Overlooked Noir: Crack-Up (1946) by K. A. Laity

Even when I’m teaching the neo/noir course I need more noir!

Punk Noir Magazine


No surprise that this one would appeal to me: Noir ambience? Check. Art and art forgery plot? Check. Mind manipulation? Check! Yeah, art and a sort of Hannibal connection, well – I’m sold. Never mind that Crack-Up stars Pat O’Brien, an unlikely everyman as its hero. It’s got Claire Trevor though, with a wild swathe of outfits, and it has the ever-urbane Herbert Marshall for kicks. And Wallace Ford who adds value to any picture he’s in.

It starts in media res like so many noir films, with a befuddled O’Brien breaking into the Manhattan Museum, punching a cop and breaking a statue. The museum director calms things down because they don’t want bad publicity though art critic George Steele (O’Brien) will lose his job because they think he’s drunk and raving.

Flashback time, of course. We go back to Steele lecturing in the museum. He’s a born feather ruffler…

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