1. Excellent! There are many things I don’t like about the movie (the pacing for one), but watching John Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald is certainly not one of them. Actors of that calibre make you overlook many things you (I) might otherwise carp about.

    • Thank you. I agree that the film is flawed, and you’re right about the pacing, which is very uneven. There are some great raw ingredients here, but I have an issue with several aspects of the film, especially the last third. But watching those two (and Brennan) is a lot of fun.

  2. This is one (of many!) John Garfield films I haven’t yet seen. However, I agree with your analysis of the “mark” in movies, so Geraldine Fitzergald will be interesting to watch here. It’s good to know, going in, not to expect too much, but it still sounds well worth it. 🙂

  3. While the con isn’t as snug in this as some of the best noirs it’s a good one and the picture fits well as a bridge for Garfield between The Postman Always Rings Twice and Humoresque. It’s one I’ll try to watch whenever it’s shown unlike We Were Strangers or Juarez.

    Garfield always projected that sexy vitality that made you watch him on screen and broke him out of the pack. Warner’s was the right studio for him since their specialty was performers with that scrappy edge but he had his own unique brand of energy which made him stand out and not just be a second rung Cagney or Bogart. And while he did well in films that costarred sweet dispositioned actresses like Priscilla Lane and Anne Shirley it was when he went up against tougher customers like Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan, Lana Turner or Joan Crawford that sparks really flew.

    That said he and Geraldine Fitzgerald pair well. While she’s unquestionably a lady she has an underlying toughness that enabled her to stand her ground with the major Warner’s stars like Garfield, Davis, Sanders, Greenstreet and Lorre without being bowed and segue into a successful career as a respected character actress. She isn’t some simpering dolt in this and rises to the occasion when called upon.

    It may not be one of Garfield’s very best movies but it’s firmly in the better than average category and worth catching more than once.

    • Well put. It’s so true that he is even more magnetic when he’s paired with tough customers–I’d add Patricia Neal to that list too. They’re so good together. It’s not a great noir, but it’s solid, and there’s enough working to make it a fun watch. I like how in his big reveal he’s unapologetic and straightforward–his “this is who I am, stay away” kind of approach is refreshingly honest and surprising, so much different than the usual (and much less believable) strung-out guilt. It suits his tough ways, and is part of why he’s so much more likeable than the smooth operator con artist.

  4. As you say it’s a fine vehicle for Garfield and the early stages of the big con are fun. I liked the central thematic material about ageing in crime, and how grifting is a young man’s game.

  5. I’ve never seen this movie, and I must admit that I definitely need to see more John Garfield movies. I have only seen “Humoresque” and “The Postman Always Rings Twice”. After reading your fab post, I want to see this film.

    I would also like to invite you to participate in my upcoming blogathon. The link is below with more details.


  6. Ok, you summed up Garfield perfectly! And I LOVED how you highlighted Gladys’ reaction to him as a way of talking about him! and the screenshots were perfect.

    I love this movie. It’s one of my top 5 noirs. I’m so glad you chose this for the blogathon. Thanks so much for participating!!

    P.S. Loved the mention of Matt Damon. I agree 🙂

  7. I haven’t seen Nobody Lives Forever, but I agree that John Garfield has a magnetic presence – you just can’t look away from him even if there are others on the screen.

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