Eddie Darrow has been hired by Philadelphia mobster Barney Pendleton to locate Christine Lawrence (Eddie's ex-lover and widow of Barney's former associate) and bring her home. Eddie tracks her down in Macao, where he saves the life of casino owner Justin Keet, then finds that Christine is engaged to marry Justin. Life gets awfully complicated... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Rudolph Maté's rehash of older, better movies makes a decent enough second-feature
Even leftovers can be tasty. Rudolph Maté's Forbidden is a stir-fry composed of elements from several movies of the previous decade; Casablanca and To Have and Have Not are in the mix, but the dominant flavors are Macao and Gilda (on which Maté served as director of photography). And while there's nothing fresh about it, it staves off hunger for a feast of film noir at least for a little while.
Tony Curtis comes to Macao, port of intrigue, on a mission: To locate Joanne Dru, widow of a slain Philadelphia gangster, and bring her back to America (she knows too much). Interests in the City of Brotherly Love chose Curtis because he and Dru were once a hot item; nonetheless, they had him followed by another operative (Marvin Miller, probably best remembered as the unseen John Beresford Tipton's secretary on TV's The Millionaire).
On his way into the Lisbon Club, which Dru's known to frequent, Curtis fends off a murderous attack on its owner (Lyle Bettger), who professes indebtedness and takes him back home to meet his fiancée Dru. Jagged flashes of lightning alert us that the romance has rekindled. The rest of the movie relates Curtis' attempts to wrest Dru away from Bettger (who plays the George Macready role from Gilda).
There's many an expected slip twixt cup and lip, however. Every clandestine conversation draws unseen eavesdroppers, bringing to mind Charlie Chan's sagacious warning: `Two ears for every mouth.' Thoughts of Chan also appear in the person of Victor Sen Yung, his #2 son in many movies, who plays the Dooley Wilson/Hoagy Carmichael role (from Casablanca and To Have and Have Not, respectively) as a piano player at the Lisbon Club who knows his away around the unknown Macao and puts himself at Curtis' disposal. But just when the imperilled couple think they're home-free, Bettger resurfaces with his shark's-maw smile....
Forbidden looks good, as one would expect from Maté, but it keeps a good pace as well (Maté's D.O.A. had to keep up with Edmond O'Brien's speed-walking, but his The Dark Past and Union Station had their longueurs). It breaks no new ground in the noir cycle, but, as a second-feature, it's decent enough.
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