Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

Aargh,  lilypond, you beat me to it !  I was planning to write a little "preview" post about The Unsuspected and how good it is.  How can you go wrong with a film that's got both Claude Rains and  Audrey Totter?  It's hugely enjoyable, and although it's full of bad people with bad intentions,  it's also in a way what I regard as a "cozy" noir.  I know,  an oxymoron if ever there was one.   It must be that big old house they all hang around in. (cozy.   ? )

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I haven't seen THE UNSUSPECTED and I'm looking forward to viewing it. I like Claude Rains and Audrey Totter. I probably should stay off the site until mid-day Sunday to avoid spoilers. No offence intended. You guys and gals are great and I love getting your input after the movie. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is sort of a down home town New York Noir for me. Been all around the locations depicted  in the film, from La Guardia Airport to Peekskill up on the Hudson, The New York Central RR mainline, The Henry Hudson Bridge, The Queensborough/59th Street Bridge, the old wooden parkway street lights, the chase that defies geography, Vernon Blvd, and ending at Shore drive and 20th Ave at the demolition of the old houses to make way for Marine Terrae just North of the Hell Gate Bridge. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

This is sort of a down home town New York Noir for me. Been all around the locations depicted  in the film, from La Guardia Airport to Peekskill up on the Hudson, The New York Central RR mainline, The Henry Hudson Bridge, The Queensborough/59th Street Bridge, the old wooden parkway street lights, the chase that defies geography, Vernon Blvd, and ending at Shore drive and 20th Ave at the demolition of the old houses to make way for Marine Terrae just North of the Hell Gate Bridge. 

And which of these New York locales was the coziest?  

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, cigarjoe said:

They are all out in the open I wouldn't call them cozy especially this time of year. lol

Well hopefully you realized I was just being silly. I actually have trouble using "cozy " and "film noir" in the same sentence.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to say,  I wish I had posted this before this weekend's Noir Alley offering and Eddie's comments, because now it just looks like I'm repeating what Eddie said.   Anyway  I'd meant to post that I'd always thought Joan Fontaine would have been perfect in the role of Matilda, in fact,  I'd mistakenly thought it was  Joan Fontaine in my clearly inaccurate memory of the film.  It's such a Joan Fontaine - like part.  Now,  the other Joan,  Joan Caulfield,  is also quite good in the role,  I've no wish to diss her.  

But, maybe because Joan Fontaine is so memorable as the nameless diffident heroine of the famous movie she'd starred in 7 years before (1940), and the character of the confused young woman in The Unsuspected  bears some similarities,  I just kind of wish Miss Fontaine had played Matilda.  

...also,  both actresses are named Joan,  and they sort of look alike.

So when Eddie mentioned that Curtiz had originally sought Joan Fontaine to  play the part of Matilda,  I went,  "YES !  I'm good !" (kidding about that last bit...)

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

AUDREY TOTTER !  Omygawd,  I love this woman.   Has she ever been Star of the Month?  

Although Audrey has occasionally played sympathetic roles  ( viz,  High Wall ), I've always thought she specialized in playing wonderful b1tch characters.   Nobody can do b1tchy like Audrey Totter.   And her performance in The Unsuspected is a perfect example.  I just love watching her do her thing,  her facial expressions of contempt,  ire, annoyance,  disgust, etc. are so entertaining to watch.  The way she swans around in her slinky gowns (check out her first appearance at that party -- that incredible drop-waist dress !  and why is she giving a party one day after the death of an employee in that very house?  )   ,  so sexy and arrogant and mean.   I wish she'd been in more films, I just looked her up.  Seems she did a lot of work in the '50s, but I'm afraid I haven't seen much of it.

Here she is looking typically p*ssed off about something...as she often was !

Who is Audrey Totter dating? Audrey Totter boyfriend, husband

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I just want to say,  I wish I had posted this before this weekend's Noir Alley offering and Eddie's comments, because now it just looks like I'm repeating what Eddie said.   Anyway  I'd meant to post that I'd always thought Joan Fontaine would have been perfect in the role of Matilda, in fact,  I'd mistakenly thought it was  Joan Fontaine in my clearly inaccurate memory of the film.  It's such a Joan Fontaine - like part.  Now,  the other Joan,  Joan Caulfield,  is also quite good in the part,  I've no wish to diss her.  

