For Reel

Hangover Square (1945)
September 2, 2015, 1:25 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: John Brahm
4.5 Stars
Hangover SquareAnxious to capitalize on the success of The Lodger, 20th Century-Fox cast Laird Cregar in this film noir curiosity in which he plays a sensitive composer who is driven into a murderous frenzy at the sound of dissonant chords. Cregar was eager to adapt his image into one of a romantic leading man, and he mostly succeeds–behind the large frame is a man of great sensitivity, a Vincent Price predecessor without the sardonic wit. Director John Brahm and cinematographer Joseph LaShelle use the elegant camera movements that one might expect of a gaslight drama but undermines the beauty with an incredible violence. In the opening scene, the camera cranes from the Edwardian street, through a second-floor window, and to a point-of-view shot of a murderer stabbing a woman and setting her house ablaze. Fire is a key motif that bookends the story, a physicalization of the intensity of Cregar’s rampages. Who better to score the picture, then, than Bernard Herrman, whose “Concerto Macabre” is the accompaniment for a stunning climax?

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