Dead Reckoning (1947) (NR)

Drama 100 December 31, 1969
By Joseph Golden
If there's one constant among Humphrey Bogart protagonists, it's that they make better enemies than friends. That goes double for Bogie's character in this postwar thriller--an ex-paratrooper who tracks down his buddy's killer, gets framed for murder, and becomes romantically involved with the deceased's high-class floozy lover (Elizabeth Scott). Director John Cromwell presides capably over the classic formula, and Scott gets a palpable kick out of playing an untrustworthy dame, but Bogart looks beat. Burned out, perhaps, on playing sardonic tough-guys in much better movies (e.g., The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Big Sleep, to name just three), he seems irritated by a script whose cute wordsmithing is no match for Dashiell Hammett--and deigns to take it out on the viewer by working at 75 percent strength. He even delivers an astoundingly sexist speech about how women should be made capsule-sized, which Scott sits through dutifully, a shamed look on her face. Bacall would never have let him pull this crap. (Joseph Golden)
John Cromwell Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, Morris Carnovsky, Charles Cane, William Prince, Marvin Miller, Wallace Ford, James Bell, George Chandler Oliver H.P. Garrett, Steve Fisher, Gerald Drayson Adams, Sidney Biddell, Allen Rivkin Sidney Biddell

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