|Ironically, this is NOT a scene from The Lost Weekend!|
- You’ll miss your own honeymoon, as well as every family vacation.
- Your marriage will suffer as your loving, understanding wife and child start to lose faith in you, along with your endless excuses, as your family life erodes.
- What am I saying? Family life? What family life? Kiss it goodbye!
- Worst of all, when your obsessive, uber-controlling Boss From Hell kills someone in a fit of rage, you just might find yourself suspected of the crime!
Happily, in real life, TBC was a family affair, with director John Farrow (Five Came Back; His Kind of Woman) working with his real-life wife Maureen O’Sullivan (The Thin Man; Tarzan the Ape Man and its many sequels). Last but far from least, Farrow cast the real-life husband-and-wife team of Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester, who also teamed up for Witness for the Prosecution, the latter earning Oscar nominations for both Charles and Elsa! It’s even a reunion of sorts for star Ray Milland and composer Victor Young, who brought us the 1944 chiller The Uninvited, also starring Milland; who could forget the beautiful “Stella by Starlight,” as well as the delightful Road to Morocco?
|Poor George! Maybe
he can give his pursuers |
the slip by pretending to be a light display!
|Stop the presses! |
Overworked George Stroud
tells boss where to get off: Wheeling, West Virginia!
|Noel Neill of The Adventures of Superman wishes|
she could fly up, up, and away from fresh elevator operators!
|Janoth Publication's big clock: The Hands of Fate!|
|"Georgette, it's not what you think! |
We're singing along with Pauline to "Do-Re-Me!"
|Louise Paterson tries to get her painting back, only to find she's in a bidding war!|
|Meet Pauline York, Janoth's mistress, an aspiring singer.|
Is she tired of singing for her supper, or does she have a veiled agenda?
|Check out the Crimeways Clue Chart! That'll fix those no-goodniks!|
My daughter gave me a glance of startled faith. “I didn’t hear anything,” she said.”
“You didn’t? One of them said they all came from a big ranch near Jacksonville….”
“…about five, I think. Or maybe it was seven… (she) also had a habit of kicking her feet against the table whenever she ate. Day after day, week in and week out, year after year, she kicked it and kicked it. Then one fine day the table said, ‘I’m getting pretty tired of this, and with that it pulled back its leg, and whango, it booted Cynthia clear out of the window. Was she surprised.”
This one was a complete success. Georgia’s feet pounded in double-time, and she upset what was left of her milk…”
“Sometimes the hands of the clock actually raced, and at other times they hardly moved at all. But that made no difference to the big clock…all other watches have to be set by the big one, which is even more powerful than the calendar, and to which one automatically adjusts his entire life…”
|"Georgette, darling, I was desolate! Thank goodness|
this was the film version so I couldn't get into worse trouble!"
|George and Georgette better enjoy his firing while they can,|
before George has to clear himself, by George!
|Henchman Bill doesn't talk much, but I bet he's thinking:|
"Life is too short to massage this jerk! I'm joining the Army"!
|What's this? A sundial, used for a shady purpose!|
In Fearing’s novel, Janoth’s mistress is Pauline Delos. Janoth and Pauline have a far more heated quarrel in this version, starting with sex between George and Pauline, which they’d apparently been doing for some time! For people who are always swamped, they always seem to find time to be frisky! Anyway, one night, after a visit to Pauline’s pad, Janoth spots George in the shadows; fortunately, he couldn’t actually see George clearly. This time, Janoth and Pauline have a far more heated argument in the novel as they each draw first blood. Compare and contrast each version:
The Movie Version:
Janoth: “At least this time he wears a clean shirt.”
Pauline: “Are you bringing that up again? Throwing that cab driver in my face? You never forget him, do you?”
Janoth: “No. Do you?”
Pauline: “No, you cheap imitation Napolean!
Janoth: “And you don’t forget the bellboy or the lifeguard last summer, or the tout at Saratoga, and who knows how many others? You don’t forget any of them, including the one to come.”
|George leads the Crimeways manhunt for "Jefferson Randolph," with ace investigator Bert Finch!|
He saved us all from The Thing from Another World, for goodness' sake!
The Novel’s Version
(Prepare for swear words and adult situations!)
“At least this time, it’s a man.”
“Are you bringing that thing up again? Throwing Alice in my face?...You talk. You, of all people….What about you and Steve Hagen?...Do you think I’m blind? Did I ever see you two together when you weren’t camping?...As if you weren’t married to that guy, all your life…Go on, you son of a bitch, try to act surprised.”
Well, Pauline is surprised, all right—dead surprised when Janoth loses it, killing Pauline in a fit of rage! Whango—was Pauline ever surprised! Which just goes to show that booze, adultery, and vicious insults are no way to go through life, kids! In the film version, George and Pauline’s relationship in the film ends as fast as it starts, with him waking up fully-clothed on her couch after their pub crawl. Seeing Janoth’s car on the street, Pauline hustles the dazed George out the door. Alas, Janoth is outside waiting for his turn with the sly blonde. Though he doesn’t see George’s face as he slips out of sight, Janoth still suspects the worst. He lets Pauline have it, bludgeoning her with the heavy sundial, killing her instantly. The tight close-ups on the quarreling lovers’ angry faces, especially Janoth’s; nobody’s jowls quiver like Charles Laughton’s! In any case, these scene adds enough intensity to make up for the bowdlerized argument before the murder.
On a bittersweet note, Rita Johnson didn’t quite live happily ever after. In a twist of fate, Rita was seriously injured at a beauty parlor when a 40-pound hood which apparently frequently fell to the floor frequently. Nowadays, she’d lawyer up and sue those dopes! There were also rumors that Rita’s then-beau, Broderick Crawford (who went on to win an Oscar for All The King’s Men) had roughed her up, but there was no proof. Rita managed to get supporting roles, but she was never really the same, and she died at the age of 52.To borrow a line from North by Northwest, it’s so horribly sad, how is it I feel like laughing?
|R.I.P. to Pauline York, would-be blackmailer. The cleaning lady isn't gonna like this!|
|Louise Patterson: "I think I've captured this mood rather successfully, don't you?|
(Actual dialogue from the film as George is aided and abbetted by Louise!)
|Leave it to a radio actor to help George save his bacon!|
(Lloyd Corrigan is one of Team Bartilucci's favorite character actors!)
|Baby, you're the greatest! Wheeling, West Virginia, |
we're going home, for keeps!
Milland’s superb performance balances suavity, sympathy, and desperation. He and O’Sullivan ring true as a loving couple whose relationship is being sorely tested. Laughton is marvelously odious and sadistic with a pathetic undercurrent. Macready makes a stylishly devious right-hand man. The supporting cast includes a silent, sinister young Harry Morgan as a masseur-cum-henchman. I was delighted to see one of our favorite character actors, Douglas Spencer of Double Indemnity and The Thing from Another World as Crimeways reporter Bert Finch (not to be confused with Burt from Burt’s Place, played by Frank Orth); and the ever-jolly Lloyd Corrigan (the Boston Blackie films; It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; The Manchurian Candidate) played Burt’s pal, a radio actor of a thousand guises, including the faux suspect known only as “Jefferson Randolph.” TBC has been reworked twice, as 1987’s No Way Out and 2003’s Out of Time. They’re both fun movies, but TBC is still my favorite version of the story.