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directed by Jean Negulesco
USA 1946

 

Many films from the mid-forties deal with men struggling to readjust to their civilian lives after their wartime service. NOBODY LIVES FOREVER offers a twist: the hero's pre-war career was as a successful con artist. He doesn't have any trouble getting his job back, but does he still want it? World War II is a source of anxiety and moral confusion in many postwar noirs, but this film (set during the war) suggests that a stint with Uncle Sam can straighten out a crooked guy.

In contrast to the convoluted plots so common in noir, this is a simple story. Just out of the army, Nick Blake (John Garfield) returns to New York to find his girlfriend has given the money he left in her keeping to another man. After clearing up that little business, he takes off for Los Angeles, where he is talked into fleecing a rich widow, Gladys Halvorson (Geraldine Fitzgerald). Guess what? He falls for her and wants out, but has to deal with his vengeful accomplices. The plot is unoriginal but also foolproof, and the film's leisurely pace and rich characterizations are the primary appeal, evoking a raffish, Runyonesque world. Leading the troupe of colorful character actors is George Tobias as Blake's sidekick Al Doyle, who doesn't do much except tag along for the ride, cracking wise in thick New Yorkese and complaining bitterly when he realizes Nick has "gone overboard for this tomato." Walter Brennan is Pop Gruber, Nick's boyhood mentor in crime, now down on his luck and scraping a living with a telescope, selling "the moon and stars for a dime" and picking the pockets of his drunken customers. Then there's cadaverous, sinister George Colouris as Doc, a has-been con man consumed by jealousy of Nick. Even the smallest characters—from an ex-jockey bellboy to the counterman in an all-night diner who can't stand to hear the words "java" or "pal"—add flavor; they're a great bunch of "cheap, hungry chiselers." Richard Gaines (Jean Arthur's fiancÚ, Mr. Pendergast, in THE MORE THE MERRIER) is also amusing as Manning, the widow's business manager, whose only interest in life is golf. Only Faye Emerson, as the nightclub singer who betrayed Nick while he was overseas and keeps turning up for vague plot purposes, misfires; she sings well, but she's a little too bony, toothy and disgruntled for a femme fatale.

Excerpt of review from Imogen Sara Smith at imdb.com located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1 November 1946

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Film Noir Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:39:36
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:10)

DVD Release Date: June 19th, 2012
Keep Case

Chapters 10

 

Comments

John Garfield seems to always get a short end of a stick on DVD. Warner never released his Signature Collection like they done with other Warner biggest stars (Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford). Even now, we are yet to see John Garfield's own TCM Greatest Classic Legends Collection - Warner Home Video has been releasing them for other feature performers in the last 3 years. Thankfully, most of Garfield films has been released on DVD from Warner Archive Collection, including this Jean Negulesco-directed noir from 1946. Underrated Geraldine Fitzgerald makes a radiant love interest to Mr. Garfield.

A remastered made-on-demand disc from Warner Film Noir Archive Collection has some marks and specks, but they are not intrusive and the progressive transfer has good contrast with very deep blacks. A 2-minute theatrical trailer is included as an extra and a mono soundtrack is decent. A must for any Garfield fan - hopefully Warner Home Video does not give on him and a full-blown collection of his films will get released for new generation of classic film fans to rediscover John Garfield.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 


 




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