The 25 Must-See Titles at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

13 of 26

Lady in the Dark poster. Image via Paramount Pictures.

Lady in the Dark (1944)

A woman (Ginger Rogers) experiences headaches and decides to undergo psychoanalysis to determine their cause.

Lady in the Dark is one of several films TCM is screening on rare nitrate film stock. Nitrate is highly combustible, but it’s said the black and white shimmers and the colors are beyond rich. But I can’t say Lady in the Dark interests me purely for its nitrate presentation. I’m excited to see this purely for its insane plot! Directed by journeyman Mitchell Leisen, Lady in the Dark sees Ginger Rogers torn between three men, and utilize therapy to help her pick a winner.

Hollywood was as bad as exploring mental illness and psychiatry as they were race back in the day. Want a bad example? Watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945). I’m sure Lady in the Dark will be very 1944 in its regards to therapy, but that’s only because it needs time for songs! Yes, according to IMDb this is a musical, with Rogers’ thoughts playing out to the audience in song and dance. This isn’t surprising since Rogers was known as a song and dance gal, and any movie she starred in usually saw her cut a rug at least once during the runtime. You really can’t go wrong with Rogers dancing, even if it’s playing up mental issues for fun. And the whole thing should look spectacular in nitrate.

Next: The Last Picture Show