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The Big Bluff (1955)

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  5 June 1955 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 169 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

When a scheming fortune hunter finds his rich wife is not going to die as expected, he and his lover make other plans to get her millions.

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Director: Mark Stevens
Stars: Mark Stevens, King Calder, Felicia Farr
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Bromfield ...
Ricardo De Villa
...
Valerie Bancroft
Robert Hutton ...
Dr. Peter Kirk
Rosemarie Stack ...
Fritzie Darvel (as Rosemarie Bowe)
Eve Miller ...
Marsha Jordan
Max Palmer ...
Fullmer
Eddie Bee ...
Don Darvel
Robert Bice ...
Dr. Harrison
Pierre Watkin ...
Winthrop
Beal Wong ...
Art Dealer
Rusty Wescoatt ...
Frank
Mitchell Kowall ...
Coroner
Jack Daly ...
Master of Ceremonies
Paul McGuire ...
Butler
George Conrad ...
Bell Boy
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Storyline

When scheming fortune hunter and erstwhile Latin lover Ricardo De Villa learns that a wealthy but sickly widow has terminal heart disease, he seduces and marries the vulnerable millionairess. Playing the part of a faithful and doting husband, he carries on a torrid affair with sexy exotic dancer Fritzi Darvel while avoiding the suspicious eyes of her jealous bongo-playing husband. When his wife's condition seems to go into remission, the impatient De Villa decides on action that will hasten her seemingly inevitable death. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 June 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Worthy Deceivers  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Ricardo 'Rick' De Villa: Fullmer, you're not gonna charge me with a murder I didn't commit?
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Connections

Remake of The Glass Alibi (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not quite bottom-of-barrel marital-murder story from Billy Wilder's talent-free brother
6 May 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Sibling rivalry can be a dreadful thing; look at Joan Fontaine and Olivia De Havilland. Sometimes, however, it approaches farce. W. Lee Wilder probably should have stayed in New York making purses, but, no, he had to follow his little brother Billy to Hollywood. And in Hollywood, maybe he could have been a passable producer (two early Anthony Mann movies, The Great Flamarion and Strange Impersonation, bear his credit). But, no, he had to direct, showing the world how vast was the disparity between young Billy's talents and his own inadequacies. Billy, long estranged, used to call him `a dull son of a bitch,' and he was being generous: W. Lee isn't merely dull, he's barely competent.

The Big Bluff rehashes a plot that Wilder had used in 1946 for The Glass Alibi. Merry widow Martha Vickers has a bum ticker and only a few months left to live. Off she goes to California with paid companion Eve Miller only to cross paths with slick operator John Bromfield (he brags about business interests in Central America but he's just a gigolo). The prospect of coming into her money at her early death emboldens Bromfield to court and marry her.

But there are obstacles. Her secretary/companion and her physician (Robert Hutton) harbor suspicion of Bromfield's motives. And Bromfield's mistress Rosemarie Stack, half of a sultry nightclub act with her jealous husband Eddie Bee, doesn't cotton to his romancing another woman. But the impatient Bromfield, not content with letting nature take its course, starts tampering with Vickers' pill supply. When, paradoxically, she seems to thrive under his care, he concocts a back-up plan, and the movie jutters along to a twist ending, à la Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

The plot is hand-me-down James M. Cain, done proud by the cheesiness of its direction (it's like a stock-footage festival). Wilder lets his cast get away with the stiffest readings of the literal-minded script (Martha Vickers would never nab many statuettes, but Howard Hawks goaded her into acting as Carmen Sternwood in The Big Sleep). Yet every so often there's a dark glint that keeps one watching: Bromfield and Stack plotting in a shadowy hotel staircase; Bromfield and Vickers toasting with schnapps at Scandia or `lo-balls' at La Rue. Something saves The Big Bluff from sinking to the very bottom of the barrel; it sure wasn't Wilder.


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