Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Early film noir: Street of Chance
This is a great set-up for a film noir. It was adapted from a story by one of the great writers of noir tales, Cornell Woolrich.
Woolrich (1903-1968) wrote many stories about people’s fears. His characters often dread something in their past is catching up with them, or that they have inadvertently brushed up against evil, and now it is coming for them. His stories include Phantom Lady, Deadline at Dawn, Black Angel, and “It Had To Be Murder,” the original short story that later was made as the movie “Rear Window.”
In the 1942 film, “Street of Chance,” from Woolrich’s 1941novel, The Black Curtain, the great American character actor Burgess Meredith is the man who finds he has been living two lives. His wife is played by Louise Platt, who appeared three years earlier in John Ford’s “Stagecoach.” The man’s girlfriend for the previous year, a woman he now has no memory of, is played by Claire Trevor. Trevor was also in “Stagecoach" and appeared in several noir films including “Murder, My Sweet” and “Raw Deal." The thug is played by Sheldon Leonard.
“Street of Chance” was efficiently directed by Jack Hivley, who got some good performances out of his players, but could not overcome the low-budget look of the picture.
Still, this movie is a good – if a little obvious – who-done-it, and a first rate example of noir storytelling.
A faded version of this movie is on YouTube. But since this film is hard to find, faded is better than nothing.
(For more posts on film, TV and more, check out Todd Mason’s site.)