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

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Unlikely couple: Dane Clark and Alexis Smith
WHIPLASH (1948). Director: Lewis Seiler.

In this chopped suey of a movie, artist Michael Gordon (Dane Clark of Paid to Kill) falls for a woman, Laurie (Alexis Smith of The Constant Nymph), who buys one of his paintings. In spite of the fact that Laurie is completely out of his league in every way possible, Michael tells her he's in love with her after knowing her for six hours. Unfortunately, Laurie has a wheel-chair bound husband, an ex-fighter named Rex (Zachary Scott of Ruthless), who convinces Michael that he could be a sensation in the ring. Then there's Laurie's brother, a doctor (Jeffrey Lynn), whom Rex somehow blames for his condition. Whiplash is less a boxing movie than an unconvincing and utterly unexceptional soap opera-melodrama with superficial characters and equally superficial performances. All of the lead actors have been seen to much better advantage in other pictures, although Lynn is generally creditable. Eve Arden adds some slight fun in her inimitable way as a friend of Michael's who wishes she were something more and S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakall is as cuddly and monotonous as ever. This is another in a long line of obnoxious Dane Clark portrayals. Clark and Smith generate no fireworks and are completely unbelievable as a romantic couple. The only good scene is when Zachary Scott gets what's coming to him. Director Lewis Seiler does nothing to help the actors or the picture.

Verdict: A "romance" with two lovers who seem to come from different planets. **.

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