It’s Ladies’ Night in Noir City because today’s triple bill features flicks that focus on the female POV. I’ve seen and written up all three, but I’m always down for a rewatch. Especially my all time favorite prison film, CAGED!
First up, THE PROWLER.
You can read my original (or maybe second?) write up here.
High on my list of must-see noir favorites and highly recommended, I love every minute of this sleazy, sexy movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, remedy that shit pronto.
“I’ll be seeing you, Susan.”
Next up, THE ACCUSED.
Ok so my feelings on this one are a lot more complicated. Go read my original write up and then come back so we can dig a little deeper.
I really needed to give it a second watch to revisit some of my initial impressions because I found out that star Loretta Young opened up late in life and admitted that a famous “affair” she had with Clark Gable on an earlier movie set, one that resulted in an illegitimate daughter, had actually been non-consensual. Knowing what she had been through before making ACCUSED, I thought it deserved a fresh perspective. I can see now that the fear of scandal and being ruined professionally experienced by her character in the film obviously resonated with her, but would it ultimately make the film more enjoyable for me?
I think the reason that I disliked it so much the first time is because it claims to reveal the inner workings of a woman’s mind, but comes off more (on the surface, anyway) like a sexist male psychiatrist’s dissertation on why bitches be crazy. Hint: because they are frigid and neurotic and therefore failed to “catch” a man before they aged up into an unfuckable spinster.
This character is surrounded and defined by men who seem to know her better than she knows herself. The rapist wrote about her in his test, cutting easily through her cool, professional veneer to reveal the needy fearful female she really is. The hard boiled detective likes her for the killing from the get go and is able to stay one step ahead of her. The morbid forensic analyst at the end tricks her into bludgeoning the weird clay head because women are so emotional, you know.
But now I’m second guessing my first impressions. Was all this surface level sexism some kind of sly wink from female writers June Truesdell and Ketti Frings? When her date says that her “brains don’t show at all” in her pretty new dress, is that supposed to be a real compliment or are the writers just highlighting yet another micro (macro?) aggression that a woman like Professor Tuttle would have to deal with every day? Not unlike the lecture that she gets from the truck driver about having run away from what is assumed to be a date rape situation, because that kind of backseat “wresting match” is so common and normal and her own fault anyway.
Now I’m wondering if, like many noir era films with a queer subtext, maybe there isn’t a similarly subtextual message here. What do you think?
I think I need another watch.
Last but never fucking least, CAGED!
Tonight, for the final night of this year’s Noir City Hollywood festival, it’s THE UNDERWORLD STORY, NO WAY OUT and THE BREAKING POINT!