Wednesday 26 May 2010

Dead Reckoning [1947]

Dead Reckoning has the kind of dialogues, plot and feel to it that it could very well have been straight out of a Raymond Chandler story. And incidentally or accidentally, the principal protagonist, a not-so-subtle variation of Phillip Marlowe, was enacted by none other than Humphrey Bogart himself. Bogart, excellent as always in the kind of role perhaps only he could enact, starred as Rip Murdock, a cynical war hero who gets mired in a complex web of intrigue, blackmail, deceit, double crosses and murder, when he starts investigating, against the wishes of a powerful mobster and owner of a sleazy gambling joint, the mysterious disappearance of his army buddy. In the process he gets acquainted with, among others, a beautiful heartbreaker, former crooner and lethal femme fatale Coral aka "Dusty", very well performed by Lizabeth Scott (some feel, wrongly in my opinion, that she was nothing more than a stand-in for Lauren Bacall). The film is replete with shady thugs, and a slew of utterly memorable hardboiled dialogues and wisecracks that Bogart made absolutely his own. The labyrinthine and fatalist plot is very well structured and paced as to keep one glued right till the finale that reminded me a lot about how Out of the Past ended.

Director: John Cromwell
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Thriller/Gangster/Mystery
Language: English
Country: US

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