Showing posts from October, 2014
Some actors came to film noir uniquely equipped to play against the treacherous background of emotional intrigue that leads to crime and doom. Robert Mitchum's laconic, sleepy-eyed presence masking a keen intelligence and cynicism about the human condition represented a new kind of hero, while Dick Powell's rakish good humor and prior experience as a light leading man made him expert at comeback in verbal exchanges with good and bad guys (and women) alike.

   More in the Powell mode is Dennis O'Keefe, who rose through the ranks working at roles ranging from dashing daredevils, pleasant secondary leads, Irish tough guys and everyday Joes to become a noir icon thanks to a brace of movies he made in the late 1940s and intermittently into the mid-'50s. Unlike Powell, who for a time specialized in noir portrayals in film and radio, O'Keefe varied his screen roles to star in comedies, adventures and other kinds of action entries. Alternately intense and breezy, O'Keef…