Thursday, September 1, 2011

Decoy (1946)

Noir Potion No. 9

- Film noir meets science fiction here in the pretty bad1946 cult hit Decoy. How this film has ever attracted a fan base is a bigger and more interesting mystery than the actual plot.

The first half of the film is seething with melodrama, with enough sappy music and cheesy dialogue to choke Dr. Phil, and the other half of the film has the viewer struggling to keep interest. In addition to the film's plot not being engaging, it is completely absurd. The narrative revolves around bringing a mobster fresh from the gas chamber back to life via "Methylene Blue" (which does not bring people back from the dead) to find out where he hid a bunch of money.... Oh yeah, I'm buying that one....

But, of course, the film is not helped out by the fact that the majority of the film's actors could not act their way out of a circus tent. Edward Norris is very weak in his Vincent the gangster role, Sheldon Leonard is as wooden as a bar stool in his Joe the detective role and Herbert Rudley is frankly just terrible as the double-crossed Dr. Craig with every overdone action and line delivery - being about as believable in his role as Bill Clinton exclaiming he is a one woman man. Jean Gillie is the strongest member of the cast; although looking better than she acts, Gillie is at least believable as the seductive villainess Margot (she should have worked on her weird evil cackle, however).

Luckily, Decoy only runs for about an hour and fifteen minutes; otherwise it would be a tiresome chore to even summon up the intense physical and mental strength required to actually sit through the entire film.

CBC Rating: 4/10

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