Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Naked City: "Carrier" (1963)

This woman is dangerous. Sandy Dennis plays a carrier.

Kept in isolation in an island hospital since the age of fourteen, Loraine Kirshwood has been shielded from the outside world because she is the carrier of a fatal disease, the rare Van Norton Sawyer's Fever from New Guinea. One day she slips out of her entrusted prison into New York City. The police---led by the ever earnest Paul Burke---are called in to track down this modern Typhoid Mary.

Sandy Dennis is perfect casting for Loraine, a person truly out of step with the world. Hopelessly naïve, tentative in every step, Sandy brings much charm to this tabula rasa. Her first destination on her journey is a children's zoo, where she encounters an eight year old schemer who charges a quarter to escort her inside. That night she is enticed into a bossa nova nightclub by a lecherous scumbag with promises of an empty apartment to stay in. Escaping from his groping hands, she encounters Alan, an agoraphobic confined to his efficiency apartment---a person just as imprisoned as her. These two people, alienated through separate afflictions, begin a sweet romance.

Alan, imprisoned by agoraphobia.

When the police catch up with Loraine, Alan escapes his confines in concern for her. Loraine is returned to her island, while Alan promises to return to see her. As he bends in to kiss her, she backs off.

Paul Burke as Detective Adam Flint closes another case.

It's a somewhat bittersweet ending. Well, it's a particularly bitter ending for that slick-haired, smooth-talking degenerate from the nightclub. He dies a prolonged, dehydrated death, the sole fatality from Loraine's little adventure.