The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "This Gun for Hire"

I was so distracted when I started to sketch this strip. I had to remind myself that I was reviewing a movie, not its history.  This Gun for Hire is a classic Noir film. So I made Noir the theme of my strip. But there is so much more in This Gun for Hire than just being Noir that I want to talk about the elements that made this movie a hit. The director, Frank Tuttle, was known for his work on comedy and Noir, so there are light bits of humor that come across as honest. Our heroine, played by Veronica Lake, looks marvelous throughout because Edith Head was in charge of her wardrobe.  While Robert Preston, an actor who would be popular in a large number of films, was cast as the leading man, it would be Alan Ladd who would steal this movie in a role that made his career. The screen chemistry between Ladd and Lake would be captured in later films. Then there’s Laird Cregar. This film is filled with lots of strong character actors. I love character actors. And I love it when their talent is recognized and they are taken out of character roles. Cregar was just such an actor. His talent was undeniable, and his onscreen presence brought a film to life. He was on his way up. If you’re wondering why he isn’t a household name, it’s because he died tragically at the young age of 31 in 1944. This is why I was getting distracted. Everyone involved with this production did good work and This Gun for Hire’s success was because of that good work. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that the movie poster for This Gun for Hire’s movie poster is a stellar design that has been emulated many times. 


Chip Gorman said...

Just happened to watch it this weekend after it finally came to the top of the Netflix queue and found this in my (long unread) RSS feeds. I enjoyed the movie, though not the best Graham Greene adaptation ever. I'm surprised to hear that Laird Creagar died at 31--I'd have guessed he was in his 40s when I watched the movie! Thanks for reviewing it! I enjoy these.

PooBahSpiel said...

Because of his large build, both in height and weight Laird Creagar had no problem playing older rolls. In his last few pictures his weight loss was transforming him into tall and suave. But, he was pushing his body too hard. He was one of the first actors to do a stomach staple surgery, that along with the weight loss pills of the day - basically speed - was too much for his heart.