Thursday, April 25, 2013
Sutton Place heiress Alison Courtland (Claudette Colbert) wakes up on a train to Boston with no idea how she got there. Turns out this is not the first time that this has happened. She also has weird nightmares and swears she keeps seeing a strange man in horn-rimmed glasses who claims to be a Dr. Rhinehart (Ralph Morgan) but looks nothing like the real one. We can also see this man, whose name is Charles (George Coulouris) and are let in early on that he's involved in some scheme with Alison's faithless husband Richard (Don Ameche), who has fallen for the slinky Daphne (Hazel Brooks) and has unpleasant plans for Alison. Bruce Elcott (Bob Cummings) is a man Alison met on the train and has become friends with; he's the only one who really believes she keeps seeing creepy Charles. The Gaslight -like plot of Sleep, My Love may not hold a lot of surprises, but the film is very entertaining in spite of it, thanks to Sirk's smooth direction and fine performances from the entire cast who make the most of the material. Raymond Burr appears briefly as a cop; Rita Johnson is Alison's muddle-headed friend Barby; and Keye Luke is Bruce's honorary brother, whose honeymoon is interrupted by sinister events. Hazel Brooks is as sexy and compelling in this as she was in Body and Soul with Garfield.
Verdict: Fun if minor suspense item with a creditable cast. ***.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Charley (John Garfield) seeks a way out of his hopeless poverty and decides to become a professional boxer. His mother (Anne Revere) is against the whole notion, and she watches helplessly as his success goes to his head. He has a very supportive girlfriend, Peg (Lilli Palmer), but dallies with the more overtly sexy gold digger, Alice (Hazel Brooks). A turning point comes when Charley has a fight with Ben Chaplin (Canada Lee), unaware that the man has a blood clot in his brain. One could argue that the film is at times simplistic and employs the usual boxer cliches, but it's so well done on every level that it scarcely seems to matter. Garfield, Palmer, and Anne Revere [one of her best roles] are simply excellent, and there is also some fine work from Canada Lee, Joseph Pevney (as Charley's friend and manager), James Burke as Ben's manager, William Conrad as fight promoter Quinn, and Lloyd Goff/Gough as Roberts, a much more loathsome version of Quinn. Introduced in this film after having bit parts in several movies, Hazel Brooks is quite arresting, but although she lived for many years afterward, she retired from acting in the mid-fifties after having only a very few credits. James Wong Howe is cinematographer and Hugo Friedhofer provides a very interesting score.
Verdict: Forget Raging Bull -- this is the real deal. ***1/2.