Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Open Secret": an example of old indie film noir

Open Secret”, directed by John Reinhardt, is a good example of “independent film” and very simple film noir from the 1940s, distributed originally by Eagle-Lion and produced by Marathon Pictures.

The title refers to anti-Semitism in an unnamed city in the 1940s. A couple of newyleds, the Lesters (John Ireland and Jane Randolph) come back to a friend’s apartment, and find it just burglarized (through an open window) and the friend missing, and quickly track down a ring of anti-Semites who don’t hide their hatred.  There is a curious scriot line about the police now allowing a "precinct Hitler" to operate. I suppose the title of the film would remind us of the concept “don’t ask don’t tell” in today’s world.

The simplicity of the sets, and the reliance on brute force sound effects and quick confrontations (particularly the use of screams, almost anticipating “Psycho”) almost brings to mind David Lynch today, as well as, more obviously. Alfred Hitchcock.

The DVD does have a lot of film noise.

I wonder if the film could become a midnight cult classic in arthouses.

Plaxin Productions “Film Noir” demonstration short on YouTube (Andrew Rowe, Jake Dunbar)

It looks like you can watch the entire public domain feature “D.O.A.” on YouTube free.

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