There is not a player worth their talent who does not eventually want to do a role in a courtroom drama. The sad thing is that Robert Mitchum got his turn in court in Man In The Middle.
Not that it's a bad role or a bad performance that Mitchum turns in. But ultimately you don't really care what happens to the victim here, an insane and racist army lieutenant played by Keenan Wynn who coldbloodedly shot down a British sergeant in the China-Burma-India theater of World War II.
It's the nationalities here, the American Army in the spirit of interallied cooperation just wants to get Wynn quickly convicted and hung in a proficient military manner. General Barry Sullivan has gotten Mitchum to be the defense lawyer with then presumption that because Mitchum is from a military family he will do the right thing by the army's standards.
But an army nurse and an army psychiatrist played by France Nuyen and Sam Wanamaker make him see that Wynn needs the best defense. The army has suppressed a report where Wanamaker has clearly stated that Wynn is certifiable, but the medical corps have deep sixed the report and Wanamaker. Doing that bit of dirty work is Alexander Knox.
What's keeping this thing alive is Wynn's unseen brother-in-law a Congressman. That will usually do it with the military.
The film was partially shot on location in New Delhi and the biggest problem on set according to Robert Mitchum's biographer Lee Server was keeping Trevor Howard away from the booze. Howard is in the film as well as a British psychiatrist and apparently at the time he was heavily drinking and he couldn't hold the liquor as well as Mitch. Not that he didn't stop trying. The biography goes into what must have been a hilarious scene where the director is trying to tell a drunken Howard on the set to change some mismatching socks which even a black and white camera could pick up.
Man In The Middle is well made and the performances sincere by the players. But in the end I really could not care what the army did with Keenan Wynn.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?