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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

294 of 1001 Movies: Force of Evil (1948)


There are things to like about Force of Evil, and to not be so much into. It was only an hour and a half film from the 40's though, so the story can leave a bit to be desired, especially considering it flaunts a lot of ladies and scenes on the poster that don't really make a difference to the movie, except for one, and guess what? It's the lady who has two short scenes he has his arms wrapped around flailing a gun out with. The posters for these movies can be a bit comical, and at least make me thankful we don't market movies like this anymore.

Summary: Joe Morse is a lawyer dealing with some big time gangsters. He has the idea to consolidate all the small number rackets into one operation. His brother, Leo, is one of the small racketeers who wants to stay that way, and now that Joe has convinced the gangsters to become involved, he must convince his brother Leo to do the same. Ben Tucker has no patience for Leo though, and this puts his brother in danger of a tide he has set in place.


The main two faces in this movie are Leo and Joe. It works especially with the correlations with Cain and Abel, even if East of Eden beat them to the punch in a much better story. Anyways, the actors do good with their stories though, and we at least grow to care about these people. Who can help but like the bad boy gone good, after meeting a girl and caring about his brother scenario?

The ladies in this movie take a huge back seat though, and while Beatrice provides a nice dynamic of romance, and him making a leap away from his affair with the gangster boss' wife. I have to say the affair was so poorly indicated I didn't realize it was an affair till my husband noticed a called this a film-noir, and he asked did it have the ingredients of crime and an affair? It's my fault for missing the fact she was in her robe in one of two scenes with Joe the lawyer though. Ladies aren't wearing robes in these movies, unless their up to some funny business.

There are some remarkable achievements that put this movie on the 1001 list, and kept it compelling for me to watch. One of these things was the usage of the poetic dialogue. It rings with more emotion, and kept with the time and the personality of the characters. It's worthy of people repeating the lines as quotes in their day to day life.

Another part of the movie that is stand out, is the usage of real life scenery from the city instead of other backdrops. You have a lot of wide shots that don't only focus in on the characters, but it brings element and depth to their surroundings. This cast the mood better as well.

Force of Evil is a good film noir movie. It has a lot of basic elements there, it keeps you caring about the people, it's well shot, and it has suspense. It lacks a bit in developing the story itself, especially when it cuts off at the end, but that is what you get on short time. I felt some of the ideas they were trying to encompass needed more depth though.

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