Alan Ladd’s first major screen appearance, a tepid thriller with Barbara Stanwyck and Errol Flynn and a wicked satire from Italian film director Pietro Germi hightlight this week’s short takes.
This Gun For Hire (1942) Frank Tuttle
Alan Ladd is a nasty hired killer out for revenge after he is paid off in marked bills and he soon finds the police are quickly on his tail. Based on a novel by Grahame Greene, the movie comes across as one part foreign intrigue and two parts a noir crime film. Ladd is good as the pretty boy killer, with a soft spot for cats, who inadvertently becomes involved with a group selling chemical secrets to the Japanese. Veronica Lake is recruited by a senate committee to help expose the men selling the secrets becomes mixed up in the police hunt for Ladd. Ladd’s killer eventually finds redemption through Lake’s character who befriends him. This was the first teaming of the handsome Ladd and the gentle soft beauty of sexy Veronica Lake. It’s also the film that made Ladd a star. The memorable Laird Cregar, so good in “Hangover Square” and “The Lodger,” makes for an interesting weasel like neurotic criminal. I admittedly have always found Robert Preston, here he play the police Lieutenant in charge of the case, rather dull and he does nothing here to change my mind. Continue reading