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Backfire (1950)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery  |  11 February 1950 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 608 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 12 critic

While recuperating from wartime back injuries at a hospital, veteran Bob Corey is visited on Christmas Eve by a beautiful stranger with an even stranger message.

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(screenplay) (as Larry Marcus) , (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Backfire (1950)

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
...
...
Ben Arno / Lou Walsh
...
Lysa Radoff
...
Police Capt. Garcia
Frances Robinson ...
Mrs. Blayne
Richard Rober ...
Solly Blayne
...
Bonnie Willis (as Shela Stephens)
David Hoffman ...
Burns
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Storyline

Bob Corey, recovering from a series of operations in a Veterans' hospital, learns that his friend, Steve Connelly, with whom he intended to buy a ranch, has disappeared under circumstance that indicate he may have been involved in a murder. Accompanied by his nurse, Julie Benson, with whom he has fallen in love, Bob follows a series of clues and incidents, including three more murders, that leads to a gambler, masquerading as an undertaker to avoid taxes on his illegal income, has a whole lot to do with his friend's predicament. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

That "White Heat" girl turns it on again!..


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 February 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Somewhere in the City  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gambler Solly Blayne (Richard Rober) is shot from outside the living room window as he relaxes in his Los Angeles home, which is exactly the same way that gangster Bugsy Siegel was killed in Beverly Hills in 1948. See more »

Goofs

Bob Corey(Gordon MacRae) and Julie Benson (Virginia Mayo)are eating dinner and discussing Steve Connelly's(Edmond O'Brien)disappearance they are drinking wine and eating and there is a bottle of wine in the middle of the table next to a burning candle. Just after a close up of MacRae when it goes to a wide shot the plates are gone as is the wine bottle and the glasses. They have been replaced by coffee cups and the waiter asking if they would like more coffee. See more »

Quotes

Ben Arno: [to Bob about Steve] I didn't only break his back the last ten days, I broke his heart,
See more »

Soundtracks

Deck the Halls
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played during the scene at the Canyon house
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Male Bonding, Film Noir Style
5 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A common cultural theme providing subtext for many a film noir was the alienation felt by servicemen returning from WWII to a world that had adapted itself to their absence. But that theme usually remained just that -- subtext. Rarely was it dealt with as overtly as in "Backfire," a modest entry in the genre from 1950, and this fact alone makes this otherwise forgettable film notable.

Bob Corey (Gordon MacRae) and Steve Connolly (Edmond O'Brien) are war buddies, Corey layed up in a veterans' hospital recovering from a spinal injury, Connolly sticking close and providing him moral support. The night before Corey's release, while in a drugged haze, Corey receives a visit from a strange, exotic woman (Viveca Lindfors), telling him that Connolly has been injured himself and is asking for Corey. The next day, as he leaves the hospital, Corey is pulled into the police station, where the head of the homicide bureau (Ed Begley) tells him of the murder of crime boss Solly Blayne and evidence incriminating Connolly as the chief suspect. Corey sets out to find his friend in an attempt to clear his name, aided by his girl Friday, nurse Julie from the veterans' hospital, played fetchingly by Virginia Mayo.

What's most interesting about "Backfire" is that though the film gives both men nominal love interests, they're much more interested in each other than either is about anyone else. It would be easy to read homosexual subtext into this film, as it is in many films noir, but it's not really played that way in the movie. The relationship between Corey and Connolly is that of two men who have had to rely on one another in literal life-and-death situations and who now do not know how to rely on anyone else.

It was refreshing to see MacRae in a film like this -- I only really knew him from his string of 1950s musicals, and he equips himself well. O'Brien, a frequent presence in films of this sort, is right at home. And Mayo is a doll, looking for all the world like a 1940s version of Laura Linney. The climax of the film is a rote shoot-em-up, but as always with movies like "Backfire," the journey is a lot more fun than the destination.

Grade: B


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