Rogues’ Regiment

With a variety of matters vying for my time and attention these days, I’m grateful to have this opportunity to put up a piece on another of those relative rarities that Gordon Gates thrives on. So, read on…

Rogues’ Regiment (1948) is one of a number of post WW2 noir dealing with escaped Nazi war criminals. Notorious, Cornered and The Stranger would be several of the more well known.
In this one, Dick Powell is an army intelligence agent on his way to French Indo-China. He is on the trail of a high-ranking SS officer who had escaped the roundup at the end of the war. The trail leads Powell to the French Foreign Legion camp in Saigon. (The French used large numbers of ex-German soldiers in their war with the Viet-Cong).
Powell’s main problem is that there are no known photos of the man he wants. He joins the Legion himself in order to try and identify the swine. Said swine, Stephen McNally, is very careful about his identity and bumps off everyone he thinks is a danger.
Helping Powell out on his case is French Secret Service agent, Marta Toren. Toren poses as a singer in a cabaret frequented by off duty Legion members of the German type. Of course Powell and Toren are soon drawn to each other.
Also in the mix here is Vincent Price as an antique dealer who supplements his income with a little gun running for the Viet-Cong. Philip Ahn and Richard Loo play Viet Cong types who are buying said weaponry from Mister Price.
McNally, who picked Saigon and the Legion thinking it would be the least likely spot to be recognized, finds the opposite true. One of his ex-staff officers, Henry Rowland from Dachau concentration camp happens to be in the same unit. While out on patrol the men become involved in a fire-fight with the Viet-Cong and McNally applies a few rounds to the man’s back. Problem solved.
Not quite it seems. Old Vincent has tumbled to McNally’s identity and figures a bit of blackmail is in order. He knows McNally has a large cache of jewels and gold taken from his camp victims. Price wants most of it. McNally agrees as long as Price can supply him with a passport and some American dollars so he can leave the country.
Both of course plan to double cross the other when the deal is completed. Powell and Toren who have been one step behind finally clue in and quickly pick up their pursuit. The meeting between  Price and McNally needless to say has turned ever so bloody. Who wins?
The director here is Robert Florey. His work included Meet Boston Blackie, Dangerously They Live, The Beast With Five Fingers, Danger Signal, The Crooked Way, and the very under-rated The Face Behind the Mask. He was also the helmsman on hundreds of television episodes.
Screenplay was by one time Oscar nominee, Robert Buckner. He did the story or screenplays for Deported, A Prize of Gold, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Santa Fe Trail, Virginia City, Dodge City and Love Me Tender.
Powell and Toren are okay with their roles, But it is McNally here as the Nazi louse, and Price as the blackmailing snake in the grass who steal the show.
Toren, who died at age 31, managed to work the film noir  Deported, Mystery Submarine, Spy Hunt, Illegal Entry, One Way Street, Paris Assignment and Sirocco into her 4 year Hollywood career. The d of p was Maury Gertsman whose noir included Blonde Alibi, Inside Job, Singapore, One Way Street, The Glass Web and Johnny Stool Pigeon.
Well worth a watch if you can find it. Needless to say it is another UNIVERSAL-INTERNATIONAL Release.
Gordon Gates

88 thoughts on “Rogues’ Regiment

  1. No hard copy available sadly. Never seen it and I doubt it has ever made it to UK TV screens.

    Stephen McNally becomes ever more interesting the more often I see him. I was amused a few nights ago, watching him starring with Barbara Stanwyck in “THE LADY GAMBLES” (1949) when his character named Steve in the film reveals it is the name he adopted because he hated his proper name – Horace. Other characters crack up with laughter. The real joke of course being that McNally’s real first name WAS Horace and he used it professionally up until the year before I believe.

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  2. Don
    I first caught this one back in 2008 and quire enjoyed it. Colin, good man that he is, allowed me to post it it here as a guest review. It is another of those hard to find UNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL films that rise above their humble origins. I assumed it would be a piece that most had never seen.

