Unfortunately, I was not able to make yesterday’s matinee with Denise Hamilton, but I was there for the night’s Geraldine Fitzgerald double feature. First the wonderful Three Strangers.
I’ve seen this one several times and love it. This may be the only film where Peter Lorre gets the girl (except maybe M, but that’s a whole other thing.) Which made a lot more sense once Muller explained that the part was originally written for Bogart and remained unchanged after Lorre got the role.
A superstitious woman engineers an anonymous encounter with an alcoholic dreamer mixed up in a hold up (Lorre) and an ambitious lawyer with a serious cash flow problem (Greenstreet) in order to fulfill an ancient legend about a Chinese goddess who will grant the mutual wish of three strangers at midnight on Chinese New Year. They agree to wish for money and split a sweepstakes ticket. Their wishes are fulfilled in unexpected ways and, because it’s Noir City, things quickly get ugly.
This one isn’t hard to come by, so I recommend you seek it out.
The night’s special guest was Geraldine Fitzgerald’s son Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and he had plenty of stories to share about his glamorous mother. The one that tormented me was that Fitzgerald had been up for the role Brigid O’Shaughnessy in Maltese Falcon. She claimed she turned it down because her best friend had an affair with Huston and was treated badly, but the truth was that she was always in dutch with the studio and they wouldn’t loan her out. I really hate Mary Astor in that role, and Fitzgerald would have been perfect.
The second Fitzgerald feature was Nobody Lives Forever.
At first, I thought I hadn’t seen this one, but as soon as I heard that opening voice over where the hospitalized Garfield is longing for New York City, I realized I was wrong. I’ve been having quite a bit of New York nostalgia myself lately.
Garfield plays a con man and ex GI who got injured in the war and is ready to go straight. But when he comes home to his apartment and his girl, things have changed and not for the better. Angry and disillusioned, he takes off for L.A. where he gets invited to join a big money scam to fleece a rich widow, played by Fitzgerald. But he ends up falling for the widow and starts to get second thoughts about the con, only his fellow scammers aren’t willing to let the big fish go.
Lots of great character actors in this one too, including Walter “Ever get bit by a dead bee?” Brennan and George Tobias. It’s a little bit on the lighter, more romantic side of Noir City, but still lots of fun. Plus I love foxy Faye Emerson’s wardrobe, particularly that almost fetish-style pin striped suit with bustier detailing. Of course I can’t find a photo of that suit, but here’s another one of her hot outfits for your enjoyment:
Tonight is the last day of the festival, and we’re going out with a bang. Two back to back double features! In the afternoon it’s Circumstantial Evidence and Sign of the Ram then in the evening we cap it off with a Marsha Hunt double bill of the ultra rare Mary Ryan, Detective and Kid Glove Killer.