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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
A quartet of international crooks -- Peterson, O'Hara, Ross and Ravello -- is stranded in Italy while their steamer is being repaired. With them are the Dannreuthers. The six are headed for Africa, presumably to sell vacuum cleaners but actually to buy land supposedly loaded with uranium. They are joined by others who apparently have similar designs. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The plot, if you can call it that, concerned a group of six stranded adventurers in an Italian port whose plan is to buy up some East African land that supposed1y contains uranium Double-crossing quickly becomes the name of the game as Bogart and his fellow conspirators (including Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Gina Lollobrigida, and a seemingly endless parade of bizarre characters) outdo each other in inspired crazy way
Bogart, trying desperately to maintain his composure, delivered such priceless lines as: 'I'm only in on this because the doctor told me I needed plenty of money. Without money I become dull, listless, and have trouble with my complexion." But his lines weren't the only offbeat ones In a room where he's being questioned after being captured, while a firing squad goes about its routine work outside, he is asked straight-faced, "Now tell me, do you really know Rita Hayworth?"
The film is one of those rare items that viewers either seem to love or hate, no middle ground accepted and declared that only the "phonies" thought it was really funny Many reviewers thought the whole thing was a tasteless joke and decried the waste of time, talent, and money
In any case, Bogart gave an immensely satisfying performance in his tongue-in-cheek role and the film itself has now become a regular attraction in Bogart film retrospectives It is also an excellent example of how much Bogart had matured as an actor, since it is not easy to overcome apparently inept material and still give a performance with some meaning and substance
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