22 October 2014 | rupie
this is NOT film noir
I was drawn to this one, as many viewers were, by the presence of the great Edward G. Robinson and the legendary George Raft. However, not even their presence can salvage this stinker.
First off, one thing must be made clear: there seems to be, in reviews of this flick, the idea that any crime drama in black & white is "film noir," a phrase which is widely overused. This movie follows none of the conventions of film noir and cannot be called noir by any stretch of the imagination. Actually it seems to have the appearance of a made-for-TV drama.
Secondly, the script is simply atrocious. It is loaded with so many clichés, overripe formulations and contrived dialogue that it feels like it was written by Ed Wood. A leaden phrase like "Women are what make life a pleasure for men," comes to mind. What a howler!
Thirdly, anyone with any knowledge of espionage knows that, historically, neither the Nazis nor the Communists employed elements of the criminal underworld; such cannot be relied on.
Fourthly, this is as great an assemblage of lousy actors as I have ever seen in one flick. The level of acting is simply terrible, and that includes Robinson, who, as noted elsewhere here, phones in his performance. This is probably to be expected, with such a lousy script. Why he signed on to this effort is beyond me; he must have needed the money badly. And this flick also shows that Raft, despite his reputation, was no great actor. Audrey Totter is a familiar face, but she's nothing to write home about either.
Lastly, the concluding scene aboard the ship is so contrived, patched together and full of improbabilities as to defy belief.
To summarize in two words, skip it.