The Big Boodle Reviews
In pre-Castro Cuba, Ned Sherwood is an American trying to make ends meet. He ends up being caught in the middle of a counterfeit operation and the police. He is framed for the funny money and has to do his best to clear his name. He'll have a reluctant love interest/partner that helps him along the way.
"Maybe you can deal, dealer. But you don't like when it is dealt to you."
"Not when I don't know the game."
Richard Wilson, director of Al Capone, The Man with the Gun, Pay or Die, Three in the Attic, Invitation to a Gunslinger, Wall of Noise, and Raw Wind in Eden, delivers The Big Boodle. The storyline for this picture is okay and a nice thriller. The characters are also just okay but the acting is fairly solid. The cast includes Errol Flynn, Rossanna Rory, Pedro Armendariz, and Jacques Aubuchon.
"Will you go with me?"
I grabbed this off Netflix because it starred the legend Errol Flynn. I will say that it was just okay and was a bit disappointing. The characters were not developed as well as I would have liked. The script was fairly solid and the dynamics between the two main characters was "good enough." Overall, this is an above average thriller I wouldn't go too far out of my way to see.
"I don't understand. When I don't understand, I don't cooperate."
I love movies about Cuba; "Godfather II", "Havana", "Our Man in Havana", and "Cuba". That must have been quite a big party place for North Americans to vacation to. Of course, if you were a resident, it must have been a totally different kind of place, and you could understand how Castro could get it's citizens to revolt from the powers-that-be.
"The Big Boodle" takes place in Havana, Cuba before Castro came to power. It's a suspenseful mystery movie that showcases the tropical beauty of Cuba.
Italian actress Rosanna Rory plays Fina Ferrer who passes some counterfeit (Boodle) money at the blackjack table to Ned Sherwood, played by Errol Flynn. Ned is a down-on-his-luck croupier, working at a Cuban casino. Normally a croupier is SOL if he gets bogus bills, and, as Ned says, they can only press it into their scrap book. Ned tries to give the money back to Fina without success.
That night Ned gets mugged by a bunch of thugs outside of his apartment, and when the cops question him, they find the counterfeit bill in his pocket. The police Colonel Mastegui, played by Pedro Armendáriz ("From Russia With Love" and "The Three Godfathers") thinks that he's the counterfeiter, or at least he can help them find the counterfeiters.
Surprisingly, Ned is bailed out of jail by an anonymous benefactor. Now he finds that he's the target of the police, the counterfeiters (who think that he's got the hidden printing plates) and other assorted characters. He feels that he needs to solve the mystery before he gets killed himself.
At 48 years old, Errol Flynn looks kind of burnt out. You can obviously tell when they bring in the stunt double to do his fight scenes, but other than that, he still seems in good enough physical shape to do this movie. He is playing a down-trodden character in a film noir movie, so he's playing it like we see it.
Of course one of the biggest stars of this movie is Havana itself. The beautiful palms, buildings and scenery are wonderfully photographed. The sound wasn't the best on the movie that I watched on Turner Classic Movies, but the music was great. Errol Flynn's character does a little bar-hopping, and you get to hear some of the old Cuban Jazz, Mambo, Conga, ChaChaCha musicians of the day; the salsa/reggae-ton of the 50s. That was great!
Over all, it's a nice little film. It wasn't a real fast-paced actioner, but a nice little noir movie that showcases a paradise that we might be able to see again some day. It's well worth you taping, or, now that it has come out on DVD, owning.