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Monday, May 31, 2021

Born To Kill (1947)

A recent divorcee (Claire Trevor) finds herself attracted to a rugged loner (Lawrence Tierney) that she meets in Reno. That attraction doesn't stop even after he marries her rich sister (Audrey Long) and she finds out he's a psychopath. Based on the novel DEADLIER THAN THE MALE by James Gunn and directed by Robert Wise (WEST SIDE STORY). This is a perfect slice of film noir incorporating the usual elements of the genre. The film's femme fatale finds herself both fascinated and repelled by the loose cannon that Tierney is. Her big mistake however is thinking she can somehow control him and that underestimation will be her downfall. The film received mostly negative reviews when it originally opened but subsequent reevaluation in the ensuing years has placed it among the best noirs of its decade. The film is stolen by Esther Howard, who gives a sensational performance as a drunken landlady, the only character in the film I had sympathy for. A must for fans of the genre. With Walter Slezak, Elisha Cook Jr., Martha Hyer, Isabell Jewel, Ellen Corby and Kathryn Card.   

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