4 Comments

  1. DeeDee

    Hi! Tony,
    This is a “great” post…I truly like the similarity that you have pointed out between Cromwell’s film and other famous film noir at the time the 1947 film “Dead Reckoning” was released.

    Tony said,”I don’t know how Bogie kept a straight face with the almost verbatim rip of the lines from The Maltese Falcon as he drives while Scott holds a gun on him:

    Bogart: Then there’s Johnny. When a guy’s pal is killed, he ought to do something.
    Scott: Don’t you love me?
    Bogart: That’s the tough part of it, but it’ll pass. Those things do, in time…”

    I knew that line sounded vaguely familiar when I first watched this film. I don’t know why, but when I first watched this film and heard those lines I just…“smiled.”

    The final scene is an angelic Thelma Jordan on a hospital trolley, with death a parachute jump down the High Sierras. “Geronimo”

    Maybe Robert Siodmak’s scene from “The File on Thelma Jordon” was a “wink” and “nod” back to the film “Dead Reckoning.”

    Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;)

  2. Extraordinary post that sizes up this film, without compromise. I saw this many years ago, so your narrative, cinematic and thematic reflections here are most beneficial in putting the pieces together. Yeah, I see your point: Without noir credentials, one is skeptical, yet anyone can emulate other films, especially when they have (as they did here) some celebrated actors and craftsmen. Mr. Cromwell also directed the 1937 THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS and ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM, all of which are probably more famous than the work he did in noir. Of course, his adopted son is the actor James Cromwell, who achieved fame in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and BABE.

    But yeah, some of the set pieces here like the hiding in a church, the triple-cross and the OUT OF THE PAST-like shootout are rather shameless. Ha!

  3. kilgort

    I think actually it’s more a parody than a true noir. Most neo-noirs are parodies too maybe this is the key rip-off?

    Anyway your article is really refreshing. Most reviewers now forget that noir can be so much fun to watch

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