I’ve never been much of a fan of obscure, low-budgeted, boilerplate film noirs. It’s a real oddball cult thing. I realize and respect the fact that some can’t get enough of this genre, and are always forking over for Bluray box sets, etc. This fraternity will most likely be interested in a new noir package coming on 2.15.21 from England’s Powerhouse Films — Columbia Noir #2.
One of the noirs is Joseph Newman‘s 711 Ocean Drive (’50), which until today I’d never had the slightest interest in. (I just rented it on Amazon.) Edmond O’Brien, Joanne Dru, Otto Kruger and Don Porter. Bookies, wire services, greedy gamblers, horse races, etc.
In any event I was surprised to notice that HE’s own Glenn Kenny provides the commentary track on the disc.
From Bosley Crowther‘s N.Y. Times review, dated 7.20.50:
“It is not the bookmaker (O’Brien) who is the villain in this film. It is the suave and elusive syndicate gangster (Kruger) who makes the poor little free-enterprise ‘bookies’ pay tribute to him. And in its illustration of this vermin, 711 Ocean Drive is no more original or revealing than 100 previous gangster films. He is the same evil fellow you have seen countless times before, and the story of his badgering of the hero is as familiar as the palm of your hand.
“The hero, whom O’Brien plays in a cocky, truculent way, is, indeed, something of a champion of the highest American ideals. All he wants to do is run his operation and make love to a syndicate gangster’s wife — a thoroughly acceptable ambition, since the latter is beautiful, fragile, well-bred Joanne Dru.
“It is Kruger as the boss of the syndicate who is the snake in the grass — he and Donald Porter as his henchman — a pair of contemptible racketeers. And the ultimate extirpation of O’Brien after a chase through Boulder Dam seems not so much a glorious triumph for law and order as a notch for the syndicate.
“In short, this little picture, conventionally written but well photographed, does no more than any gangster picture in reminding us that gangsters are crooks.”