Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


THE BIG STEAL (1949). Director: Don Siegel.

Duke Halliday (Robert Mitchum) meets up with Joan Graham (Jane Greer) in Mexico where both discover that they are in pursuit of the same man, Jim Fiske (Patric Knowles), who stole money from them. In the meantime Captain Blake (William Bendix) is in pursuit of Halliday. It takes a while to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in a movie that consists of a lot of seemingly aimless running and driving around. It all comes together in the climax, but by then it's a little too late. However, there are some exciting and suspenseful moments in the film, and the acting is good. Mitchum was at his best in roles like this, and The Big Steal offers one of his most credible performances. While Greer is not on his level, she's quite good when she's testily bantering with Mitchum. The ever-reliable Bendix is as good as ever and even Knowles turns in a solid performance. However the picture is almost snatched away by middle-aged Ramon Navarro, who is delightful as Inspector General Ortega. (Don Alvarado plays his lieutenant.) Pascual Garcia Pena of Black Scorpion and The Beast of Hollow Mountain plays a construction worker who helps Greer and Mitchum momentarily get away from Bendix.

Verdict: Distinctly minor but entertaining. **1/2.

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