Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tonight's Movie: The Web (1947) at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival

The new-to-me film I most looked forward to at this year's Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival was THE WEB (1947), and it did not disappoint.

THE WEB, a Universal Pictures film not available on DVD, stars one of my favorite actors, Edmond O'Brien. The sterling cast also including Ella Raines, William Bendix, and Vincent Price. That cast slinging around great William Bowers dialogue in an engrossing story made the film a winner for me.

O'Brien plays attorney Bob Regan, who's hired by business tycoon Andrew Colby (Price) as a bodyguard when a former Colby employee, Kroner (Fritz Leiber) is released from jail. How an attorney like Regan ends up as an unlikely bodyguard is a bit of a story, but it involves a $5000 payday and the opportunity to romance Colby's beautiful assistant Noel, played by Raines. Regan should have lived by the old adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Sure enough, very quickly Kroner shows up at Colby's house and Regan walks in on him apparently trying to kill Colby, so Regan shoots and kills Kroner with the gun which had been provided by his employer.

Regan's pal on the police force, Lt. Damico (Bendix), had warned Regan about taking the job even while approving his gun permit. The shooting of Kroner is ruled justifiable...but Damico still harbors suspicions about it, and Regan increasingly feels as though he'd been set up.

While both Regan and Damico try to unravel what actually happened, Regan romances Noel, whose initial resistance finally begins to melt...right around the time she and Regan are both framed for murder by their boss, Colby.

This movie was simply grand fun. O'Brien is at his most appealing and engaging, Raines has a good part as a self-confident, beautiful woman, Price is slimy as can be, and Bendix is just as cagey as you hope he'll turn out to be.

The script by Bowers and Bertram Millhauser, based on a story by Harry Kurnitz, has lots of great lines, and the playing of the characters is such fun that it distracts from some of the odder aspects of the story, such as: Why on earth is Raines' personal assistant living with Price? And Bendix's final plotting is...not very believable, though I suppose the outcome makes up for that.

The movie was directed by Michael Gordon and filmed in black and white by Irving Glassberg. It runs 87 well-paced minutes.

After the movie Vincent Price's daughter Victoria was interviewed by festival host Alan K. Rode. You can read a little more about that at the end of my Friday overview.

THE WEB is a film I'd love to see come out on DVD, as I'd definitely like to watch it again. Fingers crossed for a future release!

2021 Update: Great news! THE WEB will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by Kino Lorber in July 2021.  My review of the Blu-ray disc is here.


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

A very good noir, Laura, and your review certainly reflects that! This one really cries out for a DVD (at least) release, doesn't it? O'Brien was at hsi peak in this period AND in this type of movie. So glad it didn't disappoint!

7:07 AM  
Blogger Margot Shelby said...

This is a great little movie. O'Brian and Raines have good chemistry.

"Why on earth is Raines' personal assistant living with Price?"
I'd say she's more than just his PA. She went on vacation with him.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Even with all the movies we have available to us on home video/DVD/Blu-ray, there are still so many that elude us! this is sure one I hope shows up eventually. Totally agree, Jerry, O'Brien was at his peak in the late '40s (and early '50s).

One does wonder about that, Margot! Price also had another assistant living there but they sure didn't seem properly chaperoned (grin).

Best wishes,

9:37 PM  

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