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Friday, October 11, 2013

Under My Skin (1950)

After winning a race he agreed to throw, a jockey (John Garfield) and his young son (Orley Lindgren) flee Italy for France. There, he meets an attractive cabaret singer (Micheline Presle) but it isn't long before the thug (Luther Adler) he double crossed shows up and demands he fulfills his promise. Based the short story MY OLD MAN by Ernest Hemingway, there's a sentimentality pervading the film that's uncharacteristic of Hemingway. I haven't read the story it's based on but I suspect very little of Hemingway is in the final product other than his name in the credits. To the film's credit, Garfield's character is an unattractive jerk and the movie doesn't make any attempt to clean him up to make him more appealing, at least until the film's mushy end. Lindgren gives a typical child actor's performance of that era (the 1950s), reciting lines and making faces without any of the authenticity of a real child. Despite the film's French setting, it was filmed on the Fox lot but the art directors (Maurice Ranford, Lyle Wheeler) do an admirable job of recreating it. Directed by Jean Negulesco (THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN). With Noel Drayton, Anthony George, Steven Geray and Ann Codee.

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