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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: cigar joe on March 31, 2013, 04:06:31 PM



Title: Force Of Evil (1948)
Post by: cigar joe on March 31, 2013, 04:06:31 PM
Caught this yesterday on a DVD from Netflix, nothing special, some interesting NYC locations, Marie Windsor is basically wasted, Gomez & Garfield are good, story isn't quite believable (come on, a Mom & Pop numbers racket with all lovable characters vs bad guy mobsters). I'll give it a generous 6/10 upon first viewing.

some IMDb reviews.

Illegal good guy, 13 April 2011

Author: Alex da Silva from United Kingdom

Joe (John Garfield) plays a corrupt lawyer who is in partnership with gangster Ben Tucker (Roy Roberts) to control the "numbers" game. Joe tries to help his brother Leo (Thomas Gomez) who operates an illegal small bank for betting who is going to be made bankrupt by a fixed scam that will make banks pay out more than they have. The idea is for the gangsters to then come in and take things over. Leo refuses to listen, but is forced to draw himself into the new conglomerate that Ben Tucker is organizing. A rival gangster turns up wanting a share of the spoils from this particular scam and as a result of a killing and a kidnap, and phones being tapped by the prosecutor's department, the whole set-up is brought before a court.

This is a boy's film about gangsters and it can get pretty confusing if you don't pay attention throughout. The female roles are irrelevant to the plot which is a shame in the case of Marie Windsor who plays "Mrs Tucker". She is the best of the cast in her scenes and she completely outshines the rather feeble and bland Beatrice Pearson who plays "Doris". I also found the love interest between John Garfield and Peatrice Pearson difficult to believe. The acting is generally good with Thomas Gomez also deserving a mention. I didn't like him at the beginning but he managed to change my opinion so that I was sympathetic to him towards the end.

In fact, the end section of the film is the most memorable with several good scenes including a set-up in a cafe, a confrontation between the main bad guys, clever use of the telephone bugging operation and a discovery on some rocks under a pier. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the film whenever Beatrice Pearson was on screen, which seemed like way too much, and the story can get confusing, so the film loses points on those accounts.

It's a film that has a message similar to "On The Waterfront" in saying that the only way to topple powerful gang cartels is to stand up to them legally.

Wobbles between dramatic and strained...the last third finally kicking in with some intensity, 4 October 2010

Author: secondtake from United States
Force of Evil (1948)

John Garfield is the centerpiece of this high end crime film, and he's the problem. He's a great understated actor, sympathetic, gentle, and not quite the right man for this role as a sharp, ultimately cruel lawyer named Joe Morse in a sprawling criminal enterprise. So in scene after scene, what could have had a film noir or gangster edge ends up strained in a more normal dramatic way. The script might be one of the problems--some forced metaphors about death, or canned lines that are too profound for their own good.

But these are not the only problems here. The direction, I suppose, under Abraham Polonsky, is the reason it has an odd flow to it. (This is his only film of note.) Many decisions seem steadily mediocre, like having Morse do voiceovers that aren't quite styling enough to work as style and are a slow way of telling the events. Morse is connected with an overly sweet girl who isn't really his type and romance doesn't make sense. And there are some editing gaffes that don't help. Larger still, this is an impersonal plot, with no clear protagonist or antagonist, just a numbers racket that is being undermined by some unseen politicians and some gangsters who aren't quite sure what's going on (really--even Morse is lost).

Beatrice Pearson plays Morse's girl, and it's sad to say she just can't act at the same level as Garfield, and many of the other bit actors. But Morse's brother played by Thomas Gomez is a strong and sympathetic type, and he pulls off several amazing scenes. The camera-work is smart and generally intense enough, with high or low angles at key points, if sometimes a little obvious. The city (Manhattan) is a good backdrop, giving it a very nice ambiance, both night and day.

Well, the movie has an outsized reputation. The shining moments and dark moods and the better final twenty minutes don't make up for the general messiness on many levels.

Good But Not Great Crime Picture, 2 May 2006

Author: brocksilvey from United States
I saw a coming attraction for this movie one day on TCM. I'd never heard of it, but the clips they used for the preview made it look like a terrific noir, and I couldn't wait to see it. It didn't live up to the expectations. It's a good movie, but it's not even one of the more memorable noirs from the 40s. In fact, it's not really much of a noir once you get past the moody black and white photography (which is one of the film's greatest assets by the way) and its cynical tone. It's much more of a standard crime picture with a gritty documentary-like sheen, the kind the studios were churning out left and right in the late 40s and early 50s, but it didn't leave as much of an impression on me as, say, "The Naked City," "Night and the City," or "Panic in the Streets."

John Garfield, however, is extremely good in the lead role. I haven't seen him in that many things, but he's a kindred spirit of Marlon Brando's: the brooding tough guy whose sneering mug hides a warm and very human streak. He never seemed to get his full due as an actor--if I'm not mistaken, he made his last film not long after this one, sometime in the early to mid 1950s.

"Force of Evil" is definitely worth a look.

Grade: B


Title: Re: Force Of Evil (1948)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 01, 2013, 02:08:28 PM
Caught this yesterday on a DVD from Netflix, nothing special, some interesting NYC locations, Marie Windsor is basically wasted, Gomez & Garfield are good, story isn't quite believable (come on, a Mom & Pop numbers racket with all lovable characters vs bad guy mobsters). I'll give it a generous 6/10 upon first viewing.
Yeah, I watched this about a decade ago on VCR with a friend after reading about its reputation. Both I and my friend were underwhelmed.


Title: Re: Force Of Evil (1948)
Post by: titoli on April 01, 2013, 04:40:50 PM
Saw it eons ago, with many expectations as it was hailed as a masterpiece by some critics, but I remember I was bored.


Title: Re: Force Of Evil (1948)
Post by: chris on April 05, 2013, 05:43:55 AM
For me there's too much dialogue in the first half of the movie but the writers seem to know quite a bit about policy/numbers rackets and the Combine/Combination.  Based on Ira Wolfert's 1943 novel Tucker's People.  Also mentioned in the documentary "A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies" as one of the movies which influenced Martin Scorcese.

The scene where Joe offers a lift to Doris in a chauffeur driven car and buys a huge bunch of flowers from a street seller in front of a stage entrance reminds me of the scene in the original script of OUATIA where Noodles buys a huge bunch of flowers from a street seller outside a stage door prior to meeting Deborah and their chauffeur driven journey to a fancy restaurant.

 


Title: Re: Force Of Evil (1948)
Post by: T.H. on April 10, 2013, 06:34:06 PM
I saw it several years ago and I think less of it every day. It's not very cinematic, and way too preachy and talky for my liking. It's pretty much a Kazan movie, which is not a compliment.


Title: Re: Force Of Evil (1948)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 11, 2013, 06:55:29 AM
I saw it several years ago and I think less of it every day. It's not very cinematic, and way too preachy and talky for my liking. It's pretty much a Kazan movie, which is not a compliment.
I think you mean a Stanley Kramer movie.


Title: Re: Force Of Evil (1948)
Post by: T.H. on April 11, 2013, 10:17:42 AM
It's a Kazan movie with a slightly better pace and without the hammy acting - or maybe some of that's there, it's been a while.

Kramer movies are pretentious as all hell, but they don't look and feel like this one.

Compare FOE to something like Boomerang.