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Nocturne (1946)

nocturne

After George Raft had ended his association with Warner Brothers he moved around and landed at RKO for this noir styled mystery. This time out we have Raft as a detective who is convinced that a pianist has been murdered by a jilted lover and has not taken his own life as deduced by his superiors. The pianist was something of a playboy which leads Raft to questioning a long list of good looking suspects. Enter Lynn Bari as the prime suspect who just might be guilty and yet at the same time might make a good woman to settle down with if your name is George Raft.

The film plays to Raft’s strengths which is mainly talking and acting tough with very little facial expressions. With Raft thrown off the force he carries on like any tough guy in the world of noir would. We do get an amusing scene of Raft looking for information at a dance school where he goes for a lesson. He’s got two left feet which as we know is a long way from reality, Raft being an excellent hoofer in real life. There is also a fairly violent fight between Raft and gorilla shaped actor Bern Hoffman towards the end of the film as Raft is unraveling the web of deceit before him. This was one of 5 films Raft made in quick order with director Edwin L. Marin including Johnny Angel. Marin had also directed a popular John Wayne title Tall in the Saddle. As for the film’s title, it refers to a piece of music our victim was working on at the time of his demise.

One name in the credits that caught my eye was actor Joseph Pevney. Pevney would appear in only 6 films as an actor before turning to directing in 1950 going on to a lengthy career behind the camera. Some of his many credits include Meet Danny Wilson, Man of a Thousand Faces and even episodes of the original Star Trek series. If this is a title you are looking for, not sure how readily available it is as my copy is a dusty old VHS release.

5 Comments »

  1. i like the touch of Raft and his mom, and both playing piano, AND him going to the opera, it’s fun casting for Raft mostly the tough guy, but it works. Lynn Bari was so good, it’s a shame she never made it bigger.

  2. I haven’t seen that many George Raft films, only about twenty to date so I am going to try and see this one you just reviewed that I happen to have in my collection real soon. Nice write up Mike!

    Of the films I have seen and could recommend are as follows: Each Dawn I Die with Raft and James Cagney. Raft finally finds an honest guy in this one. If you want to see Raft dance, there is a small scene in another Cagney film called Taxi where they square off in a dance contest. IMO the other raft no brainers that I have seen are: They Drive By Night, Scarface, Background To Danger, Manpower, Johnny Angel, Loan Shark, Race Street, Invisible Stripes, and Nob Hill.

    Bolero is supposedly a cool Raft film I could never get my hands on. If you have any Raft recommendations please post them, thanks.

    • Thanks for checking out the latest daily take. My favorite Raft flicks are probably similiar, Each Dawn I Die, Manpower, Invisible Stripes for sure. Bolero I haven’t watched but a good friend got me a copy.Spawn of the North was pretty good as was Souls at Sea with Gary Cooper.His later appearance in Some Like it Hot is nostalgic and he has a funny cameo oposite Jerry Lewis in The Patsy.I also need to check out Red Light that is in my pile at home.I’m on the lookout for a film he did called Five Golden Dragons in 1967 with a fun looking cast.

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