Director: Jack Hively screenplay by Garrett Fort based on a Cornell Woolrich novel "The Black Curtain", the first Woolrich work to make it to the screen. It stars: Burgess Meredith, Claire Trevor, Sheldon Leonard, and Louise Platt. Could very well be the last proto Noir or the first Noir, also the first film in Production immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
It stars Burgess Meredith as Frank Thompson aka Dan Nearing who while walking along Tillary Street is hit by debris toppling from a house undergoing demolition.
When he regains consciousness he fins a cigarette case and the inside of his hat band marked with the initials D.N. and heads to his brownstone apartment house to find a vacancy sign in his window, confronting the landlady she tells him that his wife moved out a year ago. So begins the first Noir amnesia story and we follow Meredith as he tries to put the recent past events back together.
With his wife's address given to him by the landlady Frank reunites with his wife (Pratt), and she deduces that he must have gotten amnesia and takes him back in. On his way back to his old job as Frank Thompson he sees a stranger (Sheldon Leonard) glaring at him in a threatening way. He darts into an elevator and escapes Leonard. After work as Frank leaves his office Leonard begins to chase him Frank hails a taxi and escapes but Leonard is able to catch up with the cab when it stops for traffic and finding the door locked he beings to break the glass window with his revolver until the cab speeds away.
Leonard & Meredith taxi cab confrontation
That evening Leonard and a couple of men arrive at Frank's wife's apartment house and begin to break down the door. Frank & Pratt escape up the fire escape and across the roof tops to an unlocked access door. Frank sends Pratt to her mother's while he decides to find out what is going on and Frank figures out the the answer must be back on Tillary Street. He head back to Tillary and begins to try and discover what he's been doing the past year there he finally meets his girlfriend Ruth (Trevor).
Noir Cinematography stylistic camera angles
Our first view of Trevor as she sticks her head out of her apartment window
Trevor & Meredith
From what I've read Street of Chance and Moontide are much darker visually and more completely rendered in shadow than earlier films, and Street of Chance has a femme fatale. Moontide's filming straddled the events of Pearl Harbor but Street of Chance was filmed amid the frenzy, chaos, and constraints of wartime LA. Its a New York Noir on a Hollywood sound stage.
Interesting film, Meridith is great, Leonard obsessed, Platt and Trevor are good, the homemade DVDR copy I watched is BAD who knows how many generations removed from the source so its very washed out looking. On top of all that the program I use for the screen caps overexposes them even more so the whites are too bright. I upped the contrast a bit on the screen caps but as you can see the whites are off. The DVDr actually looks a bit better. It would be nice to have a restored release. 6-7/10.