peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2021 11 06 TheBigClock

The Big Clock

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Jason Di Rosso interviewed the directors of a John Farrow biopic now showing at the Sydney Film Festival. I didn't know anything about the bloke, an Australian, who was apparently Mia's Dad. This is his highest rated feature on IMDB. Watched in two sittings in Alice Springs due to weariness.

In a somewhat taut noir Charles Laughton plays a media tycoon that obviously echoes Orson Welles. His dogsbody "Crimeways" editor Ray Milland (to me looking a bit like Jimmy Stewart and sounding a bit like Cary Grant, perhaps aspirationally) struggles with work/life balance in marriage to an implausibly tolerant Maureen O'Sullivan who forgives more than she should. (She also implausibly pines for West Virginia.) A night on the town that ends with a murder leads to some chasing around a very modern New York office building which includes the titular big clock. Elsa Lanchester has the most fun sporting an outre laugh that goes so well with her drawings. The plot holes open up epically in the closing stages.

Bosley Crowther talked it up at the time. Things are patchier than he suspected.