Re-Watching the Classics: Conflict

Conflict is a classic film noir from director Curtis Bernhardt. The original story is from novelist Alfred Neumann and the great noir director Robert Siodmak. This film maybe cashing in on the success of The Maltese Falcon with the teaming up of Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet once again. Then again who cares! I would love to see this duo in 100 movies!

This film revolves around Richard Mason played by Bogart. He is a wealth business man who is married to Kathryn played by Rose Hobart. Greenstreet plays a family friend who is a psychiatrist. Alexis Smith plays Kathryn’s little sister and has caught the eye of Richard. After a party where we get to know the main players Richard, Kathryn and her little sister are involved in a car crash. Richard is hospitalized and now has to use a cane to get around. Richard and Kathryn’s marriage is on the rocks after Kathryn brings up the fact she can tell Richard is in love with her little sister. She decides to go up to the lodge in the woods by herself and Richard stays behind. With Richard using his injury and alibi of staying in the city, he causes Kathryn to drive off the pass in her car falling to her death. With Kathryn out of the picture will Richard win the heart of her little sister? Will anybody ever find Kathryn? Will Richard’s evil plan all come together for him or will it unravel as his web of lies start to fall apart?

This maybe one of the lesser known noir films starring Bogart, but it shouldn’t be. This is an amazing film with Bogart at his dapper best. He is pure evil in this one, but you still root for him. Greenstreet plays the smartest man in the room like no other. The cinematography in this one is well above average for a classic noir with some amazing shots and scenes that look totally original. If you are noir fan or fan of Bogart and/or Greenstreet (and who is not!) you will enjoy this film.

Favorite Tidbit: Way before Easter Eggs was even a thing, this film has two of them, both from earlier in Bogart’s career. In one scene you will see a version of The Maltese Falcon on a filling cabinet and one of the brooches worn by Kathryn is the exact same one worn by Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca.

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Review: Whiplash

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“I’m not exactly beautiful, but I am available.  I’m kind to my mother and I make very good spaghetti”.

“Sorry I don’t like spaghetti.”

That is a couple of lines of dialog in Whiplash, and there are a few more gems in this little known noir.

This is directed by Lewis Seiler who looks to have directed quite a few films throughout his career though this is the only one I’ve seen.

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This movie starts out with our hero played by Dane Clark in a boxing bout in New York City and getting beat pretty handily.  He has an inner dialog with himself asking why is he here?  What is he doing?  He just wants to be back home in California on the beach.  In film noir fashion we flashback to a better time in California,with our hero painting a beach scene.  He soon finds out one of his paintings has been sold and he thinks the buyer has been ripped off.  Our hero doesn’t feel he has enough talent for his paintings to be sold.  He hunts down the buyer and soon falls in love with her.  Our buyer is also our femme fatale, Laurie, played by Alexis Smith.  They fall in love and all is great, until Laurie turns up missing and our hero’s only clue is the painting she bought of his is being sent to a doctor in New York City.  Our hero packs up and goes to New York to find his lost love.

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When in New York we discover a plethora of new characters. Including Laurie’s husband, an ex-fighter who is now a promoter played by Zachary Scott.  An alcoholic doctor played by Jeffrey Lynn. We also get some comic relief from fellow artist played by Eve Arden (from Grease fame).

This film has some more of noir’s favorite sport, boxing, we have a love triangle between our hero, our femme fatale and a fallen hero doing anything he can to get back to the top.  This film has not been viewed a lot and maybe a little undervalued.  I found this film to be pretty good.  With only 200 votes on IMDb and a current rating of 6.4 it is a little underrated.

This film will be enjoyed by film noir fans and boxing fans alike.  Worth a viewing if you get a chance.