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The Dark Corner (1946)


Kid Dabb
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Everybody likes this movie. I like this movie, but I don't like Mark Stevens in this role. There were so many noir detective cliches in the first 20 minutes, I almost turned it off - it was almost corny. I had to remind myself this movie came before the cliches.

 

I did watch to the very end, which was rather abrupt. No summation and no epilogue. Just.. bang! bang! bang! bang! bang! bang! Wham! They lived happily ever after - The End.

 

Mark Stevens sounds like Alan Ladd and resembles Cornel Wilde, when his face isn't fully lit.

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Everybody likes this movie. I like this movie, but I don't like Mark Stevens in this role. There were so many noir detective cliches in the first 20 minutes, I almost turned it off - it was almost corny. I had to remind myself this movie came before the cliches.

 

I did watch to the very end, which was rather abrupt. No summation and no epilogue. Just.. bang! bang! bang! bang! bang! bang! Wham! They lived happily ever after - The End.

 

Mark Stevens sounds like Alan Ladd and resembles Cornel Wilde, when his face isn't fully lit.

 

The first time I saw this film I had mixed feelings about how Stevens played the PI,  but I have come to like it.   I think some of my initial feeling was that I was so used to noir icons like Bogart and Mitchum as detectives.    Yea, the script does utilize some PI clichés but these don't ruin the film for me. 

 

As for the ending;  when TCM showed this was the nude statues boobs blocked out?  This is what MOVIES-TV does.   I assume the original print didn't do this since it was a work of art.

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I loved this movie as a kid but a recent viewing left me a little cold.  Lucille Ball is such a good actress but the characters insistence on a ring and a wedding got a little tiresome.  I guess I should not judge 1946 standards by ours.  However she is great and William Bendix is fab.  He could play  both endearing slobs and menacing villains: a testament to his skill as an actor.  And as always Clifton Webb is the last word in effete snobbishness.  He must have wandered off the set of "Laura" heaved a deep smoke filled breath and drolly carried on.  Bravo to Ball, Bendix and Webb!  They are worthy of our praise.  As for Mark Stevens, eh?  A nice mensch (but not much of a screen presence).

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As for Mark Stevens, eh?  A nice mensch (but not much of a screen presence).

 

Somehow Stevens managed to have a lengthy screen career. Not long ago I watched him a mid-70s episode of Kojak as a bad guy. He's kind of smooth, not in a scene-stealing sort of way, and that makes his performances work (and was probably why casting directors kept calling him).

 

In my opinion, he's at his best in GUNSIGHT RIDGE, where he plays a morally ambiguous killer that you can't help but like. That's kind of remarkable given the way westerns used to be made, and with the restraints of the production code-- where you're not supposed to like the villain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As for the ending;  when TCM showed this was the nude statues boobs blocked out?  This is what MOVIES-TV does.   I assume the original print didn't do this since it was a work of art.

 

I recorded this on TCM & don't recall anything was fuzzed or blocked out.

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As for the ending;  when TCM showed this was the nude statues boobs blocked out?  This is what MOVIES-TV does.   I assume the original print didn't do this since it was a work of art.

 

I recorded this on TCM & don't recall anything was fuzzed or blocked out.

 

Thanks for the info;   Yea,  I assumed TCM would lease a version that didn't have boobs on Italian artwork blocked out,  but MOVIES-TV did.     This really surprised me (and I have seen this film on MOVIES about 5 times in the last year).   

 

If that art was A-OK back in 1946 I don't understand why in the 21st century it would now be viewed as offensive.

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If that art was A-OK back in 1946 I don't understand why in the 21st century it would now be viewed as offensive.

 

Uh, there's a LOT of things that were OK in '46 that we find offensive today....like racism, sexism. etc. We are a politically correct society.

But the human body as offensive is just crazy. We ALL have one.

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I assumed TCM would lease a version that didn't have boobs on Italian artwork blocked out,  but MOVIES-TV did.     This really surprised me (and I have seen this film on MOVIES about 5 times in the last year).   

 

When it aired on MOVIES-TV before, did they show an edited version? Or has it always been unedited?

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When it aired on MOVIES-TV before, did they show an edited version? Or has it always been unedited?

 

MOVES-TV shows a censored version,  not an edited one;  in the final scene at the art gallery,  the detective is looking at an Italian statute of a nude women;  the boobs are burred out (fussy).   I didn't see the film when TCM showed it ,  but it appears that when TCM showed the film, this did NOT occur.     In addition I assume that when the film was released in 1946 this 'fussy' effect was NOT there.

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MOVES-TV shows a censored version,  not an edited one;  in the final scene at the art gallery,  the detective is looking at an Italian statute of a nude women;  the boobs are burred out (fussy).   I didn't see the film when TCM showed it ,  but it appears that when TCM showed the film, this did NOT occur.     In addition I assume that when the film was released in 1946 this 'fussy' effect was NOT there.

 

Yes, I would expect TCM not to blur out any part of the statue. Though TCM has been known to air things that have been covered/blurred out.

 

Recently I was looking at a disc of films I recorded off TCM in 2014, and one of the titles was THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S. As the opening credits play, something is covered on the bottom of the screen. I am assuming it has to do with the previous copyright holder's name. While it was distributed through RKO, it was owned by Leo McCarey's production company but the film has been sold since then.

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I didn't mind the guy playing the PI much. My only issue was , while I am a big Lucy fan, those lines they gave her with the baseball analogies really didn't roll off of her tongue. Its sounds very forced and contrived. Like so many other times when they try to give sports lines to someone who doesn't know the sport. I'd rather they just stick to the plot. 

 

I found it very "run of the mill". If I am surfing and find it on, I'll watch it till the end. It is dark and there is action. It is entertaining. You just get the feeling in hindsight that they could have  could have used Lucy to greater effect. But, that's true with most movies she's was in.

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I didn't mind the guy playing the PI much. My only issue was , while I am a big Lucy fan, those lines they gave her with the baseball analogies really didn't roll off of her tongue. Its sounds very forced and contrived. Like so many other times when they try to give sports lines to someone who doesn't know the sport. I'd rather they just stick to the plot. 

 

I found it very "run of the mill". If I am surfing and find it on, I'll watch it till the end. It is dark and there is action. It is entertaining. You just get the feeling in hindsight that they could have  could have used Lucy to greater effect. But, that's true with most movies she's was in.

 

She claimed in her taped discussions with a therapist (which were transcribed and used as chapters in her "autobiography" Love Lucy) that she had a nervous breakdown while making THE DARK CORNER. I think she had just been dropped by MGM and her marriage with Desi was in trouble again, so probably she wasn't concentrating on her acting if she had all that other turmoil going on. 

 

She might have been over exaggerating about the breakdown, but it's probably true that her heart was not exactly in doing the movie. I also think it's interesting that most of her costars from her movies wound up doing guest roles on her sitcoms, but she never worked with Mark Stevens again and he had a long career in movies and TV.

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  • 6 months later...

I must have seen DARK CORNER, like, 25 times so far.

It is just about perfect.

So strange that Lucille Ball couldn't stand her work in it (Ingrid Bergman was the same way about CASABLANCA)

I really think it's a showcase for her---fashion, looks, legs, and her STRONG personality.

 

CLASSIC film noir photography in the most classic way--great commentary track on the dvd, as well.

 

Best thing Clifton Webb ever did.

Ditto: William Bendix.

Even the sets are a delight.

 

It would be interesting to compare this to LAURA--none of the characters in LAURA seem very real.

ALL of the ones in DARK CORNER do.

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