The Big Clock (1948)
The AFI just ended their annual Noir City retrospective last night. I was able to catch eleven of the films this year (it wasn’t enough, it’s never enough) and my favorite of the bunch was The Big Clock. It’s pitch-perfect noir: funny, snappy dialogue, expressionist set pieces, cinematography by John Seitz (who also shot Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard among many others)… this is great stuff. Charles Laughton’s villainous publishing magnate is clearly sleeping with his scarred henchman George MacCready. Laughton’s real-life wife Elsa Lanchester plays a surrealist artist who gets all of the best lines. A young Harry Morgan sneaks in as a gun thug who also works as a masseuse on the side. (Or maybe it’s the other way around?) This is a noir film for people who think that they don’t like noir.