Saturday, June 18, 2022

Tonight's Movie: The Raging Tide (1951) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

THE RAGING TIDE (1951) is the final film to be reviewed from the Kino Lorber Dark Side of Cinema VI Collection.

I previously reviewed SINGAPORE (1947) and JOHNNY STOOL PIGEON (1949). I always really like these film noir sets, but I particularly enjoyed this one, as I'd never seen either JOHNNY STOOL PIGEON or THE RAGING TIDE, and my only viewing of SINGAPORE was on VHS many years ago.

THE RAGING TIDE is a great-looking print from a new 2K master. Film noir icon Richard Conte stars as Bruno Felkin, a San Francisco mobster who commits a murder and then needs to leave town before Lt. Kelsey (Stephen McNally) catches him.

Lt. Kelsey has all the roads blocked off, so Bruno goes down to the wharf and stows away on a fishing boat operated by Swedish immigrant Hamil Linder (Charles Bickford) and his son Carl (Alex Nicol).

While Lt. Kelsey pumps Bruno's girl Connie (Shelley Winters) for information on his possible whereabouts, Bruno pitches in on the fishing boat and finds he rather likes it. When the boat periodically goes to San Francisco with the latest haul of fish, Bruno stays on board and hires Carl to do his dirty work in the city, collecting debts and keeping tabs on Connie.

Carl, who's shown every sign he'll turn out as disreputable as Bruno, begins to change thanks to Connie's influence, and as she and Carl develop a relationship, Connie also decides to level with Lt. Kelsey regarding what she knows of Bruno. Bruno won't be happy with Connie or Carl's disloyalty...

This is a good, solid drama with an ensemble of fine actors. I do feel as though it seems every character Nicol played tended to come off as petulant, but still, it works for him here as a man who has some maturing to do, and he's given a nice character progression over the course of the film.

I chuckled when Winters' character told the lieutenant she was an old-looking 23; Winters was 30 at the time and looks it. I've never been Winters' biggest fan, but I've come to tolerate her well enough in certain roles, and she's quite good here, with some excellent, funny line deliveries.

As for Conte and McNally, they can do no wrong in my book. McNally never gets enough credit for being a top performer in both noirs and Westerns. Perhaps best known as the villainous Dutch Henry Brown in WINCHESTER '73 (1950) or the cop in CRISS CROSS (1949), he was also a fine leading man. Here he has some terrific repartee with Winters which really elevates the film.

Conte is the antihero a viewer hates to love, a stone cold killer who also has a soft side which finds him defending the older Hamil, who he comes to respect and appreciate. When it's clear late in the film that Bruno has indirectly killed again, it seems clear there will be only one outcome for him, but you still kind of hate to see it happen thanks to Conte's charismatic, nuanced performance.

The supporting cast includes John McIntire, Tito Vuolo, and Chubby Johnson.

This 93-minute film was directed by George Sherman. It has excellent black and white cinematography by Russell Metty, including location shooting in San Francisco. The screenplay by Ernest K. Gann (ISLAND IN THE SKY) was based on his novel FIDDLER'S GREEN.

Blu-ray extras consist of the movie trailer; trailers for two additional Conte films, CRY OF THE CITY (1948) and THE SLEEPING CITY (1950); and a commentary track by David Del Valle and Miles Hunter.

Film noir fans will definitely want this very enjoyable collection.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray collection.


Blogger Jerry Entract said...

I really like "THE RAGING TIDE". Indeed it would be difficult not to with the fine starring cast of Conte, McNally and Bickford. They hardly ever gave a disappointing performance, whatever the film.
You're right, Laura - Alex Nicol did seem to get given the petulant or immature characters to play seemingly rather often. If you get the chance, I recommend a film he starred in which he made in England in 1954 called "FACE THE MUSIC" (aka The Black Glove). Nicol plays a trumpeter working in England where he gets sucked into a murder. I think he was able to show a different side to his acting. His trumpet playing was courtesy of the well-known ( in those days) British musician Kenny Baker.

11:37 PM  

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