Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Unseen #13: Macao!

Why’d I Buy It ?: Came in Robert Mitchum Box Set.

Why Haven’t I Watched It ?: No good reason what so ever.

How Was It?: I’ve had to put this project on hold, thanks to the gignormous Eva revisit. But now that that beast has been slain it’s time for THE UNSEEN to return! Only to be put it on hold again in a couple of days to start another month long project. Still I wanted to put one up to prove that the series isn’t dead. And I picked one hell of a stopover.

There’s a whole lot to like about Macao. It’s old school Hollywood filmmaking at its best. Powered by a great director (actually two great directors Nicholas Ray came into pinch hit for Von Sternberg) lush black and white, sultry exoticism, and two stars who aren’t so much people as they are sentient balls of sex.

Macao is as dirty of a movie as one could make under the production code. It might as well have been subtitled “Everybody Wants To Sleep With Jane Russell!” Given that Jane Russell and the level that everyone wants to sleep with her, is what drives the movie. Oh sure there’s some macguffins about stolen diamonds and a smuggling ring, but really it’s all about Russell and her uh attributes.

And what man could possibly stand up to Russell without seeming like some sort of eunic? Robert Fucking Mitchum that’s who. Mitchum is of course the coolest son of a bitch who has ever walked the planet. A granite slab of lazy eyed unintimitable masculinity. Mitchum owns every scene he’s in, in this movie or in any movie for that matter. Heck I'm fairly certain he owns scenes in movies he's not in.

Mitchum plays a drifter who winds up in the backwater of Macao. He fends off a would be rapist who was giving Russell some trouble and she steals his wallet to say thank you. Mitchum ends up mistaken for an undercover cop by a prominent ganglord who Russell ends up singing for. The gangster targets Mitchum for death, though Mitchum doesn’t seem to worried. Neither does Russell, indeed they seem interested in little aside from what fine specimens they find each other to be.

This is all done with the best of studio system economy. The film barely runs over eighty minutes and crams more entertainment and artistry into it’s scant runtime then most films do at twice the length.

Anyone looking for an old fashioned picture filled with exotic locales, danger round any corner, where men where the men where cool and smoked like chimneys, and the women where dames and wore the phrase like a complement, would do well to visit Macao.

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