Friday, March 31, 2017

Tell Me In The Sunlight (1965) Sweet & Sleazy

Dave (Steve Cochran) has no ties, no strings. He is a super cool, super confident representative of a cargo ship's owner. As a "Supercargo" for the fruit company he's responsible for overseeing the cargo and its sale. But Dave, like any guy stuck on a ship for weeks at a time needs to "chop the lumber in his pants" when he gets to port. Usually he and his crew head for town's red light district to get their ashes hauled, and like any good group of buddies, they make it a friendly competition. This trip the port is Nassau in the Bahamas. The forty-something Dave, though is beginning to look a bit world weary. On shore he moves around like a shark on the hunt. He's eyeballing the concrete stroll for any stray split tails.

Dave (Steve Cochran)

Dave and Carol (Jill Walden) 
 Eventually he swims up to a beauty in a trenchcoat Julie (Shary Marshall), who is receptive to his come on. She lets him walk with her through the district.

Julie (Shary Marshall) and Dave

Dave: Do you work in that coat?
Julie: No, without it.

Julie you see is a stripper at Dirty Dick's. At the door she has a run in with Alex (Dave Bondu) the tightwad owner.  Julie is the star attraction, she and Chata (Patricia Wolf) were part of a dance troop on it's way to South America that got stranded in Nassau when their manager took off with all the cash. Dave follows her in and watches her act.

At closing time Dave is sitting alone in the empty bar while the staff cleans up.

Waiter: That's it for the night Mister, we're closing up.
Dave: Well is Julie around?
Waiter: Julie? Oh she must be gone by now.
Dave: She asked me to wait for her.
Waiter: Dames, they tell you a lot of things, they all the same.
Dave: Yep, we always keep looking for one that's different.

Julie and Chata work for peanuts, and are de-facto B-Girls, they attract some high class fan clientele who buy drinks. During Julie's act Dave notices that not only is she giving him the eye, but she is also paying a lot of attention to a well dressed gentleman at the bar. The man is Dr. Franklin (Harry Franklin). The girls are also not below a little hooking on the side to help them pay rent or make ends meet.

"I got a sailor waiting...." Chata (Patricia Wolf) 

Chata: I got a sailor waiting, just chomping at the bit, and he's got two months pay in his hot little pants, you know what I mean?

Dave feeling stood up, gets up to leave and is heading for the door when Julie comes out of the dressing room. Dave is back on point and trying to score, but outside with Julie as they walk through the back streets of Nassau there is definitely an ember glowing between them. Dave is a user, he uses women to satisfy his carnal desires, but the routine of the chase is getting old.

Julie is a user also, she uses men through her attraction to make a living. She has an under the surface aura of desperation but she's still keeps up a good girl facade that she maintains for her survival despite her soiled dove status.  However, she lets her seedy side slip out inadvertently during a conversation about the trouble with her lights when she and Dave finally arrive at her studio apartment.

Dave: You got to go through that every time you turn the lights on. What's with the switch?
Julie: Oh, it never has worked. There used to be a chain here but it broke a couple of months ago and I haven't had a chance to get it fixed.
Dave: I'll fix it for you.
Julie: That's what they all say.... But nobody ever gets around to it.

That's what they all say....

Dave and Julie share their life's stories and begin to spend a lot of time together. They go on picnics they go rowing around the harbor. As their relationship develops her life on the island becomes the six hundred pound gorilla in the room.

Julie: Why don't you ask me Dave, you've wanted to several times I've seen it on your face?
Dave: What you do Julie is your business.
Julie: I'm a stripper Dave, I take my clothes off in front of a bunch of greasy gaping men. Would you believe me if I told you there aren't any encores, that I don't do any private performances for any one customer at a time, would you believe it if I told you that?
Dave: Is that what you're telling me?
Julie: Tell me you believe me even if you don't mean it.

