Behind Green Lights (February 15, 1946)
Released on February 15, 1946: Police Lieutenant Carson discovers a dead body in a car that rolls onto the sidewalk in front of the police station, and all of the evidence points to a blonde beauty.
Produced by Robert Bassler
Directed by Ottow Brower
Written by Scott Darling, and Charles G. Booth
The Actors: Carole Landis (Janet Bradley), William Gargan (Lieutenant Sam Carson), Richard Crane (Johnny Williams, newspaper reporter for The Herald) Mary Anderson (Nora Bard), John Ireland (Detective Engelhofer), Charles Russell (Arthur Templeton, lawyer), Roy Roberts (Max Calvert, newspaper owner of The Express), Mabel Paige (Flossie), Stanley Prager (Ruzinsky, the milkman), Charles Tannen (Ames, newspaper reporter for The Express), Robert Adler (Mo, detective), Charles Arnt (Daniel Boone Wintergreen, newspaper reporter for The Sun), Don Beddoe (Dr. G. F. Yager, the medical examiner), Larry J. Blake (the morgue ambulance driver), Dolores Boucher (girl), Lane Chandler (Detective Brewer), Russ Clark (radio operator), Jimmy Cross (King), Jack Davis (Webster), Jack J. Ford (Mike O'Shea, photographer), William Forrest Jr. (Dr. Hastings), John Glennon (boy), Ralph Hodges (boy), Beverly Ruth Jordan (girl), Ted Jordan (man), Perc Launders (Carey, a cop), J. Farrell MacDonald (O'Malley, morgue attendant), George McDonald (boy with head caught in space helmet), Tom Moore (Metcalfe), Barnard Nedell (Walter Bard), Steve Olsen (morgue attendant), Lee Phelps (Police Desk Lieutenant), Barney Ruditsky (cop), Harry Seymour (Kaypee, a reporter), Fred Sherman (Zachary, The Philadelphia Phantom prizefighter), Nick Stewart (black man), Clarence Straight (cop), and Harry Tyler (Bill, the crematorium attendant)
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The Blonde and the Body in the Closet
Film Noir . . . . Dark . . . . Gritty . . . . Hard-boiled talk and action . . . . Always a femme fatal involved . . . . Usually she is a blonde bombshell . . . . The tough streets of a big city . . . . And murder. This story screams ‘Film Noir’ from the golden age of murder mysteries.
There are a couple of things you should know if you aren’t familiar with those days. In the late 1600’s there were night watchmen who patrolled the island city of New Amsterdam, later called New York. They walked the dark streets carrying an oil fueled lantern with a green glass globe protecting the flame from the night wind. When they went into the watch house for a break in their shift, they would hang their lantern with glowing green glass on a hook outside the door. Anyone in need of help in the middle of the night could look for the green glow and know that a night watchman was nearby. To this day many police stations on the East Coast have a light pole in front of the station with a green glass globe glowing brightly all night so that anyone in trouble could look up and down the street and when they spotted the green glow they knew that a police station would be there, behind the green light.
The other item that people younger than dirt might not know is one of the most popular drinks of the day. When the blonde beauty is visiting the shady private detective that is trying to blackmail her, he offers her a highball. In the old days when a Scotsman or Irishman wanted a glass of whiskey they asked for a 'ball' of malt, and it usually meant a glass of Scotch and water. Here in America the term became a highball, and technically was a slug of whiskey with a mix added. It was usually whiskey and ginger ale, sometimes with a twist of lemon in upscale bars. In this murder mystery the blackmailing private eye tells the blonde bombshell that he has some good bourbon and will make them each a highball. Everyone in the audience would know what a highball was in 1946, and now you do also.
I lied, . . . As I look over this review before posting it, I realize that there is one more thing you might not understand. Flossie the flower lady insists on getting paid a dollar and six bits. . . . Yup, six bits . . . . As a youngster I knew a school cheer that went something like, 'Two bits, Four bits, Six bits a Dollar. Everyone for Shanksville, Stand up and Holler.' Also, there was a famous musical ending to most barbershop quartet songs . . . You would probably recognize the tune, but not know the words. The words are, 'Shave and a haircut . . . Two bits.' A 'bit' is half of a quarter, which no longer exists, and didn't even exist when this movie was filmed, but pairs of bits, or quarters, were commonly referred to. So two bits would be a quarter, four bits would be a half dollar, six bits would be seventy-five cents, and eight bits would be a dollar.
Our adventure opens with the town clock showing that it is half past ten o’clock, and the murder, investigation and solution will all take place before the sun rises tomorrow morning. A car rolls slowly down the street, jumping over the curb in front of the police station, coming to rest on the sidewalk between two street lamps burning bright green. When Police Lieutenant Sam Carson, played by William Gargan, and his partner, played by John Ireland, leave the building they spot the car that has stopped on the sidewalk in front of the station. Lieutenant Carson opens the car door to investigate, and a dead man falls out of the car and onto the sidewalk. It is the body of a private detective that everyone seems to know, and he has a bullet hole in his chest. The gun is on the car seat, and the gun has fingerprints on it . . . . the fingerprints of a woman . . . A beautiful young blonde woman . . . . The daughter of a well-known politician.
Lieutenant Carson is pressured by the powerful owner of one of the local newspapers to book the woman quickly so that the newspaper can spread the news across the city before the next election, which is only days away. Every piece of evidence that exists points to the blonde beauty, but Lieutenant Carson delays charging her with the crime. Lieutenant Carson doesn’t like taking orders from a newspaper man, and he has one more reason to delay booking the blonde. . . . . She is drop-dead gorgeous and he is an unmarried man . . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Walter Bard and Carole Landis
William Gargan and Carole Landis
Bernard Nedell and Carole Landis
Carole Landis and Walter Bard
Charles Arnt and Richard Crane
Harry Tyler and Steve Olsen
John Ireland and William Gargan
Mabel Paige and Richard Crane
Mary Anderson and Charles Russell
Mary Anderson and Charles Russell
Roy Roberts and Don Beddoe
William Gargan, Charles Russell and Mary Anderson
William Gargan, Don Beddoe and J. Farrell Macdonald
William Gargan and Don Beddoe
William Gargan and John Ireland
William Gargan and Mary Anderson
William Gargan and Carole Landis