Noir City Hollywood, the Home Game: THE MIND READER and IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND

Silence! I’m receiving a message from beyond the veil… the spirits are speaking to me… and I predict…

A triple bill of Spook Racket Noir!


In this case, it’s more like proto-noir by way of a romantic comedy. This is a cynical, racy little pre-code flick from 1933 that features a phony psychic trying to go straight for the girl he loves. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t go so well for either one of them.

This isn’t a great movie. I mean sure, it’s entertaining enough, with sharp, crackling dialog and plenty of sex, drugs and violence. It even has a suicidal cameo by the scrappy, hard-drinking ex Mrs. Bogart, Mayo Methot. But overall, it just didn’t send me.

Moving on to a film that does send me, IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND.

Here we have another sleazeball psychic preying on rich, gullible women, and this time his marks are hand picked by his devoted girlfriend who works in an upscale beauty parlor. When she feeds him a hot tip on a recent widow with a tempting inheritance, the psychic finds himself pulled inexorably down into the classic Film Noir spiral of greed, lust and murder.

Leticia Palma is delicious and unforgettable as the cold-hearted, wasp-waisted widow.

Not only is she a fucking hammer, she knows what’s up.

Mrs. Ada Romano belongs in the Femme Fatale hall of fame, and if you love Film Noir and you’ve somehow lived this long without seeing this movie, I don’t even know what you’re doing with your life.

I’ve written it up once before, after a previous watch without subtitles, but my Spanish just isn’t fluent enough to fully appreciate how good it really is. Lucky for both of us, it seems to be more widely available now and you can watch it with English subtitles here.

As with the first weekend, I’m splitting up the triple features into two separate posts. Write up on NIGHTMARE ALLEY coming later today. Then, it’s on the last triple feature of 2024 with UNDER THE GUN, NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL, and LE SAMOURAÏ!

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