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Dead Reckoning (1947)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  16 January 1947 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 4,040 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 23 critic

A soldier runs away rather than receive the Medal of Honor, so his buddy gets permission to investigate, and love and death soon follow.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Dead Reckoning (1947)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Morris Carnovsky ...
Charles Cane ...
Lt. Kincaid
...
Sgt. Johnny Drake
Marvin Miller ...
Krause
Wallace Ford ...
McGee
James Bell ...
Father Logan
George Chandler ...
Louis Ord
William Forrest ...
Lt. Col. Simpson
Ruby Dandridge ...
Hyacinth
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Storyline

Rip Murdock and Johnny Darke are en route to Washington when Johnny disappears and then turns up dead. Rip learns that Johnny had been accused of murder and sets out to find out what he can. He falls in love with Coral whose husband Johnny is supposed to have killed. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"I forgot to tell you...I don't trust anybody...especially women!" (original poster) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 January 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Cromwell's Dead Reckoning  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the train scene, after they discover that Drake is to receive the Medal of Honor, Murdock quips that maybe the president will let Drake "sit on top of his piano". This is a reference to a then-scandalous photo of Harry Truman playing piano with a leggy blonde on top that was taken at the National Press Club in 1945. The blonde was Lauren Bacall. See more »

Goofs

When Murdock is listening Coral to sing, he leans his left elbow on the table and puts his hand to his face. In the next shot, before she stands up, his left hand is on the table. See more »

Quotes

Captain Warren 'Rip' Murdock: You know, the trouble with women is they ask too many questions. They should spend all their time just being beautiful.
Coral 'Dusty' Chandler: And let the men do the worrying.
Captain Warren 'Rip' Murdock: Yeah. You know, I've been thinking: women ought to come capsule-sized, about four inches high. When a man goes out of an evening, he just puts her in his pocket and takes her along with him, and that way he knows exactly where she is. He gets to his favorite restaurant, he puts her on the table and lets her run around among the coffee cups ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Either It's Love or It Isn't
By Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher
Performed by Lizabeth Scott (dubbed by Trudy Stevens) (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not Front Rank Noir
10 November 2008 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

So, why does war hero Johnny Drake (William Prince) take a fast train away from the nation's highest military honor. It's an intriguing premise and the next 90 minutes tells us why. The movie's got noir icons like Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, and Morris Carnovski, plus a mysterious past, a smoky night club, and a barbecued corpse. In short, this ought to be classic noir, but in my little book it's not.

I've got two basic gripes. First, Scott may look the part, but she's no Jane Greer (Out of the Past. 1947). Above all, noir's spider women have to be good actresses so that we never know their true feelings. That trickiness means we can get suckered along with the hero. But it also means we get suckered against our better judgement because we and the hero suspect their sincerity all along. Scott's performance lacks that crucial element of trickiness-- hers is essentially a one note performance with no hint of a gap between how she feels and how she behaves. Thus, there's no real revelation at the end because she looks and acts the same as before. As a result, the betrayal is all in the script and crucially not where it belongs-- in the performance.

Speaking of the script-- the banter is too cute by-half. Practically every line out of Bogart's mouth shouts clever writer's device, whether it's baseball metaphors (strike one, strike two, etc), car metaphors, or the various other false rhetorical notes. For me, it gets tiresome, Bogart or no Bogart. Then too, Carnovski's queasy racketeer is made to enunciate his lines with perfectly parsed diction. Of course, that makes him a more interesting character and criminal mastermind. But, this again amounts to a device that calls attention to the words being said instead of to who is saying them or how the plot is helped along. It seems to me that a good script carries a story without competing with it.

These are my two main gripes. There are other reasons I think the movie doesn't get beyond second-rate noir, such as uninspired direction (whether Cromwell's name is elevated above the title or not), overly long love scenes (after the point has been made), and menacing figures who don't really menace (Carnovski & Miller). Together these undercut the strong points, such as the train scenes (how Prince & Bogart have bonded) or certain good story points (the unidentifiable corpse, the poignant last scene).

In passing-- this is not a gripe, but I suspect Columbia was using Bogart to build Scott into another Lauren Bacall. The two look somewhat alike, sound somewhat alike, and both built careers on appearance and attitude rather than ability. Here Bogart ends up calling Scott's character "Mike", just the sort of sidekick affection he shows for real life wife Bacall in their several movies together. Nothing obvious hangs on this, just a surmise that the movie may have been shaped for more than one purpose. However that may be, the movie amounts to okay but unmemorable noir entertainment.


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