(Open Thread) Noir Side Street — “Hit and Run”

Nouvelle Vague (the residues of alphaville). Photo by Emiliano Grusovin.

We welcome back Eddie Muller and his Noir Alley segments on TCM with the premiere of 1957’s “Hit and Run,” starring Hugo Haas (Gus Hilmer), Cleo Moore (Julie), Vince Edwards (Frankie), Dolores Reed (Circus Lion Tamer), Mara Lea (Anita; credited as Mari Lea), Pat Goldin (Undertaker), and John Zaremba (Doctor). Produced by Hugo Haas. Directed by Hugo Haas; cinematography by Walter Strenge. Distributed by United Artists. Music by Franz Steininger. Written by Hugo Haas, from a story by Herbert O. Phillips.

Hugo Haas emigrated to America from Czechoslovakia in the 1930s as many other Europeans in the arts did, to avoid the Nazis. He had been a respected actor and filmmaker in his native land, and became a stage actor here. Later he went to Hollywood. He created his own production company, and using his own money, made his first film in the US.

Though his films were made on a shoestring budget (cost was usually less than $100,000), this one didn’t look low rent. Haas used Cleo Moore in seven of his films; “Hit and Run” was the last one.

Though Eddie talked this one down, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Hubby and I watched this together this morning (I’d already seen it when it aired at midnight), and he really liked Cleo Moore’s performance.

As for the story, it’s a love triangle tale (similar to “Double Indemnity” and “The Postman Always Rings Twice”), but it had an interesting twist that sets it apart from most.

As with many such stories, Gus is a mature man who’s well-off. He falls for a show girl and proposes to her while in a drunken state. But his friend, sidekick, and employee Frankie manages to get Gus home before things go any further. A few days later, the show girl–Julie–drops by, looking to take Gus up on his offer to find her an affordable car. But Gus doesn’t have anything on hand for her.

The two end up marrying soon thereafter, much to Frankie’s disapproval. And thus the stage is set for tragedy and ruination…

If you’d like to watch the movie, you can do so here:

Julie isn’t a femme fatale, unlike the women in most such stories. But she ends up in a bind when Frankie decides he’s going to give Fate a helping hand.

As I said, I enjoyed this one. A solid four out of five unfiltered cigarette puffs.

Next week’s film will be “Obsession” (released in the US as “The Hidden Room.”) BTW, they’re featuring film noir and neo-noir movies all this month, mostly on the weekends, starting on Friday. Be sure to check the TCM listings for films and times.

As always, this is an open thread, so feel free to discuss whatever you like in the comments below.

And remember: if a guy you barely know offers to give you a car, politely decline!

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