Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Loretta Young in Cause for Alarm 1951

Second in our series on film noir is this dark little gem. Loretta Young plays a wife taking care of her invalid husband. His incapacitating disease has started to affect his mind and she and his doctor become the target of his increasing ire. He believes they are plotting against him, attempting to kill him, so he takes action by composing a letter to the prosecuting attorney claiming as much and saying that, should he not survive, they were the cause of it. After getting his wife to mail the letter and confronting her with what she just sent, he attempts to shoot her and then promptly drops dead. What's she to do?! Loretta Young is not the first actress you think of when you think of film noir. This circumstance, however, fits her persona perfectly and also fits beautifully into the genre. The setting is a bright, sunny California day, but the story line is dark as night.

This is one of those films that sort of slips through the cracks. I first saw it on TCM, but it tends to blend in with all the other titles and get lost in the shuffle. It's worth seeking out, however. The entire film is uploaded to YouTube in one large file. You can watch it above, thanks to sdfilmcritic. You can also find it on the Hollywood Bombshells Collection DVD set and occasionally on TCM.

Obscurity factor: 5 (available on DVD and YouTube, occasionally screened on TCM, largely forgotten)

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