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An odd fish of a movie, The Raging Tide spins a yarn of crime and
redemption, of the city and the sea. It opens as though it's going to be
another installment in the noir cycle, with Richard Conte gunning down a
rival in cold blood, phoning in a tip to the police, and fleeing to his
meticulously planned alibi. Well, maybe not so meticulously, as his
girlfriend (Shelly Winters) isn't where he expected her to be. So he stows
away on a boat moored at Fisherman's Wharf and is well out to sea when he's
discovered by skipper Charles Bickford and his son (Alex Nichol). The
bounding main proves a convenient hideout, so he signs on and, improbably,
comes to relish the seafaring life.
Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, police detective Steven McNally grills Winters about Conte's whereabouts. (He's one tough cop, telling her `You're an old-looking 23.') But she keeps mum, while go-between Nichol brings her messages from Conte, who won't set foot on land. Relationships among the principals intertwine: Bickford, having problems with his unruly son, takes a shine to Conte, while Nichol falls for Winters. Then Conte hatches a scheme to frame Nichol for the murder he's wanted for, using Winters as his cat's paw. But a big storm blows in....
The Raging Tide boasts solid, if slightly hammy, performances; even Bickford manages to crawl out from under the heaviest Svedish accent since Anna Christie. The picture's all but stolen by John McIntyre as a penniless old salt trying to escape the attentions of Minerva Urecal, though his function in the story never becomes clear. And that story, sentimental and a bit old-fashioned, stays strong enough to compel interest, surviving even the inevitable disappointment that comes when its noir elements go full fathom five.
This is a likable but significantly frail B noir offering, made for
Universal, directed by George Sherman, starring Richard Conte, Shirley
Winters, Charles Bickford, John McIntyre, and Stephen McNally. Conte
fairs better than usual in the role of a fugitive murderer, Bruno, that
hides in a fishing boat, ultimately settling in the boat and becoming
of one of the fishermen. Sherley Winters looks OK as the heartbroken
girl of Bruno. John McIntyre as the penniless old beggar looks really
creepy. Bickford with his unusual Swedish accent is fun to watch. The
narrative moves back and forth between the chaotic urban city and the
quiet serene setting on the shores, where learning something about
fishing becomes more fascinating than crime itself.
The opening scenes of "Raging Tide" are outstanding, filled with suspense and intrigue. It opens with a long shot of a nocturnal street and then the camera pans to the right and stops at a window in a secluded building, where Bruno is gunning down a man. We don't see who is being murdered but only Bruno as he looks at his victim. And then he tips the police about his crime and runs away. As he runs and runs, his voice-over enters the soundtrack, speaking about his condition and circumstances, but then oddly the voice-over vanishes when the film settles in the nearby sea.
"Raging Tide" has a warm, appealing moments, complemented by an enjoyable black-and-white photography (by Russell Metty), but it ultimately wafts into the air when it is over. You get the impression that it could have been better.
The Raging Tide is directed by George Sherman and adapted to screenplay
by Ernest K. Gann from his own novel Fiddler's Green. It stars Shelley
Winters, Richard Conte, Stephen McNally, Charles Bickford, John
McIntire and Alex Nicol. Music is by Frank Skinner and cinematography
by Russell Metty.
Hoodlum Bruno Felkin (Conte) hides out on the Linder family fishing boat to avoid the cops. They affect his life as much as he affects theirs
It's got a stellar noir cast and quality in the music and photography departments, but there's nothing raging about this soggy piece of drama. Conte is watchable as a thug, no surprise there, but the screenplay does him and everyone else few favours. Only one to come out on top of the writing is Winters, who revels in cutting remarks delivered via a serpent tongue. Bickford is trying to be Swedish, giving Sterling Hayden in Terror in a Texas Town a run for his money for worst Swede accent ever. While McIntire and McNally at least earn their wages.
Little to recommend outside of the cast list here I'm sad to say. 5/10
Not truly a Film Noir, "The Raging Tide" works pretty well as a good
B-movie. There are fine performances from Richard Conte, Stephen McNally,
Alex Nichol and Shelley Winters. Charles Bickford doing a Swedish accent is
a bit hard to swallow, but he has been great elsewhere. The film opens with
a very noirish sequence and may disappoint those looking for a real entry in
that much-discussed, hard-to-pin-down genre. But there is enough melodrama
to entertain all but the most demanding viewers.
I like Conte in this film, but the entertainment comes from the supporting actors....McIntyre & Bickford. Also, I wouldn't call this Film Noire, just a good old B&W. The SF and Fisherman's Wharf shots are historically interesting, if you know the City.
This film is chiefly watchable because of the fine acting performance by Richard Conte and also because of the location being San Francisco, which always seems to add a nice touch to any film. The viewer is led by the title and the opening scene of the movie to believe that it is film noir, which it is not. While it has some noir elements the story, in which Richard Conte hides out on a fishing boat, is more of a personal story of redemption, not for the tragic gambling operator played by Richard Conte, but for the boat captain's son, played by Charles Bickford. Despite the sublimely noiresque opening shot most of the camera work during the movie is uninspired and the noir opening of the movie contradicts the subsequent story. The music score by Frank Skinner is uninspired to the point of being tedious. The directing and screenplay adequately portray what is essentially a fairly weak story. Still worth watching if you like the old black and whites.
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