Thursday, June 14, 2012


Tried spinnin' the Rin-Tin-Tin serial that Mr. Shute sent me, but all that was coming up on the screen were little cubes of color and sputtering on/off sound/visuals. Guess I'll have to pass on that 'un, but before I stamp my feet in self-righteous indignation I might as well watch this late-in-the-game film noir that has all of the things goin' for it that I like in mooms...late-fifties attitude, tough-guy pose, monochrome starkness, sleepwalking acting and of course a nice, intense streak that doesn't let up even when the acting and plot seems to take those little zig zags away from the climactic ending we're all hoping for!

Gerald Mohr plays this down-on-his-luck tramp trying to make it to El Lay despite getting kicked off trains by uppity goons with sledgehammers. After getting tossed from a moving freight car inna middle of nowhere, Mohr finds an automobile with a dead man in it and, doing just what any self-respecting bum would do, he switches clothes and steals his identity! Naturally this all suits him fine, at least until he's stopped on the outskirts of town by some motorcycle cops and is escorted smack dab into city hall. Turns out that the murdered fellow was some bigshot dragged in from New York City to act as the new Chief of Police as well as to rid the town of an unsavory element that's being spearheaded by Robert Clarke, an actor who often played these kinds of cringe-y white collar lowdown types on everything from I LED THREE LIVES to DRAGNET!

Along the way Mohr bumps into famed felon Liz Renay who had something to do with the murder (her monogrammed sweater being found at the scene) as well as a policeman who's been bucking for the Chief job which would sure help things out considering he's Clarke's favorite man in blue. And thankfully the tension and the plot changes hit you nice and fast, with more monkeywrenches being thrown into the machinery leading to even more highly charged scenes and an ending which, while it coulda been a whole lot stronger, at least suits its purpose. (But then again if I were writing screenplays I'd be including such manic acts of depravity as the good guy and badski fighting it out to the end with ears being ripped off, eyeballs bouncing outta their sockets and blood spilling all over the place like fruit punch at a three-year-old's birthday party. Maybe even have a scene where the good 'un subdues the evildoer and subjects him to some mighty miserable humiliation, the kind he deserves complete with a whole lotta moaning, screaming, and cries for mama permeating the soundtrack. Sorta like DEADBEAT AT DAWN on even more steroids!)

True the acting on the part of some of the minor characters can be rather, shall we say, rote, but then again most people I talk to seen to have the emotional range of a sweatsock so you could say that the thespianship to be found in this film was "real" enough. Well, at least it's a whole lot more real (despite some plot twists which never woulda happened---of course you gotta suspend your reality checker watching a whole lotta these films!) than most of the stuff I used to see on tee-vee until even that became an uncomfortable thing to do. A DATE WITH DEATH is yet another film that satisfies to the utmost, and only goes to remind me as to how cool and tough life used to be (as reflected via films such as this, tee-vee and even the music) until the sensitive male types and superbitches who call themselves "women" (yech!) decided to make everybody as miserable as they've been since day uno. And unfortunately, they've all won hands down!

1 comment:

Wheez Von Klaw said...

Liz Renay.. What a Woman!