A Double Serving

A double serving of Veronica Lake, that is. Early on November 14, Al Morrow phoned to tell me that the TCM network would be running two Veronica Lake films consecutively, so I set up the DVR to record both.

I check the satellite listings nearly every morning for movies that I might want to watch in the evening, but that morning I had neglected the programming menu because I was researching something. Al knows I like to watch Ms. Lake, and I’m glad he called. It is amazing to me that given the hundreds of channels piped to me via the two satellite dishes attached to my house, I only find one or two movies per week that seem worth recording, and even that limited number is a 50/50 crapshoot for me. I’m a bit picky.

The two movies I recorded that day were The Glass Key and I Married A Witch. The Glass Key was one of four films that starred Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. The Ladd/Lake team was a good one in part because they were both quite short. Ladd was 5’6″ and Lake was 4’11.5″ tall. They didn’t have to stand on boxes when playing scenes together. Both films were shot in black and white, which is a good way to focus a screenplay on the story, rather than visual surfaces, and at the same time it saved the production company a certain amount of money relative to the cost of color film.

I captured both of the images shown here with the Lumix G1 set to Dynamic Black and White Mode. When you click on the images to see the larger versions, you’ll be able to see the moire patterns. Both images are from The Glass Key.

After watching The Glass Key that evening, I did some very brief research on Ms. Lake. She was apparently a very troubled woman, which explained why there always seems to be a great deal of movement going on below her incandescent onscreen surface. That movement comes through on film, even when the scene calls for her to be sitting still. I find it intriguing.

I don’t specifically search out her films, but when I find one by chance, I’ll record it for viewing at  a later time. I have no problem watching Veronica Lake in much the same way that I’ll watch anything with Katherine Heigl in it, regardless of the plot. I don’t know Ms. Heigl personally, and I have done no research on her, but I suspect that unlike Ms. Lake, she isn’t a deeply troubled woman (though I have no real way of guessing). I just like to watch her onscreen.

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