Jim Fletcher, waking up from a coma, finds he is to be given a court martial for treason and charged with informing on fellow inmates in a Japanese prison camp during WWII. Escaping from ... See full summary »
On being demobbed at the end of the war, Canadian flyer Laurence Gerard returns to France to discover who ordered the killing of a group of Resistence fighters including his new bride. He identifies Vichy collaborator Marcel Jarnac, who is reported as dead himself. Not believing this, Gerard follows the trail to Argentina where it is apparent that Nazism is also far from dead.Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the window of the Bern insurance company, the German word for insurance, "Versicherungen" is misspelled "Vesicherungen". See more »
If you continue to follow Madame Jarnac now, the consequeces may be serious.
That's what I had in mind,
Senor, I must warn you, I must command you - do not follow Madame Jarnac!
I'll tell you what. I thought it over and decided not to pay any attention to you.
See more »
If "The Maltese Falcon" represents the birth of what came to be known as Film Noir, and the war years were its childhood, then certainly this is its first bittersweet kiss. The writer, John Paxton, and the director Edward Dmytryk, seem charged up, electrified by the aftershocks of the just ended war. Characters are sharply drawn and unusually articulate, possessing a clarity of thought and emotional precision that's rare. "I'd rather have it quick than carefully" Dick Powell's Canadian flyer turned vengeful sleuth says at one point.
The Swiss watch plot is intricate and exhausting. When it's finally over you have the elated feeling that you've just completed a marathon and come in first. No one can be trusted. Everyone has a card up their sleeve and a gun in the top drawer. Just in case. Shadows, prying eyes, lonely dimly lit streets, whispered mistruths partially overheard but only half understood; that's what this film is about. Some have done it as well but none have done it better. The sense of claustrophobia, of walls closing in is overwhelming, particularly during one gripping scene set in an underground railway. Dmytryk whips you from one locale to the next, globe-hopping from London to Paris to Argentina, until you're dizzy. It's almost as if a world ravaged by war has become Powell's own personal trash heap, at the bottom of which may or may not be what he is looking for.
Powell is terse, tight-lipped and intractable, a quintessential Noir "hero", as the man desperately searching for the enigmatic Nazi collaborator responsible for his French wife's death. He shrugs off an onslaught of manipulative rhetoric and deception, trusting no one, cold-blooded revenge his only goal. But the real acting honors have to go to Walter Slezak, who is every bit as venal, calculating and cosmopolitan (not to mention plump) as Sidney Greenstreet was in "Falcon". A terrific performance. I also liked the way Luther Adler, on screen for less than five minutes but in a pivotal role, gets so much mileage out of a single raised eyebrow.
Post war disillusionment at its most raw and immediate. Virtually flawless.
57 of 68 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this