Thursday, August 4, 2011

This Gun For Hire (1942)

A Great Film Noir Ride

- When you are a hit-man, the last thing you want is to get double crossed by your own employer (not that I would know from experience). Yet, that is exactly what happens to stone-cold killer Philip Raven (Alan Ladd), who as a result, has every cop in California looking for him.

This Gun For Hire (1942) is a very good film noir; a bit of a  typical noir genre picture but incorporating a great look and great leading actors.

Veronica Lake headlines as Ellen Graham, a club singer/magician who becomes enlisted by the government to infiltrate a crime bosses' organization via her position in his night club. Naturally, she gets mixed up with Raven and events spiral out of control. Lake is an absolute delight to watch, her performance is great and wow is she ever a knock-out! Alan Ladd also gives a good performance as Philip Raven, adding a fantastic growling intensity quality to this cat-loving gun for hire character. The rest of the cast are all good in their roles outside of Laird Cregar, who boarders on annoying throughout the entire film with his usual Teddy Bear bad guy routine.

This Gun For Hire is a pretty raw and rough noir flick with great shadowy picture, cool camera views, and grand set decoration. The film has a looks great, yes - but with one clear exception of two short scenes: the lame and wacky pixy dust show tune scenes. The inclusion of these scenes was very surprising and unwelcomed, especially after a serious tone had already been established in the film from the very first scene.
Overall however, with a great lead cast and a cool film noir look and feel, This Gun For Hire is a great film noir ride.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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