Great Flamarion, The

2582. THE GREAT FLAMARION (1945-USA). With ERICH VON STROHEIM, MARY BETH HUGHES, DAN DURYEA. This sizzling drama of jealousy and seduction features Erich Von Stroheim, the “Hun You Love To Hate,” in one of his best late-career roles. The scenario opens in Mexico City during a vaudeville performance. A shot is heard and pandemonium nearly breaks out among those on stage and off. Eddie and Connie are the two performers. They had just quarreled, and she has been killed. To all who knew her, Connie was a controversial character. “Them that least deserves it gets it,” notes one of the backstage crew. Yet another informs the police that “she got everything that was coming to her.” Eddie protests his innocence and it quickly is discovered that Connie died from strangulation rather than a gun shot! Could the killer be that strange man lurking above in the rafters? He is a now-indigent but once-famous performer known as “The Great Flamarion,” and his story unfolds in flashback. Flamarion is an expert sharpshooter who can light a match or shoot off the shoulder strap on a woman’s dress. He cleverly employs his skills in a comical act, which has earned him great popularity and wealth. Connie and her then-husband Al are Flarharion’s assistants. Flamarion thinks they are happily married, but their relationship is anything but a love nest. The duplicitous Connie is a femme fatale who constantly belittles the insanely jealous Al. He tells her that she is “a bad habit I can’t cure,” and he literally has been driven to drink by her. The scenario begins to heat up when Connie sets out to seduce Flamarion. She eventually dangles three menÑher boss and her two husbandsÑand the result is nothing short of unexploded cinematic dynamile. Recommended. 78 minutes. Drama