It would be a crime to miss these movies!

In the Audience

It would be a crime to miss these movies!By NICK ROGERS

Just the facts, ma’am! Several heinous crimes have been committed, and it’s time to round up the “usual suspects” — Humphery Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Crawford, James Cagney and Bette Davis. They are all part of the mystery “lineup” in the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert’s latest Classic Movie Night series, “Crime Scene,” premiering on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at the Historic USO Building, 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd., and continuing through May 2.

First on the wanted roster: we are looking not only for the killer of Mary Astor’s estranged boyfriend but also for the imposing onyx bird statue that many people are just “dying” to get a hold of. John Huston’s 1941 crime classic starring Bogart as detective Sam Spade is “the stuff that dreams are made of…”

Barbara Stanwyck is trying to figure out a way to rid herself of her nagging, overbearing husband, and friendly insurance agent Fred MacMurray puts the idea into her head to buy a special casualty policy before hubby departs on a train trip. But, MacMurray’s boss, Edward G. Robinson, is getting a little too suspicious. Uh, oh! Billy Wilder’s dark and brooding classic still chills and thrills after 74 years and will screen here on Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m.

Coming up in April ... Setting out on her own to pioneer a wildly successful California restaurant chain, Joan Crawford must deal with various male hangers-on (Zachary Scott and Jack Carson) and a spoiled-rotten daughter (Ann Blythe) along the way. Eventually, a body is found in Crawford’s beach house, and friends and family alike are all on the whodunit list in Michael Cutiz’ noir thriller that nabbed Crawford the 1945 Best Actress Oscar for her efforts.

Stay out of James Cagney’s way, if you know what’s good for you, as he has a terrific mother complex and a very itchy trigger finger! This 1949 classic, skillfully directed by Raoul Walsh, is one of Cagney’s most intense film portrayals. It earned him a Best Actor Academy Award nomination.

And finally, in May, Bette Davis stars as twins who are less than familial. In fact, they are downright hateful! Peter Lawford joins the mayhem, and he is as evil as the ladies. Karl Malden is trying to figure out who committed the foul play that ensues. Davis’ former “Now, Voyager” leading man, Paul Henreid does an admirable directing job of this 1964 entry.

By the time these crimes are solved, the Sixth Annual “Summer of Movie Magic” will be here, and everyone can rest easier. Whew...that was close!

Story First Published: 2018-03-02