01 May 2013

Montreal Noir on Film

For your pleasure, Jean Palardy and Arthur Burrows' 1947 Montreal by Night. Filmed in glorious black and white, here is the city of Al PalmerDavid Montrose, Brian MooreMartin Brett and – ahemRicochet Books.

It's a city of bright neon and dark, nefarious doings. This frame captures a night watchman "hurrying to answer a wrong number." Hmm...

At 4:55 we're introduced to Colette, who like Gisele Lepine in Sugar-Puss on Dorchester Street, is "one of many who left the farms and villages of Quebec to seek work in Montreal."

But while Colette "works with three thousand other girls in a cigarette factory", Gisele finds employment as a hoofer at one of the city's nightclubs... as did this young lady:

Sadly, there are no shots of Lili St Cyr, though you will see Mayor Camillien Houde and wife.

And here's Gratien Gélinas as an Anglophone asking for directions:

Also on view: old cronies at croquet, le jeu canadien and the wonder that was Belmont Park in its prime. But for my money, the best sights come when Colette and her guy stroll along the Main.

A National Film Board production, Montreal by Night represents our parents' and grandparents' taxes at work. Something to keep in mind now that you've filed your return.

You did finish, right?

Thanks go out to my friend Mary Anne Straw for putting me on to this wonderful short.

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