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Adapted from the Graham Greene novel by W.R. Burnett and Albert Maltz, This Gun for Hire (1942) introduced the archetypal film noir coupling of Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in an early noir story of murder and deception-with a little war-time patriotism added to soften the harshness. In his star-making performance, Ladd's cat-loving contract killer Raven is icily amoral in his work, utterly emotionless except when angered. Lake's alluring nightclub singer-turned-spy Ellen is his steely, impassive match, even when she manages to momentarily appeal to his well-hidden better nature in order to foil a plan to sell chemical secrets to the enemy. Robert Preston's good cop may wind up getting Ellen, but it is Ladd who proves Lake's coolly charismatic onscreen equal.

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MC25500 This Gun For Hire DVD (1942/Alan Ladd) $14.98 $13.49