Monday, April 22, 2013

Tonight's Movie: The Crooked Web (1955)

THE CROOKED WEB is a rather silly minor film noir, though it does have a bit of nifty location photography and a couple surprising plot twists in its favor.

Stan (Frank Lovejoy) is a low-key nice guy who runs a drive-in coffee shop and is in love with Joanie (Mari Blanchard), one of his carhops. Joanie's brother Frank (Richard Denning) shows up in town with a get-rich-quick scheme involving gold stolen and hidden away during WWII. Stan, who wants to persuade Joanie to marry him, is eager to buy in to the deal and make some fast money. Nothing, however, is quite what it seems.

There are a couple big plot twists in the first half hour or so of the movie which make it interesting, although the characters' reactions to certain things are confusingly inexplicable until their true histories and motivations are revealed. After that the movie bogs down in its elaborate plot and the fact that none of the characters are very appealing, nor are they very smart. A couple characters repeatedly risk disclosing their true identities, and their self-centered stupidity lessens their appeal. All in all, this is a fairly long 77 minutes despite featuring Frank Lovejoy, a favorite of mine.

One of the things that does make the movie worth seeing is Stan's fabulous drive-in. A review provided the info that the drive-in seen in the movie was actually called Stan's and was located in Hollywood. Here's a great photo.

The director of the film was Nathan Juran, whose films previously reviewed here include GUNSMOKE (1953), LAW AND ORDER (1953), and HIGHWAY DRAGNET (1954).

This was the last feature film written by Lou Breslow, who was best known as a comedy writer.

THE CROOKED WEB is available on DVD in the Sony Choice MOD line as a single title or as part of the five-film Film Noir Collection, Volume 1. Among the other films in the set is THE CASE AGAINST BROOKLYN (1958), reviewed here last May.

May 2019 Update: This film will be released on Blu-ray in July 2019 as part of the Noir Archive 9-Film Collection, Volume 2.


Blogger Vienna said...

I like this film simply because it's unusual for Frank Lovejoy to have a leading role.
And the plot twist regarding the three main characters (Lovejoy, Mari Blanchard and Richard Denning) was quite a surprise.
But I feel Frank Lovejoy might have suited more the part played by Richard Denning.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I agree! I think Denning and Lovejoy should have flipped parts and it would have worked better for me. :)

Best wishes,

11:52 PM  
Blogger Elliot James said...

The plot twist was unique. It fooled me.

4:04 PM  

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