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Author Topic: Jeopardy (1953)  (Read 2372 times)
cigar joe
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« on: November 21, 2011, 09:01:29 PM »

Director John Sturges with Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Ralph Meeker, and Lee Aacker. A man Sullivan vacationing with his wife Stanwyck and son Aaker in Mexico on a desolate beach with a dilapidated jetty in Baja becomes trapped under a rotten piling as the inevitable tide threatens to drown him. The film does a pretty good job of building up tension as it cuts from the frantic Stanwyck running around the Mexican countryside to the inevitable tragedy at the shore where Sullivan and Aaker are engulfed by the rising tide.  Escaped con Meeker becomes Stanwyck's only hope. Stanwyck even at one point tells Meeker that she will "do anything" to get Meeker to help her.



Caught this on Ralph Meeker day on TCM. Entertaining enough film, Noir in character aspects since it (similar in respect to The Lineup) takes place basically within a 6 hour time slot 7/10

« Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 05:54:50 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2011, 07:26:15 AM »

I love the way this film is put together, its pace, its performances. As I've said elsewhere, this is the best 69-minute feature I know.

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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 12:42:08 PM »

just saw the movie, it is incredible. As to DJ's comment about it being the best 69-minute feature he knows: the only possible competition I can think of are some of the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott Westerns, which are all similar running times, but that's it. This movie defines "tight little noir." There's a minimal budget, very few people appear in the movie, minimal story.... yet in some ways it is the most frightening and suspenseful film you can see. Have you ever been more terrified watching someone walk across a pier over a calm sea on a beautiful sunny afternoon?

I've never liked Barbara Stanwyck (she annoys me and btw has absolutely zero sex appeal) but the rest of the cast is perfect.

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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2013, 01:53:30 PM »

just saw the movie, it is incredible. As to DJ's comment about it being the best 69-minute feature he knows: the only possible competition I can think of are some of the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott Westerns, which are all similar running times, but that's it. This movie defines "tight little noir." There's a minimal budget, very few people appear in the movie, minimal story.... yet in some ways it is the most frightening and suspenseful film you can see. Have you ever been more terrified watching someone walk across a pier over a calm sea on a beautiful sunny afternoon?

I've never liked Barbara Stanwyck (she annoys me and btw has absolutely zero sex appeal) but the rest of the cast is perfect.

Yep good film upping it to an 8/10 on the re watch.

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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 02:48:11 PM »

Yep good film upping it to an 8/10 on the re watch.

up it to a 9/10  Wink

btw, this is one film that despite taking place almost entirely outdoors on a beautiful sunny day I'd definitely consider a noir.

Now, while there are a million definitions of noir and arguments over what constitutes noir (whether it's a genre or a style and what the style is etc. etc. etc.) my understanding is that one thing that is absolutely essential for a movie to be a noir is that by definition a noir is a crime movie. (A crime drama or a crime thriller or whatever). In Jeopardy, the only crime is really peripheral to the main story. And in fact, the suspense the whole dark, or "noir" feel, really has nothing to do with the crime it's really about whether the husband can be rescued in time; even if there would be no criminal element involved even if Stanwyck would have had to seek help from a non-criminal the movie would have the same noir feel cuz of the dark suspense (and how danger lurks beneath the surface of the bright sunny day and lovely family vacation, etc.) Even before Ralph Meeker ever showed up, I said to myself, "This definitely has a noir feel." Of course, once you have Meeker join the story, now you have the crime element necessary for a noir. But an interesting question would be: If Meeker had never shown up and there had been no element of crime or criminal, could we call this a noir?

