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Author Topic: Quicksand (1950)  (Read 1107 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: July 03, 2013, 02:54:12 AM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042869/?ref_=sr_1

Quicksand (1950)


Mickey Rooney plays a mechanic, a normal guy who, in typical noir fashion does one "little" thing wrong, and before he knows it, he's in over his head, and struggling in the metaphorical quicksand.

Needing $20 for a date, he "borrows" it from the cash register at the auto garage where he works, knowing he'll return it the next day, when a friend who owes him the money is paying him back. But then, when the accountant shows up 2 days early to count the money in the register, he is desperate to return the $20, so he buys a $100 watch on credit and immediately hocks it for $30. But it turns out there is a law against hocking something you don't fully own, and the watch store is gonna press charges unless he can pay them $100 within 24 hours. Desperate to get the $100............  

Directed by Irving Pichel

cast, courtesy of imdb

Mickey Rooney    ...    Dan
Jeanne Cagney    ...    Vera
Barbara Bates    ...    Helen
Peter Lorre    ...    Nick
Taylor Holmes    ...    Harvey
Art Smith    ...    Mackey
Wally Cassell    ...    Chuck
Richard Lane       ...    Lt. Nelson
Patsy O'Connor       ...    Millie
John Gallaudet       ...    Moriarity
Minerva Urecal    ...    Landlady
Sidney Marion    ...    Shorty
Jimmie Dodd    ...    Buzz (as Jimmy Dodd)
Lester Dorr    ...    Baldy
Kitty O'Neil    ...    Madame Zaronga


I saw the movie on TCM. I give it a 7.5/10.
I think the film could have been better if it had a more dramatic feel; at times it felt a bit too lighthearted for me, though I suppose that could have been intended, to emphasize the point, how a happy-go-lucky "normal good guy" guy who thinks everything is fine and doesn't even realize how much serious trouble he is getting himself into by doing the one "little" crime of "borrowing" $20 for a day. Also, there is some useless narration here that annoys me - the kind with no beginning and no end and not within any sort of structure - it just pops in a few random times here or there when the Rooney character is alone and the filmmaker is trying to impart some information to us. And you could make the case that once they had such a great actor as Peter Lorre, perhaps he could have been given a bigger role. But really, I don't wanna sound like I am complaining too much; this is a very fine movie.

I have always loved Rooney as an actor, and he does a terrific job here. Jeanne Cagney is real good as the femme fatale.

Look for a very young and uncredited Jack Elam.


« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 01:32:16 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2013, 06:13:23 AM »

Interesting Noir with Rooney plying against type. 6.5-7/10

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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 03:41:38 AM »

Mechanic Mickey Rooney wants to take Jeanne Cagney out on a date, but he's broke and a buddy who owes him $20 won't pony up right away. So he borrows $20 from the garage's cash register and has some fun with Cagney. All is well, until the next day when his buddy's out on sea and the garage's accountant comes in a few days early... Rooney buys a watch on an installment plan and hocks it straight away to put the $20 back. Wrong move, as that is against the law. Either he pays for the watch the next day, or else... And that is only the start of Rooney's nightmare, where each bad choice he makes is followed by a worse one...

Rooney ('The Strip', 'Drive A Crooked Road'), in one of his first more dramatic roles, does a good job here, aside from his schoolboy looks and his occasional voice-over narration which is spoken way too casual and doesn't fit the predicament he's in. Maybe he was still struggling to get out of his Andy Hardy straight-jacket? He gets great support tho from femme fatale Jeanne Cagney ('Don't Bother To Knock') whose only interest is an expensive mink coat she's been eyeing for some time. Peter Lorre ('The Maltese Falcon') plays a smaller, but important, part as the shady owner of a crummy arcade hall, where Cagney once worked. He is a treat to watch as usual.

Competently directed by Irving Pichel ('They Won't Believe Me'), it's the story by Robert Smith ('Sudden Fear') and the great shadow-rich cinematography by Lionel Lindon ('The Manchurian Candidate') that firmly push this movie into noir territories, also helped by the majority of the movie taking place during night-time. The scenes inside Lorre's arcade especially are worth the price of admission. All in all, it's a good B-noir that pushes all the right buttons, except for those really awkward voice-overs... 7+/10

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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 06:52:12 AM »

I like Mickey Rooney in this more than in any other of his films. I would liked to have seen him more in this type of movie.