    Gord

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  3. No,Gordon I’ve never seen it either.
    The antics of Price and McNally alone make it sound worthwhile.
    I’m quiet a Robert Florey fan and love his earlier B Movies
    KING OF ALCATRAZ,PAROLE FIXER,WOMEN WITHOUT NAMES and
    the sublime FACE BEHIND THE MASK that Gordon mentions.
    Caught up with THE LADY GAMBLES which Jerry mentions though
    generally refered to as Noir I would consider it more melodrama.
    McNally for me was the best thing in the whole film a carefully shaded
    role,neither hero or villain.
    Too bad McNally’s career as a leading man only lasted a scant few years,
    atter which he either had support roles or occasional leads in B Movies.
    He does seem nowadays to be getting some sort of reappraisal.

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    • John

      I am always surprised that Robert Florey does not get more mention, particularly in regards to crime and film noir. He always seemed to have the proper grasp on the material. FACE BEHIND THE MASK is one of my favorite films. Price and McNally’s work here alone are worth the price of admission .
      Gord

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    • Actually, one of the things I like about McNally is the way he could fulfill so many roles – hero or villain, or even occupying that ambiguous middle ground, as the lead or in support. It’s rare to see a movie he appeared in that didn’t gain from his presence.

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  4. This weekend I am watching the following films…
    1- RING OF FIRE -1961 David Janssen,
    2- DIAL 1119 – 1950 Marshall Thompson
    3- ISLAND OF LOST SOULS – 1932 Charles Laughton
    4- GOOD TIME GIRL -48 Jean Kent
    5- THE QUIET GUN -1957 Forest Tucker
    6 – THE COMMAND -1960 – Tv episode E. Sloane
    7 – QUEEN OF SHEBA – 1952 Italy

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    • You are going to be quite busy with your watching this weekend, Gord. A nicely-balanced program. I especially like “THE QUIET GUN” and will look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

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  5. Jerry
    I must admit it was you and the others talking about THE QUIET GUN here that got me to dig it out. Thanks for the heads up.

    The first 4 are all re-watch films. 5- THE QUIET GUN -1957 Forest Tucker, 6 – THE COMMAND -1960 – Tv episode E. Sloane, 7 – QUEEN OF SHEBA – 1952 Italy are all first time views.

    Gord

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  6. I’m a big fan of Dick Powell after his singing and dancing came to a close, so I’ll definitely hunt down “Rogues Regiment”. Unfortunately, it’s not on ok.ru and the copy on Youtube is murky.

    On a completely different note, I rewatched Tokyo Story (1953) this past week. It’s a heartrending tale that chronicles the indifference shown to an aging couple by their self-centered adult children. I’m already aware that there are people who post here who frown upon movie polls but in 2012, Tokyo Story was voted the greatest film ever made by 146 directors in a poll conducted by Sight & Sound in conjunction with the BFI. It was listed #3 by 846 critics in the same poll. I include it in the top 5 films I have ever seen. The direction by Yasujirô Ozu is delicate & subtle with brilliantly framed shots. It is accompanied by a beautiful score. Tokyo Story features the renowned Japanese star, Setsuko Hara, as the compassionate daughter-in-law, Noriko.

    Last night I watched the great Kenji Mizoguchi’s “The Life of Oharu” (1952) about a young Lady in Waiting who has relations with a man beneath her station which causes her life to spiral into ever-deepening misfortune and misery. It may be the most brutal depiction of cruelty foisted upon a woman in the history of film. A beautiful if depressing film that features Toshiro Mifune in a small but pivotal poll. I had already viewed Misoguchi’s “Ugetsu” (1953) and “Sansho the Baliff” (1954) and thought they were both superior films.

    Of the two films, I think “Tokyo Story” is much more accessible and that even people who are not fans of foreign films or subtitles will find it a rewarding viewing experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Powell’s later career was wonderfully varied and his directing has points of interest too, not least his debut Split Second which was nicely written up by regular commenter Margot here.
      While I’m a big fan of Bogart’s take on the role, there’s a strong argument to be made for his Marlowe being the best the screen incarnation.

