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cigarjoe
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La otra aka The Other One (1946) Masterpiece Mexican Noir, Christmas Noir

 

 

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Director Roberto Gavaldón. 

 

Written by Roberto Gavaldón and José Revueltas adaptation by Jack Wagner,  based on a Rian James story. The excellent cinematography was by Alex Phillips. Music by Raúl Lavista.

The film stars Dolores del Rio (Bird of Paradise (1932), Journey Into Fear (1943) as Magdalena Montes de Oca / María Méndez, Agustín Irusta as Roberto González, Víctor Junco (Bandido! (1956), as Fernando.

Also with José Baviera as Licenciado de la Fuente, Conchita Carracedo as Carmela, Carlos Villarías as Lic. Félix Mendoza, Rafael Icardo as Detective de policía, Manuel Dondé as Aguilar, policía.

The script for La otra was owned by Warner brothers. A similar Warner film about identical twins, A Stolen Life  was made the same year 1946 starring Bette Davis. The studio held onto the La otra script until they remade it in 1964 as Dead Ringer, starring again Bette Davis (she must have licked these sister roles). The Dark Mirror (1946) is similar film. This film may have influenced The Scar, aka Hollow Triumph (1948). There quite a few similarities between them also. 

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Dolores del Rio as Magdalena Montes de Oca top and María Méndez bottom
 
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Agustín Irusta as Roberto González
 
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Víctor Junco as Fernando
 

A Cemetery. A big shot's funeral. Magdalena Montes de Oca. Widow. Young and now very rich. A snob. A ****. She wears a black veil we can't see her face.  Late into this solemn tableau is Maria Méndez, Magdalena's mousey spinster-ish looking twin sister. 

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Maria
 
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Maria wears granny glasses and her hair pulled back tight. The sermons over, the gravediggers are shoveling dirt back into the hole. Magdalena scolds Maria. Tells her that she could have worn something more appropriate. 

Magdalena: Couldn’t you find something better to wear?

The funeral over. Magdalena asks her chauffer to offer her sister a ride. Maria gets into the limo and gets lectured to by Magdalena. Tells her she use her job to hook a rich man. Magdalena brings Maria to her mansion. It's the whole nine yards. Huge foyer. Grand Staircase. Statuary and fine art. 

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Magdalena brings Maria to her bedroom. She flouts her wealth in Maria's face as she sheds her widows weeds. She opens her opulent closet pulls dresses off the hangers and flings them to the floor. She tells Maria she can have them. Its a back handed gesture. 
 
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Magdalena torments Maria by telling her they are out of style anyway, and she also mentions that she was going to give one of the dresses to her maid anyway if she doesn't want them.
 
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Maria tells her no thanks. Magdalena then walks off to the bath. Maria alone, picks up a fur piece drapes it around her neck, takes off her glasses and then sits in front of the Venetian makeup mirror. At that moment a servant opens the door. He spots Maria and tells her that the tea is ready. He has mistaken Maria for Magdalena. At that moment it all starts to go Noirsville.
 
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Maria goes back to her menial job as a manicurist. Her boss is on her case. He wants her to be flirty with the customers. He's practically piping her out. While working the salon she keeps seeing a flashing neon sign advertising a five million peso lottery. 

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Maria has a boyfriend. Roberto González. He's a cop. A detective. They love each other. He wants to marry her but hasn't asked yet because, at the pay grade he's at, he wouldn't have enough money to support her. They have a date for after work. They exchange gifts. They dine at a Chinese restaurant festooned with Christmas decorations. 
 
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Maria lives in a rooftop hovel. When Roberto brings her home. Her landlady shows up and asks for the rent. She doesn't have it. 
 
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She tells her landlady that she gets paid on the weekend, and that she will have to wait till then. This embarrasses Maria. Later, after their date is over and they have their goodbye kiss, Roberto leaves. Maria puts a devious plan into action.  Full review at Noirsville
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Victim (1961) Out of the Closet Brit Noir

 

 

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"Well it used to be witches. At least they don't burn you."
 
Directed by Basil Dearden (Pool of London, The Blue Lamp, Dead of NightSapphire). Written by Janet Green and John McCormick. Cinematography by Otto Heller, Music by Philip Green.

 

The film stars Dirk Bogarde (The Blue Lamp, Five Angles on Murder, The Stranger in Between, Cast a Dark Shadow) as Melville Farr, Sylvia Syms as Laura Farr, Dennis Price as Calloway, Nigel Stock as Phip, Peter McEnery as Boy Barrett, Donald Churchill as Eddy Stone, Anthony Nicholls as Lord Fullbrook, Hilton Edwards as P.H., Norman Bird as Harold Doe, Derren Nesbitt as Sandy Youth, Alan MacNaughtan as Scott Hankin, Noel Howlett as Patterson, Charles Lloyd-Pack as Henry, John Barrie as Detective Inspector Harris, John Cairney as Bridie, David Evans as Mickey, Peter Copley as Paul Mandrake, Frank Pettitt as Barman, Mavis Villiers as Madge, Margaret Diamond as Miss Benham, Alan Howard as Frank, Dawn Beret as Sylvie, John Bennett as Undercover Detective (uncredited), John Boxer as Policeman in Cell (uncredited), Frank Thornton as George, Henry's assistant (uncredited). 

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Dirk Bogarde as Melville Farr
 
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Peter McEnery as Boy Barrett
 
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Sylvia Syms as Laura Farr
 

"Victim is a 1961 British neo noir suspense film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms. It was the first English-language film to use the word "homosexual". It premiered in the UK on 31 August 1961 and in the US the following February. On its release in the United Kingdom, it proved highly controversial to the British Board of Film Censors, and in the U.S. it was refused a seal of approval from the American Motion Picture Production Code." (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Melville Farr. Barrister. Married. Wife Laura. Self assured. Successful. Slotted to become Queens council, and possibly appointed a judge. (For those who have no idea what a Queens council is, its barrister who is chosen to represent the British royal family in a court of law.) Apparently happily married. Apparently because he's bi.  

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However the whole business is treated in a staid, antiseptic, manner. For instance, Farr is depicted as never giving in to his tendencies. Wife Laura knows of these tendencies, Farr told her himself, and she is OK with it as long as Melville doesn't act upon them. The blackmail photo doesn't show any consensual sex, just Farr with another man who is crying. Its so toned down, that the most flamboyant "gay" looking character, is the blackmailer.

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Boy Barrett sees Scotland Yard arrive at the construction office and panics  
 
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Barrett runs from the construction site 
 

Jack "Boy" Barrett. High rise construction company clerk. Desperate. Farr's male lover (wannabe). Boy stole money from his company. Boy is being blackmailed. Homosexuality in Britain at that time was illegal.

"Homosexual acts between males were illegal in England and Wales until the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which implemented the recommendations of the Wolfenden report published a decade earlier. The fact that willing participants in consensual homosexual acts could be prosecuted made them vulnerable to entrapment, and the criminalisation of homosexuality was known as the "blackmailer's charter"" (Crowther, Bosley (6 February 1962). "'Victim' Arrives: Dirk Bogarde Stars in Drama of Blackmail". New York Times.)

Boy was being blackmailed with a photograph of him and Farr in a car. The blackmailers M.O. is to send incriminating photos in plain brown envelopes to their victims and threaten exposure to authorities if they don't pony up dough. Boy didn't have it. Boy was desperate. He stole £2,300  from his employers at the construction site. They find out the shortage, and when the coppers show up at the job site office, Boy flees. He tries to hit up his friends for help and decides to skip town but he is decent enough to try and warn Farr that he is in danger. 

Now the kicker is, that at the time that the photo was taken, it was when Farr was breaking it off for good with Boy. So whenever Boy tries to phone Farr to warn him, Farr thinking it's just a desperate ex-lover, trying to rekindle their relationship. Farr brushes off all the calls, telling his secretary to say that he's not in.

 

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Norman Bird as Harold Doe gives no help
 
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Boy gets picked up by the police and hauled off to the slammer. Boy knows he won't hold up if he is interrogated and will disclose the blackmail scheme and subsequently expose himself to whatever the Brits call a "morals charge." So he hangs himself in his cell.

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gets some traveling money from Phip played by Nigel Stock
 
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Boy's straight friend and his wife
 
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The cops close in
 
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Boy wont talk
 

When Farr learns about Boy's demise he becomes determined to break the blackmailers even at at the risk of his coming out in public as gay. With the help of Boy's straight friend they try and find out clues to the blackmailer's identity. In effect they become the de facto detectives, at first, no one that knew Boy acknowledges to being blackmailed. It goes Noirsville when a barber they questioned later has his shop damaged by the blackmailer. The weak hearted man suffers a heart attack. He dramatically calls Farr and names another blackmail victim before dying saving the day. 

Its hard in this day and age to believe that this was controversial to the British Board of Film Censors, and never was "officially" released in the U.S.    Full review at Noirsille

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For those Noiristas and Aficio-Noir-dos who like Sci-Fi Neo Noir here is a Japanese neo-noir science fiction Space Noir Cowboy Bebop based originally on an anime. It's got some pretty Noir-ish sequences, here is the quite stylish intro credits:

 

 

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