Film Noir’s ‘Buried’ Treasure

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Scene from the Film Noir classic,  Bury Me Deadly  (1947) in which Edward R. Marrow is chased through Balboa Park by a dame with a gun (Jessa Valdora). The film is often confused with the 1955 hit Kiss Me Deadly, based on the bestselling  novel by Mickey Spillane. With the exception of Marrow, Bury Me Deadly included a cast of unknowns,
many of whom went on to become total nonentities: Jessa Valdora, Mack Flinsock, Eddie Ray Beezer, Moira Maybe, and Clark Sharmaine. Marrow, himself, retired from acting after being nominated for an academy award (West Point Ham of the Year).

Although the  screenplay by Norman C. Quest has its moments (three to be exact), the plot leaves plenty to be desired—most significantly, a middle.  Bury me Deadly holds the distinction as the only Hollywood film to have been released with only a beginning and an ending. Stranger still, the opening credits consume nearly 29 of the film’s 30-minute run-time.

Who directed this classic remains a mystery. At the time of its release, rumors were rampant that Orson Welles directed it during one of his interminable lunch breaks.

Today, the film is remembered for its pioneering cinematography (jarring “Butch angles” and queasy ambient lighting),  its persistent use of shadow puppets to signal plot points (including one obscene gesture which somehow escaped the censors), and it’s memorable one-legged walk-ons.

Although the film was never released on DVD, Zoom Street has obtained some digital clips which will appear on this page as soon as we obtain permission to do so. Stay tuned.

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