[AFF 2005] Lady from Sockholm

Over the weekend I had a chance to catch two of the films that were playing at the Atlanta Film Festival. The first was Lady from Sockholm (IMDB). Despite my lazy editing around these parts, that’s no typo. Writer Lynn Lamousin and co-directors Eddy Von Mueller and Evan Lieberman’s highly entertaining movie is a film noir performed entirely by sock puppets. The film features a classic noir plot: gumshoe Terrence M. Cotton is hired by Heelda Brum to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her (wealthy, older) husband, Darnell. Heelda suspects notorious bootlegger, Big Toeny of getting rid of her husband, and Cotton is, of course, charmed by the young widow.

The co-directors, who teach film at Georgia State University and Emory University, are, of course well-heeled (sorry) in film noir, and Sockholm riffs off of Double Indemnity, Lady from Shanghai (of course), The Maltese Falcon, as well as several of Hitchock’s key films (especially Strangers on a Train). As my review implies, the film’s heavy use of puns was enjoyable, and for fans of classical Hollywood and noir, it’s a lot of fun.

Afterwards, several members of the crew talked about their experience making the film, reminding viewers about the scale of their sets (a cowbell on a door could be no more than one-quarter inch tall to remain in scale with the bodies of the sock puppets). The visuals capture the noir vibe very well. While the film was made in color (the production staff was warned against filming in black-and-white), the cast shadows evoke the atmosphere commonly associated with the genre, and the sets add to the film’s playful humor. Lady of Sockholm is a genuinely fun film, one that deserves a much wider audience.

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