(ca) wrote: "Macao" is late noir film, which is actually not dark enough to be noir, but at the same time is more than just an adventure A-Hollywood movie. A troubled shooting may be one of the reasons for its lack of equilibrium, this film being produced by Howard Hughes and initially directed by Josef von Sternberg (who was no stranger to exotic asian locations). Halfway through, Sternberg was fired and Nicholas Ray, the great master, finished the film remaining uncredited, among other directors, and supposedly the star Robert Mitchum led a hand in the screenplay. The action takes place in the portuguese colony, which is depicted as a sort of orient Casablanca, a place that can have a sort of decaying grandeur in its casino life, but also a dark city, where nights are dangerous and evil shadows lie in every corner. The opening sees a police inspector stabbed on his back and thrown to the river. A few days later a boat arrives bearing 3 new passengers, the central characters of the story: a salesman William Bendix, the man with a past Robert Mitchum and the femme fatale Jane Russell. All of them, off course, hide something, and are not exactly what they aim to be. Their paths mix in a particular casino, where there is a crocked owner played by Brad Dexter (the bad guy of the story), and the pin-up girl, the fabulous Gloria Grahame. All clues seem to indicate that Mitchum is a detective hot on Dexter's trail, and the game of alliances and betrayals surrounding the death of the inspector and a huge diamond take the time of the rest of the film. Off course, once again, there are a few surprises, which actually aren't really so. Despite being a good and enjoyable movie, with nice dark little touches, it is not in the league of other noirs. The chemistry between Russel and Mitchum is in the script only, there is little on the screen, and their motivations for being together at the end are shallow. Mitchum has a very sleepy performance and Russell shines only when the script giver her great comeback and sarcastic lines, which in some more intimate scenes she suddenly forgets to say, which is a shame. Also, she sings two 3 or 4 minute songs, that break the flow of the film completely, but hey... they had to sell her! The best of all is Grahame, always superb, although the role is small and she stared in this film against her will (oh, glorious studio system!). The ending has a 10 minute climatic chase scene which gives some needed rhythm to the film, but the beauty of an american city at night, as filmed by noir experts, cannot be compared with the sort of exotic streets here depicted. There is not that master cinematography here. All in all "Macao" could be half forgotten in a genre with so many gems, but the opportunities to see Russell in this type of film are not very much, so it may be worth it for that, and off course, for Gloria Grahame, one of the greatest ladies that ever was, in the same year she won her Oscar for "The Bad and the Beautiful".
(mx) wrote: My daughter totally loved this movie!!! I found it beautiful and of a really high standard.It took me right into my memories of the Karoo- I could smell, hear and feel it,as I watched. AWESOME story, characters and AND animation, great job!! It was also seriously very funny, there were moments when I cried with laughter and then had tearsin heartfelt moments. The voices were so well cast!!! I loved the blend ofaccents, the blend of cultures.. a TRUE Rainbow film, but not just forSouth Africa.. it is a film EVERYONE will love.Congrats.. and Kudos to the ENTIRE team and all their partners etc. I happily give this movie a 9 / 10 - it is a big winner for me, from a smallstudio...LOVE it!