Jul 7, 2007

Deadline At Dawn

“Between you and me and the lamppost officer, happiness is no laughing matter”

Whether you find this movie hilarious, clever or insufferable will depend on your tastes, but you are not likely to be bored. The audience at the SIFF theater in Seattle last night hardly let a line go by without at least a giggle, and more often a belly laugh. I’m sure screenwriter Clifford Odets (of the famous Group Theater), with his playwright’s pedigree, meant to bring depth and beauty to this shady tale of a sailor who must clear himself of murder before dawn, but the florid screenplay doesn’t take a moment to breathe. It strains for drama with every syllable—not one word is wasted on the mundane. While Bill Williams is hilariously stiff as the sailor, Susan Hayward manages to draw some credibility out of her lines and Paul Lukas has an avuncular charm as the statistics-spouting cabbie. In all, it’s a good take on the film noir genre and worth a look. This has been on VHS at some point, so it is out there somewhere.

Update 4/20/10: On 7/13/10 Warner Home Video will release Deadline at Dawn on DVD!

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