19 September 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Danger and fun in the fast lane
Am a huge fan of older films and 'Johnny Dark' interested me. Mainly to see a very young Piper Laurie and Tony Curtis an early role as part of my Tony Curtis film completest quest and how they would fare individually and as a partnership. Also because the story on paper seemed intriguing if silly.
Saw 'Johnny Dark' with the mind-set of not expecting a masterpiece and just some escapist entertainment without expecting too much or everything to be of superb quality. 'Johnny Dark' achieved this goal and is very overlooked. It may not blow the mind and it may not be one of Curtis's best films or contain one of his best performances. A lot is done right however and it compels and entertains throughout its length, which didn't feel too long or too short.
Do think that the script is not the best, certainly not terrible but could have been tighter and sharper.
Excepting Don Taylor, the supporting cast don't properly stand out as characters with not much to them.
However, Curtis is both youthful and charming, clearly having fun with his role and looking comfortable in it. Lovely Piper Laurie matches him in the charm factor and is equally spirited. Their chemistry has a real warmth and playfulness, so is very believable throughout. Don Taylor is able support. There is wit and liveliness in the script. The direction has an efficiency that suits the adventurous element of the story perfectly.
It is very difficult to dislike the story. Like the script, it doesn't boast many surprises but it is not a dull one and clips along at a breezy pace, with a clear idea at what it was trying to be and appeal to without trying to do more. The characters are archetypes but likeable ones. The action and chasing continually excite and the music is rousing. 'Johnny Dark' is shot with vibrant colour and the setting colourful and atmospheric. Love the car and it is like a character of its own.
Overall, good fun. 7/10 Bethany Cox