His Kind of Woman

Robert Mitchum in His Kind of Woman (dir. John Farrow, 1951)

Half top-notch noir, half tropical sex comedy. Towards the end, Vincent Price starts playing the farcical gallant with such intensity you may forget for a spell what movie you're watching. Thank Howard Hughes, whose grubby handprints are so all over this film that he should just have shared directorial credit (He did bring in the uncredited Richard Fleischer to take it over from Farrow). On the other hand, if it weren't for Hughes' interference, we wouldn't have Raymond Burr as the gangster Nick Ferraro. It's long and silly, but it does envelop you in its distinctive world of kitschy resort architecture and shaggy-dog supporting characters (like Jim Backus, Philip Van Zandt, and John Mylong). Jane Russell is the femme fatale, but she's more of a femme non-fatale. It's funny that the titular phrase refers to her (okay, that was not meant as a pun), as her presence in the narrative is more or less a big non-sequitur. Although I guess that could be said for almost all the characters. Anyway, Charles McGraw is always impressively menacing, Mitchum doesn't seem quite as bored in this as he does in The Racket, and there is some classic dialogue here: "I was just taking off my tie ... and deciding whether I should hang myself with it."

1 comment:

phaneronoemikon said...

are you never not on a roll?!

Jim Backus!


hee. oops.