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

Thursday, May 25, 2017


FORBIDDEN (1953). Director: Rudolph Mate.

"There isn't one thing about you that I've ever forgotten."

In post-WW2 Macao, Eddie Darrow (Tony Curtis) comes looking for his lost lady love, Christine (Joanna Dru). A bitter Darrow is being paid money to bring Christine, who is the widow of a notorious gangster, back to the United States to help with a deal for one of her late husband's associates, but the truth is that she knows too much. Darrow comes to the aid of nightclub-casino owner Justin Keit (Lyle Bettger), who is assaulted in the street, and winds up staying in his home, ultimately learning that Christine is Keit's fiance. With Keit and his men on one side, and her husband's associates on the other, will Eddie and Christine live long enough to enjoy their rekindled romance? Forbidden takes all of the stock elements from much better pictures, tosses them around, and comes up with a brisk, entertaining, but forgettable romantic adventure. The performances are all good, with Curtis' dead-commonness not getting in the way of his characterization (such as it is); Dru attractive if a bit tame as the femme fatale; and Bettger [The Sea Chase] walking off with the movie as her dangerous fiance. Victor Sen Yung [Charlie Chan in Honolulu] gets to play two stereotypes: the inscrutable Oriental coming out with pithy sayings, and the philosophizing piano player. Arguably Curtis' best performance was in Sweet Smell of Success. Not to be confused with Macao.

Verdict: Call this Gilda once over lightly. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill, I totally concur that Curtis's best dramatic performance is in Sweet Smell of Success--I also think he displayed comic aplomb in Some
Like It Hot.

I have never even heard of this noirish film, but it sounds like it is right up my alley. Will seek it out!
- Chris

William said...

It's pretty much a frank imitation but "Gilda" -- that's on my list to see again, possibly over the weekend -- but at least it isn't boring.