Quicksand (1950) (1950)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
as Daniel 'Dan' Brady
as Nick Dramoshag
as Vera Novak
as Helen Calder
as Mackey, garage owner
as Lt. Nelson
as Madame Zaronga
as Motorcycle Officer
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Critic Reviews for Quicksand (1950)
The main reason it's worth watching is to catch a sleazy Peter Lorre in action.
Audience Reviews for Quicksand (1950)
the only mickey rooney movie i like and the only movie i didn't find him abrasive in. as a matter of fact, he could be quite talented, considering also his performance in one episode of twilight zone.
Quicksand is a classic example of what I like to call a Damn Shame. It has great direction, great photography and a great supporting cast. But sticking Mickey Rooney as the lead in what had all the possibilities to be considered one of the great examples of film noir is like sticking a moose-hunting rookie governor made out of turkey giblets in your VP spot for your presidential run. Easily one of the biggest casting mistakes you've never heard of. Not bad to check out if you can get past the war crime casting but Rooney was just to weird, annoying and above all, unbelievable. But the scene where Rooney fights Peter Lorre was damn funny. It was like watching two trannies fight.
A film noir about crime not paying, literally. This one should be shown to impressionable teens that one thing leads to another, and another and still another until all control is lost. A production of Rooney and Lorre who joined to finance the film. Fast paced, it's under and hour and a half long (ie 79 minutes).
Mickey Rooney is now a semi-mature adult fresh from all those innocent, naive Judy Garland / Rooney romance films of the musical era. Instead, he gets caught up in a life of crime, at first a working car mechanic who can't find anyone with $20 for a hot date. From there the whole plot snowballs into a frenzied crime to cover yet another crime.
Peter Lorre is an arcade owner/manager who figures into this web of corruption. Jeanne Cagney, sister of famous Jimmy Cagney, plays an oddly older woman than Rooney, but at least 10 years! Look for an uncredited appearance by now veteran Western actor Jack Elam!
Rooney fancies himself a ladies man and succeeds getting a date with the woman, only to find himself sinking into "Quicksand". Rooney goes against his clean cut roles as was even more done in Boys Town with Spencer Tracey. In that one he was a juvenile delinquent that only Father Tracey could reform.
REVIEWS by those like us:
Gritty and tough crime yarn about the misfourtunes of car mechanic Mickey Rooney and the downfall of what happens when he just borrows 20 bucks from t...
A gem for a TV movie! Mickey Rooney as a (mostly) believable nice guy who gets caught up in a series of quickly made bad choices. It begins with wanti...
For me though, a bit corney from the start, I can only think of a 70% rating, others give it a 60-80%. It's the usual fast talking dialog redone hundreds of times in the era. And Rooney could out talk anyone except maybe Jimmy Cagney, the all time fast talker, wise-cracker.
You can see this film in its entirety here:
NOTES about the film:
1 A young Jack Elam, later widely noted as a character actor in Westerns, appears in an uncredited speaking role.
2 This film has one of the first examples of product placement with a box of Bit-O-Honey candy bars by Jeanne Cagney's cash register.
3 Rooney co-financed Quicksand with Peter Lorre but their shares of the profits were reportedly left unpaid by a third partner.
4 Bruce Eder of Allmovie wrote Rooney "...gives what many consider to be the best performance of his career" and characterized Quicksand as "one of the more fascinating social documents of its era."
5 Fifty years after the film's first theatrical release DVD Savant noted, "the quasi-downbeat ending of Quicksand doesn't simply let him off the hook, [which] makes for an unusually mature ending."
Directed by Irving Pichel
Produced by Mort Briskin
Samuel H. Stiefel
Written by Robert Smith
Music by Louis Gruenberg
Cinematography Lionel Lindon
Editing by Walter Thompson
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) 24 March 1950
Running time 79 min.
black and white
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