Film Noir Friday-Sunday Matinee: And Then There Were None [1945]

Welcome!  The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat.  Tonight’s feature is AND THEN THERE WERE NONE [1945]. It is based on a 1939 Agatha Christie novel, and stars Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston, and Louis Hayward, Enjoy the film.

TCM Says:

On a stormy Friday afternoon, Judge Francis J. Quincannon, Dr. Edward G. Armstrong, Philip Lombard, Vera Claythorne, General Sir John Mandrake, Emily Brent, William H. Blore and Prince Nikita Starloff are taken on a fishing boat to Indian Island, off the coast of Devon, England, for a weekend visit with the mysterious U. N. Owen. The eight passengers, who are all strangers, are greeted by butler Thomas Rogers and his wife Ethel, the cook, who reveal that they have not met their new employer. While eating in the dining room, the guests become intrigued by the centerpiece, which consists of ten figurines of Indian boys. Vera begins to recite the nursery rhyme about ten little Indian boys who are killed, and Starloff continues the rhyme in the parlor. Rogers then puts a record on the phonograph, as he was instructed to do, and the guests are astonished to hear Owen accuse them of various crimes that led to the deaths of others.

Film Noir Friday: Crime Inc. [1945]

Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open! Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat. Today’s feature is BRUTE FORCE starring Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo, Ella Raines, Ann Blyth, Anita Colby and introducing Howard Duff.

Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

In the mid-1930s, after two of his henchmen are shot down in a café, New York racketeer Bugs Kelly confides to reporter Jim Riley that a newly formed crime syndicate committed the murders after he refused to join. Unknown to Bugs, the syndicate’s boss, who hides his illegal activities by posing as the president of National Brokers, Inc., a phony company, has also ordered Bugs’s execution. When the order to kill Bugs is issued, however, one of Bugs’s men overhears “finger man” Tony Marlow passing the word to Barry North, a racketeer posing as an exporter, and alerts Bugs. Bugs kidnaps Tony, a nightclub owner, and forces him to arrange a rendezvous with the hoodlum who was hired to kill him.


The Great Flamarion [1945]

Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat. Tonight’s feature is THE GREAT FLAMARION starring Erich von Stroheim, Mary Beth Hughes, Dan Duryea and Stephen Barclay. Directed by Anthony Mann and produced by William Wilder.

Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

In 1936, a performance in a Mexico City vaudeville hall is interrupted by the sound of gunshots emanating from backstage. After the body of Connie Wallace, one of the performers, is found, the police investigate and arrest Eddie Wheeler, her husband, for strangling her. Following the departure of the police, Tony, the clown, is collecting his stage props when a man with gunshot wounds falls from the rafters. Tony recognizes the man as “The Great Flamarion,” a former vaudeville marksman renowned for his skill.


Film Noir Friday: Spellbound [1945]


Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat. Today’s feature is SPELLBOUND starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.

Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

When Dr. Anthony Edwardes, the distinguished psychologist who is to take over as head of Green Manors mental hospital, arrives at the countryside facility, his colleagues, including the outgoing head, Dr. Murchison, are surprised to see how young he is. That evening, Dr. Constance Peterson, the hospital’s only female psychologist, meets Dr. Edwardes at dinner and is immediately attracted to him. At the doctors’ table, Constance, who has been accused by her amorous colleague, Dr. Fleurot, of being cool and detached, talks animatedly about her idea for a woodside swimming pool and starts to draw her proposed design on the tablecloth with the sharp edge of her knife. Dr. Edwardes responds to the curved lines with a sudden burst of anger, baffling his peers.

Film Noir Friday: Apology for Murder [1945]


Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat. Tonight’s feature is APOLOGY FOR MURDER starring Ann Savage, Hugh Beaumont, Russell Hicks and Charles D. Brown.

Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

Reporter Kenny Blake (Hugh Beaumont) falls in love with scheming Toni Kirkland (Ann Savage) not knowing that she is married to a man years older than she. By the time he finds out, he is so under her spell that he murders her husband which is what Toni had planned all along. City editor McKee (Charles D. Brown), Kenny’s boss and best friend, begins to pursue the tangled threads of the crime relentlessly and gradually closes the net on Kenny. The latter is mortally wounded by Toni, who has deserted him for another man.

Film Noir Friday: Fallen Angel [1945]


Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open! Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat. Tonight’s feature is FALLEN ANGEL starring Alice Faye, Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell–produced and directed by Otto Preminger.

Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

One night, drifter Eric Stanton is forced to disembark a San Francisco-bound bus because he has not paid the full fare. Eric is let off in the small town of Walton, and when he goes to Pop’s, a local diner, he finds Pop distraught over the disappearance of his beautiful waitress Stella. Retired police detective Mark Judd assures Pop that Stella will return, and soon she does appear, much to Pop’s relief. Eric then leaves and, after seeing a poster for a show by “psychic” Professor Madley, convinces Madley’s assistant, Joe Ellis, that he is friends with the professor. Ellis confides that ticket sales have been slow due to the influence of Clara Mills, the former mayor’s daughter, who has been telling her friends not to attend. Seeing an opportunity to make money, Eric goes to the Mills house the next morning, and asks the cynical Clara to give the professor a chance. Clara dismisses Eric, saying that the professor is a charlatan, but her lovely younger sister June is intrigued by Eric, and tells Clara that Madley is merely trying to make a living.


