22 March 2004 | mik-19
The real thing
What a treat! I just watched this movie, and apart from the ending which makes things come into place a little too neatly and quickly for my taste, I loved it. Not least the sense of style that Litvak and cameraman par excellence Wong Howe use to make this not very inspiring script come to life. The huge set, a provincial fishing village in Brooklyn, is wonderfully lit and photographed, only partly visible through the fog that weigh on young lusty Ida Lupino's mind as she dreams of better things, of Cuba and crystal-clear water, of glamorous, dangerous men who take what they want and make no excuses for themselves. At times the story is so downbeat that it takes a small miracle here and there to rise above it, but nearly all is ultimately forgiven. John Garfield is deliciously wicked as the racketeer who sets out to destroy everybody's lives in order to eke out his own beastly living, Thomas Mitchell and Anthony Qualen are brilliant in the real starring parts as the two old-timers who finally realize that they have to make a stand against the evil of this world. In a small, but significant part as a hilarious, bankrupt man in a sauna, George Tobias shines. If it ever comes your way, you should see it. It's the real thing.