Reviews

  • Oct 10, 2013

    Although the direction could have been stronger, this film noir intelligently explores how difficult it can be to stay good in both politics and in one's personal life. The two main characters, coming from different sides of the moral spectrum, show depth in their struggles to do the right thing in a world they know is full of corruption.

    Although the direction could have been stronger, this film noir intelligently explores how difficult it can be to stay good in both politics and in one's personal life. The two main characters, coming from different sides of the moral spectrum, show depth in their struggles to do the right thing in a world they know is full of corruption.

  • Apr 21, 2012

    Much of this is ho-hum, but the melodrama between the two redheads sometimes reaches heights of glorious hysteria.

    Much of this is ho-hum, but the melodrama between the two redheads sometimes reaches heights of glorious hysteria.

  • Jun 02, 2010

    Hard to believe this comes from a James M. Cain novel. Not much trace of Double Indemnity or Postman Always Rings Twice here. More melodrama than noir, and too trashy to be good melodrama. The last half hour does have some camp appeal, but the first hour is a boring mess. Plodding storyline, characters acting inconsistently, a couple of ridiculous turns (really, the governor has an interest in this shoplifting case?), lousy score. The good sister/bad sister angle isn't exploited nearly as well as it could be, at least not until the third act, and even then it doesn't hold a candle to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. It should also be noted that as amazing as John Alton is in black and white, he seems lost when it comes to Technicolor. There appears to be little thought put into the color scheme, besides the red hair. In fact, the most striking visual element would be equally effective (if not more so) in monochrome: the reversal of the black & white dresses on the sisters between the beginning and the end of the movie. John Payne, Rhonda Fleming and Ted DeCorsia all turn in very standard performances, only Arlene Dahl stands out as the kleptomaniac (and part nymphomaniac) bad girl, particularly in her final manic descent. It's not enough to salvage the film that much, though.

    Hard to believe this comes from a James M. Cain novel. Not much trace of Double Indemnity or Postman Always Rings Twice here. More melodrama than noir, and too trashy to be good melodrama. The last half hour does have some camp appeal, but the first hour is a boring mess. Plodding storyline, characters acting inconsistently, a couple of ridiculous turns (really, the governor has an interest in this shoplifting case?), lousy score. The good sister/bad sister angle isn't exploited nearly as well as it could be, at least not until the third act, and even then it doesn't hold a candle to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. It should also be noted that as amazing as John Alton is in black and white, he seems lost when it comes to Technicolor. There appears to be little thought put into the color scheme, besides the red hair. In fact, the most striking visual element would be equally effective (if not more so) in monochrome: the reversal of the black & white dresses on the sisters between the beginning and the end of the movie. John Payne, Rhonda Fleming and Ted DeCorsia all turn in very standard performances, only Arlene Dahl stands out as the kleptomaniac (and part nymphomaniac) bad girl, particularly in her final manic descent. It's not enough to salvage the film that much, though.

  • jay n Super Reviewer
    Apr 09, 2010

    Florid potboiler in lurid technicolor. The girls look amazing and are dressed in beautiful dresses that it's somewhat hard to believe Rhonda could afford on her salary as a secretary but then her house is palatial and she has a live in maid so perhaps reality wasn't what they were going for. Arlene Dahl takes her part as a worthless tramp and runs with it. A fun ride if you're a fan of high gloss melodrama.

    Florid potboiler in lurid technicolor. The girls look amazing and are dressed in beautiful dresses that it's somewhat hard to believe Rhonda could afford on her salary as a secretary but then her house is palatial and she has a live in maid so perhaps reality wasn't what they were going for. Arlene Dahl takes her part as a worthless tramp and runs with it. A fun ride if you're a fan of high gloss melodrama.

  • Aug 10, 2009

    Fascinated by the new color medium, this early color noir is all about the redheads. There are some very nice scenes and cinematography in the film, but it starts slow and is uneven. There’s also a lot of slapping in the face in this film, and my favorite scene has to be when mobster Solly Caspar kills a man just by slapping him twice in the face. Not exactly realism.

    Fascinated by the new color medium, this early color noir is all about the redheads. There are some very nice scenes and cinematography in the film, but it starts slow and is uneven. There’s also a lot of slapping in the face in this film, and my favorite scene has to be when mobster Solly Caspar kills a man just by slapping him twice in the face. Not exactly realism.

  • Jun 02, 2008

    Campy fun from a story by James M. Cain of all people. Although the film was made on the cheap it's worth a look mainly to see Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl as two sisters, one crazy/bad, one 'slightly' good. The're squeezed int o their va-va-va-voom outfits which my account for the horribly stiled acting from the two of them. So that means have to see it...

    Campy fun from a story by James M. Cain of all people. Although the film was made on the cheap it's worth a look mainly to see Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl as two sisters, one crazy/bad, one 'slightly' good. The're squeezed int o their va-va-va-voom outfits which my account for the horribly stiled acting from the two of them. So that means have to see it...

