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

Thursday, August 6, 2009


ROADBLOCK (1951). Director: Harold Daniels.

Insurance investigator Joe Peters (Charles McGraw) meets a bitter dame Diane (Joan Dixon) at an airport, where she tells the clerk he's her husband so she can board the plane for half fare. Diane wants the good life -- minks, diamonds -- and Joe wants her, even though he only makes $350 a week, chickenfeed by her standards (although certainly not bad for 1951!). Still, Diane can't help but be attracted to Joe, inspiring him to add serious complications to his life. A problem with the movie is that the two lead characters are unsympathetic. Despite his character reversal, McGraw plays it all in one, gruff note with no nuances at all. The movie isn't terrible, just over-familiar without being good enough to make it really interesting. Everything is just second or third-rate. Busy actor McGraw appeared in everything from The Narrow Margin to The Birds. Dixon also appeared briefly in Bunco Squad, but otherwise had very few credits; she's not a bad actress, however. Milburn Stone, who plays McGraw's colleague Egan, had a great many credits, including such serials as Great Alaskan Mystery.

Verdict: Minor effort in the film noir genre. **.

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