12 November 2012 | GManfred
Fascinating Noir From The UK
Please note I didn't say good, I said fascinating. St. John Legh Clowes (a terrific name) wrote a terrible script which lacks subtlety and nuance, and did a terrible job in directing this crime/romance and gave us a genteel Englishman's conception of an American gangster film. Much of the dialogue is gratuitously nasty and mean-spirited, as if underworld types routinely insult one another. The acting is stilted and artificial with characters often delivering their lines while posing defiantly.
Then, midway through the film, action stops as the picture changes from an action melodrama to a romancer, and the fast pace comes to a halt. I did not notice much chemistry between the principals, Jack LaRue (in a Bogart role) and Linden Travers (in a role somewhere between Ingrid Bergman and Claire Trevor), although she got the better of him in the acting department. Larue, for his part, has a great baleful stare, which comprises most of his acting technique. Speaking of acting, it was very uneven among the rest of the cast, however there were American equivalents of Sidney Greenstreet, Leo Gorcey, Mike Mazurki and Dan Duryea.
Did I mention this was a fascinating picture? Well, it certainly is and if it comes on, don't miss it. It is like a Monogram Studio feature but with major studio production values. Lovely background music by George Melachrino helps, but he wrote a couple of clinkers as night club numbers which are forgettable. In short, it is very worth seeing so you can compare American and UK gangster movies.
P.S. When was the last time you saw a hit-man wearing a bow-tie?