The Long Wait (1954)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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While by no means one of the great film noirs, The Long Wait is worth a viewing for genre aficionados on the lookout for lesser-known titles. Violent and blatantly misogynistic, Wait is not for every taste; more damagingly, there are holes in the plot through which one could drive several full-sized rigs, and the screenplay in general feels clunky. Yet, in a perverse way, that very clunkiness gives it a certain appeal, contributing in some bizarre way to its sweat-of-the-brown feeling; it's almost aggressively "masculine" in its unapologetic refusal to be slavishly bound to all the niceties of storytelling. For some, this will be enough to make up for those plot flaws, but there will just as certainly be others who will still be bothered by them. To make matters worse, Victor Saville's direction simply isn't imaginative enough. He's working by the book when a freer, rougher style is needed. Fortunately, cinematographer Franz Planer is on hand to create some astounding shots and generate missing atmosphere; the work he and the editors do on the "tied up" kiss sequence is especially impressive. Anthony Quinn should be a great Mickey Spillane hero, but despite his innate mashismo, he doesn't register as strongly as he should. And while all four of the "dames" are lookers, none of them make as deep an impression as they should. Charles Coburn and Gene Evans fill their roles very nicely, and there are moments (such as the aforementioned kiss) that are true stand-outs, but for the most part, The Long Wait doesn't reach the heights it should.