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Arnelo Affair (1947)


OllieTSB
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Sorry for the tardy topic - it's showing Monday Aug 18 at 1:45am EST.

 

This is a jim-dandy film, part of TCM's John Hodiak Honors, and is a strong entry for him.  But it's also casting one of the rarely mentioned Hollywood Beauties, Frances Gifford, who usually finds an easy Top 5 Of All Hollywood Beauties on my list.

 

And it's also starring one of my favorite Mr. Nothing's, George Murphy, as Frances' workaholic husband.  Murphy is such a "nothing" face - no real stature, nothing handsome, nothing striking.  Yet, this film is perfect for him, and he's a much bigger, stronger actor in this film than I'd have ever anticipated.  This is his 'face-off' scene with Hodiak, in Hodiak's apartment, where Hodiak holds all the cards - yet it's Hodiak that blinks first.  He just can't stand up to little Murphy.  It's an amazing scene for George AND for John. 

 

And for Director Arch Oboler. 

 

Oboler is one of my favorite radio-highlighters, as he was virtually the precursor to Rod Serling and so many other Sci-Fi artists after WWII.  While Oboler's FIVE has so many disappointing script and directing flaws, THE ARNELO AFFAIR is almost perfect.

 

The ending is a bit 'pat', but even in that - the dialog between the Homicide Detective and Hodiak is a good climax to the tale.

 

By the way, as usual, Maltin's 'tip' about this film seems to have no-clue of actually seeing it.  There IS a killing in this film, early on, but it's a rather accidental/self defense one (Hodiak's galfriend brings a gun along to threaten him, and there's a struggle and, well... she's the dead one) and Frances Gifford is only a witness to it.  But therein lies the tar-pit she's stepped!

 

Her workaholoic hubby George Murphy gets none of my sympathies.  He's married to one of the great beauties and he's too busy doing tax-paperwork?!!  Sheesh, fella-!  Years later, Jimmy Stewart's more engaged with bleach-blonde Raymond Burr and I'll NEVER understand how he can possibly look out some rear window when he's got Grace Kelly stalking his floor!

 

Well, at least in ARNELO AFFAIR, workaholic hubby gets his head on straight - eventually!

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I watched most of this movie and I liked it. Good low budget noir.  John Hodiak was really good and Eve Arden is always a delight.  Frances Gifford was OK and she was pretty but George Murphy was just flat out blah.  If I was married to him, I would have been attracted to John Hodiak, too!  By the way, does anybody know if Ruby Dandridge was related to Dorothy?  I seem to remember Ruby the mom (?) was in motion pictures,  I remember this from the biopic HBO had with Halle Berry several years ago.

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I wouldn't necessarily call this a low-budget film. I don't think MGM ever made low-budget films. But this was a programmer, most definitely.

 

Though a remake, it is a perfect example of post-war films meant to reinforce the notion that a woman should be happy at home and if she strays too far from the nest, she will get embroiled in dangerous activities that threaten to destroy her marriage and put her in jail.  Scare tactics to say the least, and people paid money to see it.

 

This said, Hodiak gives a good performance as the bad guy.

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