Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Black Widow |
Fox Film Noir
Actors: Ginger Rogers, Gene Tierney
Genres: Classics, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: NR Release Date: 11-MAR-2008 Media Type: DVD
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Fun mystery set in the theatre world
Film Buff Chris | Doylestown, PA United States | 12/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Black Widow" is an entertaining 1950s murder mystery set in the world of theatre, and written and directed by Nunnally Johnson, who made a number of good movies at that time ("How to Marry a Millionaire," "Night People," "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," "The Three Faces of Eve"). It stars Van Heflin, Gene Tierney, Ginger Rogers, George Raft, and Peggy Ann Garner as sort of the Eve Harrington of the cast.
(Amazon's habit of listing the cast alphabetically is very misleading. Mabel Albertson has a small part, Reginald Gardiner plays Ginger Roger's husband. But Harry Carter and Richard H. Cutting play policeman, listed on imdb.com, but they are also "uncredited" in the film! So it's totally misleading to see those names at the top of the page.) (Note: this complaint has been corrected on this page, but I decided to leave it because I do note the same issue in other listings, where unknown actors in tiny roles are listed because they're first in the alphabet.)
So that little parenthetical complaint aside, it's a small but fun film. The milieu of theatre is entertaining, with Peggy Ann Garner someone on the way up (or hoping to be), and managing to hang out with successful writers and actors, and starting to seduce several of them. Heflin is the serious husband/playwright and a bit of a patsy, Tierney is the "good wife," and Ginger Rogers is fun as the grande dame actress who annoys everyone a bit. Peggy Ann Garner was the little girl so good in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." This is one of her adult roles, and she does a good job. It's not a classic, but an entertaining B film with some A list stars and some good dialogue from Mr. Johnson. I'm glad it's going to be out on dvd."
Glossy And Stylish Murder Mystery Set Against New York's Gla
Simon Davis | 04/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What a joy it was to discover that this rarely seen 1950's murder mystery set against the glamour, ambition and back stabbing ruthlessness of New York's Theatre world was finally making it to a DVD release! Often mistakenly referred to as a "Film Noir", "Black Widow", really doesn't fit that bill at all, saturated as it is in glorious colour photography, dazzling costumes, and larger than life characters that are far removed from the types normally associated with the "Noir" genre of movie making. Aside from that minor point "Black Widow", is tremendously entertaining and boasts a superb cast of actors and actresses from Hollywood's Golden Age in a story in some respects in a similiar vein to the legendary "All About Eve". It has the added twist of a murder mystery complete with plenty of Red Herrings thrown in for good measure that really does keep you guessing if you haven't viewed the film before. One of the great surprises of "Black Widow", for me was seeing the sublime Ginger Rogers in one of her most showy,( and I might add very non-traditional for her) later roles from the time when her film career was beginning to wind down. This role for Ginger couldn't be further removed from the beloved characters she famously brought to life at RKO Studios in the 1930's opposite the legendary Fred Astaire. She is a bitchy delight here as the catty and acid tongued "Margo Channing-like", Diva who among a cast including Van Heflin, Gene Tierney, Reginald Gardiner, and Otto Kruger, is a suspect in the murder of aspiring young writer Peggy Ann Garner in the very heart of New York's elite and glamourous Theatre world..........."
Not noir, but not bad
R. Gale | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, although this is part of the Fox Noir series, it's not noir. It's shot in color, brightly lit, mostly done on stages, and has no "hard boiled" or low life characters. It's a slick "Who done it," and a reasonably enjoyable one. You can read some of the other reviews for more details on the story and cast. Fox gives us a nice bunch of extras in this DVD -- good commentary and two nice featurettes on Gene Tierney and Ginger Rogers. It's far from a classic, but it's a pleasant way to spend an evening."
More puce than noir
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 05/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The year after the success of HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE Nunnally Johnson did another Cinemascope feature for Twentieth-Century Fox that this time featured two fabulous Manhattan swank and spacious apartments instead of just the one. Although BLACK WIDOW (the ill-fitting title is never explained) has been released for DVD as part of the Fox Noir series, there's almost nothing noir about it (except for one sequence, probably the best in the film, when the murder victim's hanged body is discovered); it's more of a melodramatic whodunit populated with many of Fox's slightly over-the-hill stars from the era, like Ginger Rogers, Gene Tierney, George Raft, and Van Heflin. The story (which like the direction is by Johnson) is extremely awkwardly constructed, and involves a very young writer (Peggy Ann Garner, giving the best performance in the film) whom Heflin takes into his life because of her apparent sweetness and naivete: only after she dies does he begin to see her story was much more complex than he had figured.
This is more of an ensemble piece than a star vehicle but Ginger Rogers, as a gossipy and catty theater diva, still dominates. She gives the part her all and is quite excellent in her final scenes, but she is almost singularly miscast in a part that was originally intended for Tallulah Bankhead. There's not much competition from the other performers: Gene Tierney is almost completely wasted, Raft gives an annoying one-note performance, and Reginald Gardiner is even more hilariously miscast than Rogers. He's supposed to be her "kept" husband--a kind of boytoy--, even though he's over fifty, fancies ugly ascots and has about zero muscle tone in his entire body. The film's real star might be said to be not even Rogers but rather its elaborate color scheme of blues, lavenders, roses, and (especially) puce."