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  • You Can't Escape Forever is an odd duck: it's a bottom of the bill second feature that successfully blends comedy, romance, gangsters, and old dark house thrills. George Brent plays the crusading editor of a local paper out to put the kibosh on the activities of a local black marketeer, played to absolute perfection by Edward Cianelli, surely one of the least appreciated heavies of Hollywood history. Brent is aided by lady love/gal reporter Brenda Marshall and comic foil Roscoe Karns, and the film manages to take in a trip to the Death House, a deserted columbarium, and a lonely hearts club apparently modeled after Conan Doyle's Red Headed League. There are some very well choreographed action sequences and beautiful cinematography by James Van Trees and Tony Gaudio, the masters of low budget photography. If you like 'B' features, you will be more than satisfied with You Can't Escape Forever--even if the title seems somewhat inappropriate considering that villain Varney (Joe Downing), in an apparent oversight by Joseph Breen's office, actually DOES escape the chair!
  • "You Can't Escape Forever" is a great title for a film, although I'm not convinced it fits this story. This movie is really crisply done. All the scenes clip along and never linger too long. The reading of the lines by the actors are so rapid fire that Frank Fox the dialogue director must have worked overtime. The opening execution scene made me chuckle. There always seems to be a thunderstorm happening when someone is about to be strapped to the electric chair. In this case they did use the atmosphere as part of the story and not simply a clichéd mood device. I didn't find "Forever" a waste of time, but there was nothing about it that will linger in my movie memory banks for an extended period of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Very fast moving drama/comedy with a special cast of well known actors; one of several remakes of Hi, Nellie! (1934). Directed by Jo Graham, Roy Chanslor's story was treated by Fred Niblo Jr. and Hector Chevigny.

    George Brent plays a newspaper editor driven by his ear twitching hunches; Charles Halton plays his assist who is intent on replacing him (competing for Brent's job). Brenda Marshall plays a reporter assigned to cover the execution of one of crime Boss Greer's (Eduardo Ciannelli) flunkies. She faints and misses the 11th hour save by Greer, then reports incorrectly (that he was executed) to Brent, who had correctly predicted the Greer's action (via an ear twitch).

    Marshall's character is therefore "sentenced", by Brent's, to be the lovelorn reporter on the staff, a job nobody wants. A nut named Crowder, who like Brent's had predicted the save and had been compiling incriminating evidence against Greer, turns up dead. While investigating Crowder's death, Brent riles Greer, who pressures Brent's boss, the owner of the paper (played by Paul Harvey), into dumping him down to the lovelorn reporter job.

    Brent believes that if he does the lovelorn reporter job extremely well, he'll get back his old job. His plan fails, however, when his efforts cause an increase in the paper's circulation. So, he decides to pursue the mob boss himself, with help from Marshall and his photographer friend, played by Roscoe Karns.

    Their investigation leads them to a dance-marriage hall run by Carl Robelink (Gene Lockhart). The convoluted fast paced plot becomes as much if not more comedy than drama, but eventually the bad guys are caught and Brent gets his job back, and assigns his rival, Halton, the dreaded lovelorn reporter role.
  • This is an okay, rather lighthearted crime/newspaper picture, not at all the grim movie one would expect from the title. Its main detriment is Brenda Marshall, who has zero chemistry with George Brent (looking a bit seedy, but a bit like a second-string Clark Gable), an unattractive profile, and a very tight, cold, humourless manner. What William Holden saw in her, God alone knows. But Brent is as smooth as ever, and there are old friends like Roscoe Karns, Percy Halton, and the chillingly believable Eduardo Ciannelli, with his face rapidly collapsing from Joker-style phony bonhomie to ice-cold murder.

    The plot doesn't take itself very seriously, and is sometimes indecipherable, but there are plenty of amusing scenes. But, though Brenda is unsympathetic, the treatment of her, expressing the 1940s idea of the "right" way to live, still has a nasty taste. Three times during the movie she faints dead away because of what she hears, sees, or fears she is about to see (ie, women are not tough enough to be reporters). Then, at the end of the movie, she says she won't give up her career after marriage to George Brent, that they won't have children for a long time. His gesture to the camera shows that he will make sure that's not the case. While a similar "adult" joke at the end of Bachelor Mother was very cute, this is quite unpleasant. It says that Brent will make his wife pregnant against her will or without her knowledge (a very unpleasant picture comes to mind). At the time this was considered cute too, but it sure isn't now.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm fond of Brent and Marshall and the general genre of B movies because they are produced swiftly and can be so very topical. Such is the case with this film, no dull moments, fast moving plot, loads of background popular tunes complete with congas and jitterbugging. It veers into quite funny comedy several times, most notably to me at the nightclub dancing scene at a place which apparently doubles as a black market front for rubber tires? I didn't catch what the offer of a quick marriage service and one free week's room and board had to do with disguising the front, so took off one star.

