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Thursday, May 29, 2008

THE RACKET (1950)


This Howard Hughes pic from RKO recycles his 1928 production as a film noir for Robert Mitchum. He’s plays a tough, honest police captain & Robert Ryan is a psychotic, violently self-destructive mob boss. Lizabeth Scott is around, looking freshly abused, as always, to purr out a song and reluctantly inform on the bad guys. But in spite of some effective noir stylings, the film feels pieced together from mismatched ‘takes’ under various directorial hands. John Cromwell gets credit, but Nicholas Ray (and others?) shot much of the film. The fascist methods used by the cops would be more alarming if the plot & exposition made more sense, but the stench of corruption is lost in the fumes of dramatic hooey.

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