When his down time is done, Dave asks Julie to come and meet him at the airport to see him off on his flight to Bermuda. He'll be back in three weeks on another ship. Julie makes it just in time to kiss him goodbye, and to tell him she'll be waiting for his return. As he's about to board his plane he realises he forgot to give Julie a bouquet of flowers he brought. So Dave runs out after her and spots Julie outside the terminal talking to Dr. Franklin. It rips his heart out and their relationship goes Noirsville. He heads off thinking that everything Julie has told him is all BS.

Dave has three weeks to stew on that.


Tony (George Hopkins)

Alex (Dave Bondu)

When Dave's ship docks in Nassau, Julie goes to the dock to meet him. She can't find him because Dave is off on a serious bender.

He finally ends up down at Dirty Dick's, Julie is not there (she got fired after Dr. Franklin stopped coming to the club).

Dave, pissed off, then heads across the street to Julie's apartment thinking that she's not at the club because she's up screwing Dr. Franklin. When Dave get's to Julie's door he breaks it open. Julie is lying in her bed.

Julie: I waited all night for you.
Dave: Why? Business been bad?

When Julie finds out about the misunderstanding she explains that it was Dr. Franklin that was able to get her to the airport in time to see him off. But Dave is out of control. Dave begins to strip off his clothes.

Dave: I want some of you... but not your lying mouth, no, I want the only thing about you that's worth anything. Yea.

With his pent up anger fueling the fire, Dave uses force to rape Julie until he is spent in a harrowing sequence.

In the morning when Dave comes to his senses he sees the welcome home cake that Julie baked and he realises that he made a terrible mistake. He asks Julie to forgive him. He "tells her in the sunlight" that he loves her. Julie then forgives him, and we assume the two damaged souls will go to live happily ever after in a dream house like the one Julie drew on the wall of her spartan apartment.

Perhaps this quick denouement will seem strange to some. Today's New PC code would have some terrible retribution visited upon Dave. The old Motion Picture Production Code would have had both Dave and Julie die in some fiery auto wreck, symbolically frying them both in hell for their loose morality.

Supposedly Cochran also filmed another ending, could it have been a much Noir-er one? Which conclusion he would have used, we'll never know.

Cochran, in preparation for his next project "Captain O’Flynn", about a man who set off to cross the Pacific with an all girl crew, decided to do some personal research. He hired three women for his crew and set sail South from Acapulco along the Pacific Coast of Central America. None of the women knew how to sail and when Cochran got sick with a serious lung infection, he died. The boat drifted about for over a week before running aground off of Guatemala.

Steve Cochran (The Chase (1946), White Heat (1949), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), Highway 301 (1950), Storm Warning (1951), Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951), Private Hell 36 (1954), Il Grido (1957), I Mobster (1959), The Beat Generation (1959), ) is excellent, he's weathered and a bit rough around the edges and fits the part admirably. Shary Marshall (Panic in Year Zero! (1962), Your Cheatin' Heart (1964), The Street Is My Beat (1966)) is an eye opener, she's totally believable as the stranded beauty who uses her body to make a life for herself. She's a natural talent and you have to really wonder WTF happened to derail her career. I wouldn't be surprised if the death of Cochran and the delay of the release of this film had something to do with it.

The rest of the cast has some nice vignettes Jay Robinson plays a friendly Nassau Barber. Dave Bondu is the cheapskate club owner Alex, who fines his strippers for various infractions. Patricia Wolf is earthy as Julie's fellow stranded dance trooper Chata who does her strip to "Beautiful Dreamer." George Hopkins plays is one of Dave's laidback shipboard buddies Tony, along Rockne Tarkington who plays the black lothario Rocky. Jill Walden plays Carol the pregnant girl in the park who is thinking of committing suicide, and George Roberts is the young pickpocket.

Tell Me In The Sunlight was Directed by Steve Cochran. Writing Credits go to Steve Cochran, Jo Heims, and Robert Stevens. The cinematography was by Rod Yould and the music by Michael Andersen. Screencaps are from the 2009 Televista DVD. A must see for Steve Cochran fans. 7/10

"Home....too far away... too far back."