Since I rebooted Pulp Fiction Thursday as a film noir feature, I’ve showcased movies with some well-known players and at least moderate budgets. It’s time to go low budget with 1946’s Decoy.
Decoy is one of the weirdest film noirs ever. It combines classic noir tropes such as betrayal and intrigue with a mad scientist plot. A do-gooder doc is forced to do bad by a gunsel and the femme fatale of the piece:
Just in time for Easter, that scene leads to a non-religious resurrection with a goofy explanation. The resurrectee doesn’t survive long: he’s betrayed by the femme fatale of the piece played by Jean Gillie.
Gillie’s character Margot Shelby is one of the most evil and heartless femme fatales in film history. Most femme fatales have some redeeming characteristics. Margot has none. She’s like a human venus flytrap ensaring the hapless men in the movie. In the immortal words of Howlin’ Wolf she’s:
Despite the low budget trappings, Decoy features some fine performances. I always enjoy seeing future teevee mogul Sheldon Leonard onscreen. Leonard’s appearance and distinctive voice left him typecase as either a cop or a hood: he’s a police detective in Decoy.
Leonard did, however, have a memorable role in another 1946 film as Nick the bartender:
Grading Time: It may be weird and implausible but Decoy is great fun. I give it 3 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B.
It’s poster time. Here’s the quad featuring an armed and dangerous femme fatale.
What time is it? Lobby card time.
Now that you’ve bought a big ass coke and a monster tub of popcorn, here’s the Decoy lobby card collection:
I couldn’t find a trailer for Decoy, so we’ll give the last word to Noir Alley host Eddie Muller: