Wallflower

A shot — just one of several — that got a WOW! from Fiona. From John Brahm’s film of THE LODGER.

The movie is full of bold images, courtesy of Brahm and Lucien Ballard. This one takes us by surprise since star Laird Cregar’s position has changed since we last saw him, and because, presented as co-star Merle Oberon’s POV (she and Ballard were married, and he lavishes care on her lighting), it seems an outrageous optical cheat: SHE hasn’t pressed her face to the wall to look at Laird. But in fact, the layout of the room makes the shot quite feasible. I wonder if the idea for the dramatic composition preceded and inspired the design, or followed on from it with James Basevi & John Ewing’s set giving Brahm the opportunity for a startling composition.

Merle walks blithely into a little nook of her dressing room. Cregar, having emerged from behind a screen, speaks off-camera ~

Merle turns, startled. And we cut to the image at top: the view from her nook.

Mr. Cregar is the subject of a profile I’ve written for The Chiseler, inspired a viewing of THIS GUN FOR HIRE: I hope you’ll read and share.

Expect more on TGFH and LODGER soon…

Also of note for noir-hounds: the great and powerful Imogen Sara Smith on DECOY.

 

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2 Responses to “Wallflower”

  1. David Ehrenstein Says:

    Very nice tribute.
    Being gay, Camp came quite naturally to Cregar. Also the desire to stay thin. Today men of considerable avoirdupois are celebrated as “Bears.” Not back then it seems. Poor Laird.

    “This Gun For Hire,” BTW is central to the cinematic universe of Jean-Pierre Melville.

  2. I intend to write or podcast more on The Lodger, which is a very interesting queer text in Laird and John Brahm’s hands.

    Le Samurai pretty much IS This Gun fpr Hire, yes!

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