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THE BIG CLOCK (1948)


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Just watched it tonight and enjoyed it thoroughly. Ray Milland is sooo good at these kinds of roles, and of course Charles Laughton is wonderfully sinister. Maureen O'Sullivan and Elsa Lanchester are great also - almost wished they could have gotten a bit more screen time. The whole premise would have also worked great as a Hitchcock film, it's basically the innocent man up against circumstances that make him look guilty. But John Farrow did a very good job, and John Seitz' photography looks very well done, even if the current Universal Home Video release might not do full justice to what this must look like in a nice 35mm print.

 

And Harry Morgan is also quite creepy even if (or perhaps because) he never says a word!!

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I love how Laughton's face twists while Rita Johnson is telling him off. George Macready is solid as Laughton's slimeball assistant.

 

Check out the novel by Kenneth Fearing some time as well. Pretty good read, as I recall.

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> {quote:title=scsu1975 wrote:}{quote}

> I love how Laughton's face twists while Rita Johnson is telling him off. George Macready is solid as Laughton's slimeball assistant.

>

> Check out the novel by Kenneth Fearing some time as well. Pretty good read, as I recall.

 

I'd love to read the novel on which this is based! :D

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Both times I did, except the other night I dozed off...I think I was just tired or drowsy and when I played it I zonked out ..last night I was alert and focused on it more and enjoyed it..

You really have to been in the mood to watch a movie when you want to watch a movie :)

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Saw it today for the first time and it happened to be at our neighborhood we-are-trying-to-be-a-revival-house theater. Not going to replace *Gun Crazy* as my favorite noir...and probably not break into my Top 40, but it is fun.

 

The characters are right out of Central Typecasting: Harry "Tight-Lipped" Morgan, Elsa "The Eccentric" Lancaster, George "Is It a Sneer or a Smirk" MacCready, Charles "Harsh and Sophisticated" Laughton, and Ray "Watch Me Sweat Bullets" Milland.

 

And John Seitz's cinematography was on the money...as usual.

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> {quote:title=ChiO wrote:}{quote}

> The characters are right out of Central Typecasting: Harry "Tight-Lipped" Morgan, Elsa "The Eccentric" Lancaster, George "Is It a Sneer or a Smirk" MacCready, Charles "Harsh and Sophisticated" Laughton, and Ray "Watch Me Sweat Bullets" Milland.

>

 

To me they are part of what makes the movie fun to watch. B-)

 

> And John Seitz's cinematography was on the money...as usual.

 

That alone is enough to make me want to watch a 35mm projection of the film someday. We all have something to look forward to.

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> I read the book recently. More contemplative and subdued that today's thrillers. I liked it. Like the movie too. Ms. Lanchester's performance the best of the fine cast.

 

Agree on Elsa Lanchester. As for the book, it sounds like something I'd love to read, although I already have a huge queue of movie-related books. :(

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  • 4 months later...

_Don't forget to watch (or record) this Saturday, Jan. 17 @ 10am ET!_

 

*The Big Clock* (1948)

A corrupt publisher tries to frame a career-driven editor for murder.

Cast: Charles Laughton , Ray Milland , Maureen O'Sullivan Dir: John Farrow BW-95 mins, TV-PG

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I thought The Big Clock was an excellent noir and agree it would work very well as a Hitchcock film. I thought it was one of the more philosophical and noir-as-commentary stories as well, the clock (and conformity) dominating the lives of grey-suited men. It would be great to run this along with other films that feature clocks or time as central to the story. Modern Times, Safety Last!, The Stranger, The Clock, etc.

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  • 3 months later...

Top notch noir with grand slimy performance by Charles Laughton. He may have the worst mustache in the history of movies but it fits his character.

 

Ray Milland is great. he is fin early on when he needs to be and properly panicked later when he is caught up in everything. Fine supporting cast played with exuberance in finding the man who is really standing among them. A terrific "man on the run" piece where the man cannot run. He is trapped but trying ever so hard to escape unnoticed.

 

Little bits of comedy are thrown in the enhance the tension later on but one line went too far for me and that was the last line in the movie where Elsa has found her long lost fourth husband. For me it took a lot of the edge off of the ending.

 

Was this made when O'Sullivan was married to Farrow? She plays a nice part but one that could have pretty much been done by anyone.

 

Most clever touch was when near the climax they match the opening shots so that I caught myself saying "this is where we came in."

 

Weirdest supporting character is Harry Morgan as Laughton's "associate." Doesn't say a word but plays the tough guy throughout. Elsa Lanchester is a close second as loopy painter that is a witness to Milland purchasing a painting of hers.

 

Great fun. A little slow to take off but once rolling it goes. Bonus points for most novel murder weapon.

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  • 5 months later...

Speaking of having a noirish mood and noirish dialogue, a recent TCM film which scores 100% on both counts is THE MONEY TRAP (1966). It seems like a '40s or '50s noir. (Rita Hayworth, almost unrecognizable, in a heart-rending latter-day role which evokes Rita herself.)

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> Dark Streets and vistas, flashing neon, moody sax music, etc. Did YOU see THE MONEY TRAP? That had all of these and more, including tough, wiseacre talk from just about everyone in the cast.......Most memorable line: Ricardo Montalban----"I want in."

 

I recorded it, but haven't watched it yet. However, I am one of those who stick to the "classic noir" definition that considers the period of true noir to have ended in the late 50s.

 

Obviously, even noir fans won't always agree on the definition of noir - and sometimes whether or not a movie is true noir or just sort of noirish.

 

The important thing, of course, is that _you_ enjoy it and feel you've just had your dose of noir. ;)

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