(This seven-part series focusing on film noir during what’s known as “Noirvember” will consist of 100-word pieces intended to be as punchy as any good noir screenplay.)
This Gun for Hire (1942) – Directed by Frank Tuttle
How can lovely Veronica Lake choose between her clean-cut detective boyfriend Robert Preston (twenty years before The Music Man) and an enigmatic hired killer named “Raven” (Alan Ladd in the role that made him a star)? Good – and tough – question; Lake and Ladd have chemistry to burn. In addition to the three young leads the cast is brimming with great character actors, including Laird Cregar, Tully Marshall, Marc Lawrence, Frank Ferguson, Victor Kilian and Patricia Farr. Take note of striking black-and-white cinematography by John F. Seitz too, who photographed the Billy Wilder classics Double Indemnity (1944) and Sunset Blvd. (1950).