Film Noir Friday: Club Paradise [1945]


Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open! Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat. Tonight’s feature is CLUB PARADISE (aka Sensation Hunters).  The film stars Constance Worth, Robert Lowery, Doris Merrick.

TCM says:

Unable to bear another night of endless bickering among her family members, factory worker Julie Rogers storms out of her parents’ house and takes her friend Helen to the Black Cat nightclub, which is owned by Julie’s trumpet-playing sweetheart, Ray Lawson. There, Julie meets Danny Burke, a handsome but mysterious idler and, bored with Ray, immediately falls in love with him. Julie goes home later that night and is further repulsed by the behavior of her brother Fred, who is drunk and belligerent. Returning to the Black Cat, Julie once again finds Danny and accompanies him to the infamous Paradise Club. Julie’s father disapproves of Danny and tries to convince her to date Ray, until the day Ray and Julie are arrested in a gambling house raid.


A Mother’s Murder

On Mother’s Day most moms receive a card, flowers, candy or even breakfast in bed–but here in Los Angeles not all moms are so lucky.


There was a lot to celebrate in May 1945; the war in Europe ended with the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 7th. The mothers sons and daughters in the military would have the best Mother’s Day they’d had since before the war. Tributes to mothers were planned in churches and theaters all over Los Angeles. Dozens of Fox theaters offered free admission to mothers over 60. On one of the stages special guest celebrities included Bing Crosby, Abbott & Costello, Paulette Goddard, Rochester, and the Andrews Sisters.

Teenager Barbara Adams had something special planned for her mother, Maude, but it didn’t have anything to do with flowers or a trip to the theater.

On May 11, the Friday before Mother’s Day, Barbara went out shopping–she bought two canaries at a pet shop and a large knife at a downtown department store. Once she arrived home she tested the sharpness of the knife by decapitating the canaries in the kitchen sink, then she burned their bodies in an incinerator. She then prepared dinner for her mother who was expected to arrive late following her shift at General Hospital. An argument between mother an daughter broke out after dinner and ended when Maude smacked Barbara across the face.adams pic_1

About 2 a.m. on Saturday morning Barbara, wielding the knife she’d bought the day before, crept into her mother’s room, placed a pillow over her head to stifle her screams and then stabbed her over 20 times. Barbara washed the murder weapon in the kitchen sink, then changed out of her bloodstained nightgown and went to bed on the living room sofa. Before going to sleep she pulled out the family Bible and read for a while.

Barbara slept for over 12 hours. When she awakened on Mother’s Day, May 13, she dressed, cleaned up the apartment and then went to the first floor apartment of her landlady, Mrs. Anthony Dunn, and confessed to the murder. Dunn phoned the police. Officer C.O. Peterson was first at the scene. He said that Barbara told him that she had been contemplating the murder for a long time–she said, “We just couldn’t get along. I’d planned to take my own life but didn’t have the guts to do it. Now it’s up to you to take over.” Other than their disagreements, common enough between a 17-year-old girl and her mother, Barbara offered no motive for the slaying.

adams pic_2Detective Thad Brown, of LAPD’s Homicide Detail, accompanied by Juvenile Officer L.M. Simmons, questioned Barbara. She told them about the knife, the canaries and gave them an account of the murder. She was taken to the hospital room at Juvenile Hall where she was admitted under an alias. She spent the day reading magazines. She had two roommates, but she didn’t say a word about why she was there.adams pic 9

Barbara attended Sunday school and listened to Mother’s Day tributes. Afterwards, apparently unmoved, she watched her fellow inmates make tiny boutonnieres to present to their mothers during visiting hours.

LAPD detectives and juvenile authorities questioned anyone who knew Barbara and Maude. Friends and neighbors described Barbara, a student at L.A.City College, as studious and quiet. According to some, Maude worked long hours to provide her with a decent education. Others described Barbara as morose because she wasn’t allowed to go out with school friends. Instead of hanging out with her buddies she was required to spend evenings at home with her mom, studying.

It was up the the juvenile court to determined if Barbara was mentally competent to stand trial, and if she was they wold also need to decide if she would be handled as an adult or a juvenile.


An interesting window on Barbara’s childhood opened when Albert and Lena Rogers, who lived in the 2000 block of Outpost Drive, turned up to speak on the young killer’s behalf.

Lena told investigators that “Mrs. Adams was unusually intelligent, and a fine woman–the best maid I ever saw. She was with us four years. I knew she had a daughter in nursery school, and finally suggested the child (Barbara) be brought to live with us and to be a companion to our own Betty. They were just about the same age.”

adams 9 picThe Rogers went above and beyond. They arranged to have Barbara enrolled in Beverly Hills grade school with their daughter. The two girls later attended the Carthay Center Elementary School together.

