Somewhere In The Night, starring John Hodiak, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, 20thCentury Fox
In the end he should have gone maybe to North Dakota or someplace, some place where guys weren’t looking to knock him off, he didn’t have to dodge a stray bullet or six, and didn’t have to deal with every crack pot in the California night from low-rent floozies looking for the main chance to broken down carny con artists with hard boy companions not afraid to pull some rough stuff, trying to put the big step-off frame on him. But that was after, and that North Dakota, or some place, before would have meant that he missed meeting Christie, Christie the nice frame , flame- burning torch singer at the Kit Kat Club, the only one who had faith in him, was in his corner when even he had doubts. Yah, Christie.
…, he, let’s just call him he for now, was just another G.I., another guy doing his bit for the war effort on some nasty Pacific atoll, or some coral-scratched beach-head trying to do the right thing. Then it all came part, came apart in some desolate fox hole, when that son of Nippon, unnamed, unknown, unhated except he was one of Tojo’s boys, tossed that grenade and he, in a split second, a split second of fear, bravado or hubris, take your pick, decided that his number was up and pulled his big black- haired, brown- eyed frame over the damn thing. And then came the surgery, and more surgery, and, and, the problem of no name, no name in a name-full world. Amnesia, damn. So he bought into the name they gave him, George Young, the name they scratched together for him and he went out into the harsh California day, not a care in the world, and maybe some luck would fall his way when he stitched together his mislaid past.
Naturally if guys are looking for you, tough guys, whether you remember your past or not, they sure as hell do, when, what else, dough is involved. Big dough, big 1940s dough, maybe not much now, maybe just walking around money, a couple of million bucks ferried out of Germany as the rats started seeing the writing on the wall and wanted to insure a bright new life in America, or some place not bomb-out Berlin. But when that kind of money is involved lots of hands are going to be looking for their share, or the whole pot, and guys are going to end up dead. Watch out George, watch out.
As guys start taking a run at our boy George, and as guys who could help him figure out who he was, what he did, starting falling through the cracks, and he started to understand why people were clamming up on him, except darling thrust-throated Christie, he began to see where his past life might have been ill-spent. That the George Young thing was just a hoax he had perpetrated on the world and that he was Mister Larry Cravat, either a patsy or a stone-killer. But no guy who is crazy for torch singers can really be all bad, all balled up as he may have been. So some stone-cold killer is out there with his number on his mind, and his mind on the dough. Larry get the hell out of there for Chrissake.
Labels: somewhere in the night