Saturday, July 28, 2012

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- Humphrey Bogart’s Dead Reckoning- A Film Review

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for the Humphrey Bogart film noir Dead Reckoning

DVD Review

Dead Reckoning, starring Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, Columbia Pictures, 1947

Hey, Humphrey Bogart is no stranger to femme fatales, no stranger at all, heart of gold or heart of steel. He takes them where he finds. Like bewitching Lauren Bacall in their hot as it gets with clothes on, 1940s style sex sizzler, To Have Or To Have Not. Or Mary Astor and her bird dreams of gold fetish (and not above wasting more than a few guys with a few indiscreet slugs if they get in the way) in the film adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. So old Bogie has certainly been around the block with some funny- thinking dames. Still he should have steered about eleven blocks clear of one Coral Chandler (played by husky-throated, pleading eyes daddy please just shot that guy for me please, Lizabeth Scott) and her, well, trigger-happy ways as put on display in the film under review, Dead Reckoning .

As it turns out this is not the first time Ms. Scott has tried to put a slug, or six, in more than one guy who got in her way. In a recently reviewed film noir in this space, Too Late For Tears, she played sweet Jane Palmer as a homicidal femme fatale with a big time lust for gold. But there she at least varied her routine up a little by just poisoning one guy (and probably driving another guy, her first hubby, to suicide). Here she has the six-guns blaring away. And still, to the very, very end guys were lining up, lining up with a grin on their faces just to get a whiff of that jasmine perfume . Jesus.

Let me explain a little why she had them running through hoops. Coral, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, the hard Detroit tracks, stepped up a little in class and married a guy for his dough (no big deal there, gals, and guys, have been doing that since about the Stone Age), But she got tired of hubby and started running around with a college professor just before World War II. Problem? Yes, problem and so, whichever story she told that you believe, said hubby when south in a blaze of gunfire. The college professor took the fall for her, no questions asked, and with that now patented grin on his face just like every other guy. Fortunately (for a while) he skipped town.

That is where Captain Bogie comes in. Seems he and our professor saved the world for democracy over in Europe during WW II and they are to be feted with big time war medals for their efforts. Problem, yes, problem. Our professor can’t take the publicity and beats it back to that podunk town down South that he was from to work things out with Coral and maybe square himself with the law. No go. He ends up torched beyond recognition in some dark raven for his efforts. Bogie when he hears of this, being his superior officer and all, and well, just being Bogie in the 1940s, has to square things for his old buddy.

And he does about six bodies later (okay, okay maybe less). See he falls for Ms. Coral along the way (yah, even Bogie had that grin on his face) and tried to get her out from under whatever trouble she had told him she had with a certain nightclub owner who had the goods on her (and who had back in old Detroit days been her hubby) . But this will put paid to this case, grin or no grin. While the white knight Bogie is chasing bad guy night club owner out the door she is waiting in the rain, gun at the ready, to shoot whoever comes out first. Of course she thinks it will be, ah, Bogie. What did I say before, oh yah, Bogie stay eleven blocks away from Coral Chandler. Hell, forget that, stay a mile away. Got it.

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