But, maybe because Joan Fontaine is so memorable as the nameless diffident heroine of the famous movie she'd starred in 7 years before (1940), and the character of the confused young woman in The Unsuspected  bears some similarities,  I just kind of wish Miss Fontaine had played Matilda.  

...also,  both actresses are named Joan,  and they sort of look alike.

Joan Fontaine had been Michael Curtiz's original choice for the role of Matilda but his budget for the film couldn't afford her.

In fact, none of the cast that he eventually wound up with in the film were first choices by the producer director.

Orson Welles turned down the role of Grandison after he read the script. Curtiz was furious at Ava Gardner's agent for talking her out of playing Althea, though I think this may have turned out for the better since Audrey Totter is deliciously b i t c hy in that role and I doubt that a young Ava could have matched her.

For the young man's role in the film (Steve Howard) Curtiz approached Dana Andrews, who was initially willing to play the part, provided that Virginia Mayo was Matilda. Andrews then had second thoughts, however, when he realized that he would be a supporting player in the film and after he backed out Mayo lost interest, as well. The previous year they had been memorable as a less than ideal married couple in The Best Years of Our Lives. Matilda in The Unsuspected would have been quite a contrasting role of naive innocence for Mayo.

As for the final cast of the film, I think this production boasts exemplary work from Claude Rains and, as previously stated, Audrey Totter. I also think that Constance Bennett is a great snappy substitute for Eve Arden, and new discovery Fred Clark is effective as the detective. Poor old Hurd Hatfield has a drab part (anyone notice the irony of the former Dorian Gray saying the portrait of Matilda "changed" in the film ?). As for Joan Caulfield and "new discovery" Ted North, Snoooooze City.

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I had some trouble identifying the characters one from the other.  I figured it was because I was hungover.  Claude Raines was terrific.  He stole every scene he was in.  Orson Welles in the role would have ruined the movie.  Raines’ eyes are fascinating to watch.  One goes one way and one goes the other, like you can see him using the left hand and right hand sides of his brain at the same time.  The plot explained itself in the end but I like it to be explained up front, I don’t like to be scratching my head in the midst of the action.  Just to watch Claude Raines was worth the price of admission.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to say that Audrey Totter's character was pretty casual about hearing a blood curdling scream over the phone (she may have furrowed her brow for a moment) and then saying nothing about it when that person is declared a "suicide" by the cops the following day.  At least I'm glad the scream and any concern for the secretary didn't get in her way of continuing to have a good time partying on the town that night.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Another one that I hadn't  seen before. Fairly enjoyable and a nice change  of  pace from the lowdown grimy noir world  of cheap hotels,

godawful fashion choices, and the rotgut  whiskey of  many noir flicks. These folks are  going  first class all the way. Upper crust,

baby.  I was a little confused by  the first twenty minutes or so  of the drawing room comedy imitation. Too many characters to

figure  out at first glance, though  that's straightened  out  as  the picture goes on.  Things  drag on occasion, but not enough to hurt

the movie. The whole Rains  as the  radio personality was a little corny, but survivable. I especially got a  kick  out of Caulfield calling

out for help when the guy's  locked  up  in a trunk in the back  of  a pickup. No help there sweetie. And Mr.  Press  is there  for  a taste

of echt sleazy noir. All in all a good flick  that reminded me a bit of  one of those upper class inspector calls British mystery movies

with maybe a dash of American democracy throw  in. I also  remember riding the Saw  Mill River Parkway on over the river and

through the  woods  to grandmother's  house trips, though I  believe  it  was grandfather's name  that was on the deed.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to have been the proverbial fly on the wall the day Jack Warner called Michael Curtiz into his office and asked him why in hell he cast a guy who couldn't act nor even had any screen-presence at all in this movie and that he had helped bankroll.

