Man, in a time of THRILLS! ROMANCE! SUSPENSE!, it's fantastic to see a confident slow burn of a noir. Excellent performances. Palpable environment. Stellar script. Strange that it's final act shares similarities to Odd Man Out, considering they were released the same year - but they're equally fantastic.
Stellar noir that hits all the checkboxes for me: the amount of political anxiety on honest display is captivating and uncompromising, with a punchy script, pungent atmosphere and strange, morally unsettling undercurrents. And I especially like how this is one bordertown noir where Mexicans aren't made into a threat. In fact, they're the sanest ones here—it's the white outsiders who need to get their heads straight.
A good one: Montgomery shines as actor and director in this uncommon film noir. It 's a hero's journey with a few unexpected twists. All Mexicans are portrayed with sympathy as opposed to the Americans who turn out to be violent, cynical or treacherous. It has a rather artificial look due to the studio sets, but it is shot with great technical skill and beautifully lit.
Well-schooled as I am in this particular brand of post-war American fatalism, I am simply flummoxed by the fact that I have been allowed to navigate the world this long w/ Ride the Pink Horse in my blind spot. It towers. Robert Montgomery perfectly combines poise and recklessness as an actor, and I have never seen a performer laugh in this way. Wanda Hendrix is a revelation. Never seen her before. I am in loooooove.
If nothing else, this is the coolest name for a film noir. But beyond that, this is a hard-boiled, at times ruthless, noir that deserves to be more widely seen. Pulling off outstanding efforts as both actor and director, this is Robert Montgomery’s shining moment, in my opinion.