Sunday, May 7, 2017

1934 - CRIME WITHOUT PASSION, a real weirdo of a film.

Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur are chiefly remembered as the authors of The Front Page. However they were top writers in Hollywood and on Broadway.  For a while they co-directed and wrote a series of offbeat films.  Crime Without Passion was their first film and apparently they weren't that well versed in film making technique.  To the rescue came their cinematographer Lee Garmes who not only photographed the film but is listed as "associate director" in the credits

The film is full of wild editing and montage effects as well as some pretty over the top dialog. The story has velvet voiced Claude Rains as a sleezy attorney involved with two women.  Rains wants to get rid of one of his mistresses so he can take off to Europe with the other one.  This snowballs into a whole lot of craziness.

I guess as a mainstream commerical film, this film doesn't really come off but it is so off beat and original it's a lot of fun to watch.  Hecht and MacArthur apparently had enough sense not to push their story too much the film is a brisk 70 minutes.

70 minutes.

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