Once again, a fairly high-quality installment; it really belongs over in “Black and White World,” since it has murder and noir elements, but this section is different. This is for movies so unloved or regretted that they were allowed to slip into public domain So:
If you’re thinking that “Impact” the movie was based on “Impact” the book: no. But what is that book? We shall see.
There’s a rather redundant name. It’s like Mike Smallmike. Michelet was also known as Michel Levine, which suggests he changed his name for the usual reasons. What, me, a Jew, in Hollywood? Why such a crazy thing you should think I am? Perhaps he was escaping anti-Semitism in his homeland - he was born in Kiev under the Tsars, after all. Died in 1995; his ashes are here.
Not a particularly memorable score - it sounds like they paid him by the yard.
I wonder if the Leo Popkin who wrote the lyrics was related to the Harry Popkin who had the producing credit a few frames above You think there’s a chance? The song doesn’t appear anywhere in the movie, as far as I can tell. Certainly not the deathless lyrics of brother Leo. In any case, Leo would go on to produce “DOA,” a great noir that pops up in the “100 Mysteries” series. As of today, April 3rd 2009, he’s still alive - 85 years old.
The movie opens with crackling energy, as our hero - Walter Williams, a Randian titan-of-industry type - strides to the boardroom and calms the cackling of some contentious old men. This is the sort of room that looks good in black and white - although I’m not sure about that object in the left-hand corner. What is that?
It's a lamp. Apparently they bought a few, because it shows up in another scene. No, the audience wouldn't notice THIS:
The industrialist has a faitthless wife, and she's trying to have him bumped off so she can run away with her greasy, sneering lover. This requires a variety of exterior scenes - rare for a movie in the "100 Mysteries" collection, most of which are shot on sets. I'm assuming this isn't a set, but as San Franciso:
Those cars, that Rexall sign - fine inadvertant documentary of post-war SF. Note the "V" Cafe. For Victory, no doubt. I wonder how tired they got of the V after the war was over, and how soon.
The murder is interrupted, but the sleazy boyfriend thinks he's done the job. He also thinks he's been seen. He's panicked. He’s not thinking right. He’s barreling down the twisty roads with heedless speed, his body flooded with an excess of adrenalin. Unfortunately for him, a large, convenient plot device is heading his way:
If you’re wondering how much they could afford in the way of FX, well, this much: (mouse over for controls, if you don't see them already.)
Landing on an area already pre-soaked with accelerants: bummer.
Without going into too much detail, the industrialist survives; the murderer dies, but his body is mistaken for the industrialist. The hero wanders the back roads untl he finds a small town where he can rest and decide what to do next. I'm not telling you anything it doesn't say on the back of the box. Since the wife is obviously a bad romantic model, let's introduce someone else to heat up the action. A Ravishing Mechanic:
Ella Raines. When she puts down the wrench and take off the overalls, though, she's all woman! Also part Princess Leia:
But a wealthy Industrialist can't stay hidden forever; sooner or later he must confront what his wife has done. Trials result. Let's go right to the studio for a report from our roving yodeling reporter:
Check out the video below. When she said her name, I figured she might have been somebody - aside from a broadcaster who didn't know how to hit all the mikes, that is. She was somebody. You're looking at the woman was the last companion of the man who wrote "The Great Gatsby." Sheilah Graham, one of the great three nationally syndicated gossip columnists.
Not a bad movie. The print is sharp enough to enjoy street shots like these:
Got enough streetlights there?
Oh, one more thing. What's that book in the credits?