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Monday, December 23, 2013

BETRAYED (1954)

Clark Gable ended three decades @ M-G-M with this unsatisfying, though not uninteresting WWII love triangle/espionage drama. Rescued from the Nazis by Victor Mature’s free-lance resistance outfit, he’s whisked to London where he recruits Lana Turner as a lookalike spy to plant back in Denmark. Shot largely in England where M-G-M had a lot of money parked, Gottfried Reinhardt helms with clarity but little distinction while the subfusc DVD transfer from Warners Archive does no favors to Freddie Young’s rich location lensing. It all sounds pretty dire, yet the film picks up interest when Turner & Mature start a relationship. What? Gable cuckolded? That’s when internal leaks start to expose the secret anti-Nazi missions. Mature & Wilfred Hyde-White, Gable’s British boss, give almost alarmingly eccentric perfs that unexpectedly pay off while Gable & Turner, in their fourth & final teaming over a bit more than a decade both seem much the worse for wear. The weight of mortality adds something grim to Gable, while Turner responds by slightly lightening her brunette bob halfway in.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: As noted, the DVD transfer is less than stellar, but don’t be put off by the squarish 1.33:1 frame aspect ratio. Yes, our poster says MetroScope, but the original suggested projection ratio of 1.66:1 isn't particularly WideScreen anyway. Chances are the image was simply cropped down from the Academy Ratio format seen here.

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