This is a tense and ingeniously plotted noir film, based on a clever novel by Hugh Wheeler (writing as Patrick Quentin), and excellently scripted by Nunnally Johnson, who also directed. There is no way you can work out what happened until the end of the film, so don't even try. It is disappointing that the alluring Gene Tierney does not have a more interesting part and is more or less limited to being 'the wife', while her husband Van Heflin does all the acting. Ginger Rogers does a broad-stroke interpretation of a broad-stroke character, George Raft is stolid as a policeman, though it is only a supporting role despite his star billing. There are some splendid supporting performances: Virginia Leith, with a voice just like that of today's Selma Blair, was intriguing and had such promise, but never got the parts to show what she could have done in her career. Reginald Gardner is superb as Ginger Rogers's 'kept husband'. Peggy Ann Garner plays a scheming young girl (though she is 22 playing 20, she seems too old for the part, and is strangely frumpy and dull) who wheedles her way unscrupulously into affluent company with a pretence of innocence. Van Heflin is strong and forceful in his increasingly desperate role. This is an excellent fifties noir, made in colour, and Ginger Rogers's outfits are something else, and those hats! There is no undertone of despair as there is in so many forties noirs, there is instead the whiff of corrupt wealth and fame, which was so fifties. (There's no corruption now, is there?) This has something of the stage about it, being perhaps over-constructed, but it is damned complicated and keeps you guessing until the last scenes.
Black Widow (1954) 720p YIFY Movie
Black Widow (1954)
Black Widow is a movie starring Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, and Gene Tierney. A young writer insinuates herself into the life of a Broadway producer.
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The Synopsis for Black Widow (1954) 720p
A married Broadway producer is taken with an innocent young woman who wants to be a writer and make it on Broadway. He decides to take her under his wing, but it's not long before the young lady is found dead in his apartment. At first thought to be a suicide, it is later discovered that she has been murdered, and suspicion immediately falls on the producer. He begins his own investigation in order to clear his name, and one of the first things he finds out is that the young woman wasn't quite as naive and innocent as she appeared to be.
The Director and Players for Black Widow (1954) 720p
The Reviews for Black Widow (1954) 720p
Girl on the Make, and Those Compromised by HerReviewed byrobert-temple-1Vote: 9/10
No matter how pretentious the cocktail party, never escape by asking another wallflower out for dinner. That was theatrical producer Van Heflin's mistake when, on the terrace of Broadway diva Ginger Rogers' apartment, he took pity on hopeful young writer Peggy Ann Garner. Just a few months later, she was found hanged in the bathroom of his apartment.
It was all very innocent, though. While his wife, another star on the Rialto (Gene Tierney), was away tending to her ailing mother, Heflin let Garner use his place as a daytime office so she could write in quiet comfort. (Well, not so quiet: She listens to `The Dance of the Seven Veils' from Salome incessantly and fixates on a line from the opera: `The mystery of love is stronger than the mystery of death.') But when it turns out not only that she was pregnant but that she was murdered, the police sensibly enough find in Heflin their prime suspect.
Black Widow, written and directed by Nunnally Johnson, assembles an impressive array of Hollywood luminaries across whose resumés long shadows were beginning to creep. Along with Rogers, Tierney and Heflin, there's George Raft as a police detective, Otto Krueger as Garner's actor uncle and Reginald Gardiner as Rogers' whipped spouse. It's an ensemble-cast, 40s-high-style mystery movie, made about a decade too late but not too much the worse for that (even allowing for its color and Cinemascope).
Heflin's technically the center of the movie ? the patsy racing around to prove his innocence. But the meatier parts go to the women, except for Tierney, all but wasted in the recessive role of the elegant but dutiful wife. Garner makes her abrupt exit early in the movie, but returns in startlingly revisionist flashbacks. And, as the grande dame (named `Carlotta,' perhaps in homage to another grande dame of the stage, Marie Dressler's Carlotta Vance in Dinner at Eight?), Rogers strides around in big-ticket outfits and fakes a highfalutin drama-queen accent. For most of the movie it seems like ill-fitting role for the essentially proletarian Rogers, but it's shrewdly written, and near the end she shows her true colors, becoming, briefly, sensational.
Like Repeat Performance and All About Eve, Black Widow uncoils in a high-strung, back-stabbing theatrical milieu that's now all but vanished ? all the money and the glamour have moved west. (Not to put too fine a point on it, but the tiny part of a struggling Greenwich Village actor is taken by television producer Aaron Spelling, now one of the richest men in Hollywood.) The movie cheats a little by withholding information essential to our reading of the characters, but it's a forgivable feint; the characters are all `types' anyhow. There is, however, one baffling omission ? there's not a single widow in the plot.
I greatly enjoyed this Cinemascope, Stereo-Sound romp, but mainly as a Guilty Pleasure, as it's a film very much of it's time, with mismatched acting styles, lush, unbelievable sets, a central premise that doesn't make much sense (lending your expensive apartment to a just-met down-and-out writer while your wife's away),and an early attempt to make visual sense of the then-new wide-screen process.
Why do I like it? Ginger Rogers is way over the top, popping on and off screen with snappy diva one-liners, like Margo Channing on pep pills; Peggy Ann Garner plays a subversive Lolita, crazy-seductive and irresistible, and you can even spot Aaron Spelling towards the end in a bit part as a theatre employee.
The palette is loaded with pastel colors so popular in the 1950's, and the whole thing is sort of a mild domestic whodunit whipped up into an anemic Douglas Sirk confection. Great it ain't, but because of Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney (who has very little to do but does it beautifully) and Reginald Gardner, I found it greatly entertaining.