An RKO Howard Hughes film (not surprising it features Jane Russell)
A great cast- I mean in 1951 Robert Mitchum is at his peak- half-way between Out of the Past (1947) and Night of the Hunter (1955). Right there between Bogart 1940’s actor-as-auteur and Newman in the 1960’s doing the same thing. Mitchum is broke, just out of jail, captivating – orders milk or ginger ale at the bar because he doesn’t drink and pulls it off
The ensemble is very good. Vincent Price (I’ll get to him more in a second) comes along and steals the show, but Raymond Burr, Tim Holt, Russell as the love interest. She has a couple songs. Mitchum and Russell have clear chemistry
2 minutes in there’s a great long take of Burr walking towards the camera until he’s in close-up
at 23 minutes Mitchum as hits the resort in Mexico the camera floats around in a tracking shot— sort of like the Pulp Fiction shot of Travolta taking in Jack Rabbit Slim’s
at 30 minutes Price arrives. He’s aloof, heroic- playing a sort of Errol Flynn (but less suave and more buffoonish). He’s big, comic, eccentric- he’s absolutely acting in another movie from everyone else (I mean Burr, a gangster, and Mitchum are in a noir) but it a fun ride. He’s riffing Shakespeare and I’m cracking up but it does lead to tonal issues.
The narrative is always intriguing
Mitchum putting lotion on Russell in the sun flirting. Good one-liners back and forth and two actors that remind me of say Bogart and Bacall in To Have and Have Not (there’s a fair amount in common, resort town, fishing, actresses singing)
Mitchum’s character is no simple hood either—he helps an innocent newlywed girl (of course she’s gorgeous-haha)
At 91 minutes another great frame with Burr’s face—he’s in the front right of the frame with Mitchum in background. Depth of field work here like Wyler.
Clearly Farrow is a fan of low-angle shots as well