I went to the final matinee of the San Francisco Film Noir Festival today, and now it is time to wrap things up. Of the 22 films that were presented, there were five movies that I didn't have time to see and three that I saw on DVD before the festival --Ace in the Hole, The Big Clock, and Slightly Scarlet.
Among those, which did I consider the the best? Desperate, Two O'Clock Courage, Deadline U.S.A., Night Editor, Scandal Sheet, Chicago Deadline, Wicked as they Come, Sweet Smell of Success, Ace in the Hole, The Big Clock, and The Killers made the festival worthwhile.
Among the bad guys in these films, there were a few well known actors from Escape who stood out: Berry Kroeger in Chicago Deadline, Ted de Corsia in Slighly Scarlet, and William Conrad as a hitman in The Killers. As good as they were, Raymond Burr,a familiar voice from Suspense, played a seriously menacing bad guy in Desperate, one that you wouldn't want coming after you!
Of course the bad guy gets it in the end, but how the bad guy gets his payback can really put that final artistic flourish on a film. In Chicago Deadline, Berry Kroeger gets gunned down by Alan Ladd in a parking garage, and in Slightly Scarlet Ted DeCorsia gets harpooned by Rhonda Fleming, but Raymond Burr got the best bad-guy payback in Desperate. After being shot, his body falls down, down, down the center of a dark stairwell right at the stroke of midnight, the very same minute that his brother is getting the electric chair for killing a cop. Good stuff! You can't pull of endings like that on radio... but where would these films be without these great radio actors?
Aside from those mentioned previously, other familar radio actors that popped up were Escape's Lawrence Dobkin and Suspense's Lurene Tuttle, who both have bit parts in Sweet Smell of Success. Suspense's June Havoc co-starred in Chicago Deadline, and William Conrad co-starred in the swamp drama Cry of the Hunted.
So, that is the end of our foray into the world of film noir in search of our favorite radio actors (and writers). We'll see what they come up with next year!