This Gun For Hire (1942)

This Gun For Hire (1942)

One of the early “visual” noirs, This Gun For Hire, based on the novel by Graham Greene, weaves a war-spy story into a taught and moody thriller, with breakthrough performances by Alan Ladd and the luminous Veronica Lake. Director Frank Tuttle, who made the first The Glass Key(1935), uses expressionist-influenced lighting to excellent effect.

This Gun For Hire (1942) This Gun For Hire (1942)

This pre-noir clearly influenced French director, Jean-Pierre Melville, in his 1967 homage to film noir, Le Samourai, with Alain Delon, who shares not only Alan Ladd’s first name but an uncanny resemblance, in a similar story of a hit-man on the run. Le Samourai has a pet canary, while Ladd’s Raven has a pet cat. Even a dramatic rail bridge chase is copied by Mellville.

This Gun For Hire (1942)

This Gun For Hire, is an interesting melodrama, which tries to explain the origins of Raven’s pychosis in a scene where he opens up after responding to the gentle concern of the Veronica Lake character. While to a degree dated and despite a weak supporting cast, this picture leaves you with serious questions to ponder.

Highly recommended.

One thought on “This Gun For Hire (1942)”

  1. Besides being an excellent early exercise in the noir style, This film was also a huge influence on 60’s spy flicks, most notably the James Bond pictures. Many of the set-ups and scenarios are directly mimicked in Bond. Top-notch film.

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