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

Thursday, February 18, 2016


THE BOSS (1956). Director: Byron Haskin.

Matt Brady (John Payne) comes back from WW1, and has a love-hate relationship with his older brother, Tim (Roy Roberts of Oh, Susannah!). Driving away his girlfriend, Elsie (Doe Avedon) with his drunken behavior, Matt impulsively marries a sad barfly named Lorry (Gloria McGhee), while his best friend, Bob (William Bishop of Harriet Craig), marries Elsie. After Tim's death, Matt rises as a crooked political boss with the aid of Bob, who's become a lawyer. A reformer named Millard (Rhys Williams) represents a problem to Brady, even as his ill-advised marriage to Lorry proceeds on its dismal course. John Payne gives perhaps the best performance of his career as the bitter, unpleasant, unhappy if powerful Brady, and there are also fine performances from McGhee, Bishop, and Roberts, as well as from Robin Morse as gangster Johnny Mazia, and William Phipps [Five] as the killer, Stitch. Percy Helton and Joe Flynn have smaller roles. One of the best scenes is a massacre of hoods in Union Station. Albert Glassers' score is also effective. Neither Gloria McGhee (also spelled McGehee) or Doe Avedon amassed too many credits.

Verdict: Payne makes his mark in an absorbing crime drama. ***.


angelman66 said...

I'm a big fan of John Payne, so I must put this one on my list. Looks like a winner!

William said...

Payne was losing his "pretty boy" image but threw himself into this role with gusto and really delivered.