Backfire (1950)

Passed   |    |  Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery


Backfire (1950) Poster

While recuperating from wartime back injuries at a hospital, veteran Bob Corey is visited on Christmas Eve by a beautiful stranger with an even stranger message.


6.6/10
1,031

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20 December 2011 | dougdoepke
Passable
No need to recap the plot. Those first few scenes in the hospital are charming, when not also spooky. The chemistry between Mayo and McRae is so infectious, I expected them to burst into song at any moment. But then there's that spectral visitation at the foot of McRae's bed. It's expertly staged, surpassing in impact anything else in the film.

However, both the screenplay and the direction go downhill following this promising start. It's a complicated narrative whose alternating threads between flashback and real time are clumsily woven. At the same time, focal shifts between McRae and O'Brien further dislocate the viewer, (and why is Dane Clark given top billing with such limited screen time ).

At the same time, director Sherman doesn't appear to have a feel for the material, filming in flat impersonal style despite noirish touches from cinematographer Guthrie. Good thing that fine actor Eddie O'Brien is on hand to carry the acting department. McRae is handsome and likable, but without the needed gravitas of crime drama, while the ravishing Lindfors's best scene is as the apparition.

I like reviewer Brocksilvey's comments on the male-bonding aspects that I overlooked. In my experience, it's a very real part of military life and need have nothing to do with same sex attraction. Rather it has to do, I think, with the sharing of grueling experiences and the bonds thereby established, ones which can go deeper than more conventional types. Happily, the movie suggests the very sort of bonding Brocksilvey expresses.

Anyway, in my view, the movie's a passable crime drama, but nothing more.

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