Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

The Dark Corner (1946)


speedracer5
 Share

Recommended Posts

I watched The Dark Corner last night.  It was really good.  I mainly got it for Lucille Ball; but I enjoyed seeing Clifton Webb and William Bendix as well.  I've been seeing more and more of Fox's film noirs in recent months and I'm really enjoying them.  I think Fox's niche in the 1940s was definitely film noir. 

 

Anyway, I wanted to get some plot clarification, like many of the film noirs, it takes repeated viewings to catch all the plot details and such and since this was a Netflix option, I wanted to send it back, so that I could get something else.  I've been trying to get The Killers for awhile now. 

 

Anyway:

 

**SPOILER ALERT!**

 

This how I understood the plot:

 

Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens) is an ex-con turned detective.  He suspects that someone is following him. His secretary Kathleen, (Lucille Ball) assists him in trying to figure out who is following him.  He finds out that the man following him goes by the name of Foss (William Bendix).  It turns out that Foss was hired by a man named Jardine (Kurt Kreuger) who was the one originally responsible for Galt going to jail in the first place.  At the same time, Jardine is having an affair with the wife of an art gallery owner, Cathcart (Clifton Webb).  Cathcart discovers that Jardine and his wife are having an affair and hires Foss who is really a criminal named Stauffer to take care of Jardine.  Galt sneaks into Jardine's apartment.  Stauffer kills Jardine, finds and ambushes Galt and knocks him out.  Stauffer then places the fireplace poker he used to kill Jardine into Galt's hand to frame him for the murder.  Galt comes to, and Kathleen promises to help him cover up the crime and figure out who really killed Jardine. Galt and Kathleen follow various leads including finding a the real Fred Foss who obviously has nothing to do with the whole situation.  Stauffer confronts his boss, Cathcart about being paid for the murder of Jardine and to save a few bucks, Cathcart pushes him out of a high rise window. Galt then ends up at the art gallery and pretends to be interested in some art.  He asks to speak with Cathcart.  Cathcart comes out, ready to take out Galt and he is shot to death by his wife

 

While the Cathcart storyline of him wanting to kill the man who is having the affair with his wife and then killing the hitman to keep from paying him makes sense to me...

 

Why did Jardine hire Foss/Stauffer to follow Galt in the first place when it didn't seem like there was any crime at first to pin on him?  I must have missed that part.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, speedracer, nice to see you have such good taste in movies . I like that you like film noir.

 

Ok, so Dark Corner. I really like this Henry Hathaway production, Bendix' white suit, art gallery statues, and all. And yes, what a fun role for Lucille Ball, too bad she didn't do more of this kind of thing. She's quite good in it. I also like Mark Stephens, although he is a bit of a poor man's Dana Andrews. But that's ok. Stephens was also in another fine little noir, The Street with No Name, (it is a little known fact that U2 got their inspiration for their song after watching that film)  and of course The Snake Pit, just to name a couple...

 

And ya gotta love Clifton Webb in this. Interesting, he once again - as in Laura - plays an overly cerebral man who's obsessed with a woman, but is (it's implied) unable to give her the kind of physical love she needs/ wants. There's even a portrait of the beloved woman, which has much to do with his idealization of her. I think Hathaway must have been making a direct allusion to Laura with this aspect of the story, although not in any plagiaristic way, more like a nod to the earlier film.

 

Don't you love that scene early on, when Galt takes Kathleen on a date to the carnival, and they eat hot dogs and play at a shooting gallery? Lucy adds so much to these scenes. She's smart and funny and decent.

 

And this is a truly "noirish" noir in its visuals, with all those shadows and, well, dark corners.

 

Oh, I forgot to answer your question about the plot. Um, I dunno. I can never keep the plots of those kind of movies straight. For me, it's all about style and character and noirish angst and alienation.

But I think you pretty much got it right. And yeah, why did Jardine hire William Bendix to tail Galt? And why does Bendix wear a shiny white suit to do it?

I think Jardine wanted to make sure Galt wasn't planning some kind of revenge on him (Jardine) after he'd done his prison term, because it was Jardine who framed him in the first place. But all that Jardine/Galt business happens before the film even begins, so it is a little confusing.

But as I said, baby, I don't care.

 

I've seen Dark Corner quite a few times, I own the DVD, and I always enjoy it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you MissWonderly! I love film noir.  It's probably my favorite genre; but I love movies of all kinds; but usually find myself coming back to noir again and again. 

