Review: The Bribe

Five great stars in a daring drama of love and adventure! Well that tag line does sum up this film with an amazing cast. We have Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Vincent Price, Charles Laughton and John Hodiak in a film noir from 1949 directed by Robert Z. Leonard. The Bribe is based on a short story by Frederick Nebel and maybe the film should have been a bit shorter also.

This story starts with Robert Taylor’s character sent to a Central America to find out who is selling plane engines on the black market. He is told who his suspects are and he must find who is behind the illegal sales. The main suspect is Ava Gardner’s husband played by John Hodiak. To get closer to Hodiak it makes sense to get close to Gardner. Then of course Taylor falls for Gardner and Gardner soon starts to feel something for Taylor. Vincent Price plays a wealthy fisherman that Taylor also starts to suspect. Laughton plays the ruffled and uncomfortable odd ball that always seems to be around the motel, another suspect for Taylor. The plot twists and turns as Taylor don’t know who to believe or trust as alliances change throughout the film. Can he trust Gardner or is she a femme fatale? Will Taylor find who is selling the plane engines?

This film is 98 minutes long and drags a bit in the middle. I think this would have been a lot better film if it was edited down a few minutes to keep the tension high. I do have to say the film is worth watching for the last scene, it is pretty incredible. I also enjoy Gardner, Laughton, and Price, who have a presence that is always entertaining.

This is worth watching if you are a big fan of any of the 5 stars, but I think this cast was wasted in this film. It just seems to be missing something. It is still an entertaining film if you are a film noir fan.

Review: Johnny Eager


Johnny Eager is an early film noir from 1941 and is about a recent parole that is working as a taxi driver, so we think.  Johnny is played by Robert Taylor and catches the eye of Lisabeth, a student of sociology played by noir femme fatale legend Lana Turner.  Lisabeth is the step daughter of the prosecutor that knows Johnny isn’t on the level and wants to put him back in prison.  Johnny uses people more than violence to get what he wants and doesn’t mind doing it.

Though Turner is amazing as the jolted lover and Taylor plays the dapper hood well, the stand out in this film is Van Heflin.  Heflin plays Jeff, the right hand man of Eager, but he isn’t the usual muscle, he is quite original, and in 1941 there wasn’t many to compare him to yet. Jeff is a well-educated man who uses big words and quotes great literature, his one weakness is he has a problem with alcohol.  Jeff is Johnny’s conscience as well in this film, telling him when he is doing wrong by others or making the wrong decisions.  To bad Johnny never learns or listens to Jeff, Johnny always thinks he’s the smartest man in the room, but sometimes he isn’t.


Van Heflin won best supporting actor for this portrayal and I can see why.  This classic film noir is not widely watched with only 1500 votes on IMDb and a good rating of 7.1 and no Rotten Tomatoes score.  This is a good film on its own, but if you’re a noir lover, I think you will really like the plot and Van Heflin and Lana Turner and worth the viewing.