      Shamefully, I’ve yet to see any films by Ozu – one of many gaps in my experience of cinema.

      Oh, and count me in as one who rather likes polls, and lists too. I may not always agree with the picks but that’s part of the enjoyment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I sometimes dissent from the critical consensus. I have a list of 30 Westerns that I especially like that is missing four universally acclaimed titles. I won’t mention their names here so as not to start a range war! I can’t stand Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Gertrude” which many cinephiles think is a masterpiece. I stopped watching the universally lauded “Jules & Jim” after a few minutes because the spirit of the film didn’t resonate with me. My wife watched it to the end and liked it very much. Canons are guideposts but adhering to them can’t be compulsory. I’ve only skimmed Paul Schrader’s essay “Cannon Fodder” where he tries to develop criteria for what makes a film great. I do intend to read it in its entirety. Here is a link:

        Click to access 2006-FilmComment_Schrader.pdf

        Liked by 2 people

      • There are some serious people who believe Cry Danger was directed by Powell, not Robert Parrish, and You Never Can Tell, also Powell, not Lou Breslow. and prior to his official directorial debut with Split Second.

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        • Yes, Jean Porter claims that Powel, not Parrish, actually directed “Cry Danger”. On the other hand I’ve seen a Youtube clip where Richard Erdman talks about some excellent direction he received from Parrish. Be that as it may, I love “Cry Danger”.

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              • I can’t read the text of “Hollywood Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” online. But directors sometimes dismiss or disown their work, e.g. Kubrick with “Spartacus and John Huston with “The Unforgiven”.

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            • I can’t find Rhonda Fleming on video supporting Jean Porter’s view. Can you provide a link? I watched
              Rhonda Flemming and Dick Erdman talking about “Cry Danger” and they say nothing about Powell directing. Erdmann compliments Parrish’s direction in two separate interviews, calling him his favorite director. I’m sure Powell had influence on the film, but I’m giving Robert Parrish credit for directing “Cry Danger”.

              I watched this 4 part series of videos of Flemmin & Erdman some time ago but rewatched it today.

              In this separate interview Erdman again compliments Parrish’s direction on “Cry Danger”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fujnp8tWWwk

              Liked by 1 person

            • Well, I linked to four videos with Flemming and Erdman discussing “Cry Danger”. They mention nothing about Dick Powell directing although Erdman praises Parrish’s directorial gifts. I then linked to a stand-alone video with Erdman where he again praises Parrish’s work on “Cry Danger”. I can’t find the video with Flemming that you mention above. I supplied links to these interviews but my comment was put on hold and now is gone. But I conclude that while Dick Powell obviously had an influence on the making of “Cry Danger”, Robert Parrish is correctly credited with being the director.

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              • Just heard from Alan Rode on this. Parrish direct but Dick Powell was the producer and as such had a lot of influence. Jean Porter was in the first shot and nothing happened until Powell walked over to Parrish and said, ‘You have to say action.’ I searched for the video of Rhonda talking about Powell’s direction, which I swear I have seen but could not track down. I will keep trying. Meanwhile, Alan was quoting Dick Erman, so….

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                  • My conversation with Alan:
                    Barry: Only a guess, Powell worked with the cast, and Parrish set up the shots.
                    Alan: Jean told me essentially the same thing. Bobby Parrish became an effective director but he probably needed some handholding on his first solo flight. All of the actors were very experienced. I don’t believe pros like Regis Toomey and Bill Conrad needed a lot of direction. Dick (Erdman) told me he had a blast with Bill Bowers–they became quite friendly–and Dick Powell was the moving force behind the film.

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        • Couldn’t find anything directly attributed to Powell’s possible Direction of “Cry Danger” from Richard Erdman, Jean Porter nor Rhonda Fleming.

          HOWEVER, did find the following regarding “You Never Can Tell”…………

          Joyce Holden, Powell’s costar in You Never Can Tell (1951), echoed those sentiments in a 2008 interview in the magazine Films of the Golden Age. When the interviewer, Tom Weaver, noted she had stolen some scenes from Powell, she replied, ‘But he would LET you…he ALLOWED it…That’s the kind of guy he was.’

