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

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Alexis Smith and William Holden
THE TURNING POINT (1952). Director: William Dieterle.

"I don't need a speech about honor or integrity -- from either one of you." -- John Conroy.

John Conroy (Edmond O'Brien) is a special prosecutor determined to break the hold that the rackets have on his city. Unfortunately, his good friend, reporter Jerry McKibbon (William Holden), has discovered that Conroy's own father, Matt (Tom Tully of Where the Sidewalk Ends), is a crooked cop in the employ of mobster Neil Eichelberger (Ed Begley), Conroy's chief antagonist. Adding to Conroy's troubles is the fact that his girlfriend and co-worker Amanda (Alexis Smith of Whiplash) is falling for Jerry and vice versa. There's a lot going on in The Turning Point -- a "B" movie with an "A" cast from Paramount and not Republic-- but much of it is handled in so perfunctory a manner that you wonder why the sub-plots -- Conroy's father being secretly corrupt; the love triangle -- were even introduced; Jerry is especially under-developed as a character. Still, the movie has interesting aspects and is well-acted, especially by Begley and Adele Longmire as the terrified witness, Carmelina. Carolyn Jones has a nice turn as another ditsy witness, and Russell Johnson [Attack of the Crab Monsters] briefly plays a cold-blooded hit man, as does Neville Brand. O'Brien's unemotional, reigned-in performance may fit the stoic character, but it also makes it harder to sympathize with someone who's having a really lousy year. The movie cries out for a good musical score, which it doesn't get.

Verdict: Borderline film noir with intriguing situations but it's perhaps less effective than some cheaper movies without major stars. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - Funny to see Bill Holden, a year after Sunset Blvd and a year before his Best Actor Oscar, in this programmer.
The studio system really did keep actors as a kind of slave labor repertory company!

William said...

It's possible they made this earlier than Sunset and rushed it out after the success of that film, but I think you;re on the money regarding the studio system!