Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Black Glove (1954)
The Black Glove opens as American jazz trumpeter James Bradley finishes the first set on his European tour. He’s performing in London and he should be going to be a celebratory party afterwards but he’s exhausted so catches a cab back to his hotel. On the way he gets sidetracked by jazz singer Maxine Halbard (Ann Hanslip). She offers him a home cooked meal. It seems likely that she has more than cooking dinner for him on her mind.
Bradley is a jazz musician so he’s a Cool Guy. Maxine is the female equivalent. She looks like the kind of girl who reads French existentialist novels. They hit it off pretty well.
One of the clues the police have is a record. It’s not a commercial pressing but some kind of demo record. It’s just vocals and piano and every jazz aficionado they’ve played it to assures them that the piano player has to be Jeff Colt (Arthur Lane). But Jeff Colt is adamant he had nothing to do with the record.
Bradley is following up clues of his own. All the leads involve music or musicians, or record producers, or have some connection to music.
There’s not much in the plot that is overtly film noir but there’s a definite film noir atmosphere. The characters in this movie are the kinds of characters who inhabit the film noir world - failed singers, down on their luck musicians, unscrupulous record producers, pushy agents, lots of desperate people who are likely to do desperate things. They’re all just one lucky break away from the big time, and just one unlucky break away from skid row. And that atmosphere of desperation is done very well indeed.
Alex Nicol is a reasonably effective lead. The supporting cast is exceptionally good.
This movie is released, paired with Deadly Game, as Hammer Film Noir Double Feature Volume 6. The transfer is pretty good.
The Black Glove is a solid very well-made noir-flavoured murder mystery B-feature. If you love jazz-fuelled crime thrillers then you’ll definitely want to check this one out. If you just like good crime B-movies you’ll find it quite enjoyable as well. Hammer’s early crime movies are very underrated. Highly recommended.