review for Calcutta on AllMovie

Calcutta (1947)
by Craig Butler review

A typically icy performance from Alan Ladd and some good support from a handful of other actors help to make Calcutta seem more interesting than it really is. This is territory we've all been through before, which by itself is not reason enough to condemn a film. After all, what you do with a plot is usually more important than the basics of the plot itself. Unfortunately, neither director John Farrow nor screenwriter Seton Miller do much that's memorable this time out. The paces are all familiar, the twists are predictable and there's no real suspense, just some fabricated tension. Even the potentially interesting setting isn't exploited here. Granted, it's filmed on the backlot; but even so, there should be more of a feeling of exoticism and newness than is on display here. Ladd is in good form as the kind of noir hero who can't be hooked by a dame's smoky look or fast curves. He drives the vehicle as well as anyone could, but he needs a better co-star than Gail Russell to play off of. She looks like dynamite, but her acting is poor, and Ladd needs someone more dangerous to really score. Bettr work comes from William Bednix andEdith King, as well as some of the other, more minor players.