© 1946 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The Dark Corner (1946)

The Dark Corner is remarkable for any number of reasons. First and foremost, it is a well-made film noir that is unfortunately not nearly as well-known or seen as many other works from the genre. The plot, about a private detective framed for a murder, is average for a noir, but there are some great lines here and there and the cinematography and direction add some genuine suspense. Secondly, it features a 30-year-old Lucille Ball in a non-comedy role not long before she went on to become the queen of television. It is great to see Ball as a quick-witted—and sultry!—secretary who plays Girl Friday to the private detective who employs her. Mark Stevens holds the appropriate balance between tough guy and tortured soul as her employer and there are great performances in the supporting cast, including William Bendix and as a gruff thug and Clifton Webb, who is getting to be something of a favorite of mine, as a smarmy art collector who marries a woman who looks just like the one who appears in his favorite painting. The connection between this disparate collection of characters is sometimes hastily explained, but who cares when you have such great characters.

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