Noir City, The Home Game: The Hunted, Call Northside 777 and Larceny

Yesterday’s matinee was THE HUNTED.

Hot blond on ice Belita is a Noir City favorite and I’ve written this one up (more than once.) When you’ve been in this racket as long as I have, you get to the point where you’ve seen pretty much everything. But that doesn’t matter, because that’s never gonna stop me from enjoying my yearly (and occasionally virtual) visit to the dark side of the street.

Still with me? Ok, let’s move on to CALL NORTHSIDE 777

An innocent man (Richard Conte) gets railroaded for a prohibition-era cop killing he didn’t commit and bulldog newspaper man Jimmy Stewart will stop at nothing to prove it.

This flick has a lot going for it. The vintage Chicago locations are superb and that alone makes it worth watching. Fellow Noirhounds will love seeing Betty Garde from CAGED as the hard-bitten bootlegger turned fingerwoman. I also love seeing vintage technology in these flicks and the bulky, slowpoke wirephoto machine used to transmit potentially exonerating photo enlargements made for a fascinating and suspenseful sequence at the end.

But it ain’t Noir. Conte’s character is way too saintly. The angle with his equally saintly Polish mom who put the eponymous classified ad in the paper, offering her hard-earned cash for proof that would help free her beloved son, is far too sickly-sweet. The fact that Stewart is skeptical at first doesn’t provide nearly enough salt to balance the sweetness and the final line “It’s a good world outside!” is the polar opposite of Joan Bennett’s “bitter little world” line from yesterday.

There are two other personally amusing elements I want to mention before moving on. I realize that this is a probably a bad thing for most people but I love a DocuNoir style voice over like the one that kicks off this flick, especially when the narrator tells you what people on screen are saying to each other, Creeping Terror style. “He told the general to go to hell!” Second, how about Conte shaking hands with his wife’s new husband at the end? “Thanks for fucking my wife for me while I was in the joint, pal!” A good world, indeed.

Our final feature of the night was LARCENY.

This is another film that I’ve written up before. It’s not great but trust me, all you need to know is that Dan Duryea is in it, playing a character named Silky (!) Randall. You see Duryea, you know you’re in Noir City. Mistress Christa says check it out!

Tonight’s double feature is I WALK ALONE and T-MEN!

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