Friday, August 1, 2008
|9:15 p.m.||The Unfaithful|
Vincent Sherman (U.S., 1947)
Introduction by Dan Hodges
Dan Hodges is a film writer whose work will be included in the forthcoming 4th Edition of Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style.
For Goodis, Hollywood was a radiant lamplight on an otherwise dark road to nowhere. The Unfaithful is his sole memento from his short sojourn in La La Land. Though derided as a remake of the Bette Davis vehicle The Letter, Goodis’s rich repurposing puts Ann Sheridan back in her game as a wartime adulteress paying the price once the troops come home. When a past lover accosts her, Sheridan retaliates with a handy Japanese ceremonial knife, undoubtedly spoils of war brought back by her husband (Zachary Scott). An initial denial of mayhem gives way to a torrent of lies. Goodis’s sobering script takes on a social ill few would recognize today: the consequences of the martial inspiring the marital in a hasty wartime marriage. Though this dank hanky of a drama is about infidelity at its noir-inflected heart, The Unfaithful stays true to family values—a rare glimpse of Goodis being good.
• Written by David Goodis, James Gunn. Photographed by Ernest Haller. With Ann Sheridan, Lew Ayres, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden. (109 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Warner Bros.)