The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (2)
| Fresh (2)
| Rotten (0)
Vivid film noir, with good storytelling and suspense.
Directed in a grand expressionist style by Michael Curtiz.
Claude Rains is suave and sinister in this film noir drama from 1947, which is worth watching, but guard your expectations. Rains plays the mellifluous announcer of a murder mystery radio show, and his performance is one of the high points of the movie. The others are in the great shots that Director Michael Curtiz creates with shadows and reflections. In one fantastic scene early on, the camera takes us through the streets to a flashing neon sign for the "Hotel Peekskill", and while we hear Rains narrating his show, we see his hired heavy (Jack Lambert) lying in bed smoking. The last four letters are not really the ones showing through the window, but the psychological effect is such that that's what viewers 'see' and remember. In some other great moments, Rains's shadow stretches abnormally long across the floor as he walks away, and his reflection seen in a record warps slightly while it spins. I also loved the use of the 'high tech' audio equipment in his home.
Unfortunately, the plot is second rate. There are several points that seem artificial and mostly unexplained, starting with the niece (Joan Caulfield) having apparently died and then coming back. There are also moments which don't make sense, particularly towards the end, but I won't spoil anything. The plot just seems too heavily constructed. It also suffers a bit from a lack of real suspense, though when Rains has Caulfield help him with a recording, we get an eerie feeling as to his intentions. As for the rest of the cast, Audrey Totter delivers some spice as his other niece and Constance Bennett some acerbic lines as his producer, but overall, it's pretty average. Entertaining, with its dramatic music and noir feel, but imperfect.
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