For the first time in forever I tuned into TCM’s Noir Alley and watched The Big Clock (last Friday), a film that has been on my to watch list almost as long as it’s been since I’ve watched Noir Alley. I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t exactly knocked off my feet, either. That’s okay.
<possible minor spoilers>
The film stars Ray Milland in a made-to-order noir protagonist’s role. He’s an investigative reporter for a crime rag with a knack for finding missing/wanted persons. He has an overbearing boss (Charles Laughton). And they both have an eye for the seductive blonde (Rita Johnson). Milland is, of course, married. The blonde is a bit of a femme fatale until she is murdered. And the ensuing cat and mouse game includes Milland’s character actually being faced with finding… himself. It’s a bit gonzo, but fun. And I may be the only person that feels this way, but I believe Milland was made to play a noir protagonist’s role. His facial expressions perfectly exhibit the tightening vise. (See The Lost Weekend!). Even so, Laughton steals the show as a truly despicable villain.
The Big Clock isn’t the purist of films noir, but I’m really not interested in that. It’s noir-ish enough, and it’s a fine (if not great) film.