    Still and all, Brent and Marshall and especially Karns entertained fully and wow, the character actors played true to their specialties. Lockhart for slyness, Harvey for bluster, Ciannelli for cold menace, Halton for being a butt monkey,. Add to these briefer turns by Howland as a loony and young Don DeFore as a George-Brent-type and you have an enjoyable 77 minutes. Nice atmospherics in the graveyard, too. I like Brenda Marshall and could empathize, at least, with her desperation at missing the crucial moment of an execution; she was believably conniving in her lie and really quite good at embellishing it, but you can't fool an expert like Brent for long even if you are his lover.

    Marshall's running around the dance floor by an enthusiastic partner really made me LOL. Another cackling moment came when the graveyard caretaker couldn't be budged from his enjoyment of a radio program to help the reporters, who got their information anyway. Just substitute a radio program from today's young person glued to their phone as they fill your KFC order and you'll get the connection with uncaring customer service in any era!
  • Marshall's character SHOULD have been fired and yet she was angry--made her very easy to hate turns silly=propaganda While on the surface this film can look a lot like "His Girl Friday", soon it becomes very apparent it is not. It's a shame, because George Brent was capable of doing better pictures than this one. And, you could do a lot better with your time.

    The film starts off okay. An annoying reporter (Brenda Marshall) is sent to cover an execution for the newspaper. But, she passes out and misses it--and doesn't realize that the man was given a last second pardon. Not willing to admit the truth, she phones in the story to her editor (and boyfriend), Brent, and reports that the killing went off as scheduled! As a result, he demotes her to do a society column. Now here is where the film started to annoy me. She SHOULD have felt lucky not to get fired--but she is nasty and balks with her demotion. I grew to dislike her because of this--and it was only about 5 minutes into the movie. Later, Brent himself is demoted to this same thankless job--and he spends the rest of the film trying to break a huge story to earn his way back.

    While this COULD have worked, the film had three major problems. I already mentioned how unlikable Marshall's character was. In addition, the dialog tried to be smart and zippy like "His Girl Friday"--but it just wasn't that good and showed it. But most importantly, the end just made me cringe. Adding this propaganda angle hurt the film because it seemed VERY gratuitous and unnecessary. Overall, a pretty limp little film--one you will no doubt also think is a bit limp.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    George Brent (newsman), Brenda Marshall (reporter), Gene Lockhart (Lonesome Club manager), Roscoe Karns (reporter), Paul Harvey (publisher), Eduardo Ciannelli (Greer), Frank Richards (Scotty), Fred Kelsey (radio fan), Erville Alderson (Crowder), George Meeker (Cummings), Edith Barrett (Lucille), Jack Carr (No-Neck), Joseph Crehan (warden), Charles Halton (Gates), Dick Elliott (Meeker), Olin Howland (caretaker), Harry Hayden (Judge Hardacre), Joe Downing (Varney), Tom Dugan (trusty), Don DeFore (reporter), John Dilson.

    Director: JO GRAHAM. Screenplay: Fred Niblo, Jr., Hector Chevigny. Story: Roy Chanslor. Photography: Tony Gaudio, James Van Trees. Film editor: David Weisbart. Produced for Warner Bros by famous New York newsman Mark Hellinger, this film used elements from Hi, Nellie!, Final Edition, The Girl on the Front Page and other Roy Chanslor yarns. U.S. release: 10 October 1942. Australian release: 22 February 1945. 77 minutes.

    COMMENT: A brisk re-make of "Front Page Woman" (1935), this fast, funny and most delightfully and unexpectedly facetious newspaper yarn has all the makings of a cult classic.

    Directed by former Michael Curtiz assistant, Jo Graham, in a furiously stylish Curtiz style, the movie features a host of our favorite character players at their most ingratiating.

    Despite hot competition from Ciannelli, Lockhart and Hayden, it's Frank Richards, however, who walks away – or rather dances off – with the picture. His zest in swinging Lonesome Marshall around the club is the gem of gems!
  • bl-1115 August 2001
    The entire film uses that hectic non-stop dialogue style that was far more frequent in the black and white days. It makes it kind of difficult to feel involved, more like you are watching a comedy show than a film. And the means with which the main story is introduced, in the same blase fashion, doesn't lend it any gravity. In the end you feel you have watched a long episode of an old sit-com.