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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ride The Pink Horse (1947)

An ex-Army veteran (Robert Montgomery, who also directed) arrives in a small village in New Mexico looking for a man (Fred Clark) that he holds responsible for a friend's death. But his mission doesn't turn out to be as simple as he thought. Based on a novel by Dorothy B. Hughes (IN A LONELY PLACE), this film noir is greatly admired by a certain faction. While I can't share their enthusiasm, it's a solid piece of craftsmanship. What keeps me from embracing it is Montgomery the actor. I just didn't buy his tough guy act, he tries too hard to be convincing and the more he tries the more unconvincing he is. As a director though, he's on solid ground and with the assistance of his ace cinematographer Russell Metty (TOUCH OF EVIL), he creates an atmosphere rich in foreboding shadows and ambience. While Montgomery's protagonist is fairly uninteresting, the minor characters are much more colorful and compelling. Among them the carousel owner (Thomas Gomez in an Oscar nominated performance), the femme fatale (Andrea King) and the government man (Art Smith). With Wanda Hendrix, miscast as an Indian but she's good, Richard Gaines and John Doucette. 

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