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The Raoul Walsh File – Part 2

The Raoul Walsh File - Part 2

We continue going through all the Raoul Walsh films I saw between 1952-1970—72 in all—as noted in my movie card file.

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1940; d: Raoul Walsh).

1961: Very good (An exciting, vigorous melodrama mixing truck driving, murder, and insanity — directed in sharp, tough and economical fashion by Walsh, one of the best of the action directors, with a superb performance by Ida Lupino, good support from George Raft, Humphrey Bogart (miscast in a minor role). Memorable and highly charged and effective.)

COME SEPTEMBER (1961; d: Robert Mulligan; exec. p: Raoul Walsh).

1961: Poor (Old-fashioned, dated and pretty insipid romantic comedy… Typically colorful scenery, stupidly predictable situations, boringly “risque” dialogue, tepid direction.)

THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE (1941; d: Raoul Walsh).

1961: Excellent (Superbly directed, eloquently acted romantic tragi-comedy set in the “Gay Nineties”,  centering on a couple of friends (one a tough, sensitive kid, the other a loud opportunist) and their love of the same girl. Marvelous performances by James Cagney, Olivia De Havilland, Jack Carson, Rita Hayworth; vivid, evocative photography (by James Wong Howe) and nostalgic, effective music under Walsh’s vital, strong direction make this a memorable and moving achievement.)

Added 1962: (A remarkable movie, and, along with High Sierra, The Roaring Twenties, White Heat, one of Walsh’s finest works.)

THE ENFORCER (1951; d: Bretaigne Windust, and uncredited: Raoul Walsh).

1961: Very good (Humphrey Bogart is brilliant as always, and is very well supported by Zero Mostel, Everett Sloane, and others, in this expertly done, exciting police picture about a D.A. trying to find the right evidence to convict the head of an infamous murder-for-profit organization; directed with flair for atmosphere and action — Walsh? — tightly written, often starkly realistic, suspenseful, a minor-key masterpiece.)

UNCERTAIN GLORY (1944; d: Raoul Walsh).

1961: Very good- (Fascinating, expertly directed, written, acted war story about a French killer who escapes the guillotine, is recaptured, then gives up his life for the cause against the Germans. Very well played by Errol Flynn, and Paul Lukas as his captor; Walsh’s sure direction carries conviction and his grasp of action and atmosphere is sharp and taut and keen. A fine, minor piece of work by an exciting, vigorous talent.)


1961: Good* (Expertly directed and photographed period swashbuckler based on the [C.S.] Forester novels — suavely handled action sequences in typical Walsh fashion, good acting (even from Gregory Peck), fine production shot in England. Thoroughly entertaining and delightful.)

EVERY NIGHT AT EIGHT (1935; d: Raoul Walsh).

1962: Fair* (Amusing, fast paced, very likable little comedy-romance about radio and a girl trio and the clever band-leader who promotes them to stardom; nicely played, vigorously directed. A potboiler, but nonetheless charming and unpretentious.)

CHEYENNE (1947; d: Raoul Walsh).

1962: Very good- (Tight, exciting, very well paced western about a stage-robber, his girl-friend, mistaken identities — nicely written, effectively acted, directed with a flair that is uniquely Walsh’s, and photographed with a sure knowledge of the western-locale. Really an excellent minor Walsh, delightful and exciting.)

GUN FURY (1953; d: Raoul Walsh).

1962: Fair* (Vigorous, if typical, western: in Walsh’s usual style: unmannered, simple, tough, and effective. Good photography, fair acting, O.K. story. Walsh makes it all seem a good deal better than it is.)

OBJECTIVE, BURMA! (1945; d: Raoul Walsh).

1962: Good* (Expertly directed, rousingly acted and written World War II story set during the Burma campaign; Walsh, as always, is exciting and vigorous — though not among his masterpieces — like High Sierra or White Heat — this is certainly an engrossing, exciting, adventure. Errol Flynn effectively leads the all-male cast.)

Added 1966: (Walsh is not a realist, like [Samuel] Fuller, so there is not the authenticity of the latter’s work; but there is the adventuresome personality of Walsh — and he is the author.)

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