Monday, July 12, 2010

The Locket (1946) John Brahm

The movie begins at a pre-wedding party for Laraine Day and Gene Raymond. Suddenly a stranger (Brian Aherne) appears, asking to speak privately to the future groom. Aherne’s story about the soon-to-be bride is fantastic and Raymond is incredulous. As Aherne continues, we are suddenly in his flashback, which leads to his earlier encounter with Robert Mitchum, who also had a surprising story about Day.  Yes, we are now in Mitchum’s flashback, and we’re not finished yet. From Mitchum’s flashback we move into Day’s, which takes us back to her childhood. Slowly the mist surrounding the conflicting stories begins to recede.

Murder and mayhem ensue throughout the flashbacks, and eventually we are brought back up through each successive flashback until we have circled back to where we started, at the party and moving on to the wedding. As you can surmise from the title, a small locket plays a significant role, being both cause and effect for the entire film.

The three men in Day’s life all do a fine job with their roles but Laraine Day is the star. Also notable is Katherine Emery as Mrs. Willis; she appears in a flashback and at the dramatic conclusion.

There are a few additional items to note about this movie, the first being the director. Brahm moved early on to television and is probably better known for directing original “Twilight Zone” episodes and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Lillian Fontaine, mother of her two more famous daughters, Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, has a very small role as Lady Wyndham. And the Willis house is the same set used for the home of Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains) in “Notorious.” Lastly, watch for Mitchum’s painting as his parting gift; you’ll only get a brief look and that picture says a thousand words.

“Do you approve of foolish marriages?”  “Certainly. They alienate relatives.”

“If you want some things badly enough, someday you'll have them.”

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