Sunday, August 16, 2015
Noir Suspense Watch: Beware, My Lovely (1952)
There's nothing much complicated about Beware, My Lovely (1952). But it works.
Based on a short story and play by the same person who wrote the screenplay, Mel Dinelli, the movie takes place in 1918 in the wake of WWI. Ida Lupino plays a war widow who now runs a boarding house (so, don't actually expect to see Lupino's plunging neckline as in the poster, which... tamp it back a bit, poster artist.). Robert Ryan, an actor who I like more and more with every movie, is a day-laborer she's hired to get some cleaning and work done around her gigantic Queen Anne-style house.
Oh, and he's totally crazy. Memory lapses and a desire to kill perfectly nice ladies seems to be the overriding set of symptoms of whatever's ailing him. So, it's more or less a good hour of Lupino realizing this dude is going to kill her and keeping herself alive by managing to stay a step ahead of him and trying to tell her idiotic neighbors that this dude is going to kill her.
It's pure suspense, has a brief running time and Lupino and Ryan, so what's not to like?
It does seem this movie has been made over and over, with a recent example being the Idris Elba/ Taraji Henson film, No Good Deed (2014). But, you know, it's a pretty primal fear, so it's inherently interesting. I mean, every time Jamie has to let someone into the house to fix the AC or whatever, I'm always like "oh gosh, what if they do something to my comics?".
Poor, helpless comics.