"His Kind of Woman!" - heh heh. Kind of a silly title, if you ask me, but you know what they say - don't judge books...or movies...by their titles. I had a rollicking good time with this one. Defying straight genre categorization, it can only be accurately labeled as 'film noir meets marriage/divorce comedy'. Howard Hughes produced this interesting and quirky gem and was responsible for much of the creative process, including the enhanced development of a few of the supporting characters, the screenplay of the last third of the movie, and probably for more of the direction than John Farrow, the official director.
Robert Mitchum stars as Dan Milner, a 'down on his luck' gambler. Mitchum is cool, distant, subtle, sleepy-eyed - he's...well, he's Robert Mitchum. HIs Milner is "hired" and lured to a Mexican resort island and consequently into a labyrinthine scheme where he and we don't find out what's really happening until an hour or so has passed in the picture's running time. But the lead-up is a fun and enticingly meandering one, and the film finishes with a wild ride. Through it all Mitchum encounters a collection of entertaining and offbeat characters and the script brims with typically noir-esque snappy dialogue. One of my favourite exchanges goes like this - "[Thompson /Charles McGraw]: Put the gun down now. The guy behind you has a bigger one. [Dan Milner/Mitchum]: Let's keep it nice and polite, huh? Have him introduce himself. [Gunsel]: I'm the man with the gun. [Milner/Mitchum): Ok, so you're a man. How could I tell?"
Hughes protege (truth be told, she was really 'his' kind of woman) and familiar Mitchum female co-star Jane Russell is the ostensible femme fatale, but she's really a good girl at heart. She sings, titillates (so to speak - even in this, the era of the Breen Production Code Administration and its tight "moral" codes), and of course becomes a love interest. The delicious cast of characters includes Raymond Burr as Nick Ferraro, a deported gangster; Tim Holt as Bill Lusk, a U.S. Immigration agent; and Jim Backus (Mr. Howell from "Gilligan's Island") as Myron Winton, a rich and carefree bumbler of sorts (quite a stretch, eh - but he's very good, so "do what you do well", sayeth I). However, none in the cast is more colourful and engaging than Vincent Price, who more often than not steals the show as Mark Cardigan, a hammy Errol Flynn-like action adventure movie star who gets his shot to save the day "for real" in the film's last couple of acts, quoting Shakespeare at every turn (especially "Hamlet") during his timely derring-do ("Now might I drink hot blood and do such bitter business the earth would quake to look upon").
The cinematography was done by Harry J. Wild, who worked under Greg Toland on Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane", so the film also looks great in addition to its other merits, in beautiful black-and-white with of a multitude of artistic shadows and plenty of Welles-like camera angles.
But I still think the title is funny.