Director Robert Aldrich, one year before his post-modern Noir masterpiece Kiss Me, Deadly (1955), did his best with this atmospheric China Seas melodrama. Should chanteuse Frenesie (Marion Carr) stay glued to her weak-kneed but handsome husband (Patric Knowles) or wise up and take what tough but reliable Irish soldier of fortune Callahan (Dan Duryea) has to offer? The answer comes only after sterling character actors Gene Lockhart (evil mastermind), Nigel Bruce (colonial governor), Douglas Dumbrille (military cop) and once-handsome Reginald Denny (ditto) squabble and planify to restore order. Bonus: lovely brogue-wielding Arthur Shields, younger brother of icon Barry Fitzgerald, as the hydrogen bomb expert whose kidnap fuels the intrigue. Bad guys vs. good with the sublime, sweet-hearted, tough-tongued Duryea playing both ends against the middle. His face like carved rare roast beef, his hair slicked back, eternal glint in his eye, Duryea wriggles through sewers, sprints around enemy ...Written by
According to director Robert Aldrich, the screenplay was actually written by the blacklisted Hugo Butler, using Lindsay Hardy as a front. See more »
When Callahan jumps through his window to escape from Bone, he leaps, upper body first, shielding his face with his arms. He would not have been able to land on his feet, as shown. See more »
Take a chance, Mr. Callahan. Love is a white bird, yet you cannot buy her.
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early Robert Aldrich
For some reason, the actors in this film, particularly Dan Duryea, found it necessary to speak as if they were in an amphitheater in "World for Ransom," a 1954 film directed by Robert Aldrich.
If I had to describe this film in one word, I'd say "loud."
Mike Callahan (Dan Duryea) is a good friend of Julian Marsh (Patric Knowles), and is also in love with Julian's wife Frennessy (Marian Carr), who met Julian while boyfriend Mike was away in the service.
Julian is up to something no good, and Mike promises Frennessy that he'll get him out of it and bring him home. Frennessy admits that she's unhappy with Julian, but that she won't be able to leave him and go off with Mike while he's in trouble.
Turns out Julian has involved himself with a man named Alex Pederas (Gene Lockhart), a bad guy, and is part of the kidnapping of a nuclear scientist, one of the three men in the world who know how to detonate the H bomb. They're planning on making some big money. Julian has made a mistake in driving a route where he is well known, and he's been photographed by a street photographer. So there's a panic to get the photo and the negative to cover his mistake.
Others on the board have said this is a template for "Kiss Me, Deadly" and that it also is reminiscent of "The Third Man." I see similar plot elements but that's about it. Comparing this to either film is a stretch.
A good start for Aldrich, who was still in his early career and uncredited for this film. I think he did the best he could given the material.
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