Riff-Raff 1947)

Spanish Vértice Cine DVD edition


Yes, i hadn't heard of this entertaining crime thriller either, before getting to know about the beautiful spanish El Cine Negro (Film Noir)
series where the films of the genre are presented with attractive DVD sleeves and often with fine booklets included with texts and pictures
(the text in spanish only), but the films are in english with spanish subtitles.

I had heard about director Ted Tetzlaff though as he was the man who directed the Great Cornell Woolrich short story adaption The Window.
A superior crime thriller made by RKO and with child actor star Bobby Driscoll in it. Read more about The Window on my Film Noir page
(under this film, Riff-Raff) and about the tragic life of Bobby Driscoll (so tragic that he got his own chapter in Kenneth Anger's Hollywood
Babylon .... and then, it's BAD.

This film may not be a typical film noir maybe, but it starts out as an atmospherical Noir and turns into a suspense thriller with some comedy
elements to it. An enjoyable adventure with Pat O'Brien as a B version Cary Grant and with some map of secret oil wells as a Hitchcockian
MacGuffin plot thing, and also Riff-Raff borrows somewhat the plot from Edgar Allan Poe's 1840's The Purloined letter, as the precious map
of the oilwells is hanging in clear sight of everyone, so obvious that no-one notice it.

Pat O'Brien and Anne Jeffreys

This film supposedly takes place in Panama (with some real footage from Panama City?) but it starts in Peru, in the middle of the night
at some airport with the rain pouring down and the wind blowing. It's an impressive opening really, very atmospherical and with the
first 6 minutes of the film without any dialogue. An old propeller freight plane and it's crew are waiting for their passengers. Two men
in trenchcoats, one hugging his brief-case nervously and the other, a Mr. Hasso, stares at him in an ominous way.
In the next scene Hasso tells the pilotes that the man with the brief-case has jumped out of the plane.

After landing in Panama City Mr. Hasso visits Zenith Services run by gringo Dan Hammer (Pat O'Brien) to hire him as his bodyguard
during his 2 day stay in Panama. Danny, with a slightly scruffy appearance is a gringo in exile making a living by working as a fixer,
bodyguard, guide, private detective or whatever that makes a buck.
But, the same day Danny is called to a meeting with the Pantide Oil executive Gredson (Jerome Cowan) who wants to hire him to find
a Mr. Hasso for them and a map with secret oil wells. Danny accepts the money offered and now have some conflicting interests to
deal with. Then he meets a hot bar singer (Anne Jeffreys) and a sleazy evil fat guy, Eric Molinar (a great Walter Slezak)

The film is presented in 4:3 fullscreen 1.33:1 black & white and an english audio DD 2.0 (with spanish subs) and a nice Booklet

 

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