They Won’t Believe Me (1947): Guilt by Intention

They Won't Believe Me (1947)

A man on trial for murder takes the witness stand in his own defense (1947 RKO. Directed by Irving Pichel  Screenplay by Johnathon Latimer 95 mins original b&w version)

Nobody Believes Me does not have a high profile, but it is an intriguing melodrama with a strong noir sensibility, that deserves wider respect.

Don’t look for noir photography, erotic tension, or sustained violence. There is the use of flashback in the narrative and the plot involves several ironic twists, but it is the  role of fate that is the fulcrum.  Half-way though the film, in a single day, the two protagonists for probably the first time in their lives each makes a profoundly redemptive decision so that in the words of the poet George Seferis: “we found our life was a mistake, and we changed our life”, but fate intervenes, and the window to a new life together is irrevocably slammed shut.

The resolution is heavily Jesuitical: culpability and punishment accrue to a malevolent intention as well as the act itself.

Highly recommended.

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