Is this a new weekly feature? Maybe. I don't want to jinx it by putting too much pressure on it. Let's just leave it at that I love noir, watch a lot of noir, and sometimes feel compelled to talk about it. If it continues, it continues. So enjoy it while it lasts.
Over the weekend, I watched The Dark Corner from 1946, which has the interesting distinction of being a tried-and-true, hard-knuckled film noir that stars comedienne Lucille Ball. It's a respectable, even good, noir, but, ironically, she is by far the best part of it.
In fact, her character is the reason this noir stood out for me. Traditional women's roles in film noir are pretty much limited to the gorgeous, scheming femme fatale. Which is fun, but, well, limited, to say the least. Sometimes there's a trusted girl ally, like Spade's secretary Effie in The Maltese Falcon, but she's strictly second stage. Even though Lucille's character is also a secretary, she's tough, smart, and stands up for herself against anyone, including the police and the man she works for. She also has a vibrancy that overshadows every other character in the film. It's a refreshing change for a noir, to see a female lead like her.