Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him ... See full summary »
Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him decide to get a better reputation. But mob king Rico Angelo *insists* that he continues his services. Written by
Director Nicholas Ray was certainly impressed with Robert Taylor's commitment. "He worked for me like a true Method actor," said Ray, who remembered Taylor going to an osteologist, poring over X-rays and asking probing questions so that he would have an understanding of where in his body the pain would be from his character's crippled leg. See more »
In the car after the visit to the doctor's office, traffic seen through the car's rear window is a 1955 Chevrolet. See more »
Interesting movie. Very interesting, though the title is inexcuseably misleading. Nicholas Ray directs and, not surprisingly, makes novel use of shadows, bold colors and wild camera angles. There is a bravura montage of an explosion of mob violence which is sudden and startling. Ray, best known as the director of "Rebel Without a Cause", takes a smart, tough script and; unlike many crime movies which contain similar ingredients but fail to resonate, gives the movie a soul. There's something about its tone and feel, some simmering menace and creeping regret that reminds one of another mob movie which would be released 15 years later: "The Godfather". And as in that classic, the Lawyer/Mob Boss relationship is complex and fascinating.
While much of the credit deservedly goes to Ray's maverick methods and genius, the cast is also very good. Robert Taylor never developed the kind of easily identifiable screen persona of a Bogart or Jimmy Stewart, but he was a sturdy leading man who usually served the material and could be depended upon to anchor a film. He pours his heart into this part, his last as an MGM contract player. Cyd Charisse was never known as a great actress but she is capable in her role as a feisty Show Girl, and she gets a good opportunity to show off perhaps the most eye-popping, perfectly sculpted figure in the history of motion pictures. And of course, nobody was better at playing hot-tempered thugs than the great Lee J. Cobb.
Turner Classic Movies is such a goldmine. It's so satisfying to see movies, such as this one, that know how to introduce plot points and convincingly tie them up and bring things full circle. "Party Girl" may not be quite a great film, but it is very, very good.
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