          She also added this interesting insight: ‘You know who really directed the film? Dick Powell. Absolutely. Every shot, I saw him conferring with Lou [Breslow, the credited director]. Dick was very circumspect…but it was very obvious that he had the ideas, the set-ups, the little innuendos…Dick really was a brilliant person…He was extremely talented.’
          https://www.classicflix.com/blog/2013/09/03/dick-powell-crooner-and-tough-guy-actor-and-director

          Liked by 1 person

    • Frank
      Have not seen TOKYO STORY as of yet though I have a copy somewhere in storage. Working it’s way up my list is Kurosawa’s RED BEARD with Mifune. Also in the mix for the next few weeks is 1960’s THE WARPED ONES, from director Koreyoshi Kurahara. Have not seen it but have heard good things about it. I try to get in a Japanese production in at least once a month.
      Gord

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Potentially historic snowstorm threatens to paralyze the Prairies.
    The strong winter storm that began across the Prairies Saturday will be in full swing Sunday, with strong, damaging winds and intense snowfall making for a travel nightmare for much of the day. Gusts past 90 km/h and total snowfall amounts in the 30-50 cm range will be in play, only really winding down region-wide by Monday morning, Minus 11 C with wind chill of minus 24 C, Needless to say I am not going out as the knees are shot in this type of weather. So there is plenty of time to watch movies. Hope everyone is having better weather.
    Gord

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  8. Gordon,

    I watched “Rogues’ Regiment” on Youtube last night. Unfortunately, I had to shrink the screen to get a half-way decent resolution. But I enjoyed it very much and found it good escapist fun. Having said that, it unknowing foreshadows the great French defeat six years later at Dien Bien Phu at the hands of the Viet-Minh. Dien Bien Phu was one of the great military blunders in modern warfare.

    I agree with you that Steven McNally is in top form as the evil Carl Reicher / Martin Bruner . Vincent Price is at his slimy best and I think Henry Rowland was excellent as the SS officer, Hindorf, who was was also taking refuge in the French Foreign Legion and who fears Bruner.

    My only quibble is with two minor plot glitches. If the French know before hand about the ambush that is awaiting them, how come they get almost completely wiped out? And why does Powell show up at Price’s house at the end without a gun to confront McNally?

    As an aside, I am struck by how many movies from approximatey 1944 – 1952 feature night clubs and torch singers.

    Good movie and thanks for the recommendation.!

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  9. Frank
    Glad you liked it. My personal dvd-r is slightly better but it sure could use a upgrade quality wise. Steven McNally just oozes evil in this film. I thought the same thing about the ambush bit. But what the hell, it was easy to overlook.

    The best film in my opinion dealing with the French involvement in Indo-China, is 1965’s “The 317 Platoon” from director Pierre Schoendoerffer. Also known as “La 317ème Section”.
    it is about a small unit action during the battle of Dien Bien Phu. I have a review up on IMDB for it.
    Gord

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    • I just ordered “The 317 Platoon” from my state-wide library system. The only copy is in the Wellfleet, Ma Public Libary which is over 100 miles away at the tip of Cape Cod. I also ordered “100 Great War Movies: The Real History behind the Films” by Robert Niemi which includes “The 317th Platoon”. The list of films is solid but I’m sorry to see that “Go Tell it to the Spartans” (1978) with Burt Lancaster was left off of it.

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  10. I count myself lucky to have seen ROGUES’ REGIMENT under pretty good circumstances. For about six years in the mid to late 90s, maybe a little beyond that, American Movie Classics was a commercial free station for classic movies and ran a treasure trove of Universal-International, earlier Universal and the pre-1949 Paramount titles Universal also owned. Somehow though, most of these are still waiting for a good DVD release, as we all know.

