Monday, March 19, 2012

Out Of The 1940s Crime Noir Night- American Psycho 101- “Born To Kill”- A Review

Out Of The 1940s Crime Noir Night- American Psycho 101- “Born To Kill”- A Review

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the 1940s crime noir Born To Kill.

DVD Review

Born To Kill, starring Claire Trevor, Lawrence Tierney, Warner Brothers 1948

No question the possible combinations of criminal conspiracies and conspirators in any crime noir are almost infinite. Here stone-cold killer meets stone-cold femme fatale (well mostly stone cold that is) in one of those crime noir efforts that you can’t really root for anybody to break out of the trap- the crime doesn’t pay trap that is a signature message of these vehicles. That is the plight of the ”inmates” of the film under review, Born To Kill, that despite its title is not a relentless slice and dice at every clip crime noir out of the 1940s. But neither is it one that will have you bursting out crying at the end.

Here’s why. One very stone-cold killer (played frankly, a little woodenly given later pyscho killers that the movies have produced, by Lawrence Tierney) with a very short, make that a very,very short fuse, gets offended by some guy in Reno trying to “make time” with some frail that he is interested in and in a fit of pique beats him senseless, and dead. A familiar crime theme although not usually is Reno. The frail comes in and observes the foul deed and she too must fall. On advice of a friend, who should have fled from this guy on day one and counted himself lucky, our American pyscho is told to scram until things cool down. So he beat it to the coast, ‘Frisco, of course. And through that set of circumstances he meets our stone-cold femme fatale (played more convincingly by Claire Trevor). Nothing good can come of this combination and nothing does.

Why? Well our pyscho has post –World War II American-sized dreams of riches and power and he expects to gather it in through his association with our dear femme fatale’s sister who controls a media empire (newspapers back in the day, okay). Except, well, of course, an except Ms. Femme Fatale has gotten under his skin and he under hers. Remember now our boy has a short fuse so you know that nothing but murder and mayhem are going to come out of all this if he gets a little bit miffed. And he does by of all people the guy who was trying to help him scram back in Reno (played by perennial bad boy Elisha Cook,Jr.) Go figure. As for the rest, see the film and learn yet again that even pyschos get their just desserts-if only in the movies.

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