Movie Diary 3/24/2009

crime2Crime of Passion (Gerd Oswald, 1957). There is no bad Stanwyck, and Crime of Passion has even more going for it: some good noir photography by Joseph LaShelle, Raymond Burr in excellent purring form, and a straight-on critique of Fifties social conventions. Stanwyck plays a newspaperwoman, all wisecracky edges and ambition, who falls hard for honest L.A. cop Sterling Hayden; stultified at playing wifey with his Eisenhower-infused friends, she plots his rise through the LAPD. Interestingly enough, you’re with her all the way — the movie barely bothers to note that this might not be quite right. Hayden’s on autopilot, like a good offensive lineman clearing the way for Babs, but he’s still Hayden, blowing smoke through his nostrils and taking up half the space in whatever room he’s in. Stanwyck is on point, and you know the movie isn’t going to domesticate her character; she’s too hardcore for that.

Skills Like This (Monty Miranda, 2007). Won the audience award at the SXSW Film Festival in 2007, and that should tell you something. (full review 4/3)