who dropped it?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #24
Who dropped it?
It still is noir-time around here: Who dropped the ten of clubs on the dark, wet street, and why? On the one hand playing cards have something to do with the character in question, on the other hand the dropping is needed for the advancement of the plot. Plus, in the time the dropper was a star, a true icon.
    Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.]
UPDATE and solution (19 April 2012):
Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd in 'This Gun for Hire' (Tuttle 1942)
Ryoku did it again—congratulations! As you can see above ;) it was 1940s movie icon and pin-up goddess Veronica Lake who dropped the ten of clubs. In This Gun for Hire (Tuttle 1942)—based on Graham Greene‘s novel ‘A Gun for Sale’ (1936)—she is kidnapped by the cold-as-ice contract killer Raven (Alan Ladd—to the far right in the screencap). Lake’s character Ellen Graham is a stage magician performing in nightclubs. Hence she not only has a stack of personalized playing cards with her, but also the skills to drop and place them unnoticed. That way she plants a trace for enabling the police to follow her and Raven.
    When the movie was made, Veronica Lake already was a star and Paramount’s biggest box office drawer (you can read the story of her life following the Wikipedia-link above … it will send shivers down your spine). Alan Ladd in turn had appeared only in minor roles and so only was billed fourth in ‘This Gun for Hire.’ But his depiction of the ‘hitman developing a conscience’ immediately made him a star. It was Ladd’s performance which established this kind of meanwhile transmedially iconic character. The same type made Alain Delon a star 25 years later, performing in ‘Le Samouraï’ (aka ‘The Samurai’ | Melville 1967).
    ‘This Gun for Hire’ of course is pure film noir and has no science-fiction elements whatsoever. But towards the end there are scenes which æsthetically link film noir to cyberpunk:
Final showdown in 'This Gun for Hire' (Tuttle 1942)

GREENE, HENRY GRAHAM. 1936. A gun for sale. London: William Heinemann.
MELVILLE, JEAN PIERRE. 1967. Le samouraï (aka The samurai) [motion picture]. Paris: S. N. Prodis.
TUTTLE, FRANK. 1942. This gun for hire [motion picture]. Hollywood: Paramount Pictures.
  • Alexander Rabitsch Wednesday, 18th April 2012 at 13:04

    Is it Bret Maverick?

    • zephyrin_xirdal Wednesday, 18th April 2012 at 17:07

      No, I am sorry, not at all. It’s a classic film noir in an urban setting.

  • klandestino Wednesday, 18th April 2012 at 22:57

    very nice one! Playing cards always remember me of The Joker ;) Transposed to b/w-films: The Man Who Laughs..Conrad Veidt?
    But: The plot takes place in 1690…I don’t know, if this playing card was used at that time…
    And why? don’t know, too. Meaning of the card. Struggle ? Something unexpected to come?

  • ryoku Thursday, 19th April 2012 at 04:18

    the movie is “this gun for hire” from 1942. the icon is veronica lake. as she is being kidnapped, she leaves a trail of playing cards with her initials on the backside for the police to follow.
    …definitely got to change my sleeping habits oO
    at least it’s time well spent :D

    • zephyrin_xirdal Thursday, 19th April 2012 at 06:27

      This completely flattens me, I have to confess. Absolutely correct, ryoku—congratulations! For the second time in a row you recognized a today lesser known noir classic in no time. And this time from a very unlikely screencap with very little information contained. How the hell do you do it?

  • ryoku Thursday, 19th April 2012 at 08:01

    very little skill involved on my part, i have to say. just a few lucky search hits did the trick.
    i guess the cards are too prominet a feature for them to go unmentioned on the countless movie-blogs out there :)
    Veronica Lake doing card manipulation

    btw zeph – your clock is one hour slow, or are you opposed to CEST? :p

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