Starring Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, Laird, Cregar and Alan Ladd. Directed by Frank Tuttle. Running time: 80 minutes. Release date: May 13, 1942
film noir classic about a hitman named Raven (Ladd's break-through
film) who after taking out a blackmailer and his girlfriend in San
Francisco, realizes he has been set up by his anonymous employer. Now on
the run from the police, Raven wants to find out why he was duped and
score a little payback. The middle man named Gates (terrific performance
by Cregar) who works for the anonymous employer informs police that
Raven stole money from the company Gates works, Nitro Chemical.
Detective Crane (a young Robert Preston, miles away from Professor
Harold Hill of The Music Man) is assigned the case.
girlfriend, nightclub singer/magician Ellen (a sultry Veronica Lake)
winds up meeting Raven on board a train headed to Los Angeles by
accident. Raven ends up taking Ellen hostage. He finds out that Ellen
also knows Gates, as Gates owns the nightclub where she works. So now
Raven starts to play detective to find out what's going on.
the police in hot pursuit, the pair are trapped at the train yards
where Raven shares his hard upbringing that led him to his life as a
hitman. She begins to sympathize with him. And as a final gesture, takes
his coat and hat to pretend to be him to confuse the police while Raven
escapes. He heads to Nitro Chemical to take down the man who set him
this is one awesome movie. A perfectly tuned film noir film that just
grabs you from the opening credits and doesn't let go. Alan Ladd is
terrific as Raven, who is more than just your average gun for hire. His
back story explains quite a bit about the life he has led. This is a
true star making performance. His first pairing with Lake is really good
as their had wonderful chemistry. Lake plies her usual trademark sultry
good looks and smoky voice to good effect. And in the quieter moments
with Ladd, is quite a revelation. Preston is all gung ho as the
detective and Cregar makes a good slimy, sniveling middleman who says he
is just following orders. No hard feelings Mr. Raven. Right?..Heck no.
You're going down too big man.
This Gun For Hire is excellent entertainment.