Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tonight's Movie: The Hoodlum Saint (1946) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

William Powell stars as THE HOODLUM SAINT (1946), available from the Warner Archive.

Powell plays Terry O'Neill, a WWI vet who returns from Europe and quickly determines the most important thing in life is to make money, and lots of it. He meets two special women (Esther Williams and Angela Lansbury) but his focus on making money distracts him from committing to either one of them for many years...and also dissuades one of the women from agreeing to finally marry him. Then comes the stock market crash...

THE HOODLUM SAINT isn't boring, yet it's also not particularly interesting. It just sort of moves along at a low hum, with the actors pleasant company but nothing very memorable happening in its 91 minutes, despite a writing staff which included Frank "Spig" Wead and the uncredited Frances Marion.

The theme is that Terry ultimately learns what's really important in life, but that revelation is played at exactly the same emotional pitch as everything which goes before.

It doesn't help that Powell is too old for the role, being roughly three decades older than his leading ladies, give or take a couple years in either direction. Putting that aside, he's his usual interesting self, though the character is more charmless than his usual.

Williams, on the other hand, has charm to spare, in a rare dramatic role. She exudes self-confidence, and the camera loved her.

Lansbury has a nice if somewhat underdeveloped role as a singer who works her way up from the neighborhood saloon to swank nightclubs. She was clearly dubbed, a curious choice by MGM.

The supporting cast is filled with familiar faces such as James Gleason, Frank McHugh, Henry O'Neill, Lewis Stone, Rags Ragland, Louis Jean Heydt, and many more.

THE HOODLUM SAINT was directed by Norman Taurog. It was filmed in black and white by Ray June.

Other Norman Taurog films recently released by the Warner Archive and reviewed here: LUCKY NIGHT (1939), THE BEGINNING OR THE END (1947), and PLEASE BELIEVE ME (1950)

The DVD is the typically fine Warner Archive print, and the disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see this one though I note your reservations. Such a good cast.

12:07 AM  

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