Somewhere in the Night (1946) 110 Min. Directed and co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, this film shows what happens to an amnesiac (John Hodiak) as he returns from WWII combat to follow clues in his sea-bag – a hateful letter from an ex-girlfriend and a gun – in order to discover his true identity. Full of wonderful cameos by supporting film noir actors (Lloyd Nolan, Richard Conte, Harry Morgan), only the blonde (Christy Smith), who looks and sings like Lauren Bacall, can’t help loving him.
Purple heart for falling on a grenade,
He no longer recognizes the face
That army surgeons gave him.
Like most boys home from a war, sudden
Noises make him jumpy. Beneath streetlamps,
The fat man with a cigar seems to be watching.
War teaches not to trust anybody, even
A blonde who hides you from cops
While you search for some cravat.
Lurching down mental ward corridors,
How can you be sure the mind is still sane
And this is not the place where you belong?
“Like a crazy squirrel on a hopped-up treadmill,”
Here’s the witness to your crime, but somebody
Else’s knife got him first. He didn’t recognize you.
The loot – it’s always about money –
Is Nazi millions in a molding suitcase
Stashed between beams under boat docks.
“I’m in the middle of nowhere,” the blonde
Sings and you know just what she means.
Who doesn’t return from war a killer? In America,
You’re free to become whoever you want.
[Disposable Poem January 30, 2016]