The Power and the Prize (1956)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Romance  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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While it's not one of the "big guns" of the corporate drama cycle (such as Patterns), The Power and the Prize is still an interesting and engaging look at the way in which America was beginning to look at the conflict between the needs of the corporation and the conscience of the individual in the 1950s. Robert Ardrey's screenplay is not as original or incisive as it could have been, and the issues it raises are handled a bit too pat a manner, but it works just fine as melodrama. In the lead role, Robert Taylor is a bit long in the tooth, but otherwise quite convincing and plays the role with the requisite commitment. The same cannot be said of his co-star, Elisabeth Muller, who certainly lights up the screen with her beauty but whose acting is pedestrian and rather dull. Nichola Michaels is also a disappointment, overplaying her role and coming across as too artificial. By contrast, Mary Astor in a small supporting role nearly steals the film, and there's also excellent support from Charles Coburn and Burl Ives. Henry Koster directs with finesse, and the film has the glossy sheen associated with high finance dramas of the period.