Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry

Jos ajatukset voisivat tappaa / Om tankar kunde döda. US © 1945 Universal Pictures Co., Inc. [But no longer a Universal property]. Presents: Charles K. Feldman. P: Joan Harrison. D: Robert Siodmak. Ass. D: Melville Shyer. SC: Stephen Longstreet – adaptation: Keith Winter – based on Thomas Job's play Uncle Harry – Clifford Hayman's theatrical production (New York, 20.5.1942). DP: Paul Ivano. Second cameraman: William J. Dodds. AD: John B. Goodman, Eugene Lourie. Set dec: Russell A. Gausman. Visual effects: John P. Fulton. Cost: Travis Banton. Makeup: Jack P. Pierce. M (n.c.): Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Paul Dessau, Hans J. Salter. M dir: H.J. Salter. S: Bernard B. Brown – technician: Glenn E. Anderson – mixing: Ronald K. Pierce – Western Electric Recording. ED: Arthur Hilton. Research: Nanette Grant, Murriel Pollia. Loc: New Hampshire. Studio: Universal Studios (Universal City). C: George Sanders (Harry Melville Quincy), Geraldine Fitzgerald (Lettie Quincy), Ella Raines (Deborah Brown), Sara Allgood (Nona), Moyna MacGill (Hester Quincy), Samuel S. Hinds (Dr. Adams), Harry von Zell (Ben), Judy Clark (Helen), Coulter F. Irwin (Biff Wagner), Craig Reynolds (John Warren). PCA 11021 – 80 min. A UCLA print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Robert Siodmak's film noir cycle), 1 April 2012.

One of Robert Siodmak's most personal projects, the story of a grown-up, mild-mannered small town textile designer, Harry Quincy (George Sanders) who lives with his two sisters, Lettie and Hester. When a new female designer from New York (Ella Raines) arrives everything changes and Harry decides to split with his sisters and get married. The hypochondriac sister Lettie manages to trap Harry one last time but when Harry learns from Hester that Lettie faked her illness he remembers the poison that Lettie acquired to knock off their ailing dog.

This is a new variation on the themes of The Suspect, and even the leading lady is played by the same woman, Ella Raines. The Ella Raines trilogy inspired Siodmak to do some of his most committed work. The modern, Hawksian Ella Raines is able to inspire the passive male protagonists to rise from their depressing circumstances. In The Suspect they go to the New World, in Uncle Harry to New York, and in Phantom Lady she saves the man from death row in New York.

The brilliance of the UCLA restoration work is evident in this print. Briefly in the beginning it looks like the source material has been difficult.

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