dear woman's picture, but Selby called it right: it's noir. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-89gDgAed7k

The eight minute or so opening sequence is great. Then it goes meller-ish until Broderick Crawford shows up John Carrol the perennial sleazy, pencil thin mustache wearing, second banana supporting actor plays George. He is very convincing. Broderick Crawford's character is sort of a smarter version of the small time crook he played in A Night Before Christmas (1942) and a softer version of the hood he plays in Born Yesterday (1950). Constance Dowling is also very effective as Helene.

Vera Ralston as Carlotta Duval is very forgettable as is Robert Paige playing Barry. Henry Travers (who everybody will recognize as Clarence the angel from Its A Wonderful Life) plays Dr. Mitchell, Blanche Yurka is the sour dowager Aunt Margaret who was in charge of the MacAllister estate until the brothers came of age (their parents both died in a tragic accident), Hattie McDaniel plays the MacAllister maid Celia.

The first eight minutes like I mentioned earlier is great. Another highlight for me is the mid century modern style of chair that George sits in in his apartment is exactly like one I owned in Montana. Sreencaps are from an online streamer. Watchable. 6.5-7/10


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« #3 : October 26, 2023, 08:02:52 PM »

There are a number of great touches throughout. One great gag is during the Christmas party. Barry is playing the organ, then turns the duty over to Reverend Somebody. Barry says he is certain the clergyman knows something suitable to play, and the guy says, Yeah, I sure do. He starts playing a waltz, but gives the organ the kind of sound usually associated with ice skating rink music. I took that to be a clever nod toward Ms. Ralston's previous career.

You are right that the film mixes noir with standard women's melodrama, but it does it very well. Appropriately, there are two endings: the DOA ending for George (three years before DOA) and the final clinch between Barry and Carlotta (with the telegram gag) to conclude the love story.

The way servants are used signals the shifts in genres: Hattie McDaniel is on board for the meller material; Victor Sen Yung operates as George's Chinese houseboy in the noir sections.

The only thing that annoys me about the film is the way George can't help but act stupidly. Twice he gets caught displaying Carlotta's picture, and both times the persons seeing it are given ammunition with which to blast him. Why couldn't he keep the photo out of sight?

Also, I think there is a flaw in the continuity. It's in the letter from Carlotta that George learns that she and Barry are leaving on the ship. George only gets the letter after he returns from killing Broderick Crawford. But in the final flashback, where we see him shooting the blackmailer, George tells Crawford about the voyage. Crawford makes like he will go down to the dock and ruin the couple's happiness with a final send-off, and that moment is the occasion for the shooting to start (a triggering moment, heh, heh, see what I did there?)

I love the bit at the start where George, thinking he's finished Crawford off, steps outside for a smoke; he strikes the match, but before he can touch it to the tobacco, Crawford gives him one in the back. George nonchalantly continues the match on course and lights up. Hey, he's just received a fatal shot, but there's no reason to waste the light, right?

I like this film a lot.



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« #4 : October 27, 2023, 04:57:35 AM »

There are a number of great touches throughout. One great gag is during the Christmas party. Barry is playing the organ, then turns the duty over to Reverend Somebody. Barry says he is certain the clergyman knows something suitable to play, and the guy says, Yeah, I sure do. He starts playing a waltz, but gives the organ the kind of sound usually associated with ice skating rink music. I took that to be a clever nod toward Ms. Ralston's previous career.

You are right that the film mixes noir with standard women's melodrama, but it does it very well. Appropriately, there are two endings: the DOA ending for George (three years before DOA) and the final clinch between Barry and Carlotta (with the telegram gag) to conclude the love story.

The way servants are used signals the shifts in genres: Hattie McDaniel is on board for the meller material; Victor Sen Yung operates as George's Chinese houseboy in the noir sections.

The only thing that annoys me about the film is the way George can't help but act stupidly. Twice he gets caught displaying Carlotta's picture, and both times the persons seeing it are given ammunition with which to blast him. Why couldn't he keep the photo out of sight?

Also, I think there is a flaw in the continuity. It's in the letter from Carlotta that George learns that she and Barry are leaving on the ship. George only gets the letter after he returns from killing Broderick Crawford. But in the final flashback, where we see him shooting the blackmailer, George tells Crawford about the voyage. Crawford makes like he will go down to the dock and ruin the couple's happiness with a final send-off, and that moment is the occasion for the shooting to start (a triggering moment, heh, heh, see what I did there?)

I love the bit at the start where George, thinking he's finished Crawford off, steps outside for a smoke; he strikes the match, but before he can touch it to the tobacco, Crawford gives him one in the back. George nonchalantly continues the match on course and lights up. Hey, he's just received a fatal shot, but there's no reason to waste the light, right?

I like this film a lot.

I don't remember if mentioned that opening sequence ends with a jazzy almost rockabilly soundtrack.  It's a hoot.


"When you feel that rope tighten on your neck you can feel the devil bite your ass"!
dave jenkins
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« #5 : October 30, 2023, 06:56:20 AM »

Broderick Crawford's character is sort of a smarter version of the small time crook he played in A Night Before Christmas (1942) and a softer version of the hood he plays in Born Yesterday (1950).
Where on your spectrum would you place his con-man performance in Fellini's Il Bidone?



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cigar joe
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« #6 : October 30, 2023, 05:03:37 PM »

Where on your spectrum would you place his con-man performance in Fellini's Il Bidone?

I've only seen it in Italian so I would not be able to tell you.


"When you feel that rope tighten on your neck you can feel the devil bite your ass"!
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