Only the earlier box office success of Double Indemnity convinced MGM that they should risk violating the Motion Picture Code by funding the film, based on the novel by the hard-boiled writer James M. Cain. Drifter John Garfield spots a “Man Wanted” sign in front of a seedy coffee shop alongside a dusty Southern California highway, and then notices the hot young Lana Turner, wife of the owner. Turner convinces the wary Garfield to take the job, tripping the film noir plot, which raises a number of questions. Is Frank needed by the middle-aged owner Nick or by his unhappy beautiful young wife Cora (Lana Turner)? Does Cora need love, sex, an escape from drudgery (she spends almost the entire film wearing waitress white), money, or in her words, “to be somebody?” Is she an economically exploited early feminist or a femme fatale?
Doors open at 6 PM. Refreshments provided. There is a $2 suggested donation.