After taking 20 dollars from his employer to go on a date with plans to repay it the next day, an auto mechanic falls into increasingly disastrous circumstances for more and more money which rapidly spirals out of his control.
In flashback from a 'Rebecca'-style beginning: Ellen Foster, visiting her aunt on the California coast, meets neighbor Jeff Cohalan and his ultramodern clifftop house. Ellen is strongly ... See full summary »
Motor mechanic Dan Brady lacks funds for a heavy date with new restaurant cashier Vera, the type whose life's ambition is a mink coat; so he embezzles twenty dollars from his employer with plans to repay it the next day. To make up the shortage, he goes in debt for a hundred. Thereafter, every means he tries to get out of trouble only gets him deeper into financial difficulties that lead to bigger crimes as everyone he meets is out for themselves.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The auto dealership where Dan (Mickey Rooney) works, Mackie Motors, is a dual-brand dealership selling Mercurys and Studebakers, both of which have been discontinued since the film was made. The model Dan takes off the lot is a 1949 Mercury two-door coupe, a very popular model with the teen set in later years. See more »
[All goofs for this title are spoilers.]
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Solid Film-Noir With A Good Cast, Especially Lorre
The good cast is the main strength of this solid, rather unassuming film-noir. In particular, Peter Lorre is excellent in a supporting role, and Mickey Rooney strikes a good balance with the main character, who is sympathetic without being particularly likable. The story is interesting, and it holds your attention pretty well despite an occasional hole and some predictable developments.
Rooney's character narrates a cautionary tale of how a questionable decision or two, combined with some bad breaks, caused his life to spiral downhill (in keeping with the "Quicksand" image of the title). For it to work, the audience has to sympathize with the character even while cringing at some of his choices, and Rooney is successful in making this happen. Jeanne Cagney gets one of her larger roles as a disreputable woman who helps lead Rooney's character astray, while Barbara Bates is well-cast as his loyal girlfriend. Art Smith is good in a minor role.
Lorre is the one who stands out in the cast, though, playing the kind of crafty lowlife that he portrayed as well as or better than anyone else has before or since. He makes Nick, the arcade owner, shabby but menacing, clever but brutal, and it adds considerably both to the atmosphere and to the impact of the story.
The story works all right as long as you go along with it, and overlook an implausibility or two here and there. The cast does most of the work, but some of the settings also help out in establishing the atmosphere. The mechanic's shop and the dingy arcade, as well as the pier in the climactic scene, all form an appropriate background to the events of the story.
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