Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just Another Western Film Noir Romance War Propaganda Film

Tomorrow We Live, 1942, directed by Edgar Ulmer, is a bit of a mess. Basically a gangster film, it throws in a western setting, a love triangle and several patriotic WWII speeches, just to keep you off balance.

Ulmer is probably best known for the dark film noir masterpiece, Detour. He came to Hollywood from Germany (born in Moravia) in the same bunch as Billy Wilder and Curt and Robert Siodmak. However, he stole the wife of Max Alexander, one of studio boss Carl Laemmle's relatives, and he was nearly blackballed. He made mostly low-budget B-movies with Poverty Row studio PRC. Some of these movies are well-loved today.

This one, not so much.

Young Jean Parker has dropped out of college because she's worried about her dad, Pops (played by Emmet Lynn, one of those chinless guys with glasses and a moustache that's always called Pops). It seems that the gangster they call "The Ghost" has been supporting Pops' dingy diner in some western desert town.The Ghost is played by Ricardo Cortez, who was the first (?) Sam Spade. He runs a swank nightclub (in the same western desert town as Pops' diner?) and collects dames and trouble.

He is about to collect Parker, when her ex-boyfriend, William Marshall, shows up. They broke up when he enlisted, so he represents wholesome American values. You can guess how it ends (SPOILER: with a patriotic montage).

This is a pretty messy movie with some decent camerawork. Some scenes never go anywhere, like the opening mustang stampede (stock footage to establish the locale?), or the Ghost's moll, who was a stage psychic - but after that's established, she doesn't have any more lines.

Still, if you love B-movies, you'll at least like this one. If you don't, it's short.

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