REVIEW POTPOURRI: Film: Cover Up; Singer: Henry Allen; Composer: Rachmaninoff

Cover Up

starring Dennis O’Keefe, William Bendix, Barbara Britton, etc.; directed by Alfred E. Green; released by United Artists, 1949, 83 minutes.

William Bendix

As obvious from the title, Cover Up is from the film noir tradition of ‘40s and ‘50s black and white movies, imbued with suspense, evil, violence, etc. I have been wanting to see the film for over 15 years since reading about it in one of the Scheuer movie guides and trying unsuccessfully to order the videocassette, now out of print.

Dennis O’Keefe

Then I forgot about it during subsequent years until I spotted it on YouTube recently. It stars Dennis O’Keefe (1908-1968), William Bendix (1906-1964), and Barbara Britton (1919-1980), three stalwarts from this cinematic era with the most well known being Bendix.

An insurance investigator (O’Keefe) is investigating a suicide in a small midwestern town. Clues increasingly point towards murder, which would mean a huge double indemnity payout. However, what is even more disturbing is the lack of cooperation and hostility of the townspeople, including the sheriff, very powerfully portrayed by Bendix. There is also a most attractive single woman (Britton) who distracts the agent for reasons unrelated to the case until she, too, becomes a person of interest there.

Barbara Britton

The otherwise compelling plot is unfortunately marred by the tepid love story, but, all in all, is a good 83 minutes of entertainment.

Henry “Red” Allen

Ride, Red, Ride in Hi-Fi; RCA Victor EPA 2-1509, seven inch vinyl 45, recorded 1957.

Red Allen

Like Satchmo, Henry “Red” Allen (1908-1967) was born in New Orleans. He was praised by many as technically and musically Satch’s equal; some professional competition may have resulted, including a few tacky moments on the part of either of the two. They did work together and, more often, with the same sidemen.

The EP contains only two selections – Sweet Lorraine and Love Is Just Around the Corner — and features a few extraordinary sidemen — trombonist J.C. Higgin­botham, tenor saxist Coleman Hawkins, drummer Cozy Cole, pianist Marty Napoleon, and clarinettist Buster Bailey – delivering rambunctious, swinging renditions. Worth seeking out.

Red Allen died in 1967, at 59, of pancreatic cancer.

Rachmaninoff

Concerto No. 2; Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1

Felicja Blumental, pianist; Michael Gielen conducting the Vienna Musikgesellschaft Orchestra- Allegro ACS 8020, cassette, 1980 reissue based on a 1959 release.

Rachmaninoff

The 2nd Piano Concerto of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) and the 1st Piano Concerto of Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky are, arguably, the two most popular Piano Concertos of the last 150 years, each having generated enough recordings to fill a good-sized room – As I have stated in past columns, I love duplicates and own several of each, representing pianists of different styles.

Felicja Blumenthal (1908-1991), was a highly accomplished virtuoso with a spontaneous, sometimes splashly style of playing that suited both pieces, while Michael Gielen led his Vien­nese musicians in very enthusiastic orchestral accompaniments. For those beginning to know these Concertos, this cassette is a good starter and always cheap at most music outlets and thrift stores – it is also available in CD and priced similarly.

 
 

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