The narrative -complete with gargantuan flashbacks and a laconic, almost mournful voice-over by Robert Mitchum- manages to weave performances and dramatic timing effortlessly into a finely crafted puzzle. 70+ years later, the film retains its elegance and brio.
I like to think Robert Mitchum taught men of his generation ways of crying that would keep their masculinity intact. Bogie could never telegraph this kind of vulnerability, even though Jeff and Marlowe are cut from the same cloth. There's nothing like Mitchum's ability to make male entrapment seem so cool. Together with Tourneur's direction and Musuraca's radiance it almost blots out the stupidity of the sexism.
We can never enter classics clean, and sometimes history prevents them from teaching us how to watch. The good: the globetrotting locations, the cast, Tourneur's compositions. For a film about past baggage I couldn't remove this one's reputation, and conceptually didn't feel utilised in the way of 'History of Violence'. Schematic to a fault. 3, until next time...
I've always shied away from movies with Mitchum, but this one won me over big time. His cool demeanor, physique, and voice make him a perfect match for film noir. It's not often that I rate a film noir any higher than 3 stars because they're all kinda the same. While this one surely keeps to the rules of the genre, it has a unique storytelling structure which I really appreciated.
Un classique du film noir, avec un étonnant Robert Mitchum, dirigé de mains de maître par un incontournable réalisateur qui a marqué de son empreinte bien des genres cinématographiques, allant du fantastique au western en passant par une impressionnante série de courts métrages... www.cinefiches.com
At 97 minutes, this is not simply a brisk picture - the plot mechanisms reminded me of that Daffy Duck cartoon where he keeps one-upping the studio exec with, "And then there was a food shortage! The dam broke!! The volcano erupted!!!" before shooting himself. Don't get me wrong - this is class, through and through - taut and windy and morally mischievous. But like the exec, I finally asked myself, "Is that all?"
If ever an actor was made for noir, it was Robert Mitchum, they don't come more hard boiled than him. Great film with fantastic dialogue delivered perfectly by Mitchum. Of course it's an adaptation from a novel (that I didn't know)... and the author also penned the script. All in all quite delicious.