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A lot of people credit the success of this picture to Claire Trevor's masterful underplaying of a criminal. Agree or disagree?

 

I know that director Anthony Mann gets a lot of credit, too-- but I do think that Trevor probably does help give it that extra something special.  This was the same year she made KEY LARGO-- so she was on a roll.

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It's interesting how none of the three lead characters in this picture are redeemable.  This is about as noir as a person can get!  And I think it's interesting how the sexual dynamics between O'Keefe and both women (played by Claire Trevor and Marsha Hunt) are continued throughout the story.  His character is definitely not a one-woman man, and both gals seem to know it.  Usually, if there is cheating in a movie of this era, regardless of the genre, one of the participants does not know, and does not find out about the unfaithfulness of their partner until two-thirds of the way into the story.  But with RAW DEAL, all the cards are on the table right up front, and yet both women want to have an on-going relationship with him, and he clearly enjoys being able to be satisfied by each one at the same time, in different ways.  

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I love Claire Trevor in this.  She leaves no doubt as to what she's going through.  She loves this guy and will do just about anything to help him.  At the same time, she realizes that she is losing him to the other woman.  She is so believable (as she is in just about everything she does).

 

Terrence.

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(This is a very late reply, yes... but still a great li'l gem of a film.)

 

This is one of those Raymond-Burr-is-a-baaaad-guy films that makes his transition into PERRY MASON all the more fun.  His villains were always bad.  REALLY bad.  Brutal.  Unredeemable.  "Shouldn't exist on this planet" type of villains.

 

In a way, it's sort of like Basil Rathbone, who is my favorite dichotomous actor - he could be such a great villain (not just his swashbucklers against Errol Flynn, but I'm thinking of the murderous scheming 'butler' in KIND LADY (1953 with Aline MacMahon), and then such a great and noble hero. 

 

RAW DEAL is one of these Really Bad Villain entries into Burr's resumé and, in films with Good, Evil and whatever's in between, Baaaad Villains seem to be important.

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RAW DEAL is one of these Really Bad Villain entries into Burr's resumé and, in films with Good, Evil and whatever's in between, Baaaad Villains seem to be important.

Every now and then Burr would return to his villainous roots, after his success as Perry. But these early films were exceptional. He's great not only in RAW DEAL, but in RED LIGHT and PITFALL as well.

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Every now and then Burr would return to his villainous roots, after his success as Perry. But these early films were exceptional. He's great not only in RAW DEAL, but in RED LIGHT and PITFALL as well.

 

Don't forget His Kind of Women,   a noir with Mitchum,  Vincent Price and Burr as the heavy.  

 

As for Raw Deal;  This is a good film and true to the form.   There isn't anyone to really root for in this movie (well just when you think the lead may have changed, he shows his true nature,  which is all about him and all about him only).

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Don't forget His Kind of Women,   a noir with Mitchum,  Vincent Price and Burr as the heavy.  

 

As for Raw Deal;  This is a good film and true to the form.   There isn't anyone to really root for in this movie (well just when you think the lead may have changed, he shows his true nature,  which is all about him and all about him only).

Good point(s). I just checked TCM's schedule and RAW DEAL is not coming up anytime soon. But another Burr noir, THE BLUE GARDENIA, is airing in a few days.

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It's really amazing that Burr was able to get his law-degree using that fake name PERRY M after all of these Very Baaad Guy performances!  I guess some colleges don't really care what kind of graduates they offer... oh well... I wonder if they realized what he'd do once his hair was all bleached out and he was stuck in an NYC apartment without A/C one summer with a wife he no longer cared for? 

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It's really amazing that Burr was able to get his law-degree using that fake name PERRY M after all of these Very Baaad Guy performances!  I guess some colleges don't really care what kind of graduates they offer... oh well... I wonder if they realized what he'd do once his hair was all bleached out and he was stuck in an NYC apartment without A/C one summer with a wife he no longer cared for? 

 

Burr didn't only go from bad guy to lawyer (which to some is still being a bad guy!),  but he also lost the desire for any wife.   This is why Della and him didn't have a relationship.  

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It's really amazing that Burr was able to get his law-degree using that fake name PERRY M after all of these Very Baaad Guy performances!  I guess some colleges don't really care what kind of graduates they offer... oh well... I wonder if they realized what he'd do once his hair was all bleached out and he was stuck in an NYC apartment without A/C one summer with a wife he no longer cared for? 

You're obviously referencing his great performance in REAR WINDOW. 

 

He plays another (good) bad guy in THE MAGIC CARPET, with Lucille Ball.

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There's an excellent comment about Claire Trevor's performance and I agree.  Of course, Marsha Hunt is above any objectivity for me because of one certain film that always makes me fall in love with her.

 

But Claire is not.  Claire's vast catalog is full of treasures and I'm probably more amazed at her performances than merely 'in love' with her. 

 

Here, as pointed out, she's understated.  In KEY LARGO, she appropriately over-the-top as a 'lush' in need of a drink yet, in fact, that's a performance for The Boys and we see how she scammed them so effectlvely as she slip's Rocco's gun into Bogie's pocket.  What a set-up!   AND she's making herself such a nuisance that Rocco clearly won't take her along.  She escapes, scot-free, and HE'S thinking he's dumping HER! 

 

Holy Brer Rabbit, Batman!  "Whatever you do, don't throw me in that briar patch!!" she's practically saying, as she claws and grabs needily at him.  Boy.  If he only lived to know!

 

RAW DEAL delivers her other-side-of-the-coin, so to speak. 

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We had gone off into a slight discussion about Raymond Burr. It's nice to bring the focus back to Ms. Trevor. She is one of the best, across many genres-- not one false performance in her vast filmography.

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TopBilled, I agree with every single word of yours about Claire Trevor.  Even in a bad movie, she excels.  Always believable.  It's too bad she wasn't used more frequently in comedies.  She had great comic timing.

 

Terrence.

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TopBilled, I agree with every single word of yours about Claire Trevor.  Even in a bad movie, she excels.  Always believable.  It's too bad she wasn't used more frequently in comedies.  She had great comic timing.

 

Terrence.

Yes. I have a litmus test I use, and usually big name stars fall down when I apply it to the early performances-- where they are just too young, too immature for some of the roles, and do not yet have full mastery of acting to hit the right notes. (This includes a notable like Bette Davis who is still finding her footing in her first movies.)

 

But then there is Claire Trevor. Even in her very early stuff, Claire Trevor was pitch perfect. And amazingly (how is it even possible) she just got better as she aged. I think what we have with her is a shrewd actress who always seemed to understand the woman she was playing inside and out. So despite genre and storytelling variations, different costars and different directors (who sometimes did not do their best jobs) we can always count on a picture to be elevated simply because Claire Trevor is in it.

 

She's one of the unsung greats of the classic studio era. If anyone deserves a Star of the Month tribute on TCM it's her. Let's hope she doesn't get a raw deal and keep being overlooked!

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Yes. I have a litmus test I use, and usually big name stars fall down when I apply it to the early performