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Nobody Lives Forever (1946)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1 November 1946 (USA)
G.I. Nick Blake, a never charged con man in his pre-military life, has just received an honorable discharge from the army on medical reasons. Rather than return to his old life, he plans to... See full summary »

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writer:

W.R. Burnett (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Garfield ... Nick Blake
Geraldine Fitzgerald ... Gladys Halvorsen
Walter Brennan ... Pop Gruber
Faye Emerson ... Toni Blackburn
George Coulouris ... Doc Ganson
George Tobias ... Al Doyle
Robert Shayne ... Chet King
Richard Gaines ... Charles Manning
Richard Erdman ... Bellboy, The Marwood Arms (as Dick Erdman)
James Flavin ... Shake Thomas
Ralph Peters ... Windy Mather
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fred Kelsey ... Railroad Conductor (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

G.I. Nick Blake, a never charged con man in his pre-military life, has just received an honorable discharge from the army on medical reasons. Rather than return to his old life, he plans to settle down in New York, his hometown, with his girlfriend Toni Blackburn and the small cache of money he amassed prior to the war: $50,000. When that plan does not pan out, he decides to head to Los Angeles with his con man friend Al Doyle and live it up until he decides on a more permanent course for his life. He is informed by Pop Gruber, an aging mentor doing solely penny-ante street cons now in L.A., of a potential big mark. Doc Ganson, a former con associate, found the mark, lonely widow Gladys Halvorsen worth $2 million, but does not have either the bankroll or the charms to carry out the con on Gladys himself. With Al running interference for him, Nick agrees both to bankroll and carry out the con, he negotiating two-thirds of the take for himself, leaving Doc and his two associates a ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor de Salvação See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Nick leaves the hospital at the beginning of the film, the patch on his uniform's left shoulder indicates he was a member of the U.S. Army's First Infantry Division, nicknamed "The Big Red One". Later in the film Nick mentions seeing destroyed churches in Italy. The 1st Inf. Division saw action in Sicily, as well as North Africa, the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, the Battle of the Bulge and through the heart of Germany, ending up in Czechoslovakia by the end of the war. See more »

Goofs

As Pop is proposing the con on the widow to Nick and Al, the same couple (a blonde and a man in a vertically striped robe) walks past the window along the beach from right to left twice. See more »

Quotes

Nick Blake: [First Lines]
[voice-over]
Nick Blake: This was the view from my window in the Army hospital on Governor's Island.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

You Again
(uncredited)
Music by M.K. Jerome
Lyrics by Jack Scholl
Performed by Faye Emerson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Atmospheric and with a twisting plot, but lagging in the romance it implies
3 May 2014 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Nobody Lives Forever (1946)

This is a quirky but good film. If technically a film noir in tone and structure, it largely lacks the darkness of intention in any of the main characters. Part of this comes from the casting—John Garfield is just too sweet a guy to pull off a devious, malicious scammer, and Walter Brennan as the sidekick couldn't appear evil if he tried.

There are some classic noir elements which make the movie fun, like a nightclub (and nightclub owner), a femme fatale (played with restraint by Faye Emerson), and a host of thugs who are convincing (this is Warner Bros. after all). The main plot is a kind of crime romance, where Garfield, an ex-con man playing a returning soldier, has half an intention to go straight but then gets roped into one last big scam. The victim is a rich young widow, and as Garfield goes after his mark he naturally falls in love. The people backing Garfield have a stake in his success and they don't like what's going on—he could just marry the widow and they'd be left in the cold.

So there is a turning of who is against who in the scenario. And this matters, but a lot of the first half of the movie is about the growing romance between the two leads. And it doesn't quite take off. I suppose it was important to make this widow a straight up type, a "good" woman," but casting Geraldine Fitzgerald made sure the chemistry would be restrained. You do want these two very nice people to make it, but it's not spiked with anxiety enough, or dreamy highs enough, to make you quite get swept away.

Where it gets interesting is when the thugs get in the way. The plot takes some terrific twists, and there are some some terrific atmospheric scenes at a pier in the second half of the movie, with large pumps running and the mist rolling by at night. People's better natures are revealed. A tragedy for one man becomes a lesson for our leading couple.

Director Jean Negulesco, though not as well known as a dozen of his contemporaries, made a series of strong, highly dramatic movies after the war that are often worth watching just for their moods. Here he uses legendary cinematographer Arthur Edeson ("Casablanca," "Frankenstein") to make this mood memorable and visually stunning. Throw in the usual high standards of Hollywood, and Warner Bros., at the time and you have a lot of why this movie, whatever its flaws, is still completely absorbing. Well worth watching.


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