The Brasher Doubloon (1947)

Genres - Mystery, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir  |   Run Time - 72 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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There's a much better film buried in The Brasher Doubloon than the one that made it to the screen, and that's a shame. Many viewers place the blame for Doubloon's failure to really make the grade solely on the shoulders of leading actor George Montgomery. Well, it's true that Montgomery probably offers the weakest cinematic interpretation of the famed character Philip Marlowe, but it's a bit rough to suggest that he is the sole reason that Doubloon falls short of the mark. Yes, Montgomery is wooden, not understanding that there's a difference between underplaying and sheer dullness. But there are occasions in the film when Montgomery surprises with a sudden flash of liveliness or a nuance that rings true. He's far from perfect, but not a total wash-out. An equally big problem is the screenplay, which oversimplifies its Raymond Chandler source and, even worse, shortchanges us on the delicious hard-nosed dialogue that is the hallmark of the genre. John Brahm's direction is also disappointingly mediocre. On the plus side, Lloyd Ahern's cinematography is tasty indeed, filled with looming shadows and expressionistic cityscapes, and Florence Bates is fun in a supporting role.