The Man I Love

Premiered Jan. 11, 1947: THE MAN I LOVE, starring Ida Lupino, Robert Alda, Andrea King, and Bruce Bennett. Directed by Raoul Walsh (They Drive By Night, High Sierra, White Heat). This film offers a glimpse into the lives of a small group of people whose stories  intertwine in varying degrees, TheManILovewith Lupino at the center. Lupino is a nightclub singer living in New York who decides to visit her two sisters and brother in Los Angeles over the Christmas holidays. Once there, she becomes involved with the individual dramas and struggles experienced by each of her siblings. Her tough but compassionate nature enables her to jump into the breach and provide the guidance and support her family needs. Along the way, Lupino gets a job singing at a nightclub owned by Roberta Alda. Alda is a wannabe tough guy who relentlessly chases after anything in a skirt, and has been harassing one of Lupino’s sisters. Lupino intercedes and draws Alda’s attention to herself, but their flirtation ends when Lupino meets Bruce Bennett, a legendary jazz pianist who mysteriously stopped playing music several years prior. Lupino falls madly in love with Bennett, but finds it difficult to compete with the memory of his divorced wife that persistently tortures him. Lupino delivers one of the best performances of her career in this film. Her shining talent and inner fire are vividly evident in every scene, as she propels this film forward almost single-handedly. This was the fourth time Walsh directed Lupino, and he clearly understood how to bring out the best in her. An important aspect of this film is the superb music, which is made up of wonderful songs by George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Oscar Hammerstein, including the film’s title song. The scenes in which Bennett plays the piano are mesmerizing and reinforce the overall mood of the film perfectly. Although this movie doesn’t really contain any of the obvious characteristics typically associated with film noir, it is nonetheless often considered to be a noir. Its subtle noir nature is embodied in the frank and honest depiction of average people struggling to find some measure of happiness in their lives. Such a candid examination of urban life is very noir, especially when that happiness proves to be elusive. We give The Man I Love 4 out of 5 fedoras.

4 Fedoras

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