Friday, October 25, 2013

F is for..

The Fake (1953) is one of those B movie programmers I love so much, this one British and post-war. It starts down on the docks on a foggy night. A ship is unloading crates of fine artwork, when a fight breaks out and someone swaps crates. Our hero, American private eye Dennis O'Keefe, goes after the crooks, along with bumbling British inspector Guy Middleton. This section is pretty much film noir.

O'Keefe is keeping an eye on a priceless Da Vinci for its American owner while it is on loan at the Tate Gallery. Two other Da Vincis had been stolen with fakes left in their place. In the course of his investigation he begins to suspect an eccentric old painter, John Laurie. The trouble is, he is chasing Laurie's daughter, Colleen Grey, for a different purpose. This comes off almost as romantic comedy. Rom-com and noir - two of my favorites.

In addition, some of the film is actually shot in the Tate Gallery, which was full of modern art. That gives the whole thing a little twist of sophistication - not that there are beatniks in berets or beat chicks in leotards, but it was interesting to see a Brancusi or Moore in the background instead of the usual naked marble lady.

Now, I wouldn't say this was a good movie - a "classic". At 80 minutes, I might even say it was a little too long - one of the best things about these movies is that they don't keep you up too late. But if you like this sort of thing, you'll find this to be the sort of thing that you like.

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