söndag, juni 13, 2010

This Gun for Hire

This film takes place in San Francisco, where the blackmailer Albert Baker (Frank Ferguson) and his girlfriend are killed by a remorseless hit man called Raven (Alan Ladd).
Raven, in turn, is double-crossed by his anonymous employer, Willard Gates (Laird Cregar), who pays him with marked bills. During the exchange, an acquaintance of Gates greets him, revealing his identity to Raven. Gates later reports to Los Angeles Police Detective Michael Crane (Robert Preston) that the money was stolen from the company where he works, Nitro Chemical. Raven learns he has been set up and decides to get revenge.
Gates, who also owns a Los Angeles nightclub, hires Ellen Graham (Veronica Lake), a singer, unaware that she is Crane's girlfriend.
Gates and Ellen board a train for Los Angeles but on that train we also find Raven.
By chance, the only empty seat Raven can find is beside Ellen. The next morning, Gates find them sleeping side by side. He wires ahead. Raven spots the waiting police and forces Ellen at gunpoint to help him escape. He is about to kill her in an abandoned building when they are interrupted by some workmen, allowing Ellen to flee. She tries to contact her boyfriend, but he is traveling back to Los Angeles.
Later on Raven and Ellen become acquainted and they trade information. On the same time she appeal to Raven not to kill Gates but in the end when Raven makes it to Gates company he forces himself in and coerce Raven to take him to Brewster (Tully Marshall), the mastermind behind a plan to sell a formula to poison gas to the Japanese, they all die.

The film is a somewhat 'classic' (this hackneyed word) 'film noir' and as such a very intriguing and suspensful piece of work, displaying most ingredients being an essential part of a film of this kind.
Good actors and good acting with - as often - some clichés incorporated in the plot but this is almost something one take for granted and maybe something we see more clearly today than at the time when 'This Gun for Hire' was made.
Director: Frank Tuttle.

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