I actually got this on DVD mainly because Peter Lorre is in it. He is always a good watch as a slimy villain.

Another one this is a good film to watch for is Minerva Urecal as the landlady. She has such a noticeable screen presence in a lot of the low budget movies in which she appeared for many years. She was good as the sinister sister in an earlier Bela Lugosi film.

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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 09:51:47 AM »

I like Mickey Rooney in this more than in any other of his films. I would liked to have seen him more in this type of movie.

Have you seen 'The Strip' (1951)? Excellent noir told in flashback by Rooney who is the prime suspect in a murder case.

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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 06:05:13 AM »

No, I haven't seen 'The Strip' yet. I've just read up on it after your post and it does look interesting. I always like it when you can see a bit of 1940s/1950s contemporary jazz in films. I notice that 'The Strip' has Louis Armstrong in it so that should be a cool movie to watch.

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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 06:28:05 AM »

No, I haven't seen 'The Strip' yet. I've just read up on it after your post and it does look interesting. I always like it when you can see a bit of 1940s/1950s contemporary jazz in films. I notice that 'The Strip' has Louis Armstrong in it so that should be a cool movie to watch.

Sounds like it will be right up your alley in that case. If you do get around to watching it, please let us know what you think of it.

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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 06:35:29 AM »

Yes I will definitely report back when I get to see 'The Strip.' I appreciate any 1950s noir or noir-like recommendations.

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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2017, 12:28:45 PM »

Looking here and on imdb I'm surprised how many people like the movie. One of the few old movies I won't defend. My biggest problem is Mickey Rooney who I simply don't like, though I thought he was OK in The Strip. Barbara Bates is more than boring and Jeanne Cagney was one of the most uninteresting femme fatales I have ever seen.

I didn't think the actors could make the story work.

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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2017, 01:33:14 PM »

Looking here and on imdb I'm surprised how many people like the movie. One of the few old movies I won't defend. My biggest problem is Mickey Rooney who I simply don't like, though I thought he was OK in The Strip. Barbara Bates is more than boring and Jeanne Cagney was one of the most uninteresting femme fatales I have ever seen.

I didn't think the actors could make the story work.

I guess we finally found a noir that I like and you don't  Wink I like Mickey Rooney. All you care about is his (un)sexiness. I'm not concerned about that; I enjoy watching him act  Wink

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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2017, 02:02:06 PM »

Quote
All you care about is his (un)sexiness.

We could say that, yes, Rooney is really not attractive.
But that wouldn't explain why I'd practically watch any movie with Edward G. Robinson, one of my favorite actors. It's certainly not his good looks and sexiness that make me watch his films. Rooney may be a halfway decent actor (which I really don't see) but he's just so bland.

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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2017, 04:48:21 PM »

We could say that, yes, Rooney is really not attractive.
But that wouldn't explain why I'd practically watch any movie with Edward G. Robinson, one of my favorite actors. It's certainly not his good looks and sexiness that make me watch his films. Rooney may be a halfway decent actor (which I really don't see) but he's just so bland.

So my version of hell is an orgy with Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, and Shelley Winters. Your version is one with Edward G. Robinson and Mickey Rooney  Evil Evil Evil

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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2017, 06:03:58 PM »

Looking here and on imdb I'm surprised how many people like the movie. One of the few old movies I won't defend. My biggest problem is Mickey Rooney who I simply don't like, though I thought he was OK in The Strip. Barbara Bates is more than boring and Jeanne Cagney was one of the most uninteresting femme fatales I have ever seen.

I didn't think the actors could make the story work.

That's funny I don't like The Strip and think his only worthwhile Noirs are Quicksand and Drive a Crooked Road.

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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2017, 07:33:06 PM »

I haven't seen Drive a Crooked Road, I'll try to track it down. But it's not on top of my list, being a Rooney movie. Tongue

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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2017, 01:27:07 AM »

I'm not much of a Mickey Rooney fan, but I think he did a good job here and I like this movie. It's fun to see him spiraling out of control, all because of the money he stole at the beginning of the film. It's a good film, released in a year full of great movies.

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