Jan 2, 2019

On DVD: Dane Clark, Janis Paige, and Zachary Scott in Her Kind of Man (1946)

One of my favorite things about the snappy programmers cranked out by studios like Warner Bros is that they often feature players who deserve a brighter spotlight. They don’t have the booming personas of the big stars, and they are often called the “poor man’s” version of somebody else, but they are nevertheless a pleasure to watch. Her Kind of Man (1946), which recently made its DVD debut from Warner Archive, is just that kind of film.

Dane Clark, Janis Paige, Zachary Scott, and Faye Emerson are a riveting quartet in this noirish 1920s-set drama. Paige is a nightclub singer who has it bad for gangster (Zachary Scott), despite the best efforts of a newspaper reporter (Clark) to win her over. Maybe the man she loves is trouble, but they connect in an almost innocently romantic way, and it’s clear she’d never go for another guy. As his wise assistant, Emerson is an interesting platonic match for Scott, trying, but failing to point him in the right direction. (They were also a great team in Danger Signal a year earlier.)

This is one of those built-to-be-standard flicks that achieve a little extra magic, thanks to a few special elements. Chief among them is the cast, which is full of reliable players. Here they all connect so well, bringing life to a story with nothing new to offer simply because it's enjoyable to watch them together.

Paige is glamorous, but touchingly sincere, and Scott gets a chance to add a more playful air to his typical scoundrel role. Dane Clark tends to have the air of a guy who knows he’s always going to be second banana. Here he is cheerful about it, putting that persona to very specific use as he strives to impress Paige, but doesn't take himself too seriously. I don’t know that it would have necessarily served the story well, but I found myself craving more of Emerson; the solidity and intelligence of her character grounded the film in an interesting way.

In addition to the fine cast, the look of Her Kind of Man rises well above programmer grade. Paige benefits the most from the glimmering cinematography, especially in her nightclub numbers. The night scenes are also a gorgeously moody backdrop for danger and betrayal.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. This is a Manufacture on Demand (MOD) DVD. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

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