Farewell, My Love (2000 TVM/DTV)

US / 90 minutes / color / Frontline, Montage, World International Dir & Scr: Randall Fontana Pr: Deverin Karol, Eric Weston, William Ewart, David Peters Cine: Rex A. Nicholson Cast: Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, Phillip Rhys, Brion James, Ed Lauter, Mark A. Sheppard, Steffen Gregory Foster, Sarah Wynter, Adam Baldwin, Robert Culp, Hamilton Mitchell, Constance Zimmer, Craig Aldrich, Kimberlee Peterson, Catherine McGoohan.

Years ago, the criminous Russian Karpov family—Peter (Foster), George (Mitchell), Natalya (Wynter) and patriarch Sergei (Lauter)—paused in their journey across Europe at the small Pyrenean vineyard of the Fauré family, where they murdered M. Fauré (uncredited), gang-raped and murdered Mme. Fauré (McGoohan) and left the Faurés’ adolescent daughter Brigit (Peterson) severely injured. Brigit was saved by the timely arrival of a neighbor, Renault (James, who is surely rocker Richard Thompson moonlighting; wrong accent, though).

Brion James as Renault.

Now the Karpovs live a life of organized crime in LA, which is where an older, harder Brigit (Fitzpatrick) has just arrived, athirst for vengeance. Renault is Continue reading

Morton Thompson’s Not as a Stranger (1955)

vt Not as a Stranger
US / 136 minutes / bw / Kramer, UA Dir & Pr: Stanley Kramer Scr: Edna Anhalt, Edward Anhalt Story: Not as a Stranger (1954) by Morton Thompson Cine: Franz Planer Cast: Olivia de Havilland, Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bickford, Myron McCormick, Lon Chaney Jr., Jesse White, Harry Morgan, Lee Marvin, Virginia Christine, Whit Bissell, Jack Raine, Mae Clarke, William Vedder, John Dierkes, Jerry Paris, Juanita Moore.

Kramer’s first movie as a director has little noirish interest outside its cast, which is crowded out with major and minor contributors to the genre, such as Mitchum, Grahame, de Havilland, Sinatra, Crawford, Morgan, Marvin, Christine and a number of familiar faces among the extensive list of uncredited actors. Its source, Thompson’s novel, was a whopping medical drama exploring the same thematic territory that the UK author A.J. Cronin had mapped out a quarter of a century earlier in novels like The Citadel (1937).

Lucas “Luke” Marsh (Mitchum) is a medical student dedicated to the point of obsession in his studies at a big-city teaching hospital; unfortunately, his father Job (Chaney) has drunk all of Luke’s inheritance from his mother and, though Luke’s tutor Dr. Aarons (Crawford) and best pal Alfred “Al” Boone (Sinatra) lend him some money toward paying his fees, it’s only enough for the hospital bursar (Dierkes) to give him a 30-day extension before, unless he finds the rest, he’ll be expelled.

Not as a Stranger - Pic 1

Robert Mitchum as Luke Marsh with Gloria Grahame as the predatory widow Harriet Lang: “They always warn you about solitary drinking,” she purrs at him, “but they never tell you how to get people to stay up and drink with you.”

Shy Swedish–American nurse Kristina “Kris” Hedvigson (de Havilland) worships the ground Luke treads on; so far as he’s concerned, she’s just an older woman who’s kind enough to help him from time to time. (In fact, de Havilland was just a year or so older than the supposedly student-age Mitchum. Sinatra was actually older than de Havilland.) But, at a smorgasbord party that Kris throws, her friend Bruni (Christine) brags that Kris has extensive savings; soon, to the horror of Continue reading