|Daliesque title sequence|
Bizarre Noir, directed by John Frankenheimer (The Young Savages (1961), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), The Train (1964)), written by Lewis John Carlino (The Mechanic (1972)) based on the novel by David Ely. The excellent cinematography was by James Wong Howe (Nora Prentiss (1947), Body and Soul (1947). He Ran All the Way (1951), Sweet Smell of Success (1957)) and the music was by Jerry Goldsmith (Seven Days in May (1964), The Satan Bug (1965)).
The film stars Rock Hudson (Undertow (1949), One Way Street (1950), ) as Antiochus "Tony" Wilson, Salome Jens (Angel Baby (1961)) as Nora Marcus, John Randolph (The Naked City (1948), Fourteen Hours (1951), Serpico (1973), ) as Arthur Hamilton, Will Geer (The Tall Target (1951), In Cold Blood (1967)) as Old Man, Jeff Corey (The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), The Gangster (1947), Fourteen Hours (1951), In Cold Blood (1967), ) as Mr. Ruby,
Richard Anderson (The People Against O'Hara (1951), Forbidden Planet (1956)) as Dr. Innes, Frances Reid as Emily Hamilton, Khigh Dhiegh (The Manchurian Candidate (1962)) as Davalo, and Murray Hamilton (The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963). The Untouchables TV Series (1959–1963), The Graduate (1967), The Drowning Pool (1975)) as Charlie Evans.
|Arthur Hamilton (Randolph)|
|Grand Central Terminal concourse|
That night Charlie calls again, he describes Artie's fireplace mantel, their tennis picture, the tennis trophy with the crude inscription they scratched in its base "fidelis eternis". Charlie tells Artie to show up it's a new chance at life and he's to tell them his name is Wilson.
|34 Lafayette St.|
The address is a rat hole dry cleaner. They send Artie to a meat packer. They put him in the back of a truck and take him to loading dock at the back of a nondescript building.
"The Company." It's a warren of bleak corridors that finally lead to a secretary who then gives him a drink and leaves him in an empty office, sitting on a sofa. In a surreal sequence, Artie stumbles into a room and approaches a girl on a bed, he falls on her and she screams. He wakes up and he's back on the sofa. It was a dream.
A Mr. Ruby (Corey) enters, gives him the details of the contract. $30,000 will get him a fake death and a new life with a new identity a second life. They tell him that his wife will be generously provided for. When Artie seems hesitant Ruby asks him what does he have now? To force the issue and coerce Artie, Ruby shows him a movie of Artie's assault on the woman, it wasn't a dream. Artie signs. Artie next meets "The Old Man" (Geer) who comes off as the folksie "Colonel Sanders" of re-birth. They tell him that they'll arrange his death in a hotel fire, they have a "fresh" corpse ready to take his place.
|Mr. Ruby (Corey)|
|The Old Man (Geer) and Artie|
|Artie transformed into Tony (Hudson)|
|new digs new life|
|Tony/Artie and Nora (Jens)|
East meets West, meets Crazy. He's now an rich artist, with a manservant. He meets Nora (Jens) and they begin a relationship. They changed him on the outside but not on the inside. Things are a bit too "Far Out" for Tony/Artie in the Age of Aquarius.
The community he's in, he realizes too late, is full of "reborns." At a cocktail party Tony/Artie gets smashed and begins to talk too much, revealing who he actually is. This was a big no, no. He also finds out that Nora and his manservant where employees of the company.
|Tony/Artie spills the beans|
Tony/Artie heads back to New York accompanied by his manservant, he wants a different rebirth, but he firsts goes to visit Emily as a painting acquaintance of Artie.
|reunion with Emily|
Emily Hamilton: You see, Arthur had been dead a long, long time before they found him in that hotel room.
After the reunion with Emily he goes back to the company and told that he must recommend a new client for them. He tells Ruby that he can't think of anyone. Ruby then tells him to wait until they can provide a new identity. In the "waiting" room he meets his old friend Charlie.
|Charlie (Hamilton )|
Tony/Artie doesn't have long to wait for his trip to Noirsville.
Both John Randolph and Rock Hudson are excellent. The rest of the cast, some with Classic Film Noir creds, provide some cinematic memory to the film.
The film does an excellent job right from the get go in the Daliesque title sequence of providing the Surrealistic tone for the whole film. Experimental POV camera shots disorient the viewer and draw you fully into the bizarre riff on Murder Incorporated. Paned at the time of release the film was just too ahead of it's time. A new Criterion release is available. 8/10