The Dark Corner

dark cornerClassic film noir from the 1946 film, The Dark Corner starring Lucille Ball (yes, that Lucy), Mark Stevens, and Clifton Webb. Sure there’s sexism. And hardcore gender binary roles. But Lucille Ball’s Kathleen proves not only strong, but leads Mark Stevens’ Brad right to where he needs to be. She’s not just a cheerleader. She mends his suit jacket, but also becomes his equal partner. And she’s in charge of the pace of their romantic relationship. Clifton Webb plays Hardy Cathcart, a snarky, controlling, fastidious heterosexual who owns an art gallery – surprise casting. Of course he treats his wife as an object, a possession. The wife played by Cathy Downs has a lover, Kurt Kreuger’s Jardine knows what she really needs. Today this is all thinly veiled homophobia, but in 1946 I wonder how many people bothered to deconstruct any Webb’s roles. Certainly there was a message. Real men triumph over evil effete men. Still The Dark Corner nails the film noir genre perfectly. It would be fun to create modern-day film noir with all we now know about gender and sexuality: Film noir soup! The camp could be intentional. It would be loads of fun. Meanwhile, what fun it is to watch Lucille Ball in a dramatic role. She really is a natural. The Dark Corner gets a 3.5 out of 5.

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