Slightly Scarlet (1956)

97-99 mins | Film noir | 8 February 1956

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HISTORY

The onscreen credit for the production supervisor is illegible, but may read "George Moses." As reported in a 14 Jul 1955 DV news item, Kurt Neumann was originally hired as director for Slightly Scarlet , but producer Benedict Bogeaus fired him days before the start of production. Although a 2 Aug 1955 HR news item adds Jack McClure to the cast, his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Many modern sources point to Slightly Scarlet as one of the few examples of a film noir shot in color instead of the genre's typical black-and-white ... More Less

The onscreen credit for the production supervisor is illegible, but may read "George Moses." As reported in a 14 Jul 1955 DV news item, Kurt Neumann was originally hired as director for Slightly Scarlet , but producer Benedict Bogeaus fired him days before the start of production. Although a 2 Aug 1955 HR news item adds Jack McClure to the cast, his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Many modern sources point to Slightly Scarlet as one of the few examples of a film noir shot in color instead of the genre's typical black-and-white photography. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Feb 1956.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1955.
---
Daily Variety
15 Feb 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Feb 56
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 1955
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 1955
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1955
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1955
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Aug 1955
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 56
p. 3.
LAWeekly
21 Apr 2000.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
16 Feb 1956
Sec. II, p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Feb 56
p. 787.
New York Times
17 Mar 56
p. 13.
Variety
15 Feb 56
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Miss Dahl's negligee by
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus score
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Love's Lovely Counterfeit by James M. Cain (New York, 1942).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 February 1956
Production Date:
mid Jul--late Jul 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Filmcrest Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
31 December 1955
Copyright Number:
LP6305
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Recording System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
SuperScope
Lenses/Prints
Prints by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
97-99
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17646
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Bay City, June Lyons picks up her sister Dorothy, a kleptomaniac who is being released from prison because of her poor mental health. Unknown to them, they are photographed by mobster Ben Grace, who plans to use the picture to blackmail June into convincing her employer and boyfriend, mayoral candidate Frank Jansen, to do Ben’s bidding. Ben visits his boss, Sol Caspar, who is listening to publisher Norman B. Marlowe’s television editorial, urging the voters to vote for Frank instead of the current mayor, who is controlled by Caspar. Although Caspar has ordered Ben to discover damaging facts about June in order to discredit Frank, Ben lies that she has no secrets, prompting Caspar to decide to murder Marlowe instead. When Ben advises Caspar against his plan, the gangster punches him, stating that Ben will never be “an operator.” That night, Ben sets up a secret recording device in Marlowe’s office, then calls June to inform her about the murder. June assumes the call is a prank, but Ben captures Caspar and his men on tape murdering Marlowe, and brings the evidence to June’s house the next day. She at first listens to Ben, who says he merely wants to ensure Frank’s election, but when he mentions that he knows about Dorothy, June slaps him and sends him away. Before he leaves, however, Dorothy spots Ben and attempts to seduce him. The next day, June is distracted at work, but the kind, honest Frank admits that he knows all about Dorothy and wants to marry June nonetheless. June, though grateful, does not return his passion. Instead, she finds herself drawn to Ben’s house, where he informs her that ... +


In Bay City, June Lyons picks up her sister Dorothy, a kleptomaniac who is being released from prison because of her poor mental health. Unknown to them, they are photographed by mobster Ben Grace, who plans to use the picture to blackmail June into convincing her employer and boyfriend, mayoral candidate Frank Jansen, to do Ben’s bidding. Ben visits his boss, Sol Caspar, who is listening to publisher Norman B. Marlowe’s television editorial, urging the voters to vote for Frank instead of the current mayor, who is controlled by Caspar. Although Caspar has ordered Ben to discover damaging facts about June in order to discredit Frank, Ben lies that she has no secrets, prompting Caspar to decide to murder Marlowe instead. When Ben advises Caspar against his plan, the gangster punches him, stating that Ben will never be “an operator.” That night, Ben sets up a secret recording device in Marlowe’s office, then calls June to inform her about the murder. June assumes the call is a prank, but Ben captures Caspar and his men on tape murdering Marlowe, and brings the evidence to June’s house the next day. She at first listens to Ben, who says he merely wants to ensure Frank’s election, but when he mentions that he knows about Dorothy, June slaps him and sends him away. Before he leaves, however, Dorothy spots Ben and attempts to seduce him. The next day, June is distracted at work, but the kind, honest Frank admits that he knows all about Dorothy and wants to marry June nonetheless. June, though grateful, does not return his passion. Instead, she finds herself drawn to Ben’s house, where he informs her that Wilson and James, two fugitives wanted by the FBI, were also involved in Marlowe’s murder. Knowing that June will report this to Frank, Ben then visits Caspar and informs him that he is now a murder suspect, forcing Caspar to flee the country, although he vows to return to kill Ben. The next day, Frank wins the election, and June leaves the celebration party to have a drink with Ben. When he brings her home, Ben suggests that Frank hire his friend, Lt. David Dietz, as the new chief of police. Later, Dorothy watches jealously as Ben kisses June. Ben soon takes control of Caspar’s gang by pointing out that he controls Dietz, whom Ben has ordered to “clean up” the town, while ignoring Ben’s ring of illegal casinos. As Ben’s fortunes grow, he continues to visit June, who, still unaware of his criminal dealings, is falling in love with him. One day at June’s, Dorothy wrangles a ride into town with Ben, but when he realizes that she plans to steal goods from the nearby department store, he invites her to Caspar’s beach house. There, while Dorothy undresses in the hopes of seducing Ben, he searches in vain for Caspar’s hidden safe. Later, one of Caspar’s men breaks in, but Ben disarms the man easily. When Ben returns to June’s, she is upset that he spent the day with Dorothy, but when he turns to leave, she falls into his arms. The next day, Dorothy steals a pearl necklace and is chased home by the police, who inform June that Dorothy must now return to jail. Dorothy becomes hysterical as she is led away, prompting June to call Ben for help. When Ben commands Dave to erase the arrest on Frank's orders, June realizes that Ben is crooked. She leaves, but promises not to tell Frank about Ben’s racket. Dave, however, updates Frank about Dorothy, and Frank confronts June, declaring that he will have Dorothy hospitalized instead of jailed, but cannot reverse the arrest. He then reveals that the governor has ordered Dorothy’s arraignment by the next day. Upon learning about the arraignment from June, Dorothy bitterly fights her sister, whom she blames for her first robbery episode. Meanwhile, Dave tells Ben that he will no longer do his bidding, and on the way out of the office, Ben sees a telegram stating that Caspar has returned to America. Knowing Caspar will try to kill him, Ben gathers as much cash as he can and asks June to run away with him, but she refuses. Meanwhile, Dorothy escapes to Caspar’s beach house, where Caspar, who plans to meet his thugs there at nine o’clock, finds her. Dorothy flirts with him and agrees to lure Ben to visit her. She then calls Ben’s house, where June, who has come to search for her sister, answers the phone and, hearing Dorothy state that she is at the beach house, heads there. When June arrives, Caspar holds her at gunpoint, and forces her out onto the balcony while Dorothy stands beside him, laughing. On the balcony, June stumbles over a dart gun, which she uses to startle Caspar, then grabs his gun and shoots him. As Dorothy collapses in hysteria from the sound of the gunfire, Ben arrives. He sees a pile of money Caspar has left on the ground, and after June once again refuses to accompany him, gathers the money and prepares to flee. Just then, however, Caspar revives, shoots Ben and drives away. Slightly wounded, Ben calls Dave to inform him that he heard Caspar say he will return at nine, then hides with June and Dorothy in the upstairs bedroom. Caspar, who is dying from his wounds, soon arrives with his men. When they agree to spare June and Dorothy in exchange for Ben’s life, Ben surrenders to the gang, who shoot him repeatedly. Just then, Frank, Dave and the police enter and arrest the gang. June leaves Dorothy, who has recovered from her mania and has agreed to be hospitalized, in order to cradle Ben’s lifeless body in her arms. Frank watches with new understanding, then helps June and Dorothy leave. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.