Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Steve Cochran and Ida Lupino have plans
PRIVATE HELL 36 (1954), Director: Don Siegel.

Detectives Cal Bruner (Steve Cochran) and Jack Farnham (Howard Duff) are trying to find some stolen loot and the guys who snatched it. When a marked $50 bill is given to chanteuse Lilli Marlowe (Ida Lupino) as a tip, they interview her to find out what she remembers about the generous club patron; Cal and Lilli are drawn to one another. Things take a dark turn when one of the two cops decides to pocket some of the aforementioned stolen loot ... Private Hell 36 is a minor crime drama with some good acting from all of the principals; Lupino is especially appealing as the slightly hard-bitten but likable saloon singer. Dean Jagger scores as the wise older boss of the two detectives, and Dorothy Malone is fine in the brief, thankless role of Farnham's wife [although Lupino and Duff were married at the time they are not paired with each other]. The script is credited to Lupino and her ex-husband, Collier Young. Borderline film noir. Director Siegel's best-known film is arguably Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Verdict: Interesting idea that's not developed all that well. **.

No comments: