Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Iron Man (1951) at the Noir City Film Festival

On the final Saturday night of this year's Noir City Film Festival, the double bill began with THE MAN WHO CHEATED HIMSELF (1950) and concluded with IRON MAN (1951).

IRON MAN was not actually a film noir, but the festival had the opportunity to show a beautiful new 35mm print from Universal. I don't think anyone minded that it strayed from the festival theme, especially as it starred noir regular Evelyn Keyes along with an excellent cast!

IRON MAN was based on a novel by W.R. Burnett, whose novels were the basis of many film noir titles, and it was a loose remake of a 1931 film of the same name. Jeff Chandler stars as "Coke" Mason, a coal miner who aspires to open his own radio shop and marry his girlfriend Rose (Keyes).

Coke's brother George (Stephen McNally) convinces him to take up professional boxing as a way to make some quick money. Coke is extremely successful, but there's just one problem -- when he's in the ring he turns into the equivalent of a mad dog. He wins, but he's scary and no one likes him. Boxing audiences instead like Coke's friend, nice guy boxer "Speed" (Rock Hudson).

IRON MAN is a fast-paced film at 81 minutes, a fairly entertaining mid-range drama melding sports with the stories of people from a hardscrabble town. It may fall a bit short in helping the viewer completely understand everyone's motivations, but Chandler is strong as the troubled title character, and the concluding match he fights opposite Hudson is moving. Fans of Chandler and the cast will want to check it out. Also appearing in the movie are Jim Backus, James Arness, and Joyce Holden.

IRON MAN was directed by Joseph Pevney. Pevney also directed the "not really noir" boxing film FLESH AND FURY (1952), another new Universal print which was screened at last year's festival.

The movie was filmed by Carl Guthrie.

IRON MAN is available on DVD-R in the Universal Vault Series.

Coming soon: A look at the final night of this year's Noir City Hollywood festival, featuring a terrific double bill of THE BIG HEAT (1953) and WICKED WOMAN (1953).


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Iron Man certainly does sound like something I would like to check out. Thanks for the tip.

6:03 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Sure thing! I hope you get to see it, you'll love the cast.

Best wishes,

12:49 AM  

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