Last Reel

I really should fill you in on the rest of the Film Noir Festival instead of blathering on about mundanities like my utility bill.

I soon learned that parking is nearly impossible in the Castro. I never had to worry about this during the halcyon days of living in the city: I either walked or took a cab. Sometimes I’d resort to public transit, but all the really important things, like the office, restaurants, gym and the lingerie store were within walking distance. And why waste valuable real estate on a parking lot? I discovered a street up the hill where there were no meters and am inordinately proud of my secret Castro parking space. I’ll tell you where it is if you come out and visit. I might even show it to you personally.

On with the show.

On Day Two, I saw Conflict (1945), which is widely regarded as the “lost” Bogart film, and is not available on DVD. Bogart and his then-wife, Mayot Methot, were known at the time of filming as “The Battling Bogarts”, and many people feel this played into his portrayal as a wife murderer with a crush on his wife’s sister. After spectacularly disposing of the troublesome spouse in question, he is haunted by her presence, smelling her perfume, glimpsing her on the street. Will his demons or Sydney Greenstreet catch up with him first?

Coincidentally, the woman Bogart couldn’t wait to get rid of is the same one Joseph Cornell was obsessed with: Rose Hobart. Cornell even took footage of one of her movies, cut everyone else out, colored it his favorite blue, and with a wild leap of imagination, called it…Rose Hobart. It is his most famous film. Like everything else, including your third birthday party and the time you stole that money from your mother’s purse, it’s on YouTube.

Also unfortunately unavailable for home viewing is Roadhouse (1948), with a sultry, sexy Ida Lupino stirring up trouble between friends Richard Widmark and Cornel Wilde at a small town roadhouse. Any movie fan knows you’d better not cross Richard Widmark, and after he loses the girl, he loses it and makes life hell for all concerned. With Celeste Holm in her always reliable gal pal role, and Ida Lupino singing torch songs in lam?. And driving Cornel Wilde wild in her tiny shorts and impromptu bathing attire. Yowza.

The final film was the bleakest, Night and the City (1950), with the most radiant star, the gorgeous Gene Tierney. Tierney plays a trusting woman in love with a scheming hustler played by our old friend Richard Widmark. Dark in every sense of the word, it ends in disaster. No happy ending here, but beautifully filmed on the mean streets of London and absorbing in its headlong rush to ruin.

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