Lena continued: “We soon noticed, however, that Mrs. Adams wielded a heavy hand over he small daughter. The child was whipped down and had no self-expression. Mrs. Adams was a sadist; she seemed to delight in punishing the child.”

Betty Rogers spoke for Barbara too. “I would awaken at night and hear Barbara crying in her bed. Then I would hear her mother to tell her to ‘shut up’ and not make any more noise.”

According to the Rogers’, Maude also pinched Barbara’s arm in the tender spot above the elbow anytime the girl made her mad. Finally, because Maude’s attitude and mental condition became so strange, the Rogers’ terminated her employment. They quietly slipped some cash into Barbara’s pocket and told her to remember she “always had friends” and to call them if she was ever in trouble. They didn’t see her again until her story appeared in the newspapers.adams pic_7

Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Dunne were at odds with the Rogers’ characterization of Barbara as a victim.  Testifying at the Coroner’s inquest, Mrs. Dunne called Barbara a “conceited little snob” with a suicide complex (Barbara had cut her wrists the month prior to the murder) that made her “cold as ice”. Mrs. Dunne also testified that Maude was a “devoted mother” who lived for her daughter’s welfare: “She even gave Barbara singing and dancing lessons, even though the girl couldn’t sing. They were always going to shows, the best shows in town.” What about the fighting described by Barbara? Mrs. Dunne denied ever hearing the two women argue.adams pic_6

Mrs. Dunne testified how Barbara came to her and told her about the slaying: “I think you ought to know my mother is dead. I killed her–stabbed her.” Mrs. Dunne called out for her husband and then asked Barbara if she was sure her mother was dead. “Oh, she’s dead, all right. She is quite dead.”

Barbara never explained her mother’s murder other than to say that she had her reasons or the stabbing.

In September 1945, five Camarillo State Hospital psychiatrists declared that Barbara was “medically and legally insane.” Deputy Public Defender William B. Neeley said that he had read the medical reports and Barbara had been given “shock treatments” while at Camarillo and “responded with much improvement.”

The outcome of Barbara’s case wasn’t reported in the Los Angeles Times; however, it seems likely that Superior Judge Georgia Bullock concurred with the psychiatric reports and sent Barbara to the state mental hospital.

Barbara was never tried for her mother’s murder and she slipped quietly into obscurity.



Film Noir Friday on Saturday: Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion [1945]

boston blackie_booked

Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crimes theater is open. Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat.

Tonight’s feature is BOSTON BLACKIE BOOKED ON SUSPICION, directed by Arthur Dreyfuss and starring Chester Morris and Lynn Merrick. The Boston Blackie films are light-weight and formulaic, but I love them. Former crook Boston Blackie and Police Inspector Farraday  butt heads once again in this entry, the eighth in the series.

Enjoy the movie!

TCM says:

When an illness confines rare book expert Wilfred Kittredge to his bed on the eve of a rare book auction, Boston Blackie disguises himself as Kittredge and offers to conduct the auction for his friend and book store owner Arthur Manleder. Unknown to Blackie, counterfeiter Porter Hadley has manufactured a first edition of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers to be sold at the auction. On the day of the auction, Blackie, aided by Kittredge’s assistant, Gloria Mannard, sells the book to Alexander Harmon for $62,000. The next day, Harmon discovers that the book is a fake and reports the crime to Inspector Farraday.

Film Noir Friday: His Girl Friday [1940]

Poster - His Girl Friday_02

Welcome! The lobby of the Deranged L.A. Crime theater is open! Grab a bucket of popcorn, some Milk Duds and a Coke and find a seat. Tonight’s feature is HIS GIRL FRIDAY directed by Howard Hawks and starring Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant and Ralph Bellamy.

Okay, I realize HIS GIRL FRIDAY is a screwball comedy and not a film noir, but it does revolve, at least in part, around the upcoming execution of a convicted murderer. Besides, I’m in the mood for something light.

TCM says:

Ex-reporter Hildy Johnson, recently divorced from fast-talking newspaper editor Walter Burns, pays him a visit at the office of the Morning Post to tell him that she is marrying mild-mannered insurance salesman Bruce Baldwin. When Hildy enters, Walter is engrossed by the story of the impending execution of Earl Williams, a timid bookkeeper who has been sentenced to die for killing an African-American policeman. To lure Hildy back, Walter lies that his star reporter is preoccupied with the birth of his first child and the paper needs her to cover the story. Hildy rejects Walter’s bait and announces that she is engaged, tired of being a newspaper reporter and now just wants to be a woman. Walter insists upon meeting Hildy’s fiancé and invites them to lunch. At lunch, Walter learns that the couple are leaving with Bruce’s mother, Mrs. Baldwin, on the four o’clock train to Albany. Scheming to win Hildy back, Walter convinces Bruce that only a story written by Hildy can save the wrongly-convicted Williams. Hildy calls Walter’s bluff, but agrees to write the story if Walter will purchase a $100,000 life insurance policy from Bruce.

Let’s begin with a Disney cartoon entitled: DONALD’S CRIME [1945]