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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Whirlpool (1949)

Although married to a successful psychoanalyst (Richard Conte), a woman (Gene Tierney) is a kleptomaniac. When she is caught by a store detective (Ian MacDonald) for stealing an expensive broach, she is saved by the interference of a fashionable hypnotist (Jose Ferrer). But she goes from the frying pan into the fire as blackmail and murder enter the picture. Many perfectly fine motion pictures require a suspension of disbelief. Loopholes or flaws that defy logic are pushed aside because in the bigger picture, the artistry or the entertainment value of the film exceeds the implausibility of the narrative. That being said, the plot of WHIRLPOOL is so preposterous, so ludicrous that no amount of suspension of disbelief is possible! Based on the METHINKS THE LADY by Guy Endore, the characters act in such stupid and gullible ways that one just shakes his head in disbelief. The director Otto Preminger does a more than serviceable job and the cast is good (well, maybe not Ferrer) but to no avail. Still, the film does have a cult reputation among film noir enthusiasts. David Raksin's underscore helps a little. With Charles Bickford, Constance Collier, Barbara O'Neil, Fortunio Bonanova, Larry Keating and Eduard Franz. 

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