Quicksand (1950) (1950) - Rotten Tomatoes

Quicksand (1950) (1950)





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Mickey Rooney, with his kid roles and musicals behind him, went for a major change of image in this harrowing film noir. He gives what many consider to be the best performance of his career as Danny Brady, a well-meaning grease monkey whose life is destroyed in less than a week. Danny finds himself short of cash when he's supposed to take out Vera (Jeanne Cagney), a waitress whom he's just met who works at a hash-house. He borrows 20 dollars from the cash register, planning on paying it back with 20 dollars that a buddy owes him the next day, but the friend doesn't turn up. To get the 20 dollars, he buys a 100-dollar watch on a payment plan and then hocks it for the 20 dollars, but a detective picks up on the purchase and threatens to have him jailed if he doesn't pay the full 100 dollars immediately; desperate to raise the money, he robs a drunken bar patron of his bill-fold. His money problems seemingly behind him, Danny takes Vera out with the extra cash, but gets into a fight with her former boss, Nick (Peter Lorre), who picks up a clue that Danny did the robbery. Nick pressures Danny to provide him with a new car (a hard-to-get commodity in 1950) from the garage where he works, in return for keeping quiet. Danny steals the car and turns it over to Nick, but he and Vera decide to get even by robbing Nick's safe that night -- now they've got 3,600 dollars, which they split. But Danny's boss, Mackey, tells him he knows who stole the car, and wants either the car back or the full value, or he'll turn Danny in to the police. Vera has already blown her share on a mink coat, and he goes back to Mackey with what he has, 1,800 dollars. Mackey takes it and proceeds to call the police. Danny attacks him and leaves him for dead. Danny goes on the run, convinced he's wanted for Mackey's murder. Danny runs into Helen (Barbara Bates), a nice girl that he was dating and then dumped, and they end up fleeing together, hijacking a car and holding an innocent man at gunpoint. Impending tragedy seems to loom up even larger when they cross paths with police officers on a manhunt. Realizing that Helen has been good to him, he ends up on the run alone, with a gun in hand, as the law closes in. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi


Mickey Rooney
as Daniel 'Dan' Brady
Peter Lorre
as Nick Dramoshag
Jeanne Cagney
as Vera Novak
Barbara Bates
as Helen Calder
Art Smith
as Mackey, garage owner
John Gallaudet
as Moriarity
Richard Lane
as Lt. Nelson
Kitty O'Neil
as Madame Zaronga
Frank Marlowe
as Watchman
Alvin Hammer
as Auditor
Ray Teal
as Motorcycle Officer
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Quicksand (1950)

All Critics (3)

The main reason it's worth watching is to catch a sleazy Peter Lorre in action.

Full Review… | November 13, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Quicksand (1950)


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. [img]https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQar2dLUU-V4QGp-XmYwopLEiZh_K90eZXIBjbeitfunbneP9evEg[/img] 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. [img]https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ3RdlBBiffH9RYxQHQiMEyg_fwzk0vhRzjU60d5tG_WOdLBv6O[/img] REVIEWS by those like us: 70% 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... 90% 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... [img]https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTUd500oNPbZFDZVKiaW03ZEs9CydVLx79Jb6A1I0Rb0ZHzqSy1Og[/img] 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtuw4ETvOkY 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." [img]https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ-16inbqqXFkzt4XjcOT6Tp93HQnymTtVbyBcmOvKEh5tCmy0W[/img] Directed by Irving Pichel Produced by Mort Briskin Samuel H. Stiefel Written by Robert Smith Starring Mickey Rooney Jeanne Cagney Barbara Bates Peter Lorre 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 [img]https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR8yLCL7_C0HWJWOlikaE4p46hkH_RM_MujSwW_203glF2w5BxUcw[/img]

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

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 wanting the wrong girl and ends by running from a feared murder charge. Peter Lorre is appropriately revolting as a slimy 'business-man' down on the boardwalks. Jeanne Cagney pulls off the 'I'm the classiest dame you'll ever see in a greasy-spoon joint' well. She's the girl we know we'll grow to hate. And Barb Bates shows her acting chops by transforming from the embarrassingly faithful ex-girlfriend to the right woman every guy wishes he could meet & marry. Good script, editing, and cinematography, directed by Irving Pichel; this flick is as good as most cinema movies of the time - and better than most produced today. Quite a feat back in the early days of the "Boob-tube". I watched it on Archive.org.

Christopher Bergan
Christopher Bergan

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.

Veronique Kwak
Veronique Kwak

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