31 October 2001 | telegonus
Better Than the Original
This 1964 TV movie was directed by Don Siegel and is a remake of the 1947 Robert Montgomery picture Ride the Pink Horse, which was adapted from a Dorothy Hughes novel. The first version is slow, needlessly pictorial, and for the most part not well acted. Siegel's version is tight as a drum, very exciting, and set in New Orleans at Mardi Gras time rather than a Southwest whistle-stop. It is highly energetic and almost surreal in its use of color and some very fancy editing, fancy even for a theatrical film, and almost unheard of in a TV one, of which it is an early example. The plot is fairly standard thriller stuff, but the handling of the material is masterful. Robert Culp is a fine hero and Edmond O'Brien a not altogether loathsome villain. The rest of the cast,--Vera Miles, J. Carrol Naish, Pat Buttram--are likewise superb. I am amazed that this one has not been rediscovered. It's one of those movies that seems almost like a throwaway genre piece that is really an intricate and beautifully crafted piece of work. This forgotten Siegel tour de force ought to be on video.