Monday, February 29, 2016

The Spider (1945)

Was able to watch a poor quality copy of this yesterday, it's nothing special but it's rare. Directed by Robert D. Webb Starring Richard Conte, Faye Marlowe, Kurt Kreuger (The Dark Corner 1946), Ann Savage (Detour 1945), Mantan Moreland, John Harvey, Martin Kosleck and Walter Sande. Interesting low budget film that was Richard Conte's first Noir, set in New Orleans. He plays a private detective who is hired to retrieve a letter for a client. The letter is held by his sometime partner Ann Savage who unfortunately is soon murdered. Mantan Moreland provides some eye popping stereotypical shtick as Conte's associate. It does have some nice noirish cinematography but it really isn't anything to actively seek out, it's more for noir aficionados. 5/10

Noirish Creole Bar

Ann Savage and Richard Conte

Kurt Kreuger

Mantan Moreland and Richard Conte



A nice review from IMDb:

Don't watch it for Ann Savage; she's the first to go 6/10 stars
by bmacv (Western New York)

Pretty much the only thing you think while watching The Spider is that it's too bad Ann Savage kissed the dust about seven minutes into it. Playing the enterprising partner of New Orleans private investigator Richard Conte whose attempt at extortion sets the plot in motion, she gives the film an initial jolt of deadly femininity that the rest of the movie sorely needs.

Lovely but less prepossessing Faye Marlowe is the mysterious client who hands Conte a diamond brooch, engaging him to retrieve an envelope. It contains evidence obtained by Savage that Marlowe's missing sister was in fact murdered, but Conte doesn't know this, or the identity of the woman who hired him under a false name. He finds out that she's part of a phony spiritualist act with arachnoid sets and get-ups (hence the movie's title). The sister, who could pass as her twin, was part of the illusion. In order to solve Savage's murder (to name just one), Conte must burrow back to 1940, using old newspaper clippings and hotel registers, to unravel the earlier killing.

Short and plot-laden, The Spider borrows, or steals, piecemeal from earlier successes (a shakedown in Conte's office harks back to Joel Cairo and Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, as does Marlowe's pseudonymous identity). The presence of Conte and Savage (however abbreviated) has led some viewers to chuck this movie under the rubric `film noir;' that may be stretching things. (The New Orleans locales stay strictly generic, which is a shame, as it may be the only such film set in The Big Easy, unless the even more dubious Glory Alley is admitted.) The Spider is an entertaining enough crime programmer that even a second scene spotlighting Savage would have helped mightily.

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