HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Critters Attack!
Prison on Fire
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Hellboy
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Shazam!
Follow Me
Leto
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Dumbo
Kaleidoscope
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Klute
Meow
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Benjamin
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Flatliners
   
 
Newest Articles
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
   
 
  Lisbon Lisboa antigaBuy this film here.
Year: 1956
Director: Ray Milland
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Hara, Claude Rains, Yvonne Furneaux, Francis Lederer, Edward Chapman, Jay Novello
Genre: Drama
Rating:  0 Votes
Review: After working as a light leading man in the 1930's and first part of the 1940's Ray Milland became accepted as a serious dramatic actor following his Oscar-winning role as Don Birnam in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend. Not a man to rest on his laurels, Milland turned to directing in the early 1950's, starting with the Western A Man Alone in 1955. Although it was cheaply made for a minor studio (Republic) the film had some interesting features, and Milland got a second chance to direct (again for Republic) with this 1956 drama of international crime and intrigue. In a charming touch of - possibly - modesty, the film stars 'Ray Milland', it is produced by 'R. A. Milland', and is directed by 'R. Milland'.

The plot revolves around Captain Robert John Evans (Milland - his three names are always emphasised, for some reason) an American who has settled in post-war Lisbon and lives a comfortable life smuggling unavailable luxuries (perfume, watches, and the like) into Portugal. However, he never deals in narcotics and doesn't kill people, so we can accept him as a lovable rogue. The Portuguese police know he's up to something but he has the fastest boat on the coast, and they never arrive in time to catch him with the goods.

Evans is approached by Greek criminal 'Mr Big' Aristides Mavros (Claude Rains), with a proposition worth $10,000. (Mavros' male secretary is played by Norman Wisdom's future Mr Grimsdale, Edward Chapman.) He is to smuggle Lloyd Merrill, the oil-industrialist husband of Maureen O'Hara, into Lisbon from a ship which has brought him from behind the Iron Curtain.

While this is being arranged Mrs Merrill takes a distinct fancy to Captain Milland and decides that a future with an older husband is not quite so attractive, but the $25m she would be left with certainly is. She arranges with Mavros that her husband will meet with an unfortunate accident at the hands of Seraphim (Francis Lederer), Mavros's heavy, when the exchange takes place. Unknown to her, Mavros adds Evans himself to the casualty list (women with $25m do not grow on trees).

Meanwhile Evans is falling for one of Mavros's female 'companions', Maria Maddalena Masanet, (Yvonne Furneaux), who returns the compliment and warns Evans of Mavros's double cross. The final scene reunites Mrs Merrill with her unwanted but still unsuspecting husband, Mavros fingered by an informant for Evans's smuggling, and Evans swearing to go straight with Maria Maddalena.

As a film, this is definitely a second feature. The story is rather predictable, and after an interesting set-up it all becomes slow, talky and a bit tedious. The 86 minute running time feels at least 10 minutes longer. The details of Merrill's imprisonment, and the pressure brought by the State Department on Mrs. Merrill to leave things to the professionals is never explained – presumably Republic didn't want to risk upsetting anyone by getting too political.

Milland makes a good charming hero. He seems to attract more than his fair share of lovely ladies, but when you are star, producer and director, why not turn things in your favour? Claude Rains plays his smooth, silky villainous character for all it is worth (he feeds his cat by leaving a trail of breadcrumbs on his window-sill and whacking a hapless sparrow with a tennis racquet as the cat licks its lips – the most interesting moment in the film, unfortunately just two minutes in). Maureen O'Hara apparently relished the chance to be a Bette Davis-type bitch but isn't really venomous enough to be a convincing ice maiden. Francis Lederer is rather too granite-faced as the 'sinister' Seraphim.

The film's biggest point of interest today is seeing the locations around Lisbon as they were sixty years ago. So much green space which is now crowded with offices and apartment blocks (at one point Evans is driven from Belém to Lisbon via Cascais, a 40-mile detour, but it adds local colour). In fact, despite a special title which announces the film was made in Portugal by the Republic Corporation, most of the film is disappointingly set-bound. There are a couple of nice shots of the Palácio da Pena in Sintra, an effective sequence in the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, but otherwise the film is firmly inside the studio – even Mrs Merrill's hotel, the Palácio in Estoril (where James Bond checks in at the start of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'), while mentioned by name, is never actually shown. A limited budget is also in evidence as Evans's boat always seems to be sailing along the same stretch of coastline. (The film is well-shot in the Republic colour process, Trucolour, and its answer to CinemaScope, Naturama.)

Never even mentioned, of course, is that when the film was made Portugal was living under a right-wing dictatorship complete with secret police (the PIDE) and prison colonies in West Africa.

This film is a decent, second-rate potboiler with some historic interest, but rather flat dramatically. The theme tune, by Sinatra musical director Nelson Riddle, proved popular in instrumental versions, and as a vocal recording by famed Portuguese fadista Amália Rodrigues.
Reviewer: Enoch Sneed

 

This review has been viewed 1861 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: