Sunday, January 31, 2010

Decoy (1946)

Dir: Jack Bernhard
Warner DVD

If you were to watch the short fluff piece that accompanies the movie, you would probably think you were in for a real treat. A forgotten cult classic if you will (how something can be forgotten and a classic, the world may never know). What you would actually get is one of the silliest, clunkiest film noir I have ever seen and as an added bonus, tons of fake diabolical laughter. The absolutely ridiculous story follows a gold-digging sociopath, played by the overly animated Jean Gillie, whose boyfriend is about to die by gas chamber and only he knows where four hundred thousand bucks they stole is hidden. She then gets the clever idea that she can find a drug that will counteract the poison gas and a doctor that she can seduce into reviving the guy. Guess what, both of those preposterous things happen! She also enlists another gangster type to help finance this scheme so they can grab the 400k for themselves. So, in the best scene in the film, the dope doc revives the dead crook a la Dr. Frankenstein, and the guy rises his fists to the sky screaming, "I LIVE!!!". Now if only the film had gone full sci-fi at this point and he would've become a zombie or C.H.U.D. then we would be talking about a certifiable classic, but no such luck. The convoluted story has our guy and gal crook talk this guy into getting plastic surgery and writing a map for where the money is in case he dies. After he agrees and writes down directions, they shoot him immediately, hysterical. The rest of the movie is filled with typical double-crosses as everyone tries to get the dough. Made by one the poverty row studios, this was probably picked up by Warners as a supporting feature, it's interesting that it is included on the same disc as Crime Wave since the screen writer of Decoy was one the stars of that movie, Ned Young (a victim of the Communist Blacklisting as well) and one hopes the only reason they were paired together since they have nothing stylistically or thematically in common.


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