Frank Thompson awakes from the arresting shock of a narrowly avoided construction accident on the wrong side of town, with the wrong monogram on his cigarette case, and the wrong man’s wardrobe on his person. In resuming his routine, he quickly finds himself stalked by a covert agent, followed hastily by an all-out pursuit, with guns a-blazin’. In an effort to alleviate the suffering from his now hallucinatory fits, Frank sets out to the scene of his accident, where he begins an intriguing investigation of the initials cryptically sewn in to his fedora.
Street of Chance is a solid whodunnit, with an amnestic twist, however, its biggest weakness is its caution: it manages to be occasionally frightful, rarely suspenseful, and only half-heartedly labyrinthine. One of the few striking scenes depicts Frank (or Danny?) approaching a theatrically drawn curtain, flashlight in hand, whose opening would reveal the stage of the story’s momentous crime. Watching the circumference of his flashlight’s rays diminish as Frank approaches the performance space, one can’t help but think of a spotlight (even if this is because the effect is indeed accomplished with a spotlight). One must then wonder why Hively chose to tread so lightly on what might’ve been a denser and more fulfilling thematic composition.
- Street of Chance (Hively 1942) @ Roxie Cinema #IWakeUpDreaming2011