Friday, January 24, 2014


Brasher doubloon578.jpg

Ed here: This is a very long piece on the actors and director of The Brasher Dubloon. A real piece of Hwood history that I enjoyed.

Posted by Moira Finnie on February 18, 2009   FROM MOVIE MORLOCKS

“How I hate the summer winds. They come in suddenly off the Mojave Desert, and you can taste the sand for days.”
This is the promising voice-over one hears at the beginning of what may be the least known cinematic adaptation of one of Raymond Chandler‘s Philip Marlowe stories.  Made into a Michael Shayne mystery starring Lloyd Nolan in 1942′s Time To Kill, the author, still peeved at his story’s treatment in that decent, if workmanlike version and further miffed that he had no more income from any other movies made by the studio that owned the rights to the story, 20th Century Fox reportedly hoped to cash in on the ‘craze’ for crime stories set in the still exotic environs of a dark tinted Los Angeles following the great popularity of such films as Murder, My Sweet and The Big  Sleep.
George Montgomery, at 30, was one of the youngest actors cast to play the character in the movies, is seen in this opening scene approaching an ominously photographed mansion buffeted by the dry, swirling Santa Ana winds pushing the gnarled trees that surround the house against the walls. As he approaches the door, a sylph-like figure admits him into the house, swallowing him up in the same way that this movie seems to have been subsumed in a cinematic vault.
Never having been issued commercially on dvd and only broadcast rarely to the best of my knowledge, I was eager to see this movie when a friend recently lent it to me. In this case, The High Window, Chandler‘s third novel, published  in 1942, was fashioned by the stylish director John Brahm and his scenarists Dorothy Bennett and Leonard Praskins into a 72 minute dash through various film noir motifs and presented to a waiting public in the form of 20th Century Fox’s The Brasher Doubloon (1947). You have some of the same atmospheric elements of the other popular movies made from Chandler‘s novels in that period. Actually, after watching this movie recently, I started to wonder if the filmmakers at 20th Century Fox got together around this time to put together a film noir kit with ingredients that should have resulted in a memorable classic. Perhaps this hypothetical film noir kit might have been planned out neatly at a few production meetings that might have gone something like this…

The filmmakers knew that the following items were needed:
1.) A Detective to play Philip Marlowe
In retrospect, I admit that I’ve grown to like the callow George Montgomery‘s breezy style. After growing up seeing this skilled cabinet maker hawk wood polish on the tube, it was news to me that he was also an actor with a once-viable career.

Today, as my ongoing cinematic education continues,  I’ve begun to enjoy his appearances. The musical delights and petty conflicts of Orchestra Wives (1942), the wartime romance and campiness of China Girl (1942), and Montgomery‘s ironic and funny turn in Roxie Hart (1942), as well as the many Westerns the Montana native made, have taught me that he was much more than singer Dinah Shore‘s ex-husband. Before being seduced into a Hollywood sojourn, his first career choice had been as an interior designer, an artistic path he later happily returned to with considerable success as he became a well known sculptor as well as craftsman.
Still, he was a strapping 6 feet plus presence and he had a good baritone–which is used particularly well for the voice-overs that are sprinkled throughout the narrative of this movie–but I must confess that I had moments of longing for the gravitas, the curdled romanticism and a certain ragged gallantry that the much older Dick Powell and Humphrey Bogart brought to the part of gumshoe Philip Marlowe so effortlessly. Of course, this may be because they were the first Marlowes I knew.  In Raymond Chandler‘s books, his creation is described as “slightly over six feet tall and weighs about 190 pounds” with an insubordinate air. The writer also mentioned once that “I think [Marlowe] might seduce a duchess, and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin.” This iconoclastic knight errant with a personal sense of honor and a fresh mouth does find expression in Montgomery‘s tender efforts at seducing the skittish girl in this story, but he never quite inhabits the role for me.

for the ret go here:

1 comment:

Evan Lewis said...

I have most of the posters from this film, but have yet to see the danged thing. The most impressive poster is the 3-sheet, shown here: