6 April 2010 | evanston_dad
Smashed Fingers and Do-Gooders Add Up to a Strange But Fun Hybrid
The two of a kind of this film's title are Edmond O'Brien and Lizabeth Scott, two schemers who aren't above their fair share of dirty dealings but who draw the line at murder.
The implausible scheme in this one involves O'Brien posing as the lost son of a millionaire who will cash in on the millionaire's inheritance once he dies and split it with Scott and the millionaire's attorney (played by Alexander Knox), who engineers the whole thing. The plot of course unravels, as plots usually do in movies like this, until talk of murder comes up, as it invariably does. One murder is planned, another is attempted, but all ends well for our bad-but-not-so-bad-that-we-don't-kind-of-like-them lovers.
My favorite thing about this movie is that the plot these crooks hatch has a thousand holes in it from the beginning, but the movie acknowledges that and makes use of them. For once, the movie is as smart as we are.
Terry Moore has a large role as the millionaire's niece, a do-gooder who is determined to find the sugar at the middle of O'Brien's bitter pill. Her appearance in the film brings a strong comic element to it (she's turned on by being robbed at gunpoint) and keeps things refreshingly off kilter. There are hints at romantic comedy mixed in with brutal scenes, like the one where O'Brien allows his finger to be smashed in a car door so that doctors will have to amputate it. I suppose fans of true noirs may be disappointed that this film is far too light overall to truly earn the title, but there's a lot of fun to be had if you can look past that.