Today is neither Jane Greer’s birth nor death anniversary. Even so, Turner Classic Movies is devoting Saturday evening/night to the dangerously seductive star of a number of (mostly) RKO productions of the late 1940s and early 1950s. And who’s complaining?
Unfortunately, Out of the Past, perhaps Greer’s best-known film and performance, is already in the past. It was shown earlier this evening. Right now, TCM is showing Don Siegel’s Mexico-set crime drama The Big Steal, featuring Greer, her Out of the Past co-star Robert Mitchum, William Bendix, Patrick Knowles, and silent film veterans Ramon Novarro and Don Alvarado.
Next comes my favorite Jane Greer performance, as the good girl gone bad – or bad girl attempting to go good – in John Cromwell’s The Company She Keeps. This all-but-forgotten little melodramatic gem is a must for another reason as well: Lizabeth Scott, Paramount’s sultry answer to Warner Bros.’ Lauren Bacall – and a stunning film presence even though Scott wasn’t exactly the greatest actress of the time.
I’ve yet to watch both Station West and Desperate Search, but I can cautiously recommend Run for the Sun. The plot is intriguing – a couple (Greer, Richard Widmark) is hunted by Nazis (!) in some Central American jungle – but Roy Boulting’s handling of the proceedings made me yearn for Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel’s The Most Dangerous Game, of which Run for the Sun is a remake. Having said that, Run for the Sun has two good things going for it: Jane Greer, of course, and Joseph LaShelle’s color cinematography.
Schedule (ET) and synopses from the TCM website:
10:00 PM THE BIG STEAL (1949) Seduction and murder follow the theft of an Army payroll. Dir.: Don Siegel Cast: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Gilbert Roland, Ramon Novarro, Don Alvarado. Black and white. 71 mins
11:30 PM THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS (1951) A lady con artist sets out to steal her parole officer’s fiance. Dir.: John Cromwell Cast: Lizabeth Scott, Jane Greer, Dennis O’Keefe. Black and white. 83 mins
1:00 AM STATION WEST (1948) A federal agent takes on a gang of gold thieves. Dir.: Sidney Lanfield Cast: Dick Powell, Jane Greer, Agnes Moorehead. Black and white. 80 mins
2:30 AM RUN FOR THE SUN (1956) A British traitor hunts humans in the jungles of Mexico. Dir.: Roy Boulting Cast: Richard Widmark, Trevor Howard, Jane Greer. Black and white. 99 mins
4:15 AM DESPERATE SEARCH (1953) A man fights to find his children after their plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. Dir.: Joseph Lewis Cast: Howard Keel, Jane Greer, Patricia Medina. Black and white. 71 mins
Turner Classic Movies website.