Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the 1950s film noir Black Widow
Black Widow, starring Gene Tierney, Van Heflin, Ginger Rodgers, George Raft,
No question the draw of crime noir for this reviewer is the great black and white photography and the shadowy effects that medium has on heightening the drama of a film, especially films set in big grimy, hard-boiled cities like New York where the seamy side is hard to draw in unless you use such technique. And in the end that is what kind of does in this Technicolor film under review, Black Widow. Many of the actors, Gene Tierney, Van Heflin and George Raft in particular, cut their teeth on noir but here much of that skill goes to waste along with some soapy and indifferent dialogue that is calculated to make true aficionados of the genre weep.
That said, the plot line here and the mis-directions away from the real killer are actually not too bad. Writer Van Heflin unwittingly takes a budding Podunk girl, a budding Podunk writer gal, just freshly arrived in the big city under his wing. She is no fading violet though when it comes to moving her own career along. Unfortunately she has an affair and becomes, oh no, pregnant with an older man, an older married man whose actor wife (played by Ginger Rodgers) is, well, to be kind a bitch on wheels. Especially to those who try to take her “kept” husband away. Needless to say old Brother Heflin has to move heaven and earth to get out from under the “frame” someone has gone to great lengths to place around his poor writers head. Including sowing doubts in the head of his actor wife (played in kind of a syrupy way by Gene Tierney. She is no Laura here.). The plot line however cannot make up for that 1950s “color” that makes this one a wash.