I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Ensign Willie Keith (Robert Frances) who is new to the Navy is assigned to the Caine, a ship that has seen better days.  Keith isn't so crazy about the first captain, but then that captain is replaced by Capt.Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) who appears to have what it takes to shape things up.  But soon, it is apparent that not only is Queeg overbearing and unreasonable, but that Queeg may have some mental issues.

Keith and two others, Lt. Maryk (Van Johnson) and Lt. Keefer (Fred McMurray), gather information that they believe will prove that Queeg should not be in charge.  Keefer backs out at the last minute, stating that their accusations might not stick and cost them their careers.  Later, Queeg appears to lose it during a storm, and Maryk takes over.  A mutiny charge is made.  A lawyer, Lt. Greenwald (Jose Ferrer) cautiously agrees to defend Maryk.

I'm not a fan of films about the military or war, but this was one of Bogart's films that I had never seen.  Bogart does a great job showing how tightly wound Queeg is.  I saw similarities between how dry Ferrer plays his role and how his son Miguel ("NCIS: Los Angeles") puts a deadpan spin on a lot of his roles.  The one thing that didn't work for me was a romantic sub-plot involving Ensign Keith and his on-and-off sweetheart May.

James Colburn (In Like Flint), Jerry Paris ("The Dick Van Dyke Show"), E.G. Marshall ("The Defenders), and Claude Atkins ("B.J. and the Bear") all have roles in this as well.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Harder They Fall (1956)

Eddie (Humphrey Bogart) used to be a well-known sportswriter until the newspaper he worked for folded.  Nick (Rod Steiger), a less than ethical fight promoter, begs Eddie to get the news out about his latest find, a boxer named Toro (Mike Lane).  Toro is big, strong, but has no real boxing skills.  Nick is only looking at dollar signs.  Against his better judgement, Eddie agrees to be a publicity agent.

Eddie invites a sports news colleague and old friend of his, Art (Harold J. Stone) to Toro's first professional fight. Toro's opponent has been paid to take a dive, and Art recognizes it right away.  Eddie asks Art to put a spin on what he saw.  Art agrees, but Eddie is aware that Art's respect for him has gone down because of it.  Nick and his crew, including Leo (Nehemiah Persoff), a sneaky bookkeeper, are all about making dollars for themselves while shortchanging the boxers.  Eddie is in deep, mainly because of his own greed.  But his distaste for how Toro is being treated grows, and his conscious gets a hold of him.

This film is not far off the mark about how boxing was run during the mid-20th century.  Unfortunately, the sport still hasn't been able to completely shake off the effects of past misdeeds by promoters, managers, trainers, organized crime involvement, etc., even to this day.  This is a good film that sheds light on the underside of a great sport.  This was also Bogart's last film.

Jack Albertson ("Chico and the Man"), Abel Fernandez ("The Untouchables"), as well as professional boxers Max Baer and Jersey Joe Wolcott can be seen in small roles.

Labels: , , , ,