Ruthless (1948)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Film-Noir, Romance


Ruthless (1948) Poster

A poor boy who saved a rich girl from drowning is adopted by her family but he grows into a money-hungry ruthless businessman who would step on others to get to the top of the social ladder.


6.9/10
1,070

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28 May 2009 | mysterymoviegoer
9
| Edgar G Ulmer with an A production
I just returned from an American Cinemateque screening of a UCLA restored print of this movie. Here is ample evidence that Ulmer, the King of the B's, given bigger budgets might well have had a much bigger career. Detour may be his most famous movie, but this is his best. The Alvah Bessie screenplay about greed and the relentless pursuit of success has dated not at all. The cinematography is excellent, with strong noirish elements. The sets and costumes are very good. Zachary Scott, one of the screen's great cads, is somewhat toned down here if still fairly nasty. There is strong work by Diana Lynn, Lucille Bremer, and Martha Vickers as women who get used and discarded along the way. Sidney Greenstreet shows up mid film as an equally greedy and grasping character, dominating all his scenes. But the standout, unexpectedly, is Louis Hayward as a sympathetic boyhood friend and link to the entire storyline. Ulmer brings out more warmth in this actor that was usually seen. Raymond Burr has a small part early in his career when he seemed to be copying Laird Cregar as Scott's father seen in flashback. Ulmer's daughter this evening explained that the studio Eagle-Lion/Paramount cut some scenes just before release with a particularly anti-capitalist tone. I hope the footage still exists somewhere. That aside, it is thoroughly accomplished film that needs no explanation or apologies. The current recession gives it renewed meaning. Hopefully a DVD release will soon follow.

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