Jumat, 03 Juni 2011

Josef von Sternberg - Macao (1952)

-- You don't want that junk. Diamonds would only cheapen you.
-- Yeah. But what a way to be cheapened.

A wonderfully tongue-in-cheek scripted RKO adventure story directed by Josef von Sternberg (Shanghai Express/Morocco/The Shanghai Gesture). Most of the action scenes were reshot on studio orders (Howard Hughes and his lackeys) by Nicholas Ray--though it retains that unique Sternberg look and feel.
It's based on a story by Bob Williams; the screenplay is by Stanley Crea Rubin and Bernard Schoenfeld. The story is set in the exotic port of Macao, located off the south coast of China, some 35 miles from Hong Kong. It's an ancient Portuguese colony, considered by many as the "Monte Carlo of the Orient."
Jane Russell enthralls as she gets romanced by the laconic Mitchum, and they create movie magic together through their brilliant nuanced performances. The sultry actress was never better, as she belts out a few torch songs, tosses insults at Mitchum with natural ease, shows her romantic side and looks right through the leering bad guys of Macao as if they didn't exist. She's the good-bad girl, while he's the hard-luck innocent who can't even win when playing with loaded dice. They're both film noir characters, who Jane sums up when she tells her man: "Everybody's lonely, worried, and sorry. Everybody's looking for something." If you are looking for an underrated film noir gem, that somehow got swept under the rug--this is it! -- Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Not an entirely happy production - Sternberg, according to Mitchum, shot and cut it in such a way that characters kept walking into themselves, with the result that Nicholas Ray was called in to reshoot (uncredited) many of the action scenes - but still a delightful bit of RKO exotica. The thin story, set in the port of the title, sees Mitchum's drifter joining up with Russell's sultry singer and helping the local cops catch a criminal bigwig. But what is so enjoyable, apart from Harry Wild's shimmering camerawork, is the tongue-in-cheek tone of the script and performances, best evidenced in the sparkling banter and innuendo between Mitchum and Russell. -- GA/Time Out Film Guide 13

Subtitles:ext VobSub: Espanol; SubRip: Espanol, Francais

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