Monthly Archives: July 2018

Flashbacks Within Flashbacks Within Flashbacks Within John Brahm’s The Locket on 35mm Within NEIU on July 25

The Auditorium at Northeastern Illinois University – Building E, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave
General Admission: $7 • NEIU Students: $3

Wednesday, July 25 @ 7:30 PM
THE LOCKET
Directed by John Brahm • 1946
John Brahm’s neglected follow-up to his Gothic sensations The Lodger and Hangover Square is 200-proof film noir, choked to the brim with baroque deception, a torrent of psychological torment, and a flashback structure that makes Citizen Kane look like a piker. The Locket begins on the wedding day of Nancy Patton (Laraine Day) and John Willis (Gene Raymond), an occasion interrupted by the appearance of Nancy’s ex-husband, Dr. Blair (Brian Aherne), who warns of his former wife’s unstable past. Yet Dr. Blair’s story isn’t even primarily about their own failed marriage, but Nancy’s other previous relationship with bohemian painter Norman Clyde (Robert Mitchum), who noticed a streak of kleptomania that Nancy justifies on the basis of a primal childhood trauma. As the documentarian Errol Morris observes, “Temporal disorder triumphs. Flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks. Does the flashback provide an explanation for action or does it avoid an explanation of action? Here each revelation of the past renders the present more opaque.” Luckily, even as the story grows more obscure, the sense of craft is ever present and tightly controlled, with lovely cinematography from Nicholas Musuraca and a surprising turn from Mitchum, rising through the ranks of the studio and still molding his laconic persona in the wake of his first and only Oscar nomination for The Story of G.I. Joe. (KW)
85 min • RKO Radio Pictures • 35mm from Warner Bros., permission Swank
Film Stock: AGFA
Short: The Twilight Zone: “A Nice Place to Visit” (John Brahm, 1960) – 25 min – 16mm

 

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