Alan Dinehart is very nearly at the top of my list of all-time favourite character actors. The underrated Dinehart was usually cast as smooth-talking characters at the edge of the law or slightly beyond it. He was often useful to a plot line as the hero's immoral buddy: the cynical guy who would bend the law for the hero's benefit but without the hero's knowledge. Dinehart was consistently so excellent in supporting roles that I've long wanted to see him in a lead role. In 'I Have Lived', Dinehart finally gets his chance to play the central role ... but the movie is so badly written that his talents are overwhelmed by the material's flaws. Both he and female lead Anita Page are cast against type here, and neither one of them seems able to expand their respective ranges.
SPOILERS COMING. Dinehart was always effective as a cynic, yet here he seems to be playing an idealist: Thomas Langley, a successful playwright. In a nightclub, he meets hard-bitten hostess Jean St Clair ... played by Page, who was more effective in her roles as a dewy ingenue. Langley decides that Jean is the perfect choice for the lead role in his next play. He does a Pygmalion act, moulding her for stardom. The play succeeds, Jean becomes a star ... and she marries handsome Warren White.
This film is turgid and implausible. The dialogue is awful; this would be bad enough in its own right, yet is made absolutely fatal because the central character is allegedly a successful playwright. If this guy writes dialogue the way he talks, I can't believe that any of his plays are successful. This whole movie has the feel of a silent film with dialogue dubbed in after it was shot. Anita Page was far too young to play this role as the dame who's been around the block once too often. Ginger-haired frog-faced actor Matthew Betz is quite good as a thug named Blackie. I'll rate this movie 2 points out of 10.
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