THIS GUN FOR HIRE

(1942)
With Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, Laird Cregar, Tully Marshall, Marc Lawrence
Directed by Frank Tuttle
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

Sorry, honey... it's the radishes      Regarded as one of the earliest examples of film noir, THIS GUN FOR HIRE is the film that made Alan Ladd a star, and made Ladd and Veronica Lake one of the archetypal noir couples.  Ladd plays Philip Raven, a cold-blooded hired killer with a well-hidden soft spot for cats and kind-hearted dames.  Seeking revenge against a client who double-crossed him, Raven becomes entangled in a web of murder, deception, and international espionage.  The film's success at the box office paved the way for the shadowy noir crime dramas of the '40s and '50s, as well as subsequent Ladd-Lake classics such as THE GLASS KEY (1942) and THE BLUE DAHLIA (1946).  Frank Tuttle was one of Paramount's most successful all-purpose directors of the 1930s; his films were profitable at the time but are mostly forgotten today.  THIS GUN FOR HIRE was easily his most outstanding film, in which he finally emerged as an individual stylist.  World War II interrupted his career and the postwar Red Scare effectively ended it, although he occasionally landed a good project such as the American-French production GUNMAN IN THE STREETS (1950), his last notable work. 4½ - JL

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