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

Monday, August 25, 2008


SECOND CHANCE (1953). Director: Rudolph Mate.
Clare (Linda Darnell) used to be the girlfriend of a mobster, and has been on the run since the cops asked her to testify against him. A hit man (Jack Palance), who is infatuated with her, has been sent to kill her or bring her back. In the meantime, Clare has fallen for Russ (Robert Mitchum), a boxer trying to make his way back to the big time. The actors aren't able to do much to bring these one-dimensional characters to life, and most of the film is pretty dull and routine until the final quarter -- which is almost a knock out. The three principals and several others get trapped in a cable car dangling high over Mexico. Will Mitchum be able to swing to the nearby mountain and bring help before the cable completely snaps and they crash to the ground? Will Palance manage to knock off Clare in front of a police officer? Will there be a mile-high confrontation between Mitchum and Palance (anyone who can't answer that has never been to the movies). The climax is harrowing, to say the least; it's like you're watching a completely different movie. This was released in 3D, but the camera doesn't seem to take the slightest advantage of the process.
Verdict: Entertaining in spite of the many dumb moments. ***.

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