Friday, May 16, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Macao (1952)

This seems to be the week for watching lighthearted Robert Mitchum action movies. Earlier this week it was THE BIG STEAL (1949), and the latest title seen is MACAO, costarring Jane Russell. Russell and Mitchum also appeared together in 1951's memorable HIS KIND OF WOMAN, and they make an equally good team in MACAO.

The plot concerns an undercover policeman (who may or may not be Mitchum's character), stolen jewels, and a singer (Russell). Gloria Grahame also appears, as the girlfriend of a casino owner (Brad Dexter). The story's not really all that important -- the script had as many as seven writers, not all of them credited, and Mitchum may have done some rewriting too -- it's really more about the fun the viewer has while along for the ride. There's some sharp dialogue, the ladies look lovely, Mitchum's his usual laconic self, and Jane sings "One For My Baby." The movie's in beautiful black and white, with some good atmosphere despite the cast not leaving the back lot. If you're looking for a fun diversion, the film doesn't disappoint.

The supporting cast includes Thomas Gomez, Edward Ashley, and Philip Ahn.

MACAO was directed by Josef von Sternberg and an uncredited Nicholas Ray, whose marriage to MACAO costar Gloria Grahame ended the year this film was released.

MACAO is available on DVD in a single-title release or as part of the Robert Mitchum Signature Collection. Extras include a commentary track by film noir expert Eddie Muller, actress Jane Russell, and one of the credited screenwriters, Stanley Rubin. The PRIVATE SCREENINGS joint interview Robert Osborne conducted with Mitchum and Russell is also part of the set; I've seen that program in the past and it's very enjoyable.

The movie has also had a video release.

MACAO can be seen on Turner Classic Movies. The trailer can be seen at TCM's site here.


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