Hangover Square (1945)

Article #990 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11/30/2003
Posting Date: 4/28/2004
Directed by John Brahm
Featuring Laird Cregar, George Sanders, Linda Darnell

An overworked composer suffers blackouts during which he becomes a homicidal maniac.

Laird Cregar was an excellent character actor who, much to his disdain, ended up playing psychotic murderers towards the end of his short career; he tried to lose weight in an effort to get other types of roles, but ended up dying of a heart attack at the age of 28. One can easily see why he ended up with these roles; he is wonderful here, particularly in the sequences when he goes into his blackouts. There are other strong aspects to this movie; John Brahm’s direction is wonderful and audacious, and the staging of some of the murders is memorable. What is interesting is the way he uses crowd scenes as a backdrop to some of the murders, particularly the opening one which occurs in a pawn shop on a crowded street. I also like the way that each murder is punctuated by a scene that involves fire; three separate conflagrations occur at various points in this movie, including a memorable one during Guy Fawkes day. Also excellent is Bernard Herrman’s score, which is crucial to the proceedings since music plays such an important role in the movie, particularly during the final moments of the film. For those who’ve never seen one of Cregar’s classic psycho performances (in this movie and in THE LODGER), I highly recommend them.

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