Archive for January 14th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(USA 1947 97m) DVD1/2

Aka. Build my Gallows High

We owe it all to Jose Rodriguez

p  Warren Duff  d  Jacques Tourneur  w  Daniel Mainwaring  novel  “Build My Gallows High” by Daniel Mainwaring  ph  Nicholas Musuraca  ed  Samuel E.Beetley  m  Roy Webb  art  Albert S.d’Agostino, Jack Okey  spc  Russell A.Cully  cos  Edward Stevenson

Robert Mitchum (Jeff Markham/Bailey), Jane Greer (Kathie Moffett), Kirk Douglas (Whit Sterling), Virginia Huston (Ann Miller), Richard Webb (Jim), Paul Valentine (Joe Stefanos), Ken Niles (Leonard Eels), Rhonda Fleming (Meta Carson), Steve Brodie (Jack Fisher), Dickie Moore (The Kid), Wallace Scott (Petey, the taxi driver), Mary Field (Marny the diner owner), Lee Elson (Lou Baylord), Frank Wilcox (Sheriff Al Douglas),

Back in 2001 I was watching cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Eliza Dushku’s Faith described her borderline psychotic psyche: “it’s like the whole world is moving and you’re stuck.  Like those animals in the tar pits; it’s like you just keep sinking a little deeper every day and nobody even sees…”  Totally unrelated though that may be, the quote made me think of this film and its antihero Jeff Markham, who likewise inexorably sinks deeper and deeper into his own proverbial pile of quicksand, and smiles as he does so.  To put it mildly, this is a quite sensationally cynical film noir, the best ever in the genre and one of the greatest, and most stylish, films of all time.  I won’t waste too much space with the plot, in which a private eye relates to his current flame how he got involved with a femme fatale he’d been hired to find by a big-time gambler, and concentrate on the impact. (more…)

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