Johnny O\’Clock Film Details
Overview: A high-class crook gets in trouble with the law.
Tagline: Johnny Played Rough With Women Who Played Cute!
Review: A mile a minute screenplay roars straight ahead through the wisecracks, sexual innuendo, brittle metaphors and crackling character development where the men are just as sarcastic as the women. In fact, they are more acerbic here, the two sisters (Nina Foch and Evelyn Keyes) too innocent and long-suffering and the other major female character (Ellen Drew) too drunk to even be understood through her slurred words. Drew is obviously modeled after Rita Hayworth’s “Gilda” look, especially with her obvious sugar daddy husband (Thomas Gomez) whom she admittedly married for social status. The film sets up its brittle elements with the opening scene introducing the slatternly cop Lee G. Cobb who simply drops his cigar ashes on a hotel reservations desk while a film noir version of Franklin Pangborn’s 1930’s irritated hotel clerk places an ashtray at his reach. Cobb is looking for professional gambler Dick Powell for questioning in regards to a crooked cop involved in protecting the casino Powell works at for the nefarious Gomez. This leads to several murders (one cleverly disguised as a suicide) and Powell’s desperation to not only clear himself of any suspicion, but to protect himself from Gomez’s vengeance because of wife Drew’s obvious interest in him. While Powell is best remembered as a crooner, he really developed some impressive acting skills when he switched his image mid-career into the newly created genre of film noir. “Murder My Sweet” (1944), his first and most famous of these, is certainly a classic, but “Johnny O’Clock” is really his best. He’s obviously very comfortable in the skin of this character, advising the pretty Nina Foch about the crooked cop she’s seeing, and finally, comforting sister Keyes over Foch’s death. When he takes her to the airport after discovering her inside her sister’s room, its obvious that she’s forgiven him for the initial rough treatment he gave her and that he’s opening up to her even though he’s involved in some seriously shady activities of his own. Drew’s drunken scene is also extremely memorable, as is another sequence where Cobb discovers Foch passed out after breaking into her apartment. The wonderful Mabel Paige has a wonderful bit part as the nosy old lady who tries to get involved in the investigation, and her dialog with Cobb is equally as crackling as the dialog between Powell and Cobb. This grabs the viewer by the throat almost from the beginning and doesn’t threaten. It just drags you in even more as the intrigue grows to enormous points of no return from which you won’t want to escape. You could watch this one over and over and never remember all of the jaded dialog which keeps the screenplay sizzling. This moves to a great sequence at the airport where Powell begins to piece everything together, and then rushes towards its very violent conclusion where nobody really comes out the winner. The direction by Robert Rossen of his own screenplay is thrilling, and you really feel that you’ve entered into a darkened world of Johnny O’Clock where life doesn’t begin until its dark and that no sun would be bright enough to interest these night owls in daylight.
Country: United States
Duration: 96 min
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Also known as: L’Heure du crime,Het laatste uur,Johnny O’Clock,Kohtaloa uhmaten,La última hora,Cinayet Saati,Hasard,Otan ta pathi prostazoun,La ultima hora,Джонни О’Клок,A Hora Decisiva,A sangue freddo,Dama, Valete e Rei,Johnny O’Clock spillede højt spil,L’heure du crime