Saturday, December 03, 2005

Noir Saturday Morning

This morning I watched "He Ran All The Way" on TCM. A wonderfully gritty tale about a low-life hustler (John Garfield) who befriends a plain but sweet girl (Shelly Winters) at a public swimming pool and then sweet talks his way into her heart as well as her family's tenement apartment where he holds them all hostage.

Garfield was all sizzling sex-on-a-stick in the is 1951 noir gem with his oily good looks and snake-like charm, while Winters was almost child-like in her devotion to her put-upon family while dealing with her first stirrings of animal lust for the rotten guy she has become involved with.

As the film progresses it becomes clear just how conflicted Winter's character is when she agrees to purchase a get-away car for the bad guy, in the hopes that he will take her away from her dreary life in the walk up flat she shares with her parents and little brother. Even when Garfield's character holds a gun to her her and chases her down the apartment steps, Winters shakes with emotion that is borne of lust as much as it is fear.

I've never seen "He Ran All The Way" before, but now I have another new/old fave.

How could film makers convey so much with so little back then? No car crashes, no CGI, no obnoxious top 40 sound track hits padding the film; just a good tight story, great acting and more sensuality conveyed in the eye's of the leads than in a million nude bed romp scenes in today's box office crap.

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