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Average Noir crime melodrama is not really suspenseful, and the convoluted plot is neverthless predictable.
This is an effective noirish suspense drama. The acting, direction, and cinematography are typical of 1950s low-budget productions but there are plenty of good scenes. After a slow start, the plot evolves into a modern morality tale where a scheming villain gets his payback. The print is inferior but the soundtrack is satisfactory.
John Bromfield delivers a convincing performance as an unscrupulous gold-digging gigolo who seduces and marries a wealthy widow (Martha Vickers) who is seriously ill with only a few months to live. Much to his dismay, the marriage works wonders for her health and she improves so much that he is forced to hatch a diabolically clever plan to murder her.
Of course, things quickly go wrong and lead to a terrific plot twist and surprise ending. Not classic noir, but a decent little movie with redeeming features. 3 Stars 8-13-13
A low budget film, it never-the-less builds tension that saves it from mediocrity. Just as we think we have this sordid tale figured out, no it goes another direction. Recommended for film noir enthusiasts or anyone that likes a good crime story regardless of the acting, cinematagraphy, etc.
This one isn't about money, that is, initially. Its about lovers in the night. Ships passing in the night, discovering each other with tragic consequences.
When a scheming fortune hunter finds his rich wife is not going to die as expected, he and his lover make other plans to get her millions.
See it at:
A bit about the plot:
A man (Rick, a guy that gives me a bad name) involved with another man's wife finds he's low on money to support his lifestyle. He stumbles upon some wealthy Eastern women who come to California for one of them that has health issues. She is supposed to lead a calm life. Instead she (a widow), continues her late hours nightlife in California.
Well, it's up to you to guess what happens next.
But wait, M. Rick, just what does that title mean?:
In this case, its pretty obvious that we have a gigalo on the hunt for money from a dying, young, attractive widow. He even mentions the words: Big Bluff.... in the first third of the film. No, it's not about mountain climbing. It's not about card playing. The big bluff is all about deceitful romance.
NOTES about the film:
1 A Quote from the film: says lead Ricardo 'Rick' De Villa:
"You know you're very beautiful when you get mad! But listen, no other woman means a thing to me, and if you don't know it now, you never will. Just think, an opportunity like this knocks only once, and I know when to open the door."
2 The director is none other than Billy Wilder's brother!
Reviews of the film:
1 "W. Lee Wilder's THE BIG BLUFF will never be a threat to his brother Billy's genre-defining classic, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, but on its own terms it's a nifty little quickie with a good story and a nice trick ending.
When it starts, this film looks so cheap -- I mean, Ed Wood cheap -- you're tempted to hang it up, but stick with it. It improves as it goes along. The writing and cast are perfectly adequate and it's more entertaining than a lot of big budget A pictures."
2 "John Bromfield (Rick) was a very handsome man. You can see that in this movie. One of the girls reminded me of Marilyn Monroe. Must look for more info on these handsome people."
John Bromfield as Ricardo 'Rick' De Villa
Martha Vickers as Valerie Bancroft
Robert Hutton as Dr. Peter Kirk
Rosemarie Stack as Fritzi Darvel
Eve Miller as Marsha Jordan
Max Palmer as Detective Sgt. John Fullmer
Eddie Bee as Don Darvel
Robert Bice as Dr. Tom Harrison
Pierre Watkin as Jim Winthrop
Beal Wong as Art Dealer
Directed by W. Lee Wilder
Produced by W. Lee Wilder (producer)
Written by Mildred Lord (story)
Fred Freiberger (screenplay)
Music by Manuel Compinsky
Cinematography Gordon Avil
Editing by Terry O. Morse
Release date(s) 5 June 1955
Black and White
Running time 70 minutes