  • Oct 03, 2004

    [font=Arial][i]"You're not good; you're not bad. You're a chiseler, out for anything you can get."[/i] So, says Solly Kaspar, crime boss of Bay City, of Ben Grace, the anti-hero of this story, adapted from James M. Cain's [i]Love's Lovely Counterfeit[/i]. What holds our interest in this story is we're never quite sure what to make of Grace. There's an upcoming election and crime boss Kasper does not want the reform candidate to win, so Kasper strongarms the newspaper publisher backing him, and in the process kills him. Grace exposes Kasper, forcing Solly to flee to Mexico, and insuring the election of Frank Jansen, the reform candidate. He uses his influence with Jansen to get an honest police lieutenant friend of his appointed Chief of Police. So, he's a good guy, right? Then later in this movie he's seen giving orders to Solly's men, going over Solly's books, and positioning himself as Solly's successor. He calls his friend,the chief of police, and demands that his girlfriend's sister who was recently arrested be released without being charged, and so we begin to believe we've misjudged ol' Ben. He's just a hood, a little brighter than most, a little smoother than most, but in the end, no different from Solly Kasper. Bad guy, not good guy/ Well, we're not sure, because Grace isn't sure. Reform mayoral candidate, soon to be mayor, Frank Jansen has an assistant, June Lyons. On a 1 to 10 scale, Ms. Lyons, with her flaming red hair, and blazing headlights (think Good Girl art) is an 11. Rhonda Fleming never looked better, and Arlene Dahl as her sister, Dorothy Lyons, was equally stunning. But, back to Grace. He is falling for June, and June is a thoroughly decent girl, whose better nature seems to affect him. In the end, however, Grace's schemes come to naught. Jansen who really is a reform candidate orders Dorothy be tried for her crimes. Solly Kasper returns wanting to take over as rackets boss, and Ben Grace is forced to run. Here's where we see his true character, when he scrounges as much of Solly's money as he can and invites his girlfriend to go on the run with him (she declines). Solly Kasper was right all along. He really is just a chiseler, out for whatever he can get. Major disappointment, as in the end, Ben Grace disappoints not just his girlfriend, but the audience as well. This is a beautifully photographed movie in full technicolor. The sets are a wonderful amalgam of art deco - rococo excess. Others here have pointed out how garish everything looked. I didn't find it so. I thought it was beautiful. Certainly, the eye candy was stunning. There aren't any two actresses today who could team as good girl - bad girl siblings the way Fleming and Dahl did. Maybe Julianne Moore and Debra Messing, but they wouldn't look as good. The movie's high marks for visual style are undermined by its low marks for aimless, meandering story. 6 out of 10.[/font]

    [font=Arial][i]"You're not good; you're not bad. You're a chiseler, out for anything you can get."[/i] So, says Solly Kaspar, crime boss of Bay City, of Ben Grace, the anti-hero of this story, adapted from James M. Cain's [i]Love's Lovely Counterfeit[/i]. What holds our interest in this story is we're never quite sure what to make of Grace. There's an upcoming election and crime boss Kasper does not want the reform candidate to win, so Kasper strongarms the newspaper publisher backing him, and in the process kills him. Grace exposes Kasper, forcing Solly to flee to Mexico, and insuring the election of Frank Jansen, the reform candidate. He uses his influence with Jansen to get an honest police lieutenant friend of his appointed Chief of Police. So, he's a good guy, right? Then later in this movie he's seen giving orders to Solly's men, going over Solly's books, and positioning himself as Solly's successor. He calls his friend,the chief of police, and demands that his girlfriend's sister who was recently arrested be released without being charged, and so we begin to believe we've misjudged ol' Ben. He's just a hood, a little brighter than most, a little smoother than most, but in the end, no different from Solly Kasper. Bad guy, not good guy/ Well, we're not sure, because Grace isn't sure. Reform mayoral candidate, soon to be mayor, Frank Jansen has an assistant, June Lyons. On a 1 to 10 scale, Ms. Lyons, with her flaming red hair, and blazing headlights (think Good Girl art) is an 11. Rhonda Fleming never looked better, and Arlene Dahl as her sister, Dorothy Lyons, was equally stunning. But, back to Grace. He is falling for June, and June is a thoroughly decent girl, whose better nature seems to affect him. In the end, however, Grace's schemes come to naught. Jansen who really is a reform candidate orders Dorothy be tried for her crimes. Solly Kasper returns wanting to take over as rackets boss, and Ben Grace is forced to run. Here's where we see his true character, when he scrounges as much of Solly's money as he can and invites his girlfriend to go on the run with him (she declines). Solly Kasper was right all along. He really is just a chiseler, out for whatever he can get. Major disappointment, as in the end, Ben Grace disappoints not just his girlfriend, but the audience as well. This is a beautifully photographed movie in full technicolor. The sets are a wonderful amalgam of art deco - rococo excess. Others here have pointed out how garish everything looked. I didn't find it so. I thought it was beautiful. Certainly, the eye candy was stunning. There aren't any two actresses today who could team as good girl - bad girl siblings the way Fleming and Dahl did. Maybe Julianne Moore and Debra Messing, but they wouldn't look as good. The movie's high marks for visual style are undermined by its low marks for aimless, meandering story. 6 out of 10.[/font]