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

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


WALK SOFTLY STRANGER (1950). Director: Robert Stevenson.

Chris Hale (Joseph Cotten) is a small time gambler and hood who enters into a relationship with crippled beauty Elaine Corelli (Alida Valli) in a small midwestern town. He becomes a surrogate son for his kindly landlady, Mrs. Brentman (Spring Byington), and holds up a casino with a buddy, Whitey Lake (Paul Stewart). This character study of redemption through love holds the attention and has interesting facets, but it doesn't quite work as either drama or thriller, and the romance between the two leads is never quite convincing. However the acting is, for the most part, quite good -- Byington and Stewart come off best, in fact -- and there's a suspenseful car ride sequence near the end. Adroitly directed by Stevenson, and with a pleasing score by Friedrich Hollaender. Although Valli is not Ingrid Bergman and isn't exactly passionate in her playing, her performance in this is decent and Cotton is as solid as ever. Future talk show host Jack Paar is pleasant as a co-worker of Cotten's.

Verdict: At least it's different. **1/2.

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