Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
“She didn’t see. Her heart was in her eyes.”
on 26 June 2015
Somewhere in the Night is a neat all but forgotten noir with some delicious dialogue courtesy of Howard Dimdsdale and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the latter doubling as director. John Hodiak is the G.I. who wakes up after throwing himself on a grenade to find he has no memory and a letter in his wallet from a woman who wishes he were dead. Going to LA to find out who he is, he discovers that he’s been left a gun and a bank account with $5000 deposited by his friend Larry Cravat – but when he tries to find out just who Larry Cravat is he finds himself being used as a punchbag and dumped at nightclub singer Nancy Guild’s apartment. With some help from her enamoured employer Richard Conte and a bit of backstory from Lloyd Nolan’s cop about the $2m Cravat may have killed for, he soon finds himself wondering if he was Cravat’s accomplice – or possibly Cravat himself.
The opening scenes set the nightmarish tone, seen almost entirely from Hodiak’s bedside point of view as his mind races through anger, confusion and paranoia, the latter more than justified as he soon finds himself the centre of attention from people who know more than he’s told them. When we do see him, Hodiak makes for an unusual leading man for the 40s, a less good-looking hybrid of Vincent Price and Martin Landau, but that just adds to the sense of his not quite fitting in back home. There are some nice moments – Hodiak unexpectedly coming face to face with the man who ordered his vicious beating and both instinctively fleeing to opposite doors - and the odd in-joke (during one bit of purple prose, Margo Wood tells Fritz Kortner’s small time chiseller and fortune teller to “Stop talking like Bela Lugosi” while one of the guests in the hotel register is screenwriter Howard Koch) as well as appearances by familiar faces like Sheldon Leonard and (uncredited) Whit Bissell, Harry Morgan and Jeff Corey. Chances are you won’t be surprised by how it turns out, but it’s surprisingly rewarding getting there.
Fox's UK DVD offers a nice black and white transfer with the original trailer, though their US release also offers an audio commentary by Eddie Muller.