Bad Boys for Life
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This a lavish, frothy movie with terrific music, great acing and outstanding dancing. The story is thin--young Broadway producer needs a leading lady and can't see that she's right in front of him. Lots of snappy dialogue, mistaken identities and sumptuous costumes. The dancing, by Eleanor Powell, Nick Long Jr., June Knight and Buddy Ebsen is first rate. The singing by Frances Langford, June Knight and Robert Taylor(!) is also great. Robert Taylor was very young but holds his own with established pros Jack Benny, Una Merkel and Sid Silvers. There's no message here, no deep thoughts, just top notch entertainment.
The Law and Jake Wade is a fairly stock western starring Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens and the glorious Western scenery. The interest comes from the interaction of Taylor and Widmark, two most different actors. Widmark is twitchy, edgy and evokes not the nineteenth but the mid- twentieth century. Taylor has an ageless quality to him, a solidity and stability that lets the other actors bounce off him like pygmies off a giant. He also exudes a kind of integrity and decency even when he's supposed to be a (reformed, mostly) bad man. Owens does what she can with an underwritten part. The plot is discussed elsewhere in more detail. The movie moves quickly with lots of action. It's definitely worth a look, maybe more than one.
High Wall is one of Robert Taylor's most unusual and successful performances. Often stereotyped as the beautiful lover or dashing hero, here Taylor brings depth and complexity to the character of Steven Kenet, a possible murderer. Kenet swings through a wide variety of emotions as his mental state alters and Taylor uses both face and body to render these memorably. The film noir photography and chiaroscuro add to the dramatic effect. Taylor is well supported by Audrey Totter, Herbert Marshall, H. B. Warner and others in this satisfying mystery.