Or in other words, I think I've found my new and latest "worst studio era actor of all time", and his name is...well, it's either Ted or Michael North...take your pick.

(...or in other words AGAIN...all I kept thinking while watching The Unsuspected last night was how much better than film would/might have been if only the Steven Howard character had been played by as competent an actor as the rest of the cast was)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Dargo said:

I'd love to have been the proverbial fly on the wall the day Jack Warner called Michael Curtiz into his office and asked him why in hell he cast a guy who couldn't act nor even had any screen-presence at all in this movie that he had helped bankroll.

(...or in other words, I think I've found my new and latest "worst studio era actor of all time", and his name is...well, it's either Ted or Michael North...take your pick)

Dargo, I didn't mind Michael North that much, possibly because he looks like Anthony George, one of my childhood favorites. North can also look a bit like Wendell Corey from certain angles. He isn't great, but there are guys who got leading roles in the early and middle 1930s who are less successful. And Troy Donahue is really ticked off because you don't consider him the worst studio era actor of all time.

SPOILERS: Joan Caulfield does reasonably well in a part that has certain problem areas. Matilda doesn't pick up on the fact that her beloved uncle might have a darker side. Well, OK. She's in love with Hurd Hatfield. Granted, the 1940s were much more innocent about a certain subject, but her antennae are not functioning well. The more we think about it, the likelier it seems that she could marry someone and then forget all about it. She's not even all that convincing to herself. It's interesting that in 1947 a glamorous and lovely young woman could be named Matilda. Joan Caulfield has the right look for the character, even though she's not on a par with the terrific character actors in the film.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, King Rat said:

Dargo, I didn't mind Michael North that much, possibly because he looks like Anthony George, one of my childhood favorites. North can also look a bit like Wendell Corey from certain angles. He isn't great, but there are guys who got leading roles in the early and middle 1930s who are less successful. And Troy Donahue is really ticked off because you don't consider him the worst studio era actor of all time.

SPOILERS: Joan Caulfield does reasonably well in a part that has certain problem areas. Matilda doesn't pick up on the fact that her beloved uncle might have a darker side. Well, OK. She's in love with Hurd Hatfield. Granted, the 1940s were much more innocent about a certain subject, but her antennae are not functioning well. The more we think about it, the likelier it seems that she could marry someone and then forget all about it. She's not even all that convincing to herself. It's interesting that in 1947 a glamorous and lovely young woman could be named Matilda. Joan Caulfield has the right look for the character, even though she's not on a par with the terrific character actors in the film.

I edited my post up there KR, and so if you'll go back and re-read it you'll see that I added the thought that I felt because of Mr. North's poor performance and his inability to in essence "carry his role"  (and a role I might add which seemed pivotal and not peripheral to the storyline) and thus help carry the film, this lessened my enjoyment of the film in question and made me feel that this movie could have been a lot better if only....

(...well, you know)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dargo said:

I'd love to have been the proverbial fly on the wall the day Jack Warner called Michael Curtiz into his office and asked him why in hell he cast a guy who couldn't act nor even had any screen-presence at all in this movie and that he had helped bankroll.

Or in other words, I think I've found my new and latest "worst studio era actor of all time", and his name is...well, it's either Ted or Michael North...take your pick.

(...or in other words AGAIN...all I kept thinking while watching The Unsuspected last night was how much better than film would/might have been if only the Steven Howard character had been played by as competent an actor as the rest of the cast was)

Curtiz had struck gold years before with newcomers Flynn in Captain Blood and Garfield in Four Daughters, making both of them major stars. After Dana Andrews turned down the role and there were no other suitable actors available for the part for  the money producer Curtiz was willing to offer them  he decided to take a gamble on North who, at least, was a good looking actor though with very limited film experience. The gamble bombed, obviously. I guess money was tight on this production as the daily rushes coming back with Ted (or Mike, whatever his name is) North demonstrating the screen magnetism of a hunk of clay could hardly have been encouraging. I wonder if this is the reason North spent so much of the last two reels of the film locked up in a trunk.