    This was a movie I enjoyed very much at the time, not feeling it was great and along familiar lines of many of those post-war thriller/melodramas but after all, it’s easy to like those movies and this had the beautiful art direction and rich black and white cinematography we all love in U-I. I was never especially impressed with Robert Florey and liked this more than most of his. But I agree with many here that THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK was his best, and that one was definitely a cut above, with a great role for Peter Lorre who I am always inclined to like.

    What no one mentioned about ROGUES’ REGIMENT was those two lovely songs by Serge Walter and Jack Brooks that Marta Toren sung in her masquerade as a cabaret singer–“Just for A While” and “Who Can Tell?”–especially the second one. I know she was dubbed, and I guess they aren’t really so eternal–maybe it was my mood at the time but they stayed with me (so looked at YouTube just for those scenes before writing this–I’m not inclined to watch whole movies there). There is something about the lovely, presence of Toren, with that touch of melancholy about her (maybe I’m reading it in a little thinking of her too-short life) and a kind of 40s ambiance that just lifted the whole thing a little more. Marta Toren was mostly in movies like this, not great but mostly easy enough to like and enhanced by her. At least one is better than that, her next one SWORD IN THE DESERT (1949) where she had a really good role and that movie, with George Sherman’s strong direction and an unusual subject (Robert Buckner wrote it as well as the screenplay for ROGUES’ REGIMENT–he was generally first-rate) it is memorable and one I’ve been glad to get back to. Interestingly, McNally is in that too, as a good guy romantically involved with Toren, though he is not the protagonist–that’s Dana Andrews playing a conflicted hero who ultimately finds purpose, while Jeff Chandler’s career was lifted by his role.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This weekend I watched the following films…
    1- RING OF FIRE -1961 David Janssen, Janssen is a small town cop who gets kidnapped by some
    J. D. types, Frank Gorshin and Joyce Taylor. They are all soon lost in the woods during a forest fire. Not good, not bad, but it moves at a good pace.

    2- DIAL 1119 – 1950 Marshall Thompson headlines as a loose in the brainpan type who takes a barroom of people hostage. He wants to talk to the shrink who sent him to the nut house. He tells the Police to produce the man or he starts killing the hostages. Quite watchable for a low end MGM production.

    3- ISLAND OF LOST SOULS – 1932 Charles Laughton. A true classic of early sci-fi film. Based on the H.G. Wells story. Laughton is a mad doctor trying to turn animals into people. A must see if you are a fan of the genre and still the best of the various filmed versions.

    4- GOOD TIME GIRL -48 Jean Kent stars as a girl who gets mixed up with the “wrong type of people”. This of course ends up with trouble and some murder charges etc. A pretty good film.

    5- THE QUIET GUN -1957 Forest Tucker headlines this very good low-budget western. Tucker is a small town Sheriff who has to deal with murder and a lynching. Fine work here by the entire cast, Jim Davis, Hank Worden, Mara Corday, Lee Van Cleef etc. Director William F. Claxton and his d of p John Mescall, supply some great visuals to go along with the well plotted story. A real sleeper!

    6 – THE COMMAND -1960 – Tv episode An interesting tv western by veteran writer James Warner Bellah. In 1960 he dusted off his script for John Ford’s SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON and knocked this episode off. He used Everett Sloane in the John Wayne role and Ben Cooper in the John Agar bit. Not bad at all in my humble opinion with plenty of action to keep all entertained. Directed by long time television helmsman, Earl Bellamy.

    7 – QUEEN OF SHEBA – 1952 Italy. One of the early sword and sandal efforts from director, Pietro (HERCULES)Francisci. Here we have the son of King Solomon falling for the ravishing Sheba. Will this lead to war, or love? Much better than I was expecting.

