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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Warners Attempts a Perfect Crime


A 1941 Tilt Toward Noir: Flight From Destiny

Better be a committed Thomas Mitchell fan to book this Flight, him being the whole show and a little of that goes far ways, even at Warner B length of 75 minutes. The story thus: TM gets prognosis negative from Doc James Stephenson and decides to commit murder in disposal of neighbor Jeffrey Lynn's no-good partner in adultery. Further recount would invoke tedium, so I'll not. To watch is to suffer minimal, for there's a good cast to augment vague wondering of how the mess will sort out. "Perfect murder" stories were told better elsewhere, but WB's point was to fill lower berths and keep check-drawing staff busy. Flight is worth the trip for early glimpse of devices that film noir would co-op and wring dry later in the 40's. The title implies a theme profound, but not to worry, there's none such here. Director Vincent Sherman wrote in his memoir Studio Affairs that Warners was happy enough with Flight From Destiny to seek "A" bookings, and indeed there were solo dates for the pic in key cities. Sherman always had knack for pulling value out of assigned work that others may ignore or overlook, Flight From Destiny a good example of lemonade he'd squeeze from otherwise discard fruit.

3 Comments:

Blogger radiotelefonia said...

I actually enjoyed this programmer, which didn't hide its status and Mona Maris as the bad woman is terrific. The version I saw in Argentina, on VHS, was a print with the opening and ending titles in Spanish; also, the film was in English, with subtitles.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

Warners' B-movies by & large leave me cold (as do Metro's). They tend to be pretty routine, lacking good stories or interesting (or at least interesting-looking) character actors as those produced by PRC or Monogram -- studios that knew how to make good B's because it's all they did.

I watched one of Metro's "Nick Carter" movies with Walter Pidgeon and the insufferable Donald Meek as comic relief (comic relief being a mainstay of the majors' B's). It was all I needed to see to skip further entries in the series.

10:39 AM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

John:

Look what I just found in Brazilian microfilms online.

http://www.cartelespeliculas.com/galeria/albums/userpics/10118/JORNAL_DO_BRASIL%2C_Quinta-Feira_5_de_fevereiro_de_1942.jpg

6:40 PM  

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