Monday, February 11, 2013

Edgar Ulmer's Strange Illusion, Claude Chabrol's Merci Pour Le Chocolat

So I watched a B movie, Strange Illusion, made in 1945, directed by Edgar Ulmer, a film noir based loosely on Hamlet, starring Jimmy Lydon, the kid who played Henry Aldrich in that series.

Lydon plays Paul, a teenager who for some reason is spending the night in a cabin with his psychology professor. He has a terrible dream! His mother is dating a new fellow! Nothing happens in the dream to indicate anything bad about this, although he does has a flashback to his father's death in an accident at a railroad crossing.

The movie wasn't that bad. The acting wasn't great, but the performances had their charm.

"Hey, Vixen. What's mixin'," Jimmy Lydon says when he calls his girlfriend from a sanitarium. "Are you missin' my kissin'?"

I watched it not long after seeing Claude Chabrol's Merci Pour Le Chocolat. It reminded me of that movie a little. They're about wealthy families. In each, an amateur sleuth starts collecting evidence even though they have no reason to really suspect anything, and they were both rather talkie and they were both about rich young people looking into their rich elders' marriages/marriage plans. They both had tennis and piano playing. And they both put their characters through the crucible of polite social interaction.

But Ulmer's movie, if he was to be believed, was filmed in six days on a 2:1 ratio. It was made for PRC, the most impoverished of the Poverty Row studios.

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