THE BRIBE
1949, MGM [Warner Bros.], 98 min, USA, Dir: Robert Z. Leonard

Less a coherent drama than a sweaty fever-dream of ’40s film noir, THE BRIBE features an all-star cast (Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton, Vincent Price, John Hodiak) trapped on the steamy Caribbean isle of “Carlota” (as only MGM’s art department could render it), perspiring through a convoluted tale of romance, disease and WWII contraband. Skip the logic and wallow in the exotic artifice of this sublime noir fantasia, directed by Robert Z. Leonard, photographed by the great Joe Ruttenberg and scored by the magnificent Miklos Rozsa!


JOURNEY INTO FEAR
1943, RKO [Warner Bros.], 68 min, USA, Dir: Orson Welles, Norman Foster

Orson Welles reunited his Mercury Theatre colleagues for this shadowy and stylish adaptation of Eric Ambler’s tale of wartime intrigue. Joseph Cotten - who wrote the screenplay - plays an engineer pursued by a murderous Nazi agent, for reasons unknown, throughout the Near East. Drastically cut prior to release (with new scenes shot by Foster) the film remains a uniquely Wellesian exercise in cinematic style, dripping with atmosphere and outfitted with an array of colorful characters, including delicious Dolores Del Rio as a femme fatale chanteuse. “Welles and Del Rio together! As Terror Man vs. Leopard Woman! It’s menace melodrama thrilled with mighty mystery and suspense… See it!” Not on DVD!


THIS WOMAN IS DANGEROUS
1952, Warner Bros., 100 min, USA, Dir: Felix Feist

Joan Crawford called this her “worst” film; we respectfully contend that Joan was a poor judge of her own work. In her last film for Warner Bros. (could that have something to do with her bitterness?), Crawford plays a hardened gangster going blind, who desperately needs an operation to save her sight. Essentially a sequel to Crawford’s great THE DAMNED DON’T CRY, director Feist brings punch and panache to Daniel Mainwaring’s melodramatic script. It’s Joan at her “Joaniest,” and few things are more enjoyable. “Every inch a lady…’til you look at the record!”


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