Thursday, September 30, 2021

Noir Watch: Hell Bound (1957)

Watched:  09/30/2021
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  William J. Hole  Jr. (what a name)

Confession - I sort of 3/4ths watched Hell Bound (1957).  I watched it from beginning to end, but was checking email and whatnot.  

It's a low-budget/ poverty-rowish crime caper, complete with post-Naked City heavy-handed voice-over in a bizarre film-within-a-film conceit.  It's a heist picture, and I genuinely wish I'd paid more attention (and will rewatch at some point), as this one does a surprisingly good job of setting up "here's how the heist will go" and "here's how none of those carefully planned steps worked out" as the characters pursue their own vices and agendas.  Classic heist stuff.

In some ways, heist pictures and books speak to me as a Project Manager.  It's a funky angle, but there's always a plan you're supposed to be sticking to, and then the job becomes about wrangling cats and dealing with unforeseen complications.  You can plan, but God laughs, etc...

You're mostly not going to know the talent.  There's a "that guy" I think I know from Dark Passage, but everyone else was a bit of a mystery.  The movie does give a role to Miss January 1957, and she's good!  She went on to a long career (and married one of Ozzie Nelson's kids for a while).  

Mostly - it's got some great street-level photography of Los Angeles, some of it probably shot guerilla style.  But especially the back 1/3rd has some memorable stuff as our lead antagonist runs like hell through industrial ports and junk yard (seeing the stacked street cars waiting to be scrapped is a punishing image).  

Anyway - I'll definitely rewatch at some point.   

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