Time out from lists for a quick review. I watched Blaze of Noon last night, courtesy of youtube. It's a William Holden film I've never seen hide nor hair of, so this was a treat. I watched it in two halves, as I went to see a school play last night (Diary of Anne Frank).
SPOILERS follow, so stop right here if you want to remain unspoiled!! You have been warned!
Blaze of Noon is about four brothers, (William Holden, Sterling Hayden, Sonny Tufts, and Johnny Sands), who make a living doing stunt flying for a circus. This film is set in the 1920s, so we've got some lovely bi-planes zipping around. The first half of the film is rather light. We see the brothers at work, they leave the circus for the serious job of carry air mail between cities for a start-up company. William Holden falls madly in love with Anne Baxter, proposing just hours after meeting her. She eventually accepts. The first half is all kind of adventurous and fun and sweetly romantic with a touch of comedy...
Then there was the second half, in which we leave light and happy behind and swerve straight into melodrama. I find it very ironic that I viewed this film in the two segments, because it is almost like two movies! This wasn't a bad movie, but it doesn't hang together very well, and it has a lot of missed opportunities. It also doesn't hit the emotional points like it should, as there's a lot to be emotional about in this movie, but it glosses past those things.
I love Anne Baxter, so it was quite fun to see her with William Holden, who is as incredibly handsome and charming as ever. She finds marrying one brother is very nearly like marrying all four, as they all share a home and Holden can't yet afford his own place, and that starts ratcheting up the tension. The four brothers were quite good together, very likeable, though Sterling Hayden seemed to spend most of the film in a cranky mood. Of course, his character is jealous of Holden's for winning Anne Baxter's love when he wanted it himself, so maybe his crankiness is justified. The other supporting actors in the film are all fine, particularly William Bendix as another flyer who spices up his mail route by buzzing farmhouses and trains against strict orders. Flying in a straight line is too boring for him. The owner of the mail service is played by Howard Da Silva, and I really liked him. Made a great boss really trying to make a go of this new airmail service thing. The cast was definitely the best thing about the film.
Things I didn't like... well, besides wanting to re-write parts of the script to flow more consistently, I didn't like the ending. I know one of their points was that flying in those early days is dangerous, but really? REALLY???? They'd proved how dangerous it was long before the ending. Which seems kind of tacked on and I'm not sure how it helps the movie. Besides it made me very grumpy and unhappy. LOL!
I used to think only Dana Andrews needed to stay away from planes, but I was wrong. William Holden also needs to stop flying planes. His track record is getting nearly as bad. Hmph.