- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Sternberg's farewell masterpiece
- John Podeschi
Over the past 65 years I've seen thousands of feature films mainly in commercial theaters in the USA, and also all over Europe, in cinematheques, film museums, and in American university film societies. This is one of my favorite pictures, better every time I watch it. It is isually distinctive, with masterful camera placement, with carefully posed actors moving in wonderful compositions with sets detailed and lighted as only Sternberg could do it. Wonderful cutting.Perfectly paced with a screenplay structure that emphasizes the dialogue and interactions of the lead actors. A textbook picture in teaching how character and performance can be done with a rare type of artistic formality, especially in the way the dialogue is voiced by wonderful actors totally in control of their performances.
The Real Focus of this Movie
I was looking forward to seeing this movie, but I became focused on something other than the story.. the wardrobe. It all started with Robert Mitchum's suit. It looked too large for him, so I started trying to figure out why. I thought maybe it was just the style then, maybe they were trying to hide his big belly, maybe they were just trying to make him look larger than life. Finally, when the action scene started I realized he probably needed a suit he could really move around in, and not split any seams. (The one male who had an outfit that fit was the larger police officer, but I could've sworn I saw a rip in the upper seam of his arm.) Also, in one scene, Mitchum has his shirt open so you can see his bare chest. But, it takes a bit to figure out that's the case because in certain lights it looks like he's wearing an undershirt. Now, I enjoyed seeing Russell. I watched her wardrobe as well, and I think she looked wonderful! Especially during her singing did she shine. I'm not a big Russell fan, but as one reviewer posted, I just couldn't take my eyes off of her. So, I said all of that because that's how little I thought of the story. The dialogue was very stilted. It did not have a good flow. And, there was nothing new about this film. Even the sets were plain and boring. So, I spent my time admiring the only glamour in the film, Russell. While watching Mitchum, waiting for him to fill his big suit. He doesn't.
The Shanghai Falcon
Take "The Lady From Shanghai" and "Maltese Falcon", shake not very well and you have "Macao". Here's what I liked about this movie: Jane Russell. She is so telegenic that you cannot take your eyes off her. She plays a sexy and loose tramp, introduced to us in a ship cabin with a man who she obviously has been sleeping with her but in whom she has no interest. Robert Mitchum comes into the picture and kisses her and she promptly pickpockets his wallet. Cabaret owner Vincent Halloran (Brad Dexter) is the bad guy who is stuck in Macao because he would get arrested if he went beyond the 3 mile limit of the island. He suspects that one of the new visitors is a cop (the British authorities seem to be able to get the police in NYC despite the actual complexity of dealing with a 12 hour time difference) but guesses wrongly that it is Nick (Mitchum) who, by the way, can't match up to his performance in "Out of the Past". The movie fails because von Sternberg tries to create the flavor of Casbalanca - oops, Macao - but never really conveys the mystery, vice and corruption that the movie hinges on. He just gives the intention of the atmosphere. Plus there's a blind beggar who somehow always shows up in the right place. Undercover cop Bendix is fun but not given enough to work with. Gloria Grahame is perfect. I am adding a half star to my review because the dresses are gorgeous. Side note: One For My Baby, a Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer hit, is sung by Russell.
Disappointing double act
I,m amazed to see this movie rated so highly, cause i was hugely disappointed. Both Mitchum and Russell were great in His Kind of Woman, but in this they seem totally lost.The script is poor and predictable, the jokes lame, the dialogue flat and the action scenes border on parody.If only they HAD made it as a parody, it might have worked better, but this lacks any flavour.Oh yes: Russell DOES really sing in this one.
I'm really enjoying this film today for the first time and I'm enjoying the night club singing scenes, but I'm wondering if Russell did her own singing. Either they're poorly synched or it's dubbed? just wondering...... Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.
One of the best noir films ever. Robert and Jane have super chemistry together! The sparks fly in this baby...RobbyKai
Mitchum, discharged but adrift, lands with Russell in an Asian underworld. Sirens Russell and Grahame provide his motive and means for redemption. Russell, although an object of desire, is also Mitchum's better half. Grahame and Bendix, in restoring order along the trail of a stolen necklace, release Mitchum and Russell to their true fate in this screen classic.