Flaxy Martin (1949)

Flaxy Martin (1949)
Flaxy Martin (1949) Flaxy Martin (1949)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Dir. Richard L. Bare
Cast: Virginia Mayo, Zachary Scott, Dorothy Malone
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Screening Time: Monday, August 21st at 7:00 p.m.

“She’s a great kid. You can always trust her—to double-cross you.” Spinning a web of lies, nightclub chanteuse Flaxy manipulates men with murderous intent and a heart of ice.

4 responses to “Flaxy Martin (1949)”

  1. IMDBReviewer says:

    Don’t be put off by the title: FLAXY MARTIN is the name of the Femme Fatale in one of the better ‘unseen’ Films Noirs. From the opening shot we are in Noir territory, as a frantic woman calls the police to report a shooting. An oppressive visual style, pulp-novel-like plot and characters, and an intense score from William Lava all add up to a very satisfying 86 minutes.

    Virginia Mayo virtually embodies the idea of Femme Fatale as Flaxy. She is cold, ruthless, self-centered, materialistic, and sexually irresistible to the men she manipulates. But this is not Mayo’s movie, after all. It really belongs to Zachary Scott. The dashing actor has one of his non-villain roles as a lawyer who has allowed himself to be corrupted by criminal associations. His success in previous dark endeavors gives him too much confidence and, in this story, Scott gets himself into a whopper of a Noir situation. In an attempt to shield his beloved Flaxy from implication in a murder, he confesses to the crime himself. Then the screws are tightened much farther by alienated criminal clients. Probably better titled THE MAN WHO FRAMED HIMSELF, this film is really about the over-confident lawyer’s way out of his predicament. Scott is extremely convincing as a man undone and embittered by his own arrogance.

    Also on hand is Douglas Kennedy as a looming giant of a crime boss. Helen Westcott gives a memorable performance as a too-confident pawn of Kennedy’s. Dorothy Malone is just fine as Scott’s deus-ex-macchina, her large eyes searching for solutions. The very fine Tom D’Andrea plays Scott’s dependably supportive mechanic friend. He and Malone share an unconditional devotion to Scott: hers rewarded, his forever frustrated. Also noteworthy is Elisha Cook, Jr in his ‘bad little criminal’ mode, the one we know from THE MALTESE FALCON or BORN TO KILL. Continually pushed around by the Goliath of Douglas Kennedy and the smug dismissal of Scott, Cook eventually gets some terrific screen moments. He rages, sputters, and threatens in this iconic actor’s inimitable way. Look for favorite Noir supporters Paul Bryar and Marjorie Bennett to add to this little film’s many pleasures.

  2. tfsadmin says:

    Zachary Scott isn’t a name on the tips of too many tongues these days, but in the late ‘40s he was a very busy boy. However, in his best remembered movies, like Mildred Pierce and Flamingo Road, he had the misfortune to play second fiddle to the domineering Joan Crawford; many of his roles, too, were as weaklings, leaving the false impression that he was a weak actor (his visage – deeply waved hair, a Tomas E. Dewey mustache – was considered quite dashing in the post-war years but now looks seriously passé, which doesn’t help his legacy either).

    Flaxy Martin preserves one of his stronger starring performances, as a mob mouthpiece who finds himself in over his head. He’s been balking at his shady job as a syndicate lawyer for a long time, but his girl (Virginia Mayo, who takes the title role) keeps urging him to stick with it until he assembles a nice nest egg. Unfortunately, she’s really the moll of syndicate kingpin Douglas Kennedy, stringing Scott along to keep him quiescent. When a murder by one of Kennedy’s goons threatens to implicate Mayo, Scott takes the rap, confident that he’ll get himself off. He didn’t count on being double-crossed. The plot traces his rude awakening and plans for payback.

    The movie mixes a lot of tight, hard scenes with some soft and sappy ones; the redemptive sub-plot with, as Scott’s new love interest, Dorothy Malone (wasted yet again as a good girl) proves flat and superfluous. Mayo, along with Scott, has one of her better parts; she might have been one of the noir cycle’s more memorable femme fatales had her acting skills been on a par with her pouty blonde looks. And Elisha Cook, Jr. contributes another turn as a bantam rooster barely bigger than his gun.

    Flaxy Martin, along the the previous year’s Smart Girls Don’t Talk (also starring Mayo), marks a rare break for director Richard Bare, who from the early ‘40s until the late ‘50s and his passage into series television directed little but dozens upon dozens of `humorous’ shorts with titles beginning `So you think you’re…’ and `So you want to be…’. They’re a part of Hollywood better left undisturbed. The overlooked Flaxy Martin, on the other hand, ought to be a bit better known

  3. tfsadmin says:

    Odd little noir film with Virginia Mayo as the title character, a total conniving bitch! This must surely be Mayo’s most unsympathetic character and shows that she was a better actress than we remember. She played so many "glamour" parts that we forget she could act.

    Here she plays a moll working both sides of the fence. She’s with a local racketeer (Douglas Kennedy) but also plays his lawyer (Zachary Scott) for a chump. Lots of murders here and there and plot twists aplenty.

    Dorothy Malone plays the nice country girl, Tom D’Andrea is Sam the mechanic, Helen Westcott is the hapless Peggy, Elisha Cook plays the gunsel again, Marjorie Bennett is the nosy neighbor, Douglas Fowley is the detective, and Bill McLean is the hotel desk clerk.

    Scott actually gets the most screen time because Mayo disappears while he has his country adventure and meets Malone. But everyone is good and works well together. While Malone is stuck in frilly frocks and aprons, Mayo does the glam bit and looks just great.

    Aside from solid work from the trio of stars–Mayo, Scott, and Malone–D’Andrea and Westcott are very very good as well. For those of us who remember D’Andrea as the neighbor on The Life of Riley it’s always pleasant to see what a good supporting actor he was. I’m not that familiar with Westcott but she is solid here as Peggy. And I always enjoy seeing Marjorie Bennett!!

  4. tfsadmin says:

    Virginia Mayo is a man trap in "Flaxy Martin," a 1949 noir starring Zachary Scott, Dorothy Malone, Helen Westcott, and Tom D'Andrea. Scott plays a mob lawyer Walter Colby, who's sick of the cases handed him by mobster Hap Ritchie (Douglas Kennedy). He's in love with Flaxy (Mayo), who is two-timing him with Hap, though Walter doesn't know that. Flaxy talks him into staying until they have enough money to take off. When Walter finds out a witness (Westcott) was paid off to give an alibi to one of Hap's henchmen in a murder case, he threatens to go to the D.A. about it. Before he knows it, with Flaxy's help, he's been framed for the witness' murder. He escapes from custody and, going on the run, meets Nora (Malone).

    Compelling film with excellent performances by Mayo, Westcott, Malone, and Elijah Cook, Jr., as one of Hap's ruthless thugs. Mayo is as cold as they come, sexy and convincing as she manipulates her men. It's always fun to see Tom D'Andrea, whom baby boomers remember as Gillis in "The Life of Riley" as well. He has a small role, but he's very good. Zachary Scott is Zachary Scott – he has a strong film persona, a good speaking voice, and does tough well. He's not that slimeball Monty from "Mildred Pierce," though, just someone who works for a low-life.

    Well worth seeing.

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