Movie Diary 3/20/2023

Repeat Performance (Alfred L. Werker, 1947). The concept is so strange, you wish the movie got a little more out there: Joan Leslie shoots rotten hubbie Louis Hayward dead in the opening scene (it’s midnight on New Year’s Eve), then wishes she could re-live the entire year; the wish is granted – rather nicely, the transition happens within a single shot. Werker isn’t stylist enough to bring the movie off, but there are some fancy shots along the way, and offbeat characters hanging around, including Richard Basehart’s gay-coded writer, Natalie Schafer’s wealthy patroness (she “keeps” Basehart’s character for a while), and a party girl who likes to guzzle sparkling burgundy (the mention of which brought back some fond memories of underage drinking). Joan Leslie, despite wearing one gown that resembles a discarded Riddler outfit, is a bland spot in the middle; luckily, Louis Hayward is in his rubber-faced sleazoid mode, and fans of this actor will want to check things out. (Do not sleep on House by the River.) Poor Tom Conway can only stand around mannikin-like, as the more stalwart male figure in Leslie’s life. The cynicism is interesting, and can’t be washed away even if things end well.


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