Film Noir Friday – The Big Clock

bigclock     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.

— TD

 

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