review for Nobody Lives Forever on AllMovie

Nobody Lives Forever (1946)
by Craig Butler review

Nobody Lives Forever is a minor film noir, not a great film but one that is definitely worth a viewing, especially for devotees of the genre and/or John Garfield fans. The biggest problem with Forever is its familiarity: W.R. Burnett has produced a very well crafted screenplay, the points of which all fit neatly together, but which doesn't offer a great deal in the way of surprises. Indeed, it's pretty easy to tell from moment to moment just what is going to happen next. This kind of predictability can come across pleasingly as inevitability, but Burnett hasn't managed that trick here, despite some stretches of salty dialogue and an interesting take on the difficulties of a serviceman adapting to civilian life. Despite its failings, Moment works, thanks to Jean Negulesco's stylish direction, Arthur Edeson's atmospheric and evocative cinematography and its cast. Negulesco clearly enjoys telling this story, making sure he captures odd moments of telling detail here and there, and Edeson's work adds emotional heft to key scenes. As the lead, Garfield is in his usual fine form, a tough guy who can't help but be done-in by the innate decency that lurks deep within him. Geraldine Fitzgerald is a beautiful match for him, a blend of naivete and sophistication that is utterly disarming. George Couloris and Walter Brennan go a bit over the top, but not damagingly so, and Faye Emerson is fine as the jilted girl friend.