Thursday, 14 May 2015

Veronica Lake: cabaret noir

Andrew Cowdell, Cabaret noir, 2015, oil on canvas

Veronica Lake exudes a guileless charm as a nightclub singer in This Gun for Hire (1942). 

This classic hard-boiled thriller was adapted from Grahame Greene’s novel A Gun for Sale and made Alan Ladd an instant star. Ladd’s gun-for-hire Raven is a brutal assassin with a benevolent affection for cats; the scene where he silences a stray moggie is particularly portent. Lake’s character becomes a symbol of redemption to Ladd’s murderous anti-hero who holds her captive. United by fate, the singer and the killer form an uneasy alliance to expose a chemical company suspected of treason against their country. 

This Gun for Hire was the first film of several to pair Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake together.

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