Another great Burt Lancaster stunt, this one from His Majesty O’Keefe (Byron Haskin, 1954), a South Sea Adventure film, quite yikey in its representation of race but a goldmine to anyone interested in exploring questions of empire, colonialism and how America saw itself in relation to the world at the height of its powers in the middle of the last century:
Slowing it down so you see the drama of that figure descending and then seeing it really IS Burt Lancaster doing the stunt:
A film noir I hadn´t seen before. Cheap, pulpy, lurid, hard-boiled, and rotten to its core. Just the way I like ’em. A bag of cash is thrown into the wrong car and the rest of the film is about everyone it doesn´t belong to trying to get their hands on it. Lizabeth Scott makes a bid to be the most fatal of femmes in the whole of film noir. She lies, and lies and lies. She cons and schemes and scams and is also able to come up with a new story every time she´s cornered. She´s so cool and collected she drives even Dan Duryea to drink. ´Don´t ever change,’ he tells her, ‘I wouldn´t like to see what you´re like with a heart’. Good thing because her heart is nowhere evident. Men fall like flies. Scott is totally inexpressive and completely great. She only livens up when her eyes focus on cash, diamonds or furs. Her heart beats only to the good life and she positively glistens to a kill. As to the saps…I mean the men… Oy, vey! The film is nothing special visually. Except for Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea, the cast is second-rate. But it´s got real narrative propulsion and completely basks in the seamy underside of life like great pulp is meant to. I loved it.
The Arrow Academy transfer is a pleasure to watch with very fine extras by Alex K Rode and a documentary on the film´s restoration. A must have for noir aficionados.