This time, we are here for the movie Black Widow. No, this movie has nothing to do with the Marvel character, and outside of a brief mention at the very beginning of the movie, it really has little to do with the spider itself. This is a 1954 film noir, starring Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney and George Raft.
Van Heflin plays Peter Denver, a theatrical producer and husband of actress Iris Denver (Gene Tierney). Iris has to go visit her sick mother, but she makes Peter go to the party hosted by her actress friend (and star of Peter’s show) Carlotta Marin (Ginger Rogers). At this party, he meets Nancy Ordway (Peggy Ann Garner), an aspiring writer. He takes her to dinner (he does tell his wife, before anybody asks), and he offers her the use of his apartment for her to write during the day, while he is away. When his wife returns, they find Nancy hanging in the apartment. At first, it is assumed to be suicide, but then the police discover she was murdered (and apparently pregnant, to boot). Peter becomes the prime suspect, so he goes on the run and tries to find out what really happened.
Now, this movie is one I first saw because of Ginger Rogers. From what I have read, her performance in this movie is apparently one that people either like or dislike. I myself fall into the former, as I feel that she makes the movie worth watching. Watching her berate others (including Bea Benaderet, whom I mainly know from her role as Kate Bradley on the sitcom Petticoat Junction, although she has certainly done other things, like voicing Betty Rubble on The Flintstones) is amusing, but she also makes herself a rather despicable person (and makes it easy to feel sorry for her meek husband, as played by Reginald Gardiner).
I like this movie. I admit, it’s not the best noir I’ve ever seen, but it works well enough for me. I know some might argue whether it is a noir, since it is in color and not a black and white movie, but I still think it fits the bill well enough. I like the characters well, especially Van Heflin’s Peter Denvers, who seems like a rare character in a noir, who actually tells his wife about Nancy when he takes her out to dinner, instead of Iris finding out the hard way, like what would likely be the normal case in these movies. As a whole, I enjoy this movie. As I said, it’s not the best noir I’ve ever seen, but it’s good enough for me, and one I would recommend to anybody interested.
The movie is available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time as a limited edition with 3000 total copies available through either www.screenarchives.com or www.twilighttimemovies.com and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox.
Film Length: 1 hour, 35 minutes
My Rating: 7/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Van Heflin – They Came To Cordura (1959)
Each Dawn I Die (1939) – George Raft
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