Monday, August 3, 2015

Hollow Triumph (1948)

(SLWB -  October 21, 2011 reposted 9/23/2017)

The Hollow Triumph, aka - The Scar, aka - The Man Who Murdered Himself, take your pick
Directed by Steve Sekely (The Day of the Triffids (1963)). The cinematography by John Alton (director of photography) practically insures great visuals in what I've come to call "sewerscope". This film is another visual gem. The Music was by Sol Kaplan. 

The film stars Paul Henreid (two Classic Noir) as John Muller / Dr. Victor Emil Bartok, Joan Bennett (four Classic Noir) as Evelyn Hahn, Eduard Franz as Frederick Muller, Leslie Brooks as Virginia Taylor, and Jack Webb as "Bullseye" 

A film that, it seems, the producers at Eagle-Lion couldn't decide on a title. The three different variations can be seen on the posters to the left. 

Story line is, John Muller (Paul Henreid), boy genius, medical school dropout and a supposedly brilliant criminal mastermind, has been released from prison. He plans with three accomplices a holdup at an illegal gambling casino. The gangster who runs the casino has a reputation for being a vicious killer and he's well known for tracking down and whacking his enemies, no matter how far they go or how long they hide. When the robbery goes bad due to the outside lights turning back on at an inopportune time Two of the gang are captured and the mobsters waste no time finding out exactly who tried to rob them

John Muller (Paul Henreid)

The Heist


Muller decides to leave town and lie low. While hiding out from the mob, he takes an office job recommended by his brother (Franz) but he quickly decides that an honest  living is not for him. An opportunity for a new direction comes to mind when he finds out that he's the exact look-a-like of the psychologist Dr Bartok - the only difference is the doctor has a large scar on the side of his face. He plans to kill the man and take over his life. Joan Bennett is the psychologist's nurse/receptionist with whom he has an affair while studying up on Bartok, and Leslie Brooks is Bartok's girlfriend.

Of course it all goes Noirsville.


Virginia Taylor (Leslie Brooks)

Evelyn Hahn (Joan Bennett)

Bullseye (Jack Webb) and Helper ( Dick Wessel)

Angels Flight and 3rd Street Tunnel
This film has a couple of nice twists that I won't give away, a great chase scene through LA's Bunker Hill section that actually involves the well known Film Noir archetype the Angels Flight funicular. Its biggest problem is the cast, Henreid and Bennett just don't quite spark, another of the usual suspect Noir leads would have made this more well known, possibly. Henreid just doesn't quite cut it, he's too cool to play alienated or obsessed.

Brooks has a walk on part as the secret girlfriend of Dr. Bartok, that Muller unexpectedly finds out about, this and other story points should have been emphasized more, as it is way too much time is wasted on the setup. Still a 7/10, shown on TCM, available on DVD.

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