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

Thursday, May 27, 2021


Robert Mitchum and Genevieve Page
FOREIGN INTRIGUE (1956). Produced, written and directed by Sheldon Reynolds.  

"Did he say anything before he died?" -- numerous characters

Dave Bishop (Robert Mitchum) works for a millionaire philanthropist named Danemore (Jean Galland). When Danemore dies of a sudden heart attack, Bishop realizes that he knows very little of the past of his employer. A mysterious letter and a sealed package to be opened only if Danemore's death was suspicious ignites Bishop's interest. His curiosity brings him into contact with a bald little man named Spring (Frederic O'Brady), who may be much more sinister than he seems. Bishop is involved with two women: Danemore's widow (Genevieve Page), who discovers that her marriage of convenience may not have as big a pay-off as she'd hoped for; and Brita (Ingrid Thulin) -- the daughter of another widow, Mrs. Lindquist (Inga Tidblad) -- who quickly falls in love with Dave. Bishop is then contacted by various government agents who convince him to pretend to be a blackmailer so he can get the goods on several men who each betrayed their country. 

Ingrid Thulin with Mitchum
Foreign Intrigue is greatly bolstered by a solid and engaging performance by Robert Mitchum, who always seems interested in what's happening even when at least half the audience has stopped giving a damn. The movie has a fairly decent premise but few outstanding incidents nor indeed any sequences that stand out in the mind (except perhaps when a little boy gives Mitchum a playful kick in the leg); there is no style, suspense or tension and after while you just want it to be over. Both Genevieve Page and Ingrid Thulin (billed as Ingrid Tulean) were "introduced" in this film, and they are both attractive and more than competent, although neither -- in this film, at least -- is especially distinctive. Thulin [Return from the Ashes] had appeared in several Swedish films previously, and of course worked with Ingmar Bergman a few years later. Genevieve Page [Youngblood Hawke] had also appeared in numerous films previously and had a lengthy international career. Paul Durand's score is interesting if not always appropriate. In Eastmancolor.

Verdict: You can miss Mitchum speaking French! **.


angelman66 said...

Too bad so many of Mitchum's pictures aren't all that good, because he is a wonderful screen presence and eminently watchable. I would say his best are Night of the Hunter Cape Fear (though I was equally impressed with his late career performance in the miniseries Winds of War). But the one I have seen most often is the pairing with MM in River of No Return. Bad movie, beautiful and engaging stars!

William said...

I have always wanted to see "River of No Return" for MM if nothing else but have somehow resisted it as I fear it is, as you say, bad. But now I will have to check it out!

William said...

Forgot to say my favorite Mitchum movie is "Angel Face" with Jean Simmons!

angelman66 said...

Maybe River of No Return is NOT exactly bad - Otto Preminger directed, Rory Calhoun is in it and the kid Rettig is cute. Marilyn sings a couple of saloon songs...but she always referred to this as her "Grade Z cowboy movie"!! But see it!

William said...

Thanks, Chris -- now I definitely have to see it!