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Monday, November 29, 2010

Portrait In Black (1960)

Set in San Francisco, the beautiful but unhappy wife (Lana Turner) of a shipping magnate (Lloyd Nolan) falls in love with her husband's doctor (Anthony Quinn). Together, they plot and carry out her husband's murder but soon after mysterious letters arrive accusing them. Plot wise, it has the seeds of a typical film noir, what with the adulterous wife and her lover bumping off her in the way spouse. But as produced by the wizard of plush known as Ross Hunter, instead of B&W it's in bright Technicolor and Lana Turner suffers in diamonds, mink and a glamorous Jean Louis wardrobe. Directed by Michael Gordon (PILLOW TALK), it's a pleasing mixture of film noir and melodrama with a generous dose of soap. There's a marvelous Frank Skinner score, one of his very best, with the shimmering cinematography courtesy of Sirk's sorcerer of the camera, Russell Metty. With Sandra Dee, Richard Basehart, Lloyd Nolan, John Saxon, Ray Walston, Virginia Grey and Anna May Wong.

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