Gilda 1946 Directed by Charles Vidor. Post WWII Buenos Aires, Argentina. Small time gambler Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) cheats at a posh casino owned by Ballin Mundson (George Macready) who takes a liking to him. In a short time, Farrell becomes manager. His boss goes away and returns with new wife, Gilda (Rita Hayworth). It’s clear to us that Johnny and Gilda have a clandestine past. Mundson assigns Farrell to watch over her which necessitates observing Gilda overtly flirt with others. Johnny boils.
German mobsters want to take over the casino. Mundson is murdered. Gilda inherits. She and Johnny seem to have reconciled, but with so much deception in play…“Gilda was a cross between a hardcore noir adventure of the 1940s and the cycle of women’s pictures. Imbued with a modern perspective, the film is quite remarkable in the way it deals with sexual issues.” (Emanuel Levy) Anita Ellis dubbed the actress’s singing voice in all songs except the acoustic guitar version of “Put the Blame on Mame.” Ford is sincere and genre credible. Rent on Amazon Prime.
The Big Heat 1953 Film noir adapted from William P. McGivern’s series in The Saturday Evening Post, then turned into a novel. Directed by Fritz Lang. Homicide detective Sergeant Dave Bannion of the Kenport Police Department (Glenn Ford) takes on the crime syndicate that controls his city. Murders occur like falling dominos from the minute Bannion refuses to accept a cop’s death is suicide. First that officer’s wife, then the sergeant’s are murdered. He quits the force.
A stand-up guy, Bannion then defends a gangster’s (Lee Marvin) girlfriend (Gloria Grahame) at a club. Though she later suffers consequences, grateful to the ex-cop, she tells him who planted the bomb that killed his wife. Not being on the force doesn’t stop him from pursuing justice. By the time the film is over, four women (and miscellaneous men) have fallen. Don’t watch if violence is difficult for you. It’s not graphic, but it’s constant. Bosley Crowther of the Times described Glenn Ford “as its taut, relentless star.” Rent on Amazon Prime.
The Gazebo 1959 Based on the play by Alex Coppel. Directed by George Marshall. When she was 18 years old, nude photos were taken of now Broadway star Nell Nash (Debbie Reynolds). Her husband Elliot (Glenn Ford) is secretly being blackmailed to keep them private. He decides the only way out is murder, shoots the blackmailer, and hides the body in a concrete foundation being poured for the antique gazebo the couple is installing in the yard. It’s paramount that he keep the contractor (John McGiver) from suspicion.
Elliot learns the real blackmailer is dead in a hotel room and wonders who he killed. It turns out there were several in the gang. Two others come in pursuit of money and disinter the body which is still in the house when the police show up. A comic subplot involves Alfred Hitchcock inadvertently assisting Elliott in a murder plan via telephone, while checking on a script Nash is writing for him. The play’s author Alec Coppel had written such a script for Hitchcock’s film Vertigo. Rent on Amazon Prime.
Pocket Full of Miracles 1961 based on the screenplay of the 1933 film Lady for a Day which was adapted from the 1929 Damon Runyon short story “Madame La Gimp.” Directed by Frank Capra. Every day for luck, superstitious gangster Dave the Dude (Glenn Ford) buys an apple from street peddler Apple Annie (Bette Davis). It turns out Annie, calling herself Mrs. E. Worthington Manville, has been lavishly raising her daughter Louise (Ann-Margaret) in Europe. A doorman friend sees to it that letters are mailed from a ritzy hotel.
When Annie hears that Louise is bringing her wealthy fiancé Carlos and his father, Count Alfonso Romero, to meet her socialite mother, she panics, but with a push from Dave’s girlfriend, Queenie Martin (Hope Lange), and a great deal of help, the day is gloriously saved.
Peter Falk has a terrific turn as Joy Boy. With Thomas Mitchell, Edward Everett Horton, Mickey Shaughnessy. Bette Davis accepted the role of Apple Annie after Shirley Booth, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn and Jean Arthur turned it down. An old fashioned, sentimental romantic comedy. Runyon makes it fun. Free with Amazon Prime.
Dear Heart 1964 Directed by Delbert Mann. A lovely film about two lonely, middle-aged people who encounter one another at a New York hotel. Small town Postmistress General Evie Jackson (Geraldine Page) has had flings with married conventioneers, but no long term relationships back home. Conscious of appearances, she sends herself a welcome telegram.
Former womanizing traveling salesman Harry Mork (Glenn Ford) just accepted a new job in Manhattan. He’ll send for Pennsylvania-based fiancé Phyllis (Angela Lansbury) after finding an apartment. Harry is surprised to find Phyllis’ 18 year-old son, a boy she spoke of as 10, and the boy’s girlfriend in his hotel room.
Evie and Harry meet when forced (by manners) to share a table at a crowded restaurant. She’s overly friendly, he has his eyes on the buxom hotel gift shop clerk. He runs into her again, makes and doesn’t show up for several dates. When, perhaps out of guilt, he asks her to dinner and to see his new apartment, she jumps at it, thinking the apartment is for them. Disabused of that, melancholy returns. Phyllis shows up revealing her hopes for the future to be unlike those of Harry…Rent on Amazon Prime.
The Green Glove 2011 A French/American production directed by Rudolph Mate. Paratrooper Mike Blake (Glenn Ford) lands in WWII France and, in bombed out ruins, comes across a man he thinks is a German spy. The stranger is carrying journalistic sketches of the war and a gauntlet (a religious relic) he says is priceless. When an explosion occurs, the man flees dropping his briefcase.
Mike is buried in rubble. He’s rescued by the French Resistance and taken to a local castle by its resident countess. Healed and ready to be escorted out, the soldier leaves the case, ostensibly to be picked up after the war. Down on his luck and curious, he returns to France several years later and finds himself aggressively followed. The unknown man is then found dead in Mike’s hotel room.
The rest of the film involves his attempt to retrieve the gauntlet from the countess while chased both by art thieves led by a Nazi collaborator and French police. He’s aided and abetted by Christine (Geraldine Brooks), an American guide he first meets on The Eiffel Tower. Taut in an old fashioned way. Right minded ending. Free with Amazon Prime.
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