Victor Mature, Jane Russell, Hoagy Carmichael, location filming in Vegas, fabulous sets, lots of neon...what's not to like?!
Lloyd and Linda Rollins (Vincent Price and Russell) arrive in Vegas trailed by Tom Hubler (Brad Dexter), who claims to be an insurance agent keeping an eye on Linda's gorgeous necklace.
It soon becomes apparent that Lloyd is having financial troubles which he hopes to rectify at the gambling tables. Linda, meanwhile, is fighting memories of her wartime romance in Vegas with Dave Andrews (Mature), now a lieutenant on the police force.
Lloyd hocks the necklace to Clayton (Robert J. Wilke), the owner of the establishment where Linda once worked as a singer. The next morning Clayton turns up dead and the necklace is missing...
I liked this movie a lot. Sure, there are a couple of issues, for instance I was never clear why on earth Linda had married Lloyd -- talk about an odd couple! -- and Linda and Dave spend most of the movie glowering at each other. Truth to tell, when they finally have something of a romantic scene, it's fairly perfunctory and doesn't generate much heat.
Then there's Colleen Miller of FOUR GUNS TO THE BORDER (1954) in her very first film, as a would-be teen bride...Jay C. Flippen as the hapless sheriff who has a bantering relationship with Dave...great faces like Will Wright and Milton Kibbee (very funny as the Coroner), not to mention a great voice, Paul Frees, playing the District Attorney. The initial shots of Las Vegas signs will make any lover of neon happy, even though they're in black and white...and wait till you get a look at the shower in Jane Russell's penthouse hotel room! I think my jaw dropped when I saw it. Oh, and did I mention there's a heck of a helicopter chase?!
With Russell, Price, and the resort setting, the film has some similarities to HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951), which also starred Robert Mitchum. While Vincent Price was very funny in HIS KIND OF WOMAN, for the most part, THE LAS VEGAS STORY is the more lighthearted film of the two. As a matter of fact, the coroner may have the funniest lines!
James McKay writes in the new book THE FILMS OF VICTOR MATURE: "This is a cracking 1950s film noir that simply gets better each time you view it...The film may be as lazy as lounging around a hotel pool with a cold beer...but it hits all the right buttons for me." Yep. Whatever flaws it may have, this is the kind of movie I simply enjoy spending time with.
THE LAS VEGAS STORY was directed by Robert Stevenson, whose best films include the Orson Welles-Joan Fontaine JANE EYRE (1943), OLD YELLER (1957), and MARY POPPINS (1964). It was photographed by Harry J. Wild and runs 87 minutes.
THE LAS VEGAS STORY is available in a remastered print from the Warner Archive. The disc includes a trailer.
This film has also been shown on Turner Classic Movies. The trailer is available at the TCM website.