A con man tries to blackmail a Mexican gangster.
A con man tries to blackmail a Mexican gangster.
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Even in the blank desert, there’s no escaping the baggage of meaning nothing, so soon after fighting for everything.
Robert Montgomery does a tour of duty as the director and lead actor of “Ride the Pink Horse.” The film is both an outlier in its genre, and also - one of the most essential post-war noirs.
Montgomery shows that the angst of malaise doesn’t stop at the big city limits. Instead of New York or LA, “Pink Horse” unfolds in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Far from being the art and tourism hub of the southwest that it is today, the Santa Fe of Montgomery is barely recognizable as the United States. It rather seems to exist in a borderland alongside…
The noir of no emotions that still wants us to feel emotions. Ride the Pink Horse sees Robert Montgomery at his least appealing: an emotionless, soulless crook sniffing after the big juicy bucks. Strictly in cash. It is an uncharacteristic role for him and it kills his usual sprightly charm that is so full of heart. This, though, was not the problem I had with the film. However much I hated to see him act as an unfeeling asshole, he was undoubtedly convincing in the role.
The problematic part comes when the movie tries to humanize Robert. It wants us to feel empathy towards him, but it doesn't provide a credible character arc on which that empathy could spread its…
Wow, really solid film from director and star Robert Montgomery. Funny and slowly revealing script from Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer. Some great dialog from these two frequent collaborators with Howard Hawks.
Robert Montgomery, not one of my favorites, is very good in this role as a veteran with possible PTSD and certainly anger issues. Though I kept wishing it was Dick Powell instead. He's gone to some border town to extract revenge for friend, though the way he treats people it's hard to believe he has any friends. Although he is a generous tipper and is nice to the help. Everyone else is a nuisance.
A teenage girl attaches herself to him, which he finds a great nuisance until she ends up being a great help. I hate to give too much of the story, as it unfolds very slowly and is a delight to experience.
Needed more tequila bro-down's with Pancho.
Some of this ain't bad, especially the kickass direction and the B&W photography, but the entire Pilar arc makes no sense to me. Montgomery's character is an ass to her from second 1, yet she does not leave him alone, and is a constant help when he most needs a friend. I just. I don't get it.
After that, nothing pulled me back in to the story. I was lost in an ocean of not giving a fuck about the main character, their (minimal) evolution, or the story being presented, especially since Pilar stayed so central to the story, and kept doing everything for this dude that is consistently rude to her. And the…
Robert Montgomery going from Pre-Code pretty boy to auteur director misunderstood in his own times is still the wildest thing to me. I have such immense respect for Montgomery for the fact that he always pushed himself to take those chances. I think back to 1930’s The Big House, where he has a scene towards the end in which he just unleashes this vast amount of manic energy that really seems shocking given the screen persona he typified up to that point. I think about that scene a lot, and I feel that really shows that Montgomery was always willing to push the bounds of what people expected from him, eventually leading to his turns behind the camera, where he again defied expectations.
So much to like here and yet somehow I couldn't totally give in to it.
Montgomery's violent, sarcastic, racist, veteran turns up in a border town trying to settle a score. The feds and the locals look on as things get nasty.
It's got an excellent femme fatale, memorable support, some really great cinematography and imperial phase Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer scripting. It's a very very hard noir that looks and sounds amazing.
And Robert Montgomery has to take a lot of credit for that, his direction is excellent, taking a lot of the elements of the flawed but interesting 'Lady in the Lake' and making them work far more smoothly in a movie that combines Marlowe style early…
Given that Ride the Pink Horse was only his second solo directorial effort, Robert Montgomery's work here is remarkably assured. In collaboration with spectacularly talented cinematographer Russell Metty, Montgomery made a film with an impressive look, one that is highlighted by periodic flourishes (like the lengthy tracking shot that opens the film, something Metty no doubt recalled when Orson Welles asked him to create a far more complicated one for Touch of Evil) and reoccurring visual touchstones, particularly the camera's habit of shooting Lucky Gagin (Montgomery) from behind. Whether this was to create a more conventional version of the POV camera Montgomery employed in Lady of the Lake, because Montgomery carries himself in a very distinctive way, or for another…
"Don't wave any flags at me. I've seen enough flags."
So many noir trademarks are on display here: an embittered ex-GI, a shit heel rich guy who thinks his money makes him untouchable, a plot involving murder and blackmail, and all the hard boiled dialogue you can handle. But the setting is transposed from the shadowy street corners of New York or LA to a southwest border town at fiesta time, where Zozobra, God of Bad Luck oversees all the action. (How fuckin' noir is that?) This allows the film to subvert genre expectations in interesting ways.
For one, the script isn't shy about implicating its white protagonist for his role in bringing violence into this otherwise seemingly peaceful indigenous…
Moving around a suspended place. Terrific border noir less about plot than a mood of moral uncertainty. Montgomery removed performance is something of an acquired taste but it plays off very well the strong supporting cast and given how the fine script is all about how everyone acts over him that is a solid choice. Montgomery as director and Russel Metty do combine for some impressive immersion at the place and as some here have suggested there's a light weight Touch of Evil feel to things (one wonders if Welles picked Metty on the basis of his work here).
"What gives Ride The Pink Horse its spark is this turn toward the normal bounds of what we watch when we watch. It’s a picture about the margins — of America, of masculinity, of race — and thus defines itself by the constant turns. Despite its possible status as a postwar film, Ride the Pink Horse fits better as a timeless film, by which I mean, rather literally, time-less: its universe exists outside time. Nobody really has a past, and nobody really has a future. Everyone exists only in this moment."
Before Touch of Evil, before Mann’s Border Incident, there was Robert Montgomery’s post-war border noir Ride The Pink Horse. In the opening’s fluid long take, we watch vengeful veteran Gagin arrive in the rural town of San Pablo, concealing a pistol and surreptitiously hiding the film’s MacGuffin in a bus station locker. Character, setting, and anxiety established in a few economical minutes.
The first act pulses with hardbitten intensity, positioning Montgomery’s Gagin as a blunt bruising outsider. Yet despite the fisticuffs and posturing, Ride The Pink Horse pummels its tough guy into the dirt at every turn. For all the angry nihilism, deliciously hardboiled dialogue, and violence that follows in its protagonist’s wake, this is not the…
That’s the kind of man I like, the man with no place.
I haven’t seen a lot of Robert Montgomery, but I swear there are moments early on where you can literally see him chewing his words as he spits them at other characters.
He also directed and there’s some nice work in this nifty bit of noir as he creates a slow burn that keeps you interested. There’s some great photography and I love how the festival provides happy music in the background throughout the movie regardless of what’s happening on the screen.
BONUS POINTS to Thomas Gomez and his Oscar nominated character, Pancho. He’s the one I wanted to spend more time with.
I got knifed three times. When you're young, everybody sticks knife in you.