Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Good mixture of genres
on March 17, 2010
This odd little film effectively weds comedy and drama and works in practice in a way that you'd never believe if someone just laid out the plot for you on paper.
John Garfield takes some chances here with his fan base as he plays a very one-dimensional hood, Goff, who goes for the easy pickings. Rather than go to the big city where he would most probably have to contend with gangsters rougher and smarter than himself, he moves in on a fishing community and chooses to shake down the peace-loving and gentle populace.
Thomas Mitchell and John Qualen play pals Jonah Goodwin and Olaf Johnson, who live for the nights they go fishing - they both have day jobs. They comprise most of the comedy and the most touching parts of the drama as they gradually come to realize that the law won't help them get the ruffian Goff out of their lives, and they may just have to take action themselves. With someone like Goff, there is only one action that will work - murder.
Ida Lupino plays a rather one-dimensional character herself - Jonah Goodwin's daughter Stella - and as such she is just made for Goff, whom she desperately wants on any terms regardless of what he is doing to her own father. She finds existence in the fishing village boring and is looking for a way out when Goff comes along and sweeps her off her feet by dazzling her with dollars and his devil-may-care attitude. I have to really applaud John Garfield's performance here - he shows not a shred of humanity. Considering he had already built up a reputation as playing sensitive loners, this was quite a chance he was taking.
The end pulls punches compared to the story it is based upon, but you have to lay the blame for that at the feet of the censors at the time, not Warner Brothers. Highly recommended.
As for the audio and video quality, the audio is excellent and the video is good. It is obvious that no restoration has been done especially for this release, but the video is as good as the better quality showings of older films you'll see on TCM - some marks here and there, but a good sharp picture with good contrast. Do note that this product is a DVD-R with no chapter stops. You may only go forwards and backwards in 10 minute increments.