Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Somewhere in the Night is an amnesiac noir. Hollywood loves them. A klunk on the head can turn a snarling shrew into a panting geisha. Slinky sirens with murky motives turn up claiming to be your wife. Gangsters shoot first and east block sociopaths attach electrodes later…. Dull sitcoms are reborn. Momentarily.
Researching this post I have come across more amnesiac movies than I ever thought existed. A hundred years of actors getting klunked/bashed/banged on the head in Hollywood. But what really intrigued me is that the worse or more uncertain times became, the more bonks on the head actors received. The last 10 years have been positively Tyson-esh. Maybe we agree with mystery writer Rita Mae Brown,
“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.”
After all, Hollywood is in the business of wish fulfillment.
Right around WWI and after WWII amnesiac movies were very much en vogue. A kind of let’s “forget our troubles, get happy” vibe. Since 2001 more than 40 movies or sitcom/series have featured amnesia/brainwashing/memory erasing as a theme. We really don’t want to know nuttin’ about nuttin’in this century!
Every one can play: countesses and criminals, princesses and private eyes, murderers and mistresses; heiresses, GIs; underworld spies; even a blue cartoon fish. All can’t remember squat. Some think they are someone else. For a while.
Right now I’m having amnesia and deja vu at the same time.
In Hollywood, this is possible. “Oh yes, this place. I’ve never been here before!” From a clinical standpoint, Hollywood has it all backwards. No one rarely forgets the past like they do in the movies, unless they have alzheimers. On the contrary, after a head injury victims usually can’t made new memories in the future. Like Dory in Finding Nemo. Yes, Pixars’ cartoon fish is the only clinically accurate portrayal of amnesia like symptoms in the movies. Cool, huh? (Memento is close as well, but, what a downer.)
Somewhere in the Night is co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz– one of Hollywood’s class acts in my book. Of course he would be so on the basis of only one film — All About Eve. But, Mr. Mankiewicz was a super over-achiever. His credits as variously or in combo include The Philadelphia Story, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, No Way Out, The Barefoot Contessa, Guys and Dolls, Suddenly Last Summer, The Quiet American and Cleopatra. Quite a range and quite a career.
Somewhere in the Night. 1946. Vintage Original Half sheet. Very fine ++. This poster has been paper backed. It was folded prior to paper backing. Fold lines are still somewhat evident. In the face of Lloyd Nolan there are some red smudges that should be able to be repaired by a restorer. Otherwise, colors are very bright with no poster browning.