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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 03:26:06 PM »

just saw the movie, it is incredible. As to DJ's comment about it being the best 69-minute feature he knows: the only possible competition I can think of are some of the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott Westerns, which are all similar running times, but that's it.

actually, I just checked it up on IMDB: all Boetticher/Scott Westerns are 72-78 minutes long... so, yes DJ, I agree that Jeopardy is the best feature I can think of that is under 70 minutes  Smiley

btw, IMO, here is one pretty bad goof: When Sullivan is finally freed, he is able to walk away, on his feet, with help from Stanwyck and Meeker (kinda like how a football player who sprains an ankle or hurts a leg gets a little help by leaning on his teammates while walking off he field, so that he doesn't put the full weight on the bad leg). However, wouldn't Sullivan's leg be terribly broken at this point? It was stuck under that enormous trunk for several hours (he even said, as soon as he got stuck, that he didn't feel anything; does that mean he lost circulation, and possibly will require amputation?) Now that he is finally freed, there is no way Sullivan could have put even one ounce of weight on that leg at all. Stanwyck and Meeker should have carried him in such a way that he was putting zero weight on that broken leg.... or else he would have had to crawl away on his hands.
I'm no doctor, and thank God I've never broken a leg, but am I wrong about this? I really thought it was a bad error that Sullivan was able to walk away even being assisted by Stanwyck and Meeker using both legs.

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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 04:09:33 PM »

I think he was just trapped.

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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 05:03:04 PM »

I think he was just trapped.

then why did he say he can't feel any pain? I thought that when he said he doesn't feel any pain, maybe the nerves were gone or circulation was gone, etc., which would mean that  it was a very BAD thing not to feel any pain.

So you are saying he just somehow got trapped under a trunk but nothing was broken and that's why he didn't feel any pain? How can a huge trunk fall like that, "trap" his foot, but not break it?


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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2013, 05:55:29 PM »


So you are saying he just somehow got trapped under a trunk but nothing was broken and that's why he didn't feel any pain? How can a huge trunk fall like that, "trap" his foot, but not break it?


two boulders either side of his ankle but enough above to break the fall of piling across the top, trapped. 

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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2013, 03:58:20 AM »

just saw the movie, it is incredible. As to DJ's comment about it being the best 69-minute feature he knows: the only possible competition I can think of are some of the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott Westerns, which are all similar running times, but that's it.


Some contenders:
James Whale's Frankenstein: 70 minutes.
The Marx Bros.' Duck Soup: 69 minutes.
W.C. Fields' It's A Gift: 68 minutes.
Buster Keaton's The Cameraman: 68 minutes.
Charlie Chaplin's The Kid: 68 minutes.
Robert Wiene's The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari: 67 minutes.
Tod Browning's Freaks: 64 minutes.

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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2015, 12:21:24 PM »

As incredible as it can get. The coincidences and the improbabilities (the most unlikely being the keystonecops-like mexican policemen: the scene where they stop the car with Meeker and Stanwick without suspecting anything dicey is memorable, maybe only surpassed by the one where Meeker can find a useful wooden box just a few yards away from where the car stops in full desert) are so many and concentrated that I couldn't help laughing watching the father and the usual moronic kid submerged by the high tide. I give it 6/10 only because, as said elsewhere, I'm in love with BS though I must admit here she doesn't look her best.

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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2017, 09:10:58 AM »

Re-watched this again and agree with everyone. It's great. I especially love the travelogue of the open road in the beginning.

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titoli
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2017, 01:56:48 PM »

Re-watched this again and agree with everyone.
Except me.

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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2017, 02:18:34 PM »

You're right, titoli. But as I've said in some other thread, implausibility of plot doesn't bother me as long as the actors make it work. I agree though the scene with the cops and Meeker pretending to sleep was pretty ridiculous.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2017, 02:25:16 PM »


Some contenders:
James Whale's Frankenstein: 70 minutes.
The Marx Bros.' Duck Soup: 69 minutes.
W.C. Fields' It's A Gift: 68 minutes.
Buster Keaton's The Cameraman: 68 minutes.
Charlie Chaplin's The Kid: 68 minutes.
Robert Wiene's The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari: 67 minutes.
Tod Browning's Freaks: 64 minutes.
69 minutes means 69 minutes. Not slightly more-than or slightly less-than. But if Duck Soup really is 69 minutes long I guess I'd better amend my statement to "the best non-comedy 69-minute feature I know."

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