by guest writer
Undercurrent represents the only film noir Vincente Minnelli directed in his career. Although the director doesn’t posses Hitchcock’s abilities to play with audiences, he did a very good job with this one, stepping out of his territory of musicals, melodramas and comedies. Having the lead characters played by Katharine Hepburn and Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum in a supporting role, the movie benefits a lot from the actors’ experience.
Using atmosphere and mood, Minnelli was able to create crucial moments filled with tension and unexpected. Karl Freund’s cinematography uses expressionist lighting and camera angles to intensify the drama of a woman caught up in a roller-coaster of dark secrets. Katharine’s character is both troubled and fragile, skillfully, tensely performed. In the scene when Ann Hamilton (Katharine) confronts her husband, Alan Garroway (Taylor), her acting goes beyond passion literally reducing the actress to tears after the shooting of the scene. Mitchum and Taylor are appealing in their roles as well.
image: still from the movie; production credits