Monday, December 13, 2010

The Turning Point (1952)

This movie had great promise. Edmund O'Brien stars as an idealistic special prosecutor out to get organized crime in the city. He really wants his cop father to take on the position of chief investigator, but his father (the always reliable Tom Tully) is reluctant because he's secretly on the take. O'Brien's childhood friend, William Holden, who is now a reporter, figures out what's up with the father, but then tries to both protect O'Brien from the truth and help the father out of his fix... with rather disastrous results. Add in O'Brien's girl, who falls for Holden, in some smooth-talking nasty bad guys, and this sounds awesome.

This is a great setup, with great actors... but the movie never quite finds its groove and settles in. It's awkward and a bit cumbersome, instead of smooth and tense, which is really too bad. For me, I think a big chunk of the problem is the love story thrown in the mix. That pesky romantic angle that Hollywood just has to toss into the middle of everything. It's the most awkward and cliche part of this film, with little chemistry between any of the parties, and it just bogs the good stuff down. So this movie ends up just okay, rather than great. Highlights include the Neville Brand as a hitman, Tom Tully as the father torn by guilt, and Adele Longmire as Carmelina, who does the right thing at great risk to her own life.


And it seems to be a trend... if Edmund O'Brien and William Holden are in the same movie, things won't go well for Holden in the end.

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