Unrated, 1 hr. 15 min. Directed By: Gerald Mayer. Release Date: Nov 03, 1950.
There’s nothing really wrong with this movie. At 75 minutes, its run time is a little short. It’s a quiet, almost sleepy little movie. My reaction might actually be caused by the fact that I had meant to watch Archer instead of this, and then well, I found out there wouldn’t be any Archer. While there’s nothing really wrong with what I saw here, there wasn’t anything really right. I had a hard time wrapping my head inside these peoples’ heads. Even when there’s something that should be exciting, I couldn’t feel it. I’m not really sure what the problem was, although I’m inclined to blame the icy way Gunther, the main… antihero? Antagonist? He’s certainly the lead, but based on the way this character was portrayed, I had a sort of young Ben Stein with new Botox vibe working.
Actually, Gunther wasn’t the only character that felt reserved. If a quiet, non-emotive gunman holds you hostage in a bar, you should be a little rattled. It’s not like we’re talking about a setting of Baghdad in the modern day… well, you wouldn’t find a bar in modern day Baghdad anyway, but you get where I’m going with this. These are good, stolid 50s folks. Dressed to the nines for some inexplicable reason; (one of the many things I’m thankful for is that the general standard of casual attire has been in steady decline for the last 60 years or so. If I had to wear a suit or slacks everywhere, I might lose it.) they shouldn’t be so used to this kind of situation that there’s barely a crack in the thin veneer of their Jolie-esque facial expressions.
Speaking of Gunther. There’s a lot I find particularly not right about him. Usually in these older movies, the criminals are the ones who don’t quite fit in with the crowd. They’re dressed more casually and shabbily. Usually they’re not attractive, packing on some extra pounds, possessed of backne and with messed up teeth. Gunther looks like the proverbial boy next door, hair Brylcreamed to within an inch of his life, suit and tie all pressed and clean. While I’d accept that in a modern movie, because, well, serial killers look like everyone else, as Christina Ricci once said, that’s not how bad guys were usually portrayed, even crazy ones.
I guess this movie’s saving grace, by my standards, is that it’s blessedly short. I didn’t make the emotional connection necessary for me to really enjoy this movie. I couldn’t find much to pick apart about it either, which will explain both the shortness of this post and the discrepancy between head and gut.