Monday, February 22, 2016

EXchange names on screen

Diane Schirf sent these stills from The Blue Dahlia (dir. George Marshall, 1946). That’s Helen Morrison (played by Doris Dowling) placing a call, and Johnny Morrison (Alan Ladd) taking dictation and using a pay telephone. YOrk. HIllside. PAy. YAy. But it looks like poor Johnny has reached the voice of the future: “Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line,” &c.

A telephone exchange name is not a necessary condition for a satisfactory film experience, but it may be sufficient, if you’re me. To heck with plot.

Diane Schirf is a fine writer and photographer. I especially like the writing she’s done about what she calls “relics”: clotheslines, push reel lawnmowers, telephone booths, and other vanishing realities. Thanks, Diane.

More exchange names on screen
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse : Baby Face : Blast of Silence : Boardwalk Empire : Born Yesterday : The Dark Corner : Deception : Dick Tracy’s Deception : Dream House : East Side, West Side : The Little Giant : The Man Who Cheated Himself : Modern Marvels : Murder, My Sweet : My Week with Marilyn : Naked City (1) : Naked City (2) : Naked City (3) : Naked City (4) : Naked City (5) : Naked City (6) : Naked City (7) : Nightmare Alley : The Public Enemy : Railroaded! : Side Street : Sweet Smell of Success : Tension : This Gun for Hire

comments: 2

Slywy said...

Thank you! Adequate is what I strive for.

Someone on IMDB said Doris Dowling would have made a great Cruella de Ville. (Not a Disney fan, so can't say.) The Blue Dahlia is what I'd call a "film gris" — it's dark, but not dark like Richard Widmark gigging while pushing an elderly invalid down the stairs. Film noir light? Veronica ("Moronica" per Raymond Chandler isn't that mysterious, and everyone else is bland. No one makes me shiver. Except perhaps Cruella, I mean, the victim.

On the other hand, the name reminded me of the Black Dahlia murder, which was as grim as a murder can get — especially as it's unsolved (I have my suspicions). Turns out the Black Dahlia was named for the movie by someone with an imperfect memory.

Michael Leddy said...

I like Veronica Lake in Sullivan’s Travels, but I’d agree: she doesn’t seem to have noir-ness. Or at least I can’t think of a movie in which she does.

“Film gris” could add some truth in labeling. So many movies get called noir when they’re not. I think it’s become a term of marketing.