Movie Diary 7/25/2009

hiskindHis Kind of Woman (John Farrow, 1951). Prime Mitchum in a mad story, which for the first hour at least pokes around like Waiting for Godot at a Mexican resort, except in this case Godot is Raymond Burr. Already weird, the movie goes off its hinges in the late going, thanks to re-shoots ordered and supervised by producer Howard Hughes; the ping-ponging between light comedy (Vincent Price as a ham actor quoting Shakespeare) and sadism (Mitchum getting belt-flogged) is head-scratching. Jane Russell and Mitchum look like they’re in on a secret.

Hindle Wakes (Maurice Elvey, 1927). An enlightened stage drama from 1912 expanded out into a pretty wonderful movie, with lots of location shooting in the boardwalk atmosphere of Blackpool (including great stuff inside a huge dance hall). The melodrama of the plot’s midsection gives way to a remarkable conclusion that wipes away the usual conventions.