Friday, February 18, 2011

Sounds Like an Artist

From February 14 through 21, June and Art is participating in For the Love of Film (Noir):  The Film Preservation Blogathon.  The June and Art letters are still here, but during this week they will be embellished with film noir images and other supplementary material.  Through this blogathon, over 80 bloggers are hoping to raise significant funds to support the work of the Film Noir Foundation and restore The Sound of Fury, a 1950 film noir starring Lloyd Bridges.

Please contribute!  Place a donation through this link, the Maltese Falcon donation button, or through the donation buttons on host sites Ferdy on Films and the Self-Styled Siren.

The world of film noir was filled with would-be artists:  down-on-their-luck musicians, writers, and painters.  They were looking for that one big break, but there are no good breaks in film noir.  Take the case of Chris Cross in Scarlet Street (1945)...

The director of Scarlet Street was Fritz Lang, one of the great names
in classic film noir.  He began his career in the heyday of German
expressionism and quickly rose to prominence with important movies
such as Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922), Die Nibelungen (1924),
and Metropolis (1927).  His early sound film M (1931) was a major
influence on film noir and launched the career of Peter Lorre.  Fleeing
to Hollywood, Lang brought his distinctive style to gripping film noir
dramas like The Woman in the Window (1944), Scarlet Street (1945),
and The Big Heat (1953).

In their own way, June and Art were would-be artists, too.  June studied fashion design and illustration;  Art studied fine art at night while working as a grocery clerk by day.  Fortunately, Art never fell into the clutches of two-timing grifters like Kitty March (Joan Bennett) and Johnny Prince (Dan Duryea).

Here's today's letter from Art:

Edward G. Robinson as Chris Cross,
a bank clerk and amateur painter,
who falls for a particularly
conniving femme fatale, played by
Joan Bennett.

Friday, February 17, 1950

20 Cooper Street
Southampton, NY

Dear June,

I don’t know how it is in the city but it’s cleared up beautifully here.  It looks like spring outside.  I had a very interesting art class last night.  I didn’t get home till almost 11:00.  Partida and her family have gone to Florida and her new assistant is running
things at the art school.  His name
Based on a French novel and
previously filmed in 1931 by Jean
Renoir, the plot of Scarlet Street
hinges on the genuine talent of
Chris Cross.  But in a world with
people like Johnny and Kitty,
talent isn't enough to save you.
is Arthur Secunda – that sounds like an artist’s name, doesn’t it?

Yesterday we took inventory at Roulston’s and it kept us very busy.

I didn’t do anything much this afternoon – just rode down to the ocean and took it easy.  Tonight I plan to work on my art for the course.  Maybe I’ll go to bed early.  By the way, I got my insurance dividend check today from the government.  It will come in handy.  I didn’t expect it for another month.

Well until I see the sweetest girl in the
Chris Cross stands in front of a
gallery selling his art.  Scarlet
Street is unusual in that it
violates the Hayes Code require-
ment that murderers receive
official punishment.  But that
doesn't mean he gets off easy.
No one would ever want to end
up like Chris Cross.
world again, I love you, darling.

Lots of love,


(Tomorrow – walking in the city after midnight.)

© 2011 Lee Price

1 comment:

  1. this movie made me so anxious while I was watching it!