I think The Unsuspected is a pretty good noir but it's stronger on the visuals than it is story-wise, not helped, in my opinion, by a poor performance by North and, with apologies to those others who seemed to like her in the film, a bland one by Caulfield. Thank goodness for Rains and Totter, though I was sorry to see the lady's character make an exit from the film as early as she did.

Watch More Movies — Quick Thoughts on The Unsuspected (1947)

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Dargo said:

I edited my post up there KR, and so if you'll got back and re-read it you'll see that I added the thought that I felt because of Mr. North's poor performance and his inability to in essence "carry his role"  (and a role I might add which seemed pivotal and not peripheral to the storyline) and thus help carry the film, this lessened my enjoyment of the film in question and made me feel that this movie could have been a lot better if only....

(...well, you know)

Dargo, he does play a pivotal character, especially before Joan Caulfield shows up about half an hour into the movie, so yes, an actor like Dana Andrews certainly could have brought more to the part.

I must say I liked this film much better the second time around, when I could pay more attention to the stunning cinematography, Michael Curtiz' stylish direction, and the witty and rather b1tchy dialogue of Ranald MacDougall. Constance Bennett describes someone as being "limp as an old girdle." Eddie Muller did a great job of explaining how Curtiz made the film on a half-shares arrangement with WB; noted the parallels with Laura; explained how Curtiz intended to make Michael (aka Ted) North into a star, but inadvertently launched Fred Clark into a big career as a character actor; and gave a nice tribute to Charlotte Armstrong, who wrote the novel.

I've said before that 1947 is my favorite year for films, with so many enjoyable films, and now I'm adding The Unsuspected to the list.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TomJH said:

 

.... Thank goodness for Rains and Totter, though I was sorry to see the lady's character make an exit from the film as early as she did.

 

I wouldn't say it was early.  Audrey's in the film for all but the last 20 minutes or so.  Of course,  since she's one of the movie's most interesting characters,  it might seem like a longer stretch of film that's left after she exits.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I wouldn't say it was early.  Audrey's in the film for all but the last 20 minutes or so.  Of course,  since she's one of the movie's most interesting characters,  it might seem like a longer stretch of film that's left after she exits.

I took a look at my recording of The Unsuspected and saw that Totter exited the film when there was still 36 minutes to go so I'll stick to my statement that she left the film too soon. I agree, though, that my exited "as early as she did" statement probably makes it sound like she went even sooner.

Perhaps we can both agree, at least, MissW, that Peter Lorre's Ugarte left Casablanca too soon (also with the assistance Claude Rains, busy boy).

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

AUDREY TOTTER !  Omygawd,  I love this woman.   Has she ever been Star of the Month?  

Although Audrey has occasionally played sympathetic roles  ( viz,  High Wall ), I've always thought she specialized in playing wonderful b1tch characters.   Nobody can do b1tchy like Audrey Totter.   And her performance in The Unsuspected is a perfect example.  I just love watching her do her thing,  her facial expressions of contempt,  ire, annoyance,  disgust, etc. are so entertaining to watch.  The way she swans around in her slinky gowns (check out her first appearance at that party -- that incredible drop-waist dress !  and why is she giving a party one day after the death of an employee in that very house?  )   ,  so sexy and arrogant and mean.   I wish she'd been in more films, I just looked her up.  Seems she did a lot of work in the '50s, but I'm afraid I haven't seen much of it.

Here she is looking typically p*ssed off about something...as she often was !

Who is Audrey Totter dating? Audrey Totter boyfriend, husband

Nope! Sad to say. They probably dont think she's a big enough "star". She was great in the film

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, TomJH said:

I have to say that Audrey Totter's character was pretty casual about hearing a blood curdling scream over the phone (she may have furrowed her brow for a moment) and then saying nothing about it when that person is declared a "suicide" by the cops the following day.  At least I'm glad the scream and any concern for the secretary didn't get in her way of continuing to have a good time partying on the town that night.

It's never really explained why she did that. In fact, although I've seen the film several times, I'm still confused about the motive for the murder of Rain's secretary. Can anyone explain it to me?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...