 

I'm a big fan of Lucille Ball-- mostly of her television work; but I've enjoyed pretty much all her film performances.  Even in the most mediocre of films, Lucille Ball gives it her all and is usually the highlight.  I believe this is a result of Lucy's philosophy that there was always something to learn even in the most lackluster of films. 

 

Anyway, back to The Dark Corner...

 

I loved the scene at the carnival too.  I like that Lucy's character was tough and didn't fall for every line that Mark Stevens fed to her.  I loved when she turned him down after he asked if she wanted to go back with him to his place.  I thought she added a lot of charm and humor to the film.

 

I agree with you about Stevens.  I thought he reminded me of someone but I couldn't think of who.  Dana Andrews is who I was trying to remember.  I'd like to see more of Andrews' films.  I've only seen Laura and Where the Sidewalk Ends

 

I agree with you about Clifton Webb.  He always seems to play a rather hoity toity type of character.  I liked his character and found him to be the true villain of the film; even though it seemed like Jardine was going to be. 

 

All the shadowing and dark corners and such is what I love about film noir.  Everything is not always what it seems and there always seem to be twists and turns lurking in those shadows. 

 

I agree that sometimes the film noir plots run together; but to me, it's the whole style, dialogue, music, everything that makes a pretty package that enthralls me from beginning to end.  I'll have to admit that I kind of predicted that Stauffer would be thrown out the window.  The window was open and he had his back to it.  It just seemed like something that would happen... and I was right.  It would have been quite the twist if Stauffer threw Cathcart out the window; but I don't know what would have happened after that.

 

I agree with you about Bendix's suit.  Not really inconspicuous is it?

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know why Galt is being trailed in the first place!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... I'll have to admit that I kind of predicted that Stauffer would be thrown out the window.  The window was open and he had his back to it.  It just seemed like something that would happen... and I was right.  It would have been quite the twist if Stauffer threw Cathcart out the window; but I don't know what would have happened after that.

 

 

The lesson to be learned from this is , never argue with a cheap immoral art connoisseur while standing with your back to an open window.

 

You clearly appreciate classic noir. Even though Errol Flynn never appeared in any!  B)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The lesson to be learned from this is , never argue with a cheap immoral art connoisseur while standing with your back to an open window.

 

You clearly appreciate classic noir. Even though Errol Flynn never appeared in any!  B)

Lol.  Agreed.  It seems to be a bad idea to stand in front of any open window in a film noir.  If you're in The Dark Corner, you'll be pushed out or if you're Agnes Moorehead in Dark Passage you'll either "fall out" or use it as a quick suicide route.

 

Errol Flynn was actually in Cry Wolf with Barbara Stanwyck which I believe is a film noir.  Granted, it's not as classic as say Double Indemnity or Laura; but it was pretty good; I might just be saying that because my boyfriend Errol is in it.  Granted, I'd watch that man in anything, even if it were an infomercial about dog food and it'd be the greatest dog food infomercial ever.  Also Barbara Stanwyck is in Cry Wolf too and she's excellent in everything she does.  I wish she and Errol appeared in more films together.  I thought they made an interesting pairing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 And why does Bendix wear a shiny white suit to do it?

Explained in the movie.  I think in a scene when Bendix was on phone to Cathcart.  Cathcart wanted Galt to know he was being tailed and that's why Bendix wore the white suit.  Galt also mentioned this in a conversation with Kathleen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, Cid, I remember that now. Of course, Bendix wore the bright white suit on purpose, so Galt would know he was being tailed. As you said.

However, I can't quite remember why he wanted Galt to know. I mean, if Jardine wanted Stauffer to talk to Galt, why couldn't he just knock on the door of Galt's office and walk in?

Also, speedracer's original question still stands:

Why did Jardine have Galt tailed anyay? As I recall, it had something to do with how Jardine and Galt were former partners; there was some kind of illegal hanky panky for which Jardine was responsible but for which Galt, who was innocent, "took the rap" and spent some time in prison for Jardine's malfeason.

 

So, my impression was , now that Galt was free, Jardine feared revenge from him, and sent Stauffer to suss out what Galt was doing and thinking.

 

What adds to the confusion is that all this business with Jardine betraying Galt etc. took place before the film begins, and all we get is Stauffer and Galt talking about it when Galt confronts him (Stauffer.)

 

I dunno, it sounds pretty lame when I spell it all out like that. But then, the plots of noirs, as all we noir fans readily agree, are not the strongest feature of these movies.

 

In any case, I always enjoy watching William Bendix. He's also fun in The Blue Dahlia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My impression of plot was that Clifton Webb wanted William Bendix to obviously be tailing Mark Stevens so Stevens would assume he was working for Kurt Kruegger.  Then Stevens would kill Krueger due to Stevens' and Krueger's past, which is what Clifton Webb wanted to keep him away from his (Webb's) wife.  Or at least create a scenario where Stevens gets blamed for Krueger's murder.

BTW, Bendix is one of my favorite actors.  He was excellent in the Taxi movies and fantastic in Kill the Umpire.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't you love that scene early on, when Galt takes Kathleen on a date to the carnival, and they eat hot dogs and play at a shooting gallery? Lucy adds so much to these scenes. She's smart and funny and decent.

 

One clarification, its a typical penny arcade not a carnival there used to be a lot of arcades throughout New York City and also especially around Times Square. The one in the film was Tudors on The Bowery. The ones around Times Square were Playland Arcades.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My impression of plot was that Clifton Webb wanted William Bendix to obviously be tailing Mark Stevens so Stevens would assume he was working for Kurt Kruegger.  Then Stevens would kill **** due to Stevens' and ****'s past, which is what Clifton Webb wanted to keep him away from his (Webb's) wife.  Or at least create a scenario where Stevens gets blamed for ****'s murder.

BTW, Bendix is one of my favorite actors.  He was excellent in the Taxi movies and fantastic in Kill the Umpire.

 

The story goes like this, private detective Bradford Gault (Stevens) is looking to make a fresh start in New York City after a two year drunk driving manslaughter stint in California. He was framed by his ex partner Jardine (Kurt Kreuger) when he objected to Jardine’s blackmail scam. 

 

Jardine, who has also relocated to New York is running the same blackmail scam again with the city’s high society. He is seducing society women and then blackmailing them with their own love letters. Hardy Cathcart (Webb) a wealthy gallery owner, suspects that Jardine is having an affair with his young bride Mari (Downs). Cathcart hires Stauffer (Bendix) to deal with Jardine by trying to escalate the Gault/Jardine animosity to a deadly finale. 

 

Anyway I reviewed The Dark Corner recently on the TCM Film Noir board here is the link http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/35193-recently-watched-noir/page-2&do=findComment&comment=976656

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The story goes like this, private detective Bradford Gault (Stevens) is looking to make a fresh start in New York City after a two year drunk driving manslaughter stint in California. He was framed by his ex partner Jardine (Kurt Kreuger) when he objected to Jardine’s blackmail scam. 

 

Jardine, who has also relocated to New York is running the same blackmail scam again with the city’s high society. He is seducing society women and then blackmailing them with their own love letters. Hardy Cathcart (Webb) a wealthy gallery owner, suspects that Jardine is having an affair with his young bride Mari (Downs). Cathcart hires Stauffer (Bendix) to deal with Jardine by trying to escalate the Gault/Jardine animosity to a deadly finale. 

 

Anyway I reviewed The Dark Corner recently on the TCM Film Noir board here is the link http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/35193-recently-watched-noir/page-2&do=findComment&comment=976656

Wow.  Apparently I need to watch The Dark Corner again.  I already returned it to Netflix; but the film was excellent enough to add a copy of it to my library.  While I got the basic plot stated in your first paragraph and I got the Cathcart hiring Stauffer to deal with Jardine situation.  I missed the whole Jardine/Galt/Stauffer situation and the blackmail scam plot point. 

 

Thank you explaining that crucial plot point! I (and apparently others here) appreciate it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow.  Apparently I need to watch The Dark Corner again.  I already returned it to Netflix; but the film was excellent enough to add a copy of it to my library.  While I got the basic plot stated in your first paragraph and I got the Cathcart hiring Stauffer to deal with Jardine situation.  I missed the whole Jardine/Galt/Stauffer situation and the blackmail scam plot point. 

 

Thank you explaining that crucial plot point! I (and apparently others here) appreciate it!

u

 

Speedracer, thank you for starting this thread. I too enjoy this film, and agree that it has a great cast, and have the.dvd, part of the Fox Film.Noir.series. The reason I am glad you.brought up.TDC,.is that for the last.couple of.days, I have been trying to figure out in which film there is a little girl who asks the detective/cop, "You can't get (SPOILER ALERT) Cascara (whatever that is) at a gallery, can you?", thereby allowing the protagonist to connect the clues. It was driving.me crazy...all I knew it was a 40s noir, but couldn't place the movie (I haven't seen the complete movie in awhile, usually just catching parts of it when its on Fox.Movie Channel).

