6.7/10
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43 user 29 critic

Macao (1952)

Passed | | Adventure, Crime, Drama | 28 May 1952 (Italy)
Nick Cochran, an American in exile in Macao, has a chance to restore his name by helping capture an international crime lord. Undercover, can he mislead the bad guys and still woo the handsome singer/petty crook, Julie Benson?

Directors:

Josef von Sternberg, Nicholas Ray (uncredited)

Writers:

Bernard C. Schoenfeld (screenplay), Stanley Rubin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Nick Cochran
Jane Russell ... Julie Benson
William Bendix ... Lawrence C. Trumble
Thomas Gomez ... Police Lt. Sebastian
Gloria Grahame ... Margie
Brad Dexter ... Vincent Halloran
Edward Ashley ... Martin Stewart
Philip Ahn ... Itzumi
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Kwan Sum Tang
Don Zelaya ... Gimpy - Piano Player
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Storyline

A sultry night club singer, a man who has also traveled to many exotic ports and a salesman meet aboard ship on the 45-mile trip from Hong Kong to Macao. The singer is quickly hired by an American expatriate who runs the biggest casino in Macao and has a thriving business in converting hot jewels into cash. Her new boss thinks one of her traveling companions is a cop. One is -- but not the one the boss suspects. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

DANGEROUS PARADISE! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese | Japanese

Release Date:

28 May 1952 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Макао See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures 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

Gloria Grahame did not want to be in this movie; Howard Hughes admitted that he never saw her previous performance opposite Humphrey Bogart in the film In a Lonely Place (1950), which is today unanimously considered among her finest performances. When Grahame asked to be loaned out to make George Stevens's A Place in the Sun (1951), Hughes turned down her request and forced her to make this movie (she reportedly dryly told her then-husband and uncredited director Nicholas Ray, who she was in the process of divorcing, that she wouldn't ask for alimony if he could get her out of this movie). Grahame later stated that she intentionally over-acted out of hatred for Hughes. See more »

Goofs

Whenever Julie Benson sings in the gambling den, The piano and bass guitar accompaniment don't match the sound of the full orchestra backing her up. See more »

Quotes

Halloran: You don't want that junk. Diamonds would only cheapen you.
Margie: Yeah. But what a way to be cheapened.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Biography: Jane Russell: Body and Soul (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Ocean Breeze
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Sung by Jane Russell
Played on phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Lighter Shade of Noir
1 March 2005 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

Nick Cochran, supposedly an American adventurer and petty criminal, arrives, short of cash and on the run from the United States where he is wanted, in Macao (at this period still a Portuguese colony). Arriving on the same boat is an attractive young woman named Julie Benson. Julie is hired by Vincent Halloran, the local gambling boss, as a singer in his casino-cum-nightclub. Halloran is also wanted in America (for offences far more serious than Cochran's), but cannot be extradited as long as he remains in Macao. Although this is a short film, there is still time enough for the plot to become very complex. A number of the characters are not what they seem. Is Cochran, for example, what he purports to be, or is he really a cop trying to lure Halloran beyond Macao's three mile limit into international waters where he can be arrested? Who is Lawrence Trumble, the mysterious salesman who also appears to have a sideline in stolen jewellery?

This is the second film which Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell made together; the previous year they had starred in "His Kind of Woman". The two films have much in common beyond the two leading actors. Both have an exotic setting and both feature gambling and a ruthless gangster. The two leads play similar types in both films, Mitchum a seedy, down-on-his-luck character, likable despite his shady past and occasionally cynical exterior, and Russell a sultry glamour girl. There is, however, an important difference between the two films. "His Kind of Woman" can be seen as a comic send-up of the crime thriller genre, starting off in the dark, menacing film noir style and then metamorphosing into a comedy action-thriller. "Macao" is the genuine article rather than a parody, being for the most part played seriously rather than for laughs, although it the atmosphere is perhaps lighter than in some other films noirs. The difference lies less in the look of the film- "Macao" has some striking black-and-white photography- than in the moral atmosphere. Films such as the Humphrey Bogart classics "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Big Sleep" were notable not only for their dark, gloomy look but also for their tone of moral darkness. The private eye characters played by Bogart struggle to maintain their private integrity in a world of corruption and deceit. In "Macao" there is something closer to a traditional morality, with good triumphing over the evil of the ruthless villains. The result is perhaps something of a hybrid between authentic noir and a more traditional adventure thriller, still highly watchable even today. 6/10


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