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Johnny O'Clock (1947 noir), late Sat night 9-22-12


FredCDobbs
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Johnny O'Clock (1947 noir), *late Sat night* 9-22-12

 

12 MIDNIGHT Eastern Time

 

*Johnny O'Clock (1947)*

 

Gambling hall owners get mixed up with a cop on the take, leading to murder and mystery.

 

Dir: Robert Rossen

 

Cast: Dick Powell , Evelyn Keyes , Lee J. Cobb .

 

BW-96 mins, TV-PG, CC,

 

JohnnyOClockPoster.jpg

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I didn't see it last week, but I have seen it already. It starts well enough, but I thought it was running out of steam at the end. Good enough for noir fans, Powell and the rest are up to the task but it would not make my top 20 list for noir or crime dramas in general.

 

 

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It was a little confusing to me. It took me three hours to watch it, and I'm still confused. Such as with the 3 different dames and all three dames had the same man's watch for a while. And there were so many names mentioned.

 

Seems kind of stupid that Powell would rob Gomez and then turn his back on him and walk away. Doh.

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Seems kind of stupid that Powell would rob Gomez and then turn his back on him and walk away. Doh.

 

That's part of why it ran out of steam for me, especially since they tried to assassinate Powell at the airport. It was as if suddenly Powell lost half of his IQ points, add to that the bit about him "hiding" and thinking that he was actually going to get past the police when Cobb was on his trail since the first frame of the film. I wondered if maybe there wasn't supposed to be a happy ending, it just all became so silly in the last 15 minutes.

 

Still, I did like it a little bit more the second time that I saw it, the first time I saw it around a decade ago, I was quite down on it.

 

I really wish that they would dig up Powell's TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, I haven't seen that one in about 30 years.

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}It was a little confusing to me. It took me three hours to watch it, and I'm still confused. Such as with the 3 different dames and all three dames had the same man's watch for a while. And there were so many names mentioned.

>

> Seems kind of stupid that Powell would rob Gomez and then turn his back on him and walk away. Doh.

 

This is one of my favorite noirs, and I was glad to see it again. Johnny is just too cool, as in calm and unaffected, for his own good.

 

There were TWO watches - First, Nelle sends one with an intimate inscription to Johnny. Then, she gives the same watch, but without an inscription to husband ****. Johnny gives his to Harriet, asking her to return it to Nelle. She hadn't done that, and still had it in her purse when she was killed. The watch was quite an important plot point. It is the driver that makes **** so jealous of Johnny, even though he seems to believe that Johnny isn't hooking up with his wife, much as she wants him to.

 

Powell didn't rob Gomez, he only took as much money as he had coming, and Gomez admitted as much. I do agree that it seems a bit rash for Johnny to show up there, and do that, after he well knew that Gomez put a hit on him. I can only surmise that Johnny thought that **** wouldn't kill him at his own club, in front of witnesses, and that his "cool" would see him through. Johnny promised to go far away, and **** at least pretended to be accepting of that.

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>There were TWO watches - First, Nelle sends one with an intimate inscription to Johnny. Then, she gives the same watch, but without an inscription to husband ****.

 

Yes, I know there were two watches, but only one of them was in the possession of all three dames.

 

Knowing that **** was a jealous man and a killer, wasn't it a really dumb idea for Nelle to give one to **** (her husband) an the other to Johnny (her former lover), who both work together and side by side in the same gambling house?

 

And lest try to guess who dropped the Mexican coin at the murder scene.... doh, who was the only guy in the film talking about his recent trip to Mexico?

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

>

> Knowing that **** was a jealous man and a killer, wasn't it a really dumb idea for Nelle to give one to **** (her husband) an the other to Johnny (her former lover), who both work together and side by side in the same gambling house?

>

 

Dumb, or too smart. She may well have wanted to stir up something between them, hoping that Johnny would come out on top, and take her back. She WAS throwing herself at Johnny, with little or no care as to who knew it. It was the inscription - only Johnny got one - that was the icing on the cake.

 

I'd also add that in real life, people often aren't logical, and often try to over-play their hand. So, something that seems to the observer to be ill-considered, or just plain dumb, can, none the less, be realistic.

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Yes, Evelyn Keyes, the most ham-fisted pickpocket around. Well that had to be

the story in the forties. Very entertaining, even though it's mostly burned-over

territory. The wise cracking cop, the wiser cracking gambler, gunplay, dames,

etc. And did Thomas Gomez really think his wife wouldn't prefer Johnny O'Clock

to him? C'mon guy, take a look in the mirror. I also got a charge out of people

nonchalantly calling him Mr. O'Clock, as if it wasn't one of the dumbest names

they'd every heard. All in all, I give it a B-.

 

 

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