2012 TCM Classic Film Festival: Review
This is the second of my reviews of the 16 films I saw over the course of four days at the TCM Festival this past April.
FALL GUY 1947; Leo Penn, Elisha Cook, Jr.; directed by Reginald Le Borg; Chinese #4; Saturday, 9 a.m.
The lure: A rarely-screened film noir; Walter Mirisch in attendance.
If I could’ve cloned myself: This was not as difficult a decision as others, such as HTWWW. The festival’s main theme was “Style”, and this was “Noir Style”, but there were not that many noirs on the schedule. Running concurrently with Fall Guy was the very long The Longest Day, with a post-screening discussion featuring Robert Wagner, an Abbott & Costello feature, Who Done It (I never was a fan of A&C), and Auntie Mame. There also was the footprint ceremony with Kim Novak in front of Graumann’s, but I’d seen Kim the previous afternoon at Vertigo.
Thoughts: The legendary producer Walter Mirisch (The Apartment, West Side Story and many more) appeared on stage prior to the screening of this terrific film. Fall Guy was adapted from author Cornell Woolrich’s Cocaine. Mirisch, contrary to what one might expect, was very charming and humble (“I was lucky to be a story teller”). He shot the film in just eight days on very small sets, with a miniscule budget of $85,000 (“I was paid $2,500 and was very displeased with the music”; “It’s very similar to Phantom Lady”) all while skirting the era’s restrictive Production Code.
Leo Penn (father of Chris and Sean) plays a returning and bitter WWII veteran who finds himself confronted with charges of murder, when he awakens at a party from a drug-induced blackout. Great lines, such as “I’m even seeing him in my soup!”, and “Nothing makes you forget a woman faster than another woman.” During the discussion, Mirisch proclaimed, for the record, that his Invasion of the Body Snatchers was–contrary to popular belief–“not about Communism!” A dazzling and very funny Columbia Pictures cartoon, Rooty Toot Toot, preceded this film.
No dice, guys: Fall Guy is unavailable at the present time, although TCM will probably be showing it. Rooty Toot Toot is part of a new set of UPA animated films, available through TCM’s online store. It’s also on YouTube: