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Film noir topic at Ocean City Library's lecture hall - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

Film noir topic at Ocean City Library's lecture hall

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Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2010 12:00 am

The Ocean City Free Public Library’s lecture hall is one of the busiest venues in town these days. It is a marvelous mini-theater, which is ideal for many purposes and is in great demand. Sometimes there is more than one program presented on the same day.

That was the situation on Nov. 15, when one program in the afternoon was followed in the evening by the third in a series of film classics. The third film, following “Chinatown” and “Citizen Kane,” was “Mildred Pierce,” the 1945 film noir for which Joan Crawford received an Academy Award. You may or may not agree that Crawford deserved the award, but producer-director Mike Curtis turned out a fascinating tale that featured love, family dysfunction and murder.

Some would call the black and white movie pure soap opera, and in many ways it is. Crawford portrayed a single mother who sacrifices her own happiness for her ungrateful and spoiled daughter, played by Anne Blyth. Some feel Blyth or the marvelously sarcastic Eve Arden deserved the Oscar more than Crawford, whose middle linebacker shoulders were in evidence throughout the film. Handsome Zachary Scott plays her conniving lover who gets his comeuppance in the end ... or rather, in the chest.

Wally Brown, who presents the films, said the picture was shot on a series of Hollywood sound stages, except for the mansion in Malibu, where Johnny Carson and other celebrities later lived.

Crawford’s film career was a roller coaster ride, full of triumphs and tragedies, culminating in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” when she played opposite Bette Davis.

Next up in the series will be “All the King’s Men,” with Broderick Crawford. It will be shown Monday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.

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