Noir City Film Festival was a particularly great opportunity for fans of Alan Ladd to enjoy some of his movies.
The festival kicked off with Ladd in THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942) and a few days later featured a brand-new print of CALCUTTA (1947), both of which I enjoyed immensely.
Thursday's double bill included another Ladd film which was brand-new to me, CHICAGO DEADLINE (1949). It was screened in a great-looking 35mm print.
CHICAGO DEADLINE is "newspaper noir," with Ladd starring as Ed Adams, a reporter investigating the life of a young woman named Rosita (Donna Reed). As the movie begins, Rosita is found dead of tuberculosis in a rundown boarding house.
Ladd and Reed had costarred the previous year in BEYOND GLORY (1948), but they don't have any scenes together in this film. Reed's screen time is quite limited, and her character remains enigmatic throughout, with little chance for Reed to establish her as a character. She's the woman everyone talks about, yet the viewer doesn't really know her or understand her motivations.
The larger plot, with many characters and multiple flashbacks, gets rather convoluted at times, but no matter, as Ladd is onscreen a majority of the time and the story keeps barreling forward, climaxing in a well-staged shootout in a garage. Despite the film's deficiencies, I found it quite an enjoyable 86 minutes.
Arthur Kennedy plays Rosita's brother, with June Havoc, Shepperd Strudwick, Irene Hervey, Gavin Muir, and John Beal a few of the people in Rosita's orbit.
The supporting cast includes Margaret Field, Kasey Rogers, Roy Roberts, Arthur Space, Marietta Canty, and Tom Powers.
CHICAGO DEADLINE was directed by Lewis Allen (THE UNINVITED) and filmed in black and white by John F. Seitz.
CHICAGO DEADLINE is not on VHS or DVD.