Friday, June 23, 2017

Casbah (1948)

Director: John Berry

Writers: Leslie Bush-Fekete, Arnold Manoff, Erik Charell, Henri La Barthe

Composers: Harlod Arlen, Walter Scharf

Starring: Yvonne De Carlo, Tony Martin, Peter Lorre, Marta Toren, Hugo Haas, Thomas Gomez, Douglas Dick, Katherine Dunham, Herbert Rudley, Gene Walker, Curt Conway, Hans Schumm, Eartha Kitt

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Den of a thousand thieves!  Rendezvous for romance!

Plot: Pepe Le Moko is a master thief who lives in the Casbah section of Algiers. A French police inspector would love to capture Pepe, but realizes that as long as the thief remains in the Casbah he is protected by his vast network of criminals. When Pepe falls in love with a beautiful tourist, he schemes for the first time to leave his little "empire".

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Why was this a musical?  Who did Tony Martin sleep with?  I joke but he's miscast until the end.  It's the lighter stuff that doesn't work for me and that's nearly all the movie.  That last 15 minutes are outstanding and very dramatic which contrasts the rest of the picture.  Until then it's kind of like a light romantic crime drama that has some odd moments like when Pepe (Martin) just randomly bursts into song and it's often the same song (For Every Man There's a Woman), which was nominated for an Oscar.  It's a catchy tune and you might find yourself humming it after the movie's over.  Even though it happened a few times, I never got used to him busting it out in weird moments.  Yvonne De Carlo is smoking hot.  Hubba hubba.  The lighthearted tone of the film doesn't quite work for me.  Except for Tony Martin, everyone does a fine job.  I single Martin out because he's got moments where he seems out of place.  But he does an excellent job in the final moments when everything gets deathly serious.  What brought me to watching it in the first place was Peter Lorre and he's fantastic.  I like his character and Lorre brings layers to him that were welcome.  He could've just phoned it in and it wouldn't have mattered in the big picture of it all but he adds that little something extra that makes him so interesting to watch. 

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