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Arnelo Affair (1947)


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This seems like a rather banal Neglected Wife Frances Gifford considers affair with Nightclub Gangster John Hodiak, and to ensure her 'commitment', he frames her. He claims to love her SO MUCH and then frames her? We know he lies 99% of the rest of the time, but is he lying about his love for her? That's a great speech he delivers. She certainly buys it. Do we?

 

I didn't shoot my recording equipment for this one failure - only because there were several other recordings already scheduled, but this, of course, is the film I've missed. Darn.

 

I was surprised I stuck with this film for so long. George Murphy is the too-busy husband, but he turns on his brain toward the end of the film. The Dumb Detective investigating the murder-frameup plays that role well. Too well? We get that answer at film's end. Plus the answer about John Hodiak's "Is he a complete liar, or does he really think she's The One?"

 

He makes it REAL easy to not believe him, but the ending answers all of that.

 

This film could easily fall into the Soap-Opera Weeper bin, but questions about Hodiak, the Detective and George Murphy's come-and-go brains puts this closer to a psychological thriller than Peyton Place. And I'm still wondering what would have happened if Neglected Wife had spilled the beans about the affair and frame-up to Eve Arden. She could have been a most interesting ally - but on whose side?

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Ollie you're driving me crazy! Hee! NOw I HAVE to see this movie no matter what! Help! TCM! You guys have to air this one again! I love John Hodiak so I want him to turn out to be a good guy. George Murphy is too ho-hum. I'm not crazy about Joan Leslie either, but she looks more sophisticated here than I've ever seen her.

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MissG, why would you love a guy that's gotta spend 30 minutes every day shaving that little bit of mustache? Goodness - watching these Harlow films today, I'd think Hodiak could make his life a lot easier if he'd go steal her make-up box and use the pencil on his lip!

 

This was a total surprise. I came during the middle and only later saw a good portion of it was told in flashback by the wife. Then, the movie spends its last third or so in 'real time' with all the other characters coming to life, not just what she'd observed. This lets us see George Murphy come to life and have thoughts and actions his wife is unaware of (like confronting Hodiak). And the detective is putting a lot of these pieces together, too, like throwing crumbs to the fish to see which ones swallow what size.

 

It's not a convoluted film, but there are more interesting aspects than I predicted.

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MissG, why would you love a guy that's gotta spend 30 minutes every day shaving that little bit of mustache?

 

Ha! I love watching men shave! I'd watch Clark Gable and Bill Powell and John Hodiak shave all day! :D

 

I really do hope they air this again, I'm so anxious to see it now it's ridiculous.

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"Not a convoluted film"? Well, I see your point. There's no I SEE DEAD PEOPLE or dropping of trou scenes. Everything was fairly straightforward. I think the biggest surprise was the Detective's tirade at the end, and watching Hodiak react, slowly slowly. Now THAT was a great job of the director, Hodiak, the cameraman - to just sit there and waste a few minutes on John's face as he tried to endure the Detective's machinations.

 

Then he starts in on Hodiak again, and John just barely squirms, just barely reacts and I'm thinking, "Wow - could the Detective be hitting a nerve after all?". Whatever's going on behind his face, his eyes are tense but the cop can't see it.

 

We don't even see the Cary-Grant-Hand-Clutchings as Grace Kelly's speeding around abyssal curves - the cameraman just holds steady and Hodiak sits there, trying to be a deadpan calculator, running faster and faster thru all his possibilities. "How can I get out of this?" and then he asks himself the really tough question.

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