Posted by Solomon on 2/8/2017, 6:05 am
This film is a very good neo-noir, one that's not in Grant's book. The 2016 film of the same title is not a remake. A German review on IMDB tags it as neo-noir and explains why. The film is available on YouTube in 10 parts. This was originally a low-budget Showtime presentation.
It tells the story of Mickey Jelke (played by Frank Whaley) and the cafe society prostitution circa 1952 in New York. Much of the trial transcript is available, and it confirms that Jelke was more or less a political target of moralistic officials looking to score points about vice. The McCarthy era seems to fit right in to this, along with the repressed sexual mores of the time. The film does a very good job of recreating the night club and party feeling, along with the denizens of the famous clubs. At times it injects real newsreels that elicit the feelings and memories of anyone familiar with those times and places.
John Spencer plays a press agent who is really a pimp for the call girls. Jelke's relationship with Pat Ward (Lara Flynn Boyle) is the focus of the film. Did she set her sights on this rich playboy and trap him, or did he act as her pimp? We are in real life femme fatale territory. An undercover cop played by Peter Gallagher completes a triangle of sorts. After awhile, he can't stomach his own duplicity and seeing the prosecution inflate the charges against Jelke.
The trial transcript reveals detailed and complex relationships that no film can capture 100%, but this one within its limits manages to convey this complexity and the feeling of it quite well. It sheds light on the wider social and political milieu, and this is a quite common virtue of the later neo-noirs.