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Red Light

Red Light(1949)

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  • Good film noir!

    • RedRain
    • 11/30/12

    Great story and not plodding. The title "Red Light" comes from the fact that the brother who is killed leaves a message in a hotel Bible for the other brother. The message is a "red light" to put on the brakes to vengeance and allow a higher power to take over. Mayo is quite good in this film and, unbelievably, is actually a good girl in this one. Raymond Burr is, of course, absolutely vile as the bad guy in this film. This is one of George Raft's better performances and he's remarkably low-key here. I can't help but believe Brian de Palma used the last scene in this film to give him the idea for the last scene in "Scarface." Both have neon signs that the bad guy falls under in the last scene of both films. Both signs are messages. Can't be a coincidence!

  • Professionals at Work

    • Lansing Sexton
    • 12/1/11

    "Red Light" is a fine B noir. Leonard Maltin calls it turgid, and David Kalat constantly damns it for not being "Double Indemnity", and then praises its originality and good performances. "Red Light" is original in its approach to the classic story of the dangers to be found when seeking vengence. Don Barry's story cleverly justifies the moral dimension of the plot by making the murderd brother a priest, and keeps that side of it alive, but not too strident, by the ironic search for the Gideon Bible.In case all this makes "Red Light" sound like a pious religious picture-it's not. "Red Light" is a noir thriller through and through. George Raft's middling stardom was well behind him by 1949, and no one ever accused him of being a precursor to Marlin Brando, but he made some fine dark crime films in the late Forties, including "Johnny Angel" and "Nocturne'. In "Red Light", it's clear and believable that George succeeded in the trucking business the hard way, and it's his brothers' job to wrestle with the spiritual side of life. The rest of the cast is a cornucopia of favorite character actors in large parts and small. Virginia Mayo whos skin is so astonishingly velvety in Danny Kaye and Bob Hope movies, shows her "Colorado Territory" acting chops to excellent effect. She's not just "the girl", she has a point of view of her own. Raymond Burr is as usual so vile that it seems impossible that he was able to become a much loved TV hero. It's the greatest persona change in movie history. Henry Morgan is a weasel himself, who also managed quite a persona change on television. Gene Lockhart, Arthur Shields, a young Arthur Franz, and William Frawley all add spice to the stewBert Glennon's excellent cinematography shows its noir style early in the film during the murder scene-shot mostly in silouette. Roy del Ruth does a fine job in one of his few independent productions of bringing all the elements together for a very satisfying picture that shouldn't be forgotten.

  • Hollywood got it Right

    • Dan Scott
    • 10/19/11

    One of the few films written where Hollyeood got it right. The use of scriptures was appropriate and revealing, and not preachy. There was no sugar-coating. It was very straight forward and thoughtful. While Raymond Burr's demise might have seemed corny, it fit the flow of the story, and was very redemptive for the George Raft character. Harry Morgan was at his evil best and Virginia Mayo was as pretty as ever. Great noir film!

  • Neat little noir

    • QRex
    • 6/28/11

    I'm surprised that Red Light hasn't been reviewed yet! I'm a fan of noir films, and while Red Light is no Big Sleep, it's still pretty good. If I could compare Red Light to anything, it would be a bronze medal: a winner, but could have been better. I particularly liked Raymond Burr's performance, and I wish Virginia Mayo's character was a bit stronger. Red Light isn't perfect, but it's enjoyable and I heartily recommend it for fellow noir fans.

  • Obscure Film Noir Gem

    • Bruce Reber
    • 5/25/11

    "Red Light" is an obscure film noir gem starring George Raft and Virginia Mayo. It's a very dark story about trucking company owner John Torno (Raft), trying to find who murdered his Army chaplain brother. Torno learns that the key to solving the murder lies in a Gideon Bible stolen from the hotel room where his brother was killed. Torno will stop at nothing to avenge his brother's death, and he finds out from a passage in the Bible circled by his brother that it's wrong to want vengeance, because it's the work of God and not mortal man. Virginia Mayo is good in her role as the woman who helps Torno, Raymond Burr plays his role as the embezzler Torno had sent to jail and who it's discovered had Torno's brother killed, and Henry (Harry) Morgan plays Burr's prison buddy, the one who actually did the killing. I don't quite get the title, since a red light has nothing to do with anything in the film, and besides it's in black and white. I rate it three stars. I'm a true film noir fan TCM, so thanks for showing the greats of the genre.

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