Red Light is on TCM tuesday 11.30 am
While making this movie, George Raft tried to talk director Roy Del Ruth into having Raft’s character constantly touch and comb and fuss over his hair. Raft based the idea on a well known and much mocked mannerism of his real life acquaintance Benny “Bugsy” Siegel. The famed New York gangster had been moving in Raft’s circles since relocating to Beverly Hills in the 30s. Reportedly Siegel was a big Raft fan, and even tried to emulate the actor’s look and style. The two had often met and socialized, and sometimes Raft placed bets with Siegel. Raft had no hesitation about testifying when Siegel was indicted for a mob assassination, despite strict warnings from the studio against the actor getting involved in any such scandal. By the time Red Light was shooting, Siegel had been dead for two years, gunned down in classic gangland style, and taking with him $100,000 that Raft had recently loaned him. For Red Light, Raft made just under that amount, but was sadly on his way down the Hollywood pay scale. Don’t miss Red Light, one of Raft’s best movies of any genre, with a nice role for Virginia Mayo, and support by the great lineup of Raymond Burr, Henry Morgan, Barton MacLane, Arthur Franz—overall a hidden gem for noir fans to discover.
This is an excerpt from my article in the latest issue of the Dark Pages– you can read all about everything that’s in that issue here