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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'Stage Struck' DVD: Noir Fable

Stage Struck (1948)
Warner Archive provides lovers of classic film a glance at yet another variation on the noir genre in releasing the 1948 drama "Stage Struck" on DVD; this purposefully obvious cautionary tale is designed to warn young women about the dangers of coming to New York to pursue stardom. One scene related to said quest in which a teacher advises one such ingenue to use her diaphragm more will appeal to the 12 year-old boy in all of us.


"Struck" opens with disreputable nightclub owner Benny Nordick murdering an innocent Ohio girl. Small-time thug Nick Mantee witnessing this event and dumping the body like a sack o' spuds results in Mantee forcing Nordick into taking him in as a partner in that business and a "talent agency" that provides the "club" a steady stream of young girls who come to New York with stars in their eyes and tap shoes on their feet.

A team with the Bureau of Missing Person Division of the NYPD identifying the victim as said Buckeye State native prompts veteran detective Lieutenant Williams and his personal ingenue Sargent Ramey to visit the family and friends of the aspiring actress now residing on a slab at the morgue. This portion of the investigation provides entertaining background regarding the covert move to the Big Apple that becomes rotten to the core.

An apparent lack of progress prompts loving little sister Nancy Howard to play Nancy Drew in the form of following in the footsteps of her big sister with the hope of tracking down the killer of said sibling on her own.

Nancy getting as far as becoming the fresh young face at the club that Nordick and Mantee own both provides an explicit look at exactly how dirty that business is and sets the stage for great suspense. Even though Nancy is a tough little sister, she quickly learns whom she better call Mister that night.

Aside from a wonderful vibe that "Struck" is a particularly serious and well-done "very special" episode of the '80s sitcom "The Facts of Life," which has an episode that places 13 year-old Tootie at risk of becoming a Times Square hooker, this film benefits from a very good cast. Notes on this subject on the back cover of the DVD provides additional insight regarding this.

As indicated above, the well-blended combination of an "Afterschool Special" and medium-boiled noir film make "Struck" an unique film that rates a place in your DVD collection.

Anyone with a question or comment regarding "Struck" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.