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Joseph H. Lewis
Dame May Whitty,
Characters, Dialog Good 'Noir,' But Story Needs Some Punch
I loved the dialog and the endless stream of wise cracks, many said by Dick Powell, who was great at that sort of thing. After watching a lot of film noirs, I think Powell and Sterling Hayden are my two favorites in that genre. Powell was suave, sophisticated, a quick man with a quip and still a tough guy. Hayden exuded raw manliness, a no-nonsense thug whether he was a good guy or a crook.
That said, the film is only so-so because, like a number of films being viewed today, some 60 years later, they are a bit slow and sometimes too talky. This film begins to bog down halfway through and it gets tough to finish, even if you like the actors in here, which I certainly do.
Besides Powell, Cobb and the tough guys, there are some really good examples of film noir women in here. My favorite was Ellen Drew as "Nelle Marchettis." I only wish her role had been bigger. Those who like Evelyn Keyes will be more pleased, since her role is bigger. She reminds me a bit of another "tough film noir broad:" Marie Windsor. Then there is Nina Foch as the softer "Harriet Hobson," who sadly leaves the movie in the first half hour.
Overall, if you like actors and some snappy lines, check this out. I saw it on TCM. To my knowledge, it's not available on disc. If you are looking for an action-crime film, however, go on to something else.
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