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André De Toth
A pilot wants a life of ease, flying for drug smugglers and looking the other way until his conscience is tweaked by a woman he has misused. The story unfolds in flashbacks as the pilot battles the storm and recalls his failures, including a love affair with the wife of his best friend. Written by
Richard Widmark flies into what becomes known as "Slattery's Hurricane" as he looks back on his life in this 1949 film. Directed by Andre de Toth, the film also stars Linda Darnell, John Russell and DeToth's wife, Veronica Lake.
Widmark plays Slattery, a former Navy man who, with his girlfriend Delores (Lake), works for drug smugglers. Slattery is unaware of this, though subconsciously he probably knows, but Delores, an addict, knows everything. (Delores' addiction is only hinted at.) When Slattery meets an old Navy friend, Hobbie (John Russell), he finds out that Hobbie married his former love, Aggie (Darnell). Though Delores is in love with Slattery, Slattery is still in love with Aggie and goes after her, not caring about Delores' feelings or Hobbie's marriage. When a hurricane hits, Hobbie is called in for pilot duty so he can get the hurricane coordinates, but he's too drunk to fly. Slattery takes his place, and while flying through the storm, looks at his mess of a life.
This isn't a particularly good film, but Richard Widmark does a great job, creating a fully fleshed-out character. It's impossible to believe that Lake, her signature haircut gone, was only 27 when this film was made. I would have guessed she was 40. Even with her husband directing the movie, she's not well photographed. It's a shame, because the petite actress was perfect for films, radiant, beautiful, with a great presence; no matter the role, she projected an intelligence and femininity. She just doesn't register here. The gorgeous Darnell has very little to do.
All in all, mediocre, but worth it for Widmark.
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