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The murder of gangster Nick Prenta touches off an investigation of mysterious socialite Lorna Hansen Forbes, who seems to have no past, and has now disappeared. In flashback, we see the woman's anonymous roots; her poor working-class marriage, which ends in tragedy and her determination to find "better things." Soon finding that sex appeal is her only salable commodity, she climbs from man to man toward the center of a nationwide crime syndicate...a very perilous position.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kent Smith's character's name is actually "Blackford". Goes well with Joan Crawford's name, "Whitehead". (Note the spelling on his new office door, not to mention the pronunciation of his name). See more »
[intercepting and examining the check she's offered for her gambling losses]
Your check's no good, Mrs. Forbes.
My check's good anywhere.
[tearing up the check]
That's right. I'm fresh. But I'm also generous. Tonight, you're the guest of the house. Now tomorrow night, that's different. Tomorrow night you can lose your shirt.
[looks her over and bends closer]
I'll even pay to see that.
See more »
Music by Cliff Friend
Played at the Hacienda when Lorna meets Prenta See more »
Joan the gangster's moll?
'The Damned Don't Cry' is an obvious attempt to capitalize on Joan Crawford's success with 'Mildred Pierce' (also made with Warner Bros.) Both films are melodrama tinged with noir, although I would certainly hesitate to classify 'Damned...' as a noir. It has a few of the noir trademarks, but is not executed particularly well enough to be considered as a true film noir.
Like 'Mildred Pierce' it begins with a murder, and is then told via Joan's (her character's name - don't laugh - is Ethel)flashback. We're then treated to some vintage down home Joan, again like her character in 'Mildred Pierce' she is a struggling mother trying to please her child. Instead of tryng to buy a dress for Veda, in 'The Damned Don't Cry' she is trying to purchase a bike for her pathetic son.
The morality of the 50s is in full effect here, again like 'Mildred Pierce'. In the latter film, when the woman leaves the family home and has desires for a professional life, chaos and misery begins. The same is true for 'The Damned...'. Ethel wants a life better than her near-poverty existence, having to leave her husband and child. Therefore, she must be punished in the eyes of the narrative. Ethel then gets mixed up in some gangster situations. There's one amusing scene where in a restaurant her date (a poor accountant) orders 'a chicken salad and a coffee' and Joan nearly has a seizure. The mise en scene changes when Ethel is involved with the criminal activities: a gothic mansion is used and the lighting begins to contrast between light and dark. But, again, not really enough to make a convincing case for this being a noir.
Joan gives a good performance as Ethel/Lorna. Certainly not one of her best, but she is particularly good in the final scenes. If you enjoyed 'Mildred Pierce' or 'Flamingo Road', this is one to watch.
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