Nov 7, 2018
On DVD: Eleanor Parker in The Last Ride (1944)
Briskly-paced and clocking in at just under an hour The Last Ride (1944) is a moderately entertaining wartime crime programmer. While chiefly of historical interest, it has a little more zing than other flicks of its kind. The film recently made its DVD debut from Warner Archive.
Though Eleanor Parker’s image dominates the promotional art, and she is the most lively presence in the film, she is a supporting character in this cops and mobsters drama about the wartime tire bootlegging racket. Richard Harris is Lieutenant Pat Harrigan, an ambitious detective who sets his sights on a gang that sells subpar tires to drivers hit hard by wartime rationing of rubber. His work is complicated by the fact that his brother Mike (Charles Lang) is involved with the criminals, not to mention that they’re both sweet on their foster sister Kitty Kelly (Parker).
What follows is a familiar parade of mob hits, double crosses, and fist fights. With little to distinguish it, it’s oddly more entertaining than you’d expect. This is partly due to the youthful energy of the opening scenes, which crackle with an easy verve missing from the rest of the film. The brief scenes with the charismatic Parker are also especially pleasant; she’s already clearly ready to leave behind girlfriend roles and embrace stardom.
Aside from these enjoyable elements though, there’s a reassuring efficiency to The Last Ride. It can get silly: an earnest conversation about wartime rubber rationing comes off as cheesy and obvious and brings the action to a stop. For the most part though, its footing is sure. This is a strong programmer. It isn’t a must-see, but it delivers on its modest aims.
The disc has no special features.
Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. This is a Manufacture on Demand (MOD) DVD. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.