Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cravat is a stupid word.

Last night I watched Somewhere in the Night. Pretty good piece of noir! All the right clues in all the right places, the kind of mystery I would love to be able to write. It's about a guy who returns from combat in World War II with amnesia, having taken a blow from a grenade. He has no idea who he is, apart from the name everyone's been calling him, George Taylor. The only clues he has to his identity are an angry letter in his wallet, and a briefcase left in storage for the 3 years he'd been gone containing a gun and a note about a $4,000 deposit, signed by "Larry Cravat." What an annoying name. But it's the only name he's got, and so he goes looking for the guy. Whenever he brings the name up to people around town, they give him strange looks and act like he's bad news. The name is bad news, as on his first night he gets trailed by shady-looking people, chased, kidnapped, and beaten up. The only person he can trust is a nightclub singer/pianist, Christy, who helps him by getting her friends, an entrepreneur and a police detective, to try to shed some light on the situation.

One thing I really liked about it is that the characters often made in-jokes about other movies of this kind. For instance, Christy told the detective (who had a very Chicagoan-New Yorkish accent even though the setting was L.A.) that he was the first detective she'd ever seen who never wore a hat. And he replied, "Yeah, I wonder why people think all detectives wear hats? Must be the movies." Very nice. I wanted her to ask why all detectives have Chicagoan-New Yorkish accents. And then there was the mysterious bad guy (I suppose he was the bad guy), who spoke with a sort of thick Hungarian accent. Him: "Pheelees! Hhhow nize uf yoo to zhjoin us!" Phyllis: "Oh, stop talking like Bela Lugosi." Ha! I love a good Bela Lugosi joke.

There's also some catty innuendo between Christy and Phyllis, too, and you know that's always fun.

The biggest problem I had with the movie was that the leading man's head was shaped kinda funny. I know, I know, very superficial, but it was distracting. He also had a bad mustache. And there's nothing worse than a leading man with a funny-shaped head and a bad mustache. Maybe if he'd shaved off the mustache he wouldn't have looked so bad. ...Oops. The actor died while shaving.

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