Hangover Square is the last film Laird Cregar made in his brief, remarkable career. Freely adapted from Patrick Hamilton's novel, it was directed by John Brahm, photographed by Joseph LaShelle, and features a memorably thunderous score by Bernard Herrmann. Like the previous year's The Lodger, also a Cregar-Brahm collaboration, this is a killer on the loose in Victorian London movie. Aside from some fancily shot scenes early on, this would not in itself be an extraordinary film but for Cregar's portrayal of the lead character, a man who murders when he hears loud, sudden noises. In his quieter moments the man is, of all things, a composer!
There are many fine scenes in this film but it's basically Cregar's show from start to finish, and he does not disappoint. His performance is so brilliant, empathetic, nuanced, and for all the melodrama, utterly believable, that it's impossible not to focus on him at the expense of the rest of the movie.
Perhaps the best way to describe Cregar's acting style here is to imagine A Streetcar Named Desire being performed entirely inside someone's mind, with the characters of Stanley and Blanche being played by the same actor, in a Victorian setting, disguised as a murder story. One wonders where Cregar found the inspiration for such work. He was one of the greatest actors to ever grace the screen, and one of the most enigmatic. American-born, he tended to play Brits. Unlike his fellow American Anglophile actor and friend, Vincent Price, he had no education to speak of. Within a span of less than five years he went from supporting player to star. In this movie he is top-billed over Fox hottie Linda Darnell. Not too shabby for a morbidly obese man several inches over six feet in height who, while still in his twenties, was playing men well into their forties.
Cregar had a way of making even accomplished co-stars like Cedric Hardwicke and George Sanders look like amateurs by comparison. He wasn't even trying to. One should watch his films to see what a great actor is like. His roles weren't always great, but he was. Forget Sean Penn and his tantrums, or Meryl Streep's mannered Yale Drama School flair for accents. Cregar was the real deal. The only American actor I can think of who could give him a run for his money would be Brando. Sadly, Cregar was as tormented as he was gifted, was full of self-hatred, for a variety of reasons, and went on a crash diet after completing this film in the hope of becoming a romantic leading man. But he lost the weight so fast it killed him. He was twenty-eight years old.
Action / Crime / Drama / Music
Action / Crime / Drama / Music
George Harvey Bone is a composer in early 20th century London, who is under stress because he is writing a piano concerto. Due to this stress, he gets black outs when ever he hears dissonances. When he finds himself after the black out in a different quarter of the town, he returns home, to read in the paper that somebody in that quarter was murdered. Asking help from a doctor at Scotland Yard he is assured that he has nothing to do with it, but he is advised to cut back in his work and get some relaxation like other, ordinary people. At a cheap musical he meets Netta, a singer, who inspires him for a new motive for his concerto. But Netta discovers that this motive could also be used as a song for her. The song gets sold, and she hangs around George to get more songs out of him. George believes that Netta is in love with him, and gets in an argument with his girlfriend Barbara, the daughter of Lord Henry, who wants the concerto for one of his soirées. George has another black out, and after recovering he hears that Barbara was almost strangled to death. He starts working again on the concerto. On London's special holiday he learns that Netta, who offered him quite a lot for a new song, is going to marry theatrical producer Carstair, and he causes some violins to fall in his room, and this sound drives him to another black out... —Stephan Eichenberg
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 27, 2021 at 04:54 PM