This Gun For Hire and Quiet Please Murder

It’s that time of year again, Faustketeers. Time for our yearly vacation to not-so-sunny Noir City. We kicked off the festival with a kinktastic double bill full of thigh-high boots, bondage and overt masochism. It’s like they programed this one just for me!

First, we had crime writer Renee Patrick (aka Vince and Rosemarie Keenan) as special guests. If you haven’t read their series in which legendary costume designer Edith Head gets mixed up in murder, what are you waiting for? Start here.

The Keenans joined Czar of Noir Eddie Muller to introduce the first flick This Gun For Hire, featuring stunning (and did I mention kinky?) costume design by their very own protagonist. They shared some backstory about Edith’s intimate relationship with tiny dynamo Veronica Lake, who she described as the smallest normal adult she’d ever met.

I love this film, despite its flaws, and you can read my earlier write up here. (Scroll down – or read through – the Great Gatsby review to get to it.)

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Bondage! Cross-dressing! Gas masks! Veronica Lake doing a fishing-themed nightclub number in a sexy black raincoat and thigh-high boots! This one is a must see for perverts and Noir Hounds alike.

Speaking of perverts, man that second feature.

I’d never even heard of Quiet Please Murder, and I can’t believe I’ve survived this long without this film in my life.

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Rare book heist set in a library? Check.

Icy, ruthless femme fatale? Check.

Saucy librarian? Check.

Multiple overt BDSM references about the pleasures of pain, torture and handcuffs? Check.

Nazi punching? Check.

How can I not love this film?

Ok, to be fair, there are a lot of issues. The first and most ironic in a double bill with an Edith Head production, is the costuming. Particularly Gail Patrick’s outfit for the extended library scenes:

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Seriously WTF is up with that ghastly hat and cheap, tacky dress? Was it a Phantom Lady type of deal, where Ella Raines was trying to look cheap on purpose in order to seduce Elisha Cook Jr? No idea, but if ever a movie needed Edith, it was this one.

Also, the long-winded psychological monologues from George Sander’s pervy forger got a little tiresome, though he more than makes up for it when he practically busts a nut in police handcuffs.

All flaws aside, I loved that nearly everybody in this film is somewhere along the gray spectrum of not-so-good guys. The real hero is the librarian, whose brains, moxie and fidelity to her army boyfriend make her the only genuinely likable character.

I’ve said it before and don’t plan to stop saying it any time soon: I love the Film Noir Foundation, because they don’t just play the hits. Not that we don’t love seeing all our old favorites on the big screen but it’s deep cuts like this one that make attending this festival such a pleasure.

So if you love film noir as much as I do, and you like reading my write ups and playing along at home, please throw them a couple of bones to help preserve these flicks for future generations.

Up next, Ministry of Fear and Address Unknown. Hope to see you there.

 

 

 

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One Response to This Gun For Hire and Quiet Please Murder

  1. mike schlesinger says:

    In fairness to Ms. Patrick’s outfit, it’s important to remember that by and large, the actors in B-pictures just wore whatever was sitting around in the costume department; the budgets seldom allowed for new duds. Besides, Richard Day’s library sets and Joe MacDonald’s sublime photography were so splendid that I’m willing to cut them some slack on the dress. Of course, I’m also a guy, and men generally don’t care about clothes–yours or ours. ­čÖé

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