Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Between Two Worlds (1944)

Director: Edward A. Blatt

Starring: John Garfield, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet, Eleanor Parker, Edmund Gwenn, George Tobias, George Coulouris, Faye Emerson

More info: IMDb

Plot: Several people are killed in a London air raid. They each awake aboard a strange ship which will deliver each of them either to heaven or hell. Their lives and stories are revealed as they individually begin to realize where they are.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? I could but there are thousands of other movies I haven't seen to get to first.

What starts out rather slow and overly melodramatic ends up being a very good film with an emotional second half that milks it for all it's worth. See, it doesn't take but a few minutes to figure out everyone is dead. It's fun watching the characters realize it one by one and their reactions to it. The acting is swell, particularly from Garfield and Parker. They're tops. They've got some great dialogue; you know, that fast delivery and biting jabs.

At some point religion plays its heavy-handed role and that had my eyes a-rollin'. Fortunately it doesn't take long after that when the great, commanding, scene-stealing Sydney Greenstreet shows up to deliver everyone's fate. I must've blinked in the opening credits 'cause I didn't know he was in it. Suddenly this picture became pretty friggin' awesome. There are a lot of stereotypes and they get their expected fate (the cold businessman goes to hell and so forth) but there are more than a few surprises. It's a clever script albeit loaded with cliches but it does make for a very enjoyable movie. Recommended.

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