John Muller, medical school dropout and brilliant crook, plans a holdup which goes a little bit wrong, and finds vindictive gambler Rocky Stansyck after him. At the end of his tether, he stumbles onto a lucky chance to assume an impenetrable new identity as psychiatrist Victor Bartok. But irony piles on as Muller finds it's out of the frying pan, into the fire. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
When Muller is looking at the broker statements of the stock that had been sold by the doctor, the one for Black Oil Co. shows 650 shares sold at $125.50/share which totals $81,575. However, the total column on the sales slip begins with the digits 12. See more »
It's a bitter little world full of sad surprises, and you don't let anyone hurt you.
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Blue Danube Waltz
Written by Johann Strauss
Whistled by Muller's workmate at the garage See more »
At the height of noir is this contrived but visually intense Henreid vehicle
Hollow Triumph (1948)
Maybe Hungarian/French/American actor Paul Henreid (of "Casablanca" fame) knew by 1948 that he was not going to be an American movie idol. So here he went all out and produced this film and starred in two (two) of the leading roles. No one could stop him. And it almost works. There is no making up for his styrofoam abilities, but he is serviceable, at least, and the photography (by John Alton, a noir great, see "The Big Combo") makes it worthwhile alone. Joan Bennet is not cast well, I suppose, but she has her own kind of cheerful innocence that works fine.
Not to trip over myself with superlatives. This is a decent movie with maybe an overly clever (and highly implausible) plot getting mostly in the way. And yet, with all these issues it still is involving. It partly succeeds because it uses the best of the era--great Hollywood studio machinery top to bottom--so it looks and feels very professional. And there are some terrific location scenes that are worth the ticket alone. Hungarian director Steve Sekely was and is little known and yet he clearly makes the most of what little he had to work with here...enough to wish we could get his pre-war Hungarian films on DVD for a look. Probably lost to American audiences forever.
This is officially a B-movie, produced at a smaller studio, but it feels very professional and really A-movie in technique (thanks largely to Alton, I think). If you like noirs, and you like brooding dark and eventually depressing material, I wouldn't hesitate to watch this, but keep in mind the caveats.
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