Thursday, January 17, 2013

Phantom Lady (Robert Siodmak, 1944)

Over the weekend, I started a new column on Movie Mezzanine that picks a film a week for review, and my first selection was Robert Siodmak's dreamy noir Phantom Lady. Better, in my humble opinion, than Siodmak's later The Killers, Phantom Lady pushes Siodmak's use of shadow beyond the usual moral shadings of the genre and into an outright nightmare, where figures appear and disappear and a woman's quest to clear the name of the man she loves is gradually suggested to be the framework for what got him in trouble in the first place. Even its Hollywood ending takes on perverse, oneiric overtones, caught in a literal loop as the smiling face that closes the film starts to look leery rather than elated.

My full piece is up now at Movie Mezzanine.

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