January 4, 2014

This Gun For Hire (1942)

This Gun For Hire, the 1942 film noir, is at times hopelessly propagandized, ridiculously out-dated, magically tuneful, screamingly over-the-top and miraculously riveting. In the film that made him a star (and with a part that belies his fourth billing), Alan Ladd creates the template for hired killers by stroking kittens, slapping women, killing men and seeking revenge while packing an unstoppable punch; the monologue in which Ladd recounts a battered childhood was an emotionally draining experience for both of us. Veronica Lake is the sultry songstress who becomes his redemption and Robert Preston is her guy and although you always know how this one will end, the last twenty or so minutes is a nicely paced, pulse-racing chase scene with great black and white cinematography that is not as expected.

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