 

PS.....Clifton.Webb always.played variations of.the same superior.snobbish charcter throughout.his talkie movie career. It is the reason that SITTING PRETTY.and.the subsequent Mr.Belvedere movies were so successful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

u

 

Speedracer, thank you for starting this thread. I too enjoy this film, and agree that it has a great cast, and have the.dvd, part of the Fox Film.Noir.series. The reason I am glad you.brought up.TDC,.is that for the last.couple of.days, I have been trying to figure out in which film there is a little girl who asks the detective/cop, "You can't get (SPOILER ALERT) Cascara (whatever that is) at a gallery, can you?", thereby allowing the protagonist to connect the clues. It was driving.me crazy...all I knew it was a 40s noir, but couldn't place the movie (I haven't seen the complete movie in awhile, usually just catching parts of it when its on Fox.Movie Channel).

 

PS.....Clifton.Webb always.played variations of.the same superior.snobbish charcter throughout.his talkie movie career. It is the reason that SITTING PRETTY.and.the subsequent Mr.Belvedere movies were so successful.

You're welcome Arturo! I just saw this for the first time last week.

 

I remember the little girl you're talking about.  I assumed she had so much information because she was always out in the hall and could eavesdrop in conversations? Her whistle was super annoying though.  Lol. 

 

I've seen Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty, The Dark Corner, Cheaper By the Dozen and Laura.  I agree he seems to have a type of character that he plays; but it is a good character.  He doesn't seem the type to be a smooth leading man, hilarious comic or heroic cowboy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're welcome Arturo! I just saw this for the first time last week.

 

I remember the little girl you're talking about.  I assumed she had so much information because she was always out in the hall and could eavesdrop in conversations? Her whistle was super annoying though.  Lol. 

 

I've seen Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty, The Dark Corner, Cheaper By the Dozen and Laura.  I agree he seems to have a type of character that he plays; but it is a good character.  He doesn't seem the type to be a smooth leading man, hilarious comic or heroic cowboy.

He's actually sort of very close to that type of a leading man in Titanic (1953)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Damn, I 've been wanting to comment on this film, its been a long time since I saw it and I was sure I had it on dvd , or a tape. But no luck. I do remember it was a good one,  if the lead had been someone more notable (although I think Mark Stevens did a good job) the film might get more recognition today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He's actually sort of very close to that type of a leading man in Titanic (1953)

 

Even in TITANIC, Clifton Webb plays a superior snob. Here, as in THE RAZOR'S EDGE, he plays an aristocrat contemptuous of America, a and Americans, the main reason wife Barbara Stanwyck is leaving him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched The Dark Corner last night.  It was really good.  I mainly got it for Lucille Ball; but I enjoyed seeing Clifton Webb and William Bendix as well.  I've been seeing more and more of Fox's film noirs in recent months and I'm really enjoying them.  I think Fox's niche in the 1940s was definitely film noir. 

 

Anyway, I wanted to get some plot clarification, like many of the film noirs, it takes repeated viewings to catch all the plot details and such and since this was a Netflix option, I wanted to send it back, so that I could get something else.  I've been trying to get The Killers for awhile now. 

 

Anyway:

 

**SPOILER ALERT!**

 

This how I understood the plot:

 

Bradford Galt (Mark Stevens) is an ex-con turned detective.  He suspects that someone is following him. His secretary Kathleen, (Lucille Ball) assists him in trying to figure out who is following him.  He finds out that the man following him goes by the name of Foss (William Bendix).  It turns out that Foss was hired by a man named Jardine (Kurt Kreuger) who was the one originally responsible for Galt going to jail in the first place.  At the same time, Jardine is having an affair with the wife of an art gallery owner, Cathcart (Clifton Webb).  Cathcart discovers that Jardine and his wife are having an affair and hires Foss who is really a criminal named Stauffer to take care of Jardine.  Galt sneaks into Jardine's apartment.  Stauffer kills Jardine, finds and ambushes Galt and knocks him out.  Stauffer then places the fireplace poker he used to kill Jardine into Galt's hand to frame him for the murder.  Galt comes to, and Kathleen promises to help him cover up the crime and figure out who really killed Jardine. Galt and Kathleen follow various leads including finding a the real Fred Foss who obviously has nothing to do with the whole situation.  Stauffer confronts his boss, Cathcart about being paid for the murder of Jardine and to save a few bucks, Cathcart pushes him out of a high rise window. Galt then ends up at the art gallery and pretends to be interested in some art.  He asks to speak with Cathcart.  Cathcart comes out, ready to take out Galt and he is shot to death by his wife

 

While the Cathcart storyline of him wanting to kill the man who is having the affair with his wife and then killing the hitman to keep from paying him makes sense to me...

