Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

STATION WEST (1948)

Few leading men reestablished their default screen-selves as readily as Dick Powell did, moving from goofy juvenile tenor @ Warners to utility star player in stylized romantic comedies for René Clair & Preston Sturges before surprising everyone as tough guy private-eye in the mid-‘40s. And he’d continue evolving into middle-aged solid citizen gigs @ M-G-M before turning producer/director. This one, back in his R.K.O. detective period, plants his self-deprecating wiseass character into a Western, which proves a genre too far. Journeyman director Sidney Lanfield can’t make the story add up (neither will you)*, but the basic idea sends Army Lieutenant Powell out West undercover to track down the killers of two soldiers, lost in a stagecoach gold robbery. And the town’s just loaded with suspects & characters to choose from: Burl Ives balladeer/hotelier, Agnes Moorehead’s goldmine owner, Raymond Burr’s debt-plagued lawyer & Jane Greer’s gambling house proprietor. Greer’s the real reason to pay attention, so cool, so calm, so collected . . . so amoral. One of the great ladies of noir (thanks to OUT OF THE PAST/’47), Howard Hughes had her under contract and kept her on a very short leash. If only the film didn’t keep dropping the narrative ball, this one could have added up to something.

DOUBLE-BILL: Powell had his big mid-career break in Edward Dmytryk’s fast-paced Raymond Chandler gumshoe classic MURDER, MY SWEET/’44. And they’re both even better in the Chandleresque hooey of CORNERED/’45.

ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: *Lanfield’s exposition/dialogue stuff is awfully flat, but things get considerably lively elsewhere, including a nasty piece of fisticuffs between Powell & Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams. From uncredited assistant-director Joel Freeman?

No comments: