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A Tale of Two Chicagos


pandorainmay
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I haven't seen either of the film noirs showing tonight on TCM, but thought that I'd give a heads up to others who might want to catch up on their tawdry tale quotient for the month of December. I hope that anyone familiar with these movies will add their comments too. Thanks in advance for any of your insights:

 

It seems that as part of the "not-so-sweet" side of tonight's theme of Sweet Home Chicago, TCM is showing two late noir movies overnight. At 2:15 AM ET on Wed., Dec. 19th, Chicago Confidential (1957), is scheduled. An early Brian Keith movie, Chicago Confidential is, according to its trailer, "the bullet-by-bullet truth about the rape of a city at the hands of a killer mob...ripped out of tomorrow's headlines."

 

Well, I could personally do without the purple prose, but any movie gets me to sit up and take notice with Keith, Beverly Garland, and, in an unlikely bit of casting, Dick Foran, the former crooner and "B" Western star, who appears here as a corrupt union leader. This kind of "stunt" casting might be interesting.

 

chicagoconfidential.JPG

This flick is based on the lurid little scribblings of tabloid "journalists" Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer that were best-sellers published as a peek behind the curtain as Washington Confidential, New York Confidential and, you guessed it, Chicago Confidential in the '50s, when the Kefauver hearings and several graphically hard-boiled crime movies emerged. It looks like an interesting movie, to say the least. Me, I'll be watching it to keep that flame alive on my longtime crush on grumpy ol' Brian Keith, a good actor and a great curmudgeon.

briankeith.JPG

 

This movie is followed immediately December 19th, 2007 at 3:45 AM ET by Chicago Syndicate (1955), starring that erstwhile "B" movie stalwart, Dennis O?Keefe as an accountant and gang infiltrator. Yes, you read that correctly: an accountant. Hey, that's how they put Capone away for good, right? No Capone here, but the always rumpled Mr. O'Keefe is out to get the goods on the inimitable Paul Stewart as a mob kingpin. Mr. Stewart, a veteran of the Mercury players, whose fine supporting work in such films as Citizen Kane, Champion and The Bad and the Beautiful won him deserved accolades, might prove to be an interesting opponent.

paulstewart.JPG

Throw in '50s honeys Abbe Lane and Allison Hayes as the decorative dames in this latter movie, and I think it might be a good, tawdry mix.

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Hi Moira - Both are pretty entertaining B noirs although neither is likely to wind up on anyone's 10 Best lists. But who cares; these are exactly the kind of films that kept the noir sensibility alive in the waning days of the 50s---grimy little crime dramas that are over and out in under 90 minutes. Neither spellbinding nor particularly memorable but perfect late, late night viewing. I'm not sure if I could rate one higher than the other, but CONFIDENTIAL does benefit from having Elisha Cook in the cast.

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I've got the DVD recorder going for both of these films. Chicago Confidential is apparently not a TCM premiere, but I can't remember when it last aired.

 

As a collector of vintage paperbacks, I enjoyed seeing that Dell cover, moirafinnie. Dell had been publishing its regular 25-cent numbered series (with no letter prefixes) since the early 1940s and at some point in the 1950s launched the "D" series with Chicago Confidential.

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CHICAGO CONFIDENTIAL is a neat little B movie, with a decent cast and good performances. It was great to see Superman cast members re-united (Phyllis Coates and John Hamilton). I think Coates should have gotten higher billing. Also, did anyone notice former 40s B actor Dennis Moore as the jury foreman? This was also a good advertisement for Ryder Sound Services, which did the sound for the movie, and also figures prominently in the plot.

 

Message was edited by: scsu1975

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CHICAGO SYNDICATE has a few flaws, but is still entertaining. Dennis O'Keefe looks a little too old for the lead, and Xavier Cugat can't act. On the other hand, Paul Stewart is great as the villain, and we get to see a short cat fight between Abbe Lane and Allison Hayes. Lane looks and sounds good singing mambos, and Hayes looks good doing anything. It's refreshing to see Hayes not playing a 50-foot nutjob. She can't act much, but who cares.

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Actually, if I had moved back to Chicago, I'd have more need of a vcr, as there's a wealth of attractions in the big city for a single girl. Here in Boca for another year, my professional and social life is not exactly 24/7 the way it was in Shytown, and I'm not near retirement age. The year round heat and humidity of South Florida makes me sluggish. But career opportunities opened up here when I least expected it, albeit on a less than satisfactory part-time basis, so I spend more time in front of the t.v. than I'd like to.

 

I'm already planning to move back up North permanently in 2009.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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