 

Why did Jardine hire Foss/Stauffer to follow Galt in the first place when it didn't seem like there was any crime at first to pin on him?  I must have missed that part.

Has Lucy ever had a role remotely like the one in this film?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, Cid, I remember that now. Of course, Bendix wore the bright white suit on purpose, so Galt would know he was being tailed. As you said.

However, I can't quite remember why he wanted Galt to know. I mean, if Jardine wanted Stauffer to talk to Galt, why couldn't he just knock on the door of Galt's office and walk in?

Also, speedracer's original question still stands:

Why did Jardine have Galt tailed anyay? As I recall, it had something to do with how Jardine and Galt were former partners; there was some kind of illegal hanky panky for which Jardine was responsible but for which Galt, who was innocent, "took the rap" and spent some time in prison for Jardine's malfeason.

 

So, my impression was , now that Galt was free, Jardine feared revenge from him, and sent Stauffer to suss out what Galt was doing and thinking.

 

What adds to the confusion is that all this business with Jardine betraying Galt etc. took place before the film begins, and all we get is Stauffer and Galt talking about it when Galt confronts him (Stauffer.)

 

I dunno, it sounds pretty lame when I spell it all out like that. But then, the plots of noirs, as all we noir fans readily agree, are not the strongest feature of these movies.

 

In any case, I always enjoy watching William Bendix. He's also fun in The Blue Dahlia.

 

With regards to "Why did Jardine have Galt tailed anyway':   Jardine did NOT hire 'white suits' to tail Galt.  Instead Cathcart (Webb), hired him to make it look like Jardine had a tail on Galt.   This is why the Bendix character wears a white suit; so he can be spotted by Galt. 

 

Cathcart hires white-suit for this stunt hoping Galt will take revenge on Jardine.      What occured before with Galt and Jardine didn't have anything to do with the current plot expect to confuse Galt that MAYBE it did (again  which is why Cathcart hired white-suit for the phony tail job).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With regards to "Why did Jardine have Galt tailed anyway':   Jardine did NOT hire 'white suits' to tail Galt.  Instead Cathcart (Webb), hired him to make it look like Jardine had a tail on Galt.   This is why the Bendix character wears a white suit; so he can be spotted by Galt. 

 

Cathcart hires white-suit for this stunt hoping Galt will take revenge on Jardine.      What occured before with Galt and Jardine didn't have anything to do with the current plot expect to confuse Galt that MAYBE it did (again  which is why Cathcart hired white-suit for the phony tail job).

Wow.  I completely missed all this.  I'm definitely going to need to find a physical copy and re-watch.  It was a really good movie, I wouldn't mind having my own copy.  Fox seems to have definitely found their niche in the 1940s with all these amazing film noirs of theirs that I've seen recently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has Lucy ever had a role remotely like the one in this film?

I haven't seen it yet; but Lucy does appear in another film noir called Lured with George Sanders.  I have it at the top of my Netflix queue, (along with The Killers) and I haven't been able to get a copy yet; but I'm a fan of George Sanders and Lucy, so it's one I'd definitely like to see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't seen it yet; but Lucy does appear in another film noir called Lured with George Sanders.  I have it at the top of my Netflix queue, (along with The Killers) and I haven't been able to get a copy yet; but I'm a fan of George Sanders and Lucy, so it's one I'd definitely like to see.

 

I have seen this film and I recommend it.  Lucy and Sanders make a good team.   Boris Karloff and Charles Coburn are also in the film and it has it moments.   Since it is set in England some say the film isn't a true noir but more of a British crimie thriller.     Regardless of the label check it out.     

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't seen it yet; but Lucy does appear in another film noir called Lured with George Sanders.  I have it at the top of my Netflix queue, (along with The Killers) and I haven't been able to get a copy yet; but I'm a fan of George Sanders and Lucy, so it's one I'd definitely like to see.

I've seen it once and it's OK.  One thing is that it is a period piece, not modern if I remember correctly.  Victorian? I either saw it on TCM or FMC, so it does come up occasionally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen this film and I recommend it.  Lucy and Sanders make a good team.   Boris Karloff and Charles Coburn are also in the film and it has it moments.   Since it is set in England some say the film isn't a true noir but more of a British crimie thriller.     Regardless of the label check it out.     

It's difficult for me to visualize Lucille Ball and George Sanders interacting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...