A thriller that runs around everywhere, dipping its toes into melodrama, social problem picture, action, and film noir, with mostly breathless abandon thanks to director Douglas Sirk and co-writer Sam Fuller. Patricia Knight is a parolee trying to go straight, torn between former lover and gambler John Baragrey and upstanding romantic parole officer Cornel Wilde, but fate soon implodes this triangle into an erotic escape from social convention. Weird details abound, like Wilde's blind mother and the inexplicable character reversal…
UPDATE: I guess I'll add some more.
- The very nature of the film precludes a single viewing, so I'll be sure to repeat at some point; likewise, subtitling becomes nigh-impossible at times.
- Obviously the body politics and the mechanization of labor weigh heavily (see Godard's own speechifying early in the film), but I was more moved by the personal, familial relationships at the center of the ostensible "narrative" component. Everyone's so damned vulnerable.
- Godard is quite the uncomfortably sexy filmmaker (i.e. the brilliant morphing between a child's face and the doggy-style thrusting of her parents).
An auteurist curio and a masterpiece of redface, Sirk's delightfully over-serious Western juggles some dependable action with an uninteresting tale of sibling rivalry between Taza (Rock Hudson) and Naiche (Rex Reason), scions of Cochise (Jeff Chandler) who dies as the movie opens. Despite apparently enjoying the hell out of making the picture, not much of what makes Sirk or Hudson interesting today survives in the film, except for a kind of double life that Taza must live as a chieftan…