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Johnny Eager


visualfeast
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Johnny Eager...I must have seen it ten times throughout my life and never realized it was as close to Brokeback Mountain '42, as it can get.

Van Heflin's performance has always amazed me, but with this new realization, I Have even more respect for him. In an age where any gay subtext was all but eliminated from the story line, Johnny Eager hides it in plain sight. Heflin's love-sick Jeff is heartbreaking as he follows Johnny through misdeed after misdeed, only to find that even a liquor bottle can't provide him the denial he needs . He goads Johnny, he throws his education at him, he leaves...he returns... as if he knows that the strange love affair will soon end. The final scene is one of the best. In a moment's flash of bullets Johnny is redeemed, Jeff is alone.

Heflin never did anything to match his performance in Johnny Eager.

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Visualfeast;.....Van Heflin gave his ALL, and gave the performance of his life--He won the Oscar and it was well deserved....I had forgotten how good he was till I saw this again....There is a telling line where he says he came back because he forgot his "purse" . ..How did this ever get by the code for 1942,? Unless they didn't understand and thought he was just being friendly...

 

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In my limited experience, Van Heflin consistently provides just a little more intelligence, and even intellect, than we might require. Better than good brain, that guy. And to Taylor's credit, "Johnny Eager" is totally within his acting wheelhouse, however off-balance it seems at times. The fact that the Heflin-Taylor chemistry seems credible at all redounds to the credit of both, as anybody who has lived anything like the Eager Heflin knows. It does happen: passive - active; passion - action. Interesting film which hits far above what is immediately apparent, with more than a little Lana, god love her, on the side.

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WHAT ??? A l'il brokeback '42? I'll really have to give the film another look. I've never been able to sit through it all (even if just to gaze at the beautiful Lana and the pretty Taylor). I've never been a big Heflin fan (though I finally have grudgingly accepted him in "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers" and really came to like his character in his other Stanwyck-starrer: "East Side, West Side"). This subtext interests me (you've all GOT to see "Desert Fury" to see some brokeback subtext between Wendell Corey and John Hodiak). Hey...the point is to just watch the movie, right?? Who cares what'cha lookin' at.

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Cinemaven wrote:

 

> (you've all GOT to see "Desert Fury" to see some brokeback subtext between Wendell Corey and John Hodiak)

 

Eeeeww. If they're going to give us a gay subtext, could they pick some more appealing people? No offense, but I don't particularly care to imagine Wendell Corey getting it on with anybody. Especially after the pedestrian "Thelma Jordon" last Friday.

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You might have a point there Fedya...but that's the only way I CAN get through seeing Wendell Corey in a film.

 

Seriously though..."Desert Fury" is a good solid film, and it's worth it to see Burt Lancaster, Mary Astor and the gorgeous Lizabeth Scott. Film noir in color...Lizabeth Scott in color. It's a win-win situation.

 

Sorry to give you an Eeewww moment. Try some mental white-out.

;-)

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