Sunday, January 18, 2015

Shockproof (1949)

Screen capture from Cinema Guild DVD release of Los Angeles Plays Itself.
WHO: Douglas Sirk directed this, from a screenplay written by Sam Fuller.

WHAT: I've never seen this film before, so let me pull a few sentences of synopsis from the collector-worthy glossy program booklet given to every attendee of the Noir City festival this week:
Jenny Marsh is freed from prison after serving five years for the "self-defense" killing of a man who tried to murder her larcenous lover. Her parole officer, Griff Marat, takes pity and helps her arrange a new life on the straight-and-narrow. But Jenny proves too desirable for Griff's own good, and he impulsively marries the ex-con--a parole violation that makes them fugitives! More bad news--Jenny's shifty boyfriend is still in the picture.
WHERE/WHEN: Today only at 2:00 and 7:30 at the Castro, presented as part of Noir City 13.

WHY: Friday night's presentation of a six-minute video showcasing then-and-now comparisons of exterior location shots from Woman on the Run with their modern-day counterparts. Some places like the army/navy surplus stores on the Embarcadero, had disappeared entirely and were even hissed by some audience members. Others, like Fisherman's Wharf, had changed only superficially since 1950. But the audience reaction was most vociferous for the shots that in fact had been taken not in San Francisco at all, but in Southern California; namely, the final rollercoaster and midway section shot, not in Playland at the Beach as is often assumed, but Ocean Park Pier off Santa Monica, and the opening hillside murder location, which was actually filmed in the bunker hill area of Los Angeles. I highly recommend watching Thom Anderson's Los Angeles Plays Itself for more context on this fascinatingly frequent film noir location. It's also where the above shot from Shockproof was filmed, and I'm excited to see it pop up again in the festival. Wonder how many more times it will this week...

HOW: 35mm, on a double-bill with Sirk's 1948 film Sleep My Love, produced by Mark Pickford(!)

1 comment:

  1. Brian: According to IMDb- I didn't confirm myself- one of the kids playing in this scene, if not in the specific shot you post, is none other than Buddy Swan, whose most famous role was 8 years earlier playing with a well-known sled, as the young Charles Foster Kane.