    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jerry
    THE COMMAND 1954 has the same writer and title but a diff story. The tv episode is an earlier event with Captain Brittles and Lt. Cohill from SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON. There is a somewhat less than pristine copy up on You-Tube.
    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Perhaps a little belatedly, but I have just ordered a copy of “MOSS ROSE” following discussions on here. I was intrigued by the description of Victorian streets with their rain-slicked cobbles etc plus I like Peggy Cummins and Victor Mature. So, once again, Colin, a reader has taken recommendations on board.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. All
    Anyone know anything about THE TECKMAN MYSTERY1954 with Margaret Leighton and John Justin?
    A new one on me and I was wondering it is worth a watch. Another one coming up on cable here is THE HOUR OF 13 from 1952. Peter Lawford, Dawn Addams and Michael Hordern. This one has also escaped my attention. Worth it?
    Gord

    Like

    • Gord, I saw “THE HOUR OF 13” for the first time quite recently and found it a pretty satisfying watch.

      As for “THE TECKMAN MYSTERY”, its writer, Francis Durbridge, was a mainstay for BBC radio and TV over many years here. He created the private tec, Paul Temple, for radio and movies. This one though was a BBC TV serial called “THE TECKMAN BIOGRAPHY” on TV in 1952 and was so popular it was made into the film you are asking about. I’d say ‘give it a go. I think you may enjoy it.

      Like

  15. This weekend the films will include…
    1- UNDERWATER 2019 First time watch
    2- THE HIRED GUN 1957 Rory Calhoun First time watch
    3- A QUIET PLACE -2018 Emily Blunt First time watch
    4- MR SOFT TOUCH 1949 Glenn Ford First time watch
    5- I SPY 1955 Tv episode of series of same name. Raymond Massey First time watch Pilot episode
    6- I LED THREE LIVES 1953 Tv ep of same name series pilot episode Richard Carlson
    7- FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN 1965 Peter Cushing

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jerry
    I have 50 or so episodes myself but have not seen this episode. It is marked as the pilot episode so I guess I’ll find out. A true Red Scare series if ever there was one. It was a hit at the time.
    Gord

    Like

  17. Another question you UK bunch. Does this series ring any bells?
    “The Mind of Mr. J.G. Reeder” (1969-1971)
    The Mind of Mr. J.G. Reeder was a British television series which originally aired on ITV in two seasons. It is based on a series of novels and short stories written by Edgar Wallace featuring the character of J.G. Reeder, who had previously appeared in several film adaptations in the late 1930s. Reeder is a mild-mannered employee at the Department of Public Prosecutions with an extraordinary gift for solving complex crimes. He is played by Hugh Burden, working under (Willoughby Goddard).

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  18. Caught GOOD TIME GIRL (1948) courtesy of Talking
    Pictures TV a bit of a rare film these days I guess.
    Always good to see an old Brit Noir get a UK TV screening.
    GOOD TIME GIRL is one of a wave of Brit Flicks that combined
    crime with social comment and Heaven knows there were plenty of them
    ’round about the late 40’s early 50’s.
    Other titles that come to mind,WOMEN OF TWILIGHT,
    NO ROOM AT THE INN,I BELIEVE IN YOU,COSH BOY,
    EMERGENCY CALL, STREET CORNER,TURN THE KEY SOFTLY,
    the genre continued throughout the 50’s with fare like A CRY FROM
    THE STREETS,YIELD TO THE NIGHT,VIOLENT PLAYGROUND,WOMAN IN A
    DRESSING GOWN,NO TREES IN THE STREET and MY TEENAGE
    DAUGHTER.
    GOOD TIME GIRL would have been better with a more talented director
    say,Lewis Gilbert or Basil Dearden but as it is it’s not too shabby.
    The structure of the film is all over the shop,the most interesting element
    of the tale is when Jean Kent gets involved with a couple of G.I.’s on a
    crime spree.(Bona Colleano,Hugh McDermott) All this sadly is crammed into
    the closing minutes of the film,the scenes are rushed and any potentrial that
    they had is blown by David MacDonald’s direction.
    Still as a Brit Noir/Crime Thriller/Social Comment film it’s worth a look but
    most of the other movies mentioned earlier are better in my opinion,

    Note to Colin-you will,I guess be pleased to see that Delmer Daves’
    splended JUBAL is arriving on Blu Ray in February from Germany’s
    Explosive Media. I sould imagine this will be the same 4K restoration
    used on the 2013 Criterion release. In high definition the landscapes in this
    film are jaw dropping,to say the least and the artwork on the Explosive
    version is far superior to the Criterion version.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t noticed that new about Jubal but I am certainly delighted to hear it – thank you very much for passing that info on.

      I can be quite partial to those social commentary noir/dramas you mention, John. I thought Twilight Women was very good.
      There was a nice piece on Turn the Key Softly written up earlier this year here: https://ghostof82.wordpress.com/2020/06/08/turn-the-key-softly/
      And my friend Sergio produced a fine analysis of Violent Playground here: https://bloodymurder.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/violent-playground-1958-tuesdays-forgotten-film/

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always admired “Jubal” and am a fan of Delmer Daves. One of the things I noticed after several viewings of “Jubal” is that in it Rod Steiger is up to his old bag of acting tricks. At the 21:06 mark after an exchange with Glenn Ford, he raps his knuckles on the door jamb as he enters the bunkhouse. In “The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell” as he gets ups to cross-examination of Garry Cooper, he raps his knuckles on the prosecution’s table at the 1:18:59 mark. This is literally his introductory scene in the movie. Even in “Oklahoma”, he plays with his fingers on the door jamb of Laurie’s house as he tries to solidify his date with her. And in his brief scene in “The Longest Day, while making a prophetic speech, he’s pulling his earlobes, his nose, and rubbing his face. I could go on with a list of his quirks in other movies. I don’t know if this is a function of this method acting training or if he’s just scene-stealing. I don’t mind it, in fact, I find it somewhat amusing and interesting. I always felt that the quality of Steiger’s films as well as his acting went into decline after he won the Oscar for “In the Heat of the Night” (1967). “The Chosen” (1981) is perhaps an exception to this observation.

      I especially like Steiger’s performances from the 1950s: “On The Waterfront” (1954), The Big Knife” (a bit over the top) (1955), “Oklahoma” (1955), “The Harder They Fall” (1956), “Jubal” (1956). His performances in “Run of the Arrow” (1957), “Back From Eternity”(1957), and “Al Capone” (1959) were also interesting. I liked him in the “Pawnbroker” (1964) and “Doctor Zhivago” (1965).

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  19. Steiger appeared in some very fine movies but I am not a fan of his acting style generally. Same goes for Brando, as far as I am concerned.

    Nice little list of British ‘noirs’ there, John. I believe every one of them has been shown by Talking Pictures TV channel. I owe them a big debt of gratitude.

    Like

    • Ironically, David Lean really wanted Marlon Brando to play Victor Komarovsky in “Doctor Zhivago”. But Brando never returned his letter of inquiry. James Mason turned down the role and Steiger got the part. Steiger made no secret in a 1969 Playboy interview (and elsewhere) that he felt Brando acted unprofessionally and rude towards him in “On the Waterfront” — “And then came the very famous cab scene. If I see it once more I’ll blow my head off! We did two shots and then his close-ups. I was off-screen talking to him. Because acting is in the first place reacting to somebody. The actor off-screen helps the one in front of the camera. You need somebody to act to. Well, we did his close-ups together, and then when we were about to shoot mine he just went home. I haven’t forgiven him for that, and I think I never will.”

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Gordon,

    I just watched Akira Kurosawa’s “Red Beard” (1965). If you hadn’t mentioned it in a recent post, I probably never would have watched it. I found it to be an extremely humane film. Toshiro Mifune is excellent as the tough-minded but compassionate Director of an impoverished health-clinic who molds a talented but conceited and very ambitious young doctor into a sensitive and caring healer. Many of the segments within the film are heart-breaking. There’s one stunning action scene just before intermission (it’s 185 minutes long) that stands up with the best martial arts sequences in film (not that I’m a big fan of them). Some critics think “Red Beard” is a masterpiece while a few snide cynics compare it to “General Hospital”. I’d call it a superior film. By the way one of those snide critics is a guy who too frequently labels Westerns “routine oaters”. Thanks for the tip. It’s nice to be reminded that there are good, self-giving people in the world.

    Like

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