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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A Film Noir Sleeper!

Author: BrownCam ( from Toronto, Canada
21 September 1999

This classic film noir crime drama is a remake of 1936's Forgotten Faces. Harry's daughter has been raised by the Judge who put him behind bars.When his estranged wife threatens him with blackmail, Harry escapes prison to keep her quiet, permanently. Brian Donlevy stars as the convict willing to sacrifice everything for his daughter, a girl who may never know her real father. A stylish thriller, that although slightly dated, is still a treat to watch if you appreciate the classics.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

What's this -a sentimental crime meller?

Author: melvelvit-1 from NYC suburbs
20 June 2010

Gentleman jewel thief "Heliotrope Harry" Melton (Brian Donlevy), a Roaring Twenties legend, becomes a changed man after his wife Flo (Miriam Hopkins) gives birth to a baby girl and the decision to go straight sends his selfish spouse straight into the arms of his partner in crime, suave Eddie Smith (Phillip Reed). They tip off his childhood friend, policeman Tom Gaynor (Preston Foster), to an upcoming heist but Harry sidesteps their trap and tracks down the treacherous twosome. He lets Eddie have it but lets Flo go, vowing to kill her if he ever sees her again and then turns himself in to Gaynor on the condition that the cop raise his daughter. Eighteen years later, Gaynor's a supreme court judge with his daughter about to marry into old money when Flo slithers out of Buenos Aires with blackmail on her mind and Harry, out of his mind over this, crashes out of prison to carry out that long-ago threat...

I've never seen anything quite like this male "chick flick" yet I was constantly reminded of other movies. I flashed back to Jimmy Cagney and Pat O'Brien as boyhood friends on opposite sides of the law and also recalled Spencer Tracy and John Garfield breaking out of prison to set things right. LITTLE MISS MARKER also came to mind. Cross a Warner Brothers upperworld gangster movie with STELLA DALLAS or MADAME X and you'll have an idea of what A GENTLEMAN AFTER DARK is like. The off beat casting only adds to the overall oddness- I like bantam Brian Donlevy who's affable, stocky, and a bit like Lon Chaney, Jr. every time he's a leading man but this role required a complicated (ruthless/loving) charisma he couldn't quite pull off. And what was Miriam Hopkins doing in this? The talented but temperamental hoyden was a sexy sensation in some of her early 30s Paramount Pre-Codes but she had the kind of blonde beauty that faded fast and was a poor second choice for a 40s femme fatale originally meant for beautiful Ilona Massey. Miriam was on familiar territory, however, having been a jewel thief in TROUBLE IN PARADISE, involved in pulling paternity wool over a young girl's eyes in THE OLD MAID, and stalked by an obsessed killer in DR. JEKYLL & MR HYDE. Douglass Dumbrille and Gloria "Dracula's Daughter" Holden are in it, too. The sentimental crime meller (I guess you'd call it) was capably directed without panache by Edwin L. Marin and was a remake of FORGOTTEN FACES, a lost 1928 silent starring exotic blonde glamazon Olga "Freaks" Baclanova. It may not be Film Noir and the title's pretty strange (what woman or gay man wants THAT?) but it should hold the interest of any classic film fan.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A surprising twist on a story with many elements.

Author: mark.waltz from United States
6 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first, this film is "Jewel Robbery" with thief Brian Donlevy stealing a bracelet for his partner-in-crime wife (Miriam Hopkins), who has just had a baby. Hopkins, however, is furious when she learns that her hubby doesn't want to continue in their life of crime and wants to buy a farm in New England. She conspires with their cohort (Phillip Reed) to frame Donlevy for robbery so she can run off with Reed. When Donlevy finds out, he seeks revenge, and ends up in jail for murder. Hopkins, it turns out, wasn't all that interested in being a mother, so she goes on the lamb. Their daughter, Diana, is raised by a cop acquaintance (Preston Foster) who married the baby nurse (Gloria Holden) and became an attorney. This part of the story changes the theme to a male "mother love" story as Hopkins comes back, finds out that Diana is engaged to a wealthy young man, and demands payment. From there, the film changes its theme to a semi film noir look as Donlevy breaks out of jail and plots revenge against Hopkins. It is the last third of this film that is exciting, an on the edge of your seats thriller that never lets up. I found myself laughing with irony watching Hopkins panic more and more as her road to hell came closer her way.

The first third of the movie is alright, but explodes into delight once the film noir elements are revealed. Hopkins, Foster and Donlevy all give excellent performances. Hopkins makes a wonderful villianess. Fans of the horror film "Dracula's Daughter" will be surprised to see Gloria Holden in a sympathetic role. Douglas Dumbrille plays his usual shady lawyer with sleazy aplomb. Harold Huber offers amusement as Donlevy's old sidekick, Stubby.

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Beware of heliotrope

Author: Alex da Silva from United Kingdom
20 October 2015

Brian Donlevy (Harry) is a jewel thief who has gone soft because he has become a father. He wants to settle down on a farm much to the disgust of his wife and fellow jewel thief Miriam Hopkins (Flo). She has no time for sentimentality and wants to get back on the fags and alcohol now that she is no longer pregnant and wants a slice of some action now that she is no longer confined to a hospital. Phillip Reed (Eddie) is the 3rd member of the jewel gang and he and Miriam double cross Donlevy in his last job before he settles down to his new ridiculously boring life on the farm. Things don't go to plan for Phillip and Miriam and Donlevy warns Hopkins to stay away from his daughter or else. Well, there is an "or else" situation that shows up.....

The cast are all good in this film apart from a terrible William Henry (Paul) as a sappy suitor for the grown up daughter Sharon Douglas (Diane). The story starts off slightly boring with Donlevy being sentimental but things get going once Miriam Hopkins enters and reveals her true character. The honours in this film have to go to Donlevy and Hopkins who keep things ticking along and have genuinely funny moments amidst the plot.

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