Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Movie: Impact (1949)

Here’s a dark little gem that deserves to be better known. The premise: the bored wife of a wealthy older man (Brian Donlevy) convinces her hot-to-trot lover to kill her husband.

Seen it before, right? Not like this, because the plan goes horribly wrong at the outset. That puts the focus on Donlevy, who adopts a vagabond life while allowing his scheming missus Helen Walker to twist in the wind. The story never goes the way you’d expect, right up to the closing scene. All that plus Theremin music, Anna May Wong, and the pride of Snoqualmie Falls, Washington, Ella Raines, in a proto-Princess Leia ‘do.

The smart script was written in part by Jay Dratler. He’s an unsung talent whose credits include Laura, Call Northside 777, and another movie that should have a bigger following, the hysterical 1945 Fred Allen comedy It’s in the Bag!

TV: Roast of William Shatner

I won’t go as far as Variety’s Brian Lowry and say that this dire Comedy Central special is a sign of a crisis in stand-up. I will say that the funniest bits were clips of the guest of honor’s song stylings, and I’d already seen those.

Miscellaneous: Link

The czar of noir Eddie Muller on why Double Indemnity – on DVD today at last – is the most important film in the genre.