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Hangover Square

Posted: July 28th, 2008, 8:31 am
by knitwit45
I wasn't sure if this should be in the "Dramas" or "Film Noir and Crime" thread.

I watched this yesterday, mainly because of George Sanders. What a movie. I couldn't decide if this was scary, or just high camp. It certainly played like a crime/psychological drama, but Laird Cregar was totally weird. I've not seen him in film before, can someone tell me about him? I kept thinking he would make a great Frankenstein, he had the build for it - barrel chest and very long arms. eek.

Linda Darnell was beautiful in this, but her demise was very disturbing, given her real history.

And if you've seen this movie, please weigh in.

Posted: July 28th, 2008, 9:02 am
by jdb1
I'm glad you brought it up, Knitty, because I saw the movie yesterday too, and I was going to mention it.

I loved Creager in this - it was one of the few times he got to be center stage, and I thought he was excellent, even if the movie itself was a bit over the top. He was, as you can guess, a B list Vincent Price type, and would have had a bigger, and parallel career, I think, had he lived longer.

As far as I know, Creager was Philadelphia-born, and went to school in England (rich parents, I guess). He was quite young, only in his 20s during his short film career. He looked older, and you could see in this movie, for example, that he was made up to appear older; but I noticed in certain shots that you could see the youthfulness of his face.

Always heavyset, he struggled with his weight while under contract, and tried one crash diet too many. He had a heart attack and died at the shocking age of 28. Too bad --- he showed so much promise.

Posted: July 28th, 2008, 10:46 am
by knitwit45
How terribly sad. He kind of reminded me of Raymond Burr, for some reason.
Who was the "good" girl? She looked very much like Ruth Hussey, didn't she? Sure wish George had had more to do, he was a suave devil...

Posted: July 28th, 2008, 11:51 am
by MissGoddess
I missed the first 15 minutes but am glad I got to catch it. What
a scary movie! Laird Cregar really had the kind of role that fit his somewhat disturbing
persona to a "T'. The settings showed incredible attention to period detail, as did the
costumes and hair styles for the ladies. The girlfriend of Cregar was played by an
actress who looked very much like Claire Trevor. At first I thought it was her. Linda
looked ravishing and was very good as the scheming songbird. The music and
cinematography were very dramatic.

I squealed with delight when I saw George Sanders, I didn't realize he was in the cast,

The ending, which I won't give away, was too much in my opinion, and rather cruel.

Posted: July 28th, 2008, 1:32 pm
by jdb1
I agree, MissG, that the ending, in fact the entire movie, was on the lurid side. I was also wondering how they did it, it looked so real, and so dangerous for Creager.

I also had the thought that Creager looked like a cross between Raymond Burr and Vincent Price, with a bit of Stephen Fry (and Oscar Wilde, whom he portrayed on the stage) thrown in. I thought he did a nice job of making his dangerous character quite sympathetic.

I thought the period atmosphere very good, except for the zippers on the ladies' dresses. I don't think clothing zippers were yet in general use in the early 20th Century, except on golashes, for which they were designed. I especially liked the depiction of the Guy Fawkes bonfire celebration. The hurly-burly atmosphere was done very well.

The actress who played Barbara was called Faye Marlowe. I don't know her - there are a scant seven films to her credit on IMDb.

Posted: July 28th, 2008, 5:17 pm
by Mr. Arkadin
Laird Cregar was also quite good in The Lodger (1944). Both these films are included in the Fox Horror Classics set. Noir fans will also recognize him as the tortured dectective in I Wake Up Screaming (1941) and Allan Ladd's doublecrossing employer in This Gun For Hire (1942) .

Posted: July 29th, 2008, 4:00 pm
by MikeBSG
I like "Hangover Square" very much. It was directed by John Brahm, who would direct a number of "Twilight zone" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Thriller" episodes later on.

The music is by Bernard Herrmann, who would write the music for "Psycho."

Apparently, this was a very unhappy shoot, with a lot of bad blood between Laird Cregar and John Brahm. George Sanders deliberately muffed an important (and expensive) shot because he disliked his dialogue, and most of his romantic scenes were cut out of the finished movie.

"Hangover Square" is supposedly based on a novel by Patrick Hamilton, who wrote the plays that became "Rope" and "Gaslight." Hamilton's novel was set in the 1930s, and he, and Cregar, were very upset that the film was pushed back to Victorian times.

Posted: July 29th, 2008, 4:40 pm
by MissGoddess
"Hangover Square" is supposedly based on a novel by Patrick Hamilton, who wrote the plays that became "Rope" and "Gaslight." Hamilton's novel was set in the 1930s, and he, and Cregar, were very upset that the film was pushed back to Victorian times.

How interesting, Mike! Was Gaslight made first? Did they switch to
Victorian times because of a "vogue" for thrillers set in that era? I rather
like that it's a period setting, I imagine that made it stand a little apart
from the other noirs Fox was producing. Just a thought...

Posted: July 30th, 2008, 9:42 am
by MikeBSG
The MGM "Gaslight" came out before "Hangover Square," but more important, I think was the success of "The Lodger" the previous year. It also was directed by John Brahm and starred Laird Cregar. "Hangover Square" was supposed to be a "Lodger II" if we can put modern day Hollywood practices back in the Forties.

However, I wonder if there was a political reason for moving "Hangover Square" back to Victorian times. I've never read the novel, but I think the main character got involved in the British fascist movement, something that would not have gone over well in a WWII era movie.

Actually, there was a big vogue for Victorian era thrillers in the Forties. Some would say it started with "The Hound of the Baskervilles." Besides the ones mentioned so far, you had "The Spiral Staircase," "Picture of Dorian Gray," "The Body Snatcher," "The Suspect," "Experiment Perilous" and others. This field hasn't really been studied as a topic in itself, although the films are sometimes studied as part of noir or horror as the case may be.

Posted: July 30th, 2008, 10:01 am
by MissGoddess
Dragonwyck (another Fox title) can also be included in that bunch. I do think Hollywood always has tried to capitalize on "formulas"---if once an "original" idea makes money for a studio, they try to copy it until it no longer does.

Posted: August 1st, 2008, 7:33 pm
by moira finnie
I haven't seen Hangover Square in years, but Knitty and her pals certainly make me want to seek it out.
I love Laird Cregar in I Wake Up Screaming and This Gun For Hire, but his role in this movie and The Lodger are probably his best. If you have a chance, check out his bullfight columnist in Blood and Sand and, for a delightful change of pace, in the comedy, Rings On Her Fingers and the Lubitsch flick, Heaven Can Wait, when he played a very understanding devil.

If it hadn't been for Cregar's early death, Raymond Burr might have struggled along as Jungle Jim for far too long! Thanks to Mike for mentioning the under-rated director John Brahm. I've never seen a movie he directed that I didn't want to see again. The Locket is a fave.

Re: Hangover Square

Posted: November 23rd, 2009, 10:19 pm
by ken123
Linda Darnell's fabulous legs are reason alone to see this stellar noir. :(