Archive for May 29th, 2009

big steal 1

by Allan Fish

(USA 1949 72m) DVD1/2

Oh – a two letter word meaning nothing in particular

p  Jack J.Gross  d  Don Siegel  w  Gerald Drayson Adams, Daniel Mainwaring  story  “The Road to Carmichael’s” by Richard Wormser  ph  Harry J.Wild  ed  Samuel F.Beetley  m  Leigh Harline  art  Albert S.d’Agostino

Robert Mitchum (Lieutenant Duke Halliday), Jane Greer (Joan ‘Chiquita’ Graham), William Bendix (Captain Vincent Blake), Ramon Novarro (Inspector Generale Artega), Patric Knowles (Jim Fiske), John Qualen (Seaton), Don Alvarado,

A film to bring a smile to the mere recollection, The Big Steal is one of those lucky flukes, a film for film buffs to adore.  It could so easily not have been made.  Howard Hughes had just taken over RKO and was making his likes and dislikes made pretty clear.  Robert Mitchum was persona non grata following his arrest and brief incarceration for marijuana possession, and was given the film as penance, a B movie to be directed by an effective novice called Don Siegel.  It would be shot on the cheap in Tehuacán in Mexico, and potential leading ladies were turning it down left, right and centre.  Then enter Jane Greer.  She and Mitchum had worked together immortally in Out of the Past a year or two earlier.  They were close friends, and Mitchum looked forward to working with her again, while his affection for her would help while she was in the early days of pregnancy and had to take it relatively easy.  There was one problem; Greer and Hughes had a history.  Hughes had brought her to California in the first place, but he obsessed over her, kept her under affective house arrest until she had enough.  She was now happily married, but it seemed like Hughes would hold fast to his promise that, though she would be paid, she’d never work again while he was head of RKO.  Thankfully, he relented, and Mitchum, Greer and Siegel set off south of the border.  What they made; though it wasn’t a masterpiece and was never intended to be, was one of forties Hollywood’s most purely fun films, a mixture of thriller with essences of romantic comedy.  (more…)

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