15 January 2005 | django-1
Like a pulp detective novel come to life on the screen!
Just watched this again after about five years, and I'm still struck by the wonderful hard-boiled ambiance of the film, which perfectly captures the male-fantasy element of detective fiction. As a reader of things like Mike Shayne crime novels, I think that THREE BLONDES IN HIS LIFE captures the alcohol-soaked, blonde-loving, tough-guy feel of the typical Shayne novel better than any of the movies that featured the Shayne character. Jock Mahoney (see my review of I'VE LIVED BEFORE), always a reliable leading man with great physical charisma and macho attitude, is perfect as an insurance detective out to crack the case of a phony robbery staged to hide a jewel theft, a case that eventually involves murder. A former agent for Mahoney's company has gone missing and is implicated in the crime, and this agent had three blondes in his life. Soon, they are involved in Mahoney's life. I love the way that when Mahoney walks into a room to visit one of these women and question her, he first is offered a drink (he's a bourbon drinker), and then the woman either comes on to him, or puts up a shrewish front as a cover for the fact that she really WANTS to come on to him! The film is rather low-budget, but is shot very imaginatively. I commented to my fiancée as we watched this that it had the technical feel of a 50s syndicated TV crime show,with small but efficiently shot sets, but had excellent location photography also which helped create a nice atmospheric Los Angeles feel to it. It's also lit like a TV crime show. Imagine my surprise when I checked the IMDb credits and saw that director Leon Chooluck's only directing credit other than this is the HIGHWAY PATROL TV series! Chooluck has a long string of credits as production manager on a number of interesting b-movies, many of which I've loved, and he obviously learned how to organize an efficient production. Another interesting aspect of the film is that the production company, Cinema Associates, was a group of four people, one of whom was the legendary Haskell Wexler, of MEDIUM COOL fame. THREE BLONDES IN HIS LIFE captures the ambiance of a paperback-original detective novel better than most similar films I've ever seen. It features a strong, cool leading man in Jock Mahoney, and it deserves to be much better known. Check it out.