In the bordertown of San Pablo, preparing for an annual 'Mexican Fiesta,' arrives Gagin: tough, mysterious and laconic. His mission: to find the equally mysterious Frank Hugo, evidently for... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One can't help wondering, while watching this movie, whether one has seen it before. Not for the first time is Bogart out to avenge a friend's death. He's gone after polished, Continental Mr. Big types before, too; and Lizabeth Scott looks an awful lot like Lauren Bacall. Some of the dialogue seems to have been lifted in toto from earlier Bogart films. Yet for all this, Dead Reckoning is still entertaining. Its cliches are at least agreeably packaged, and the setting, the Gulf Coast South, is unusual. Bogart brings sublime integrity to his world-weary and life-battered persona, and however artificial and predictable the story might be, the star's authenticity is absolute. One believes what's going on because one believes Bogart.
This kind of thriller, which now falls under the general rubric of film noir, was losing a little steam by this time. For one thing, Morris Carnovksy's character of Martinelli had been done to death in the previous five years by everyone from Sydney Greenstreet to Otto Kruger. Marvin Miller's hulking, seemingly emotionally disturbed thug had become a commonplace fixture in such films; and while Miller is unique in his heavy-set, Orson Wellesian appearance, there's little that's new here, either. One can imagine script conferences of the day, with young screenwriters falling over one another trying to come up with a new psychological "complex" for the bad guy to be suffering from. Fortunately for the viewer, cliched though this movie is, it was made with extreme professionalism. Leo Tover's cinematography is understated, and nicely suggests the equatorial. John Cromwell was an old stage and movie pro by this time, though his usual magical touch with actors failed him with Miss Scott, he handles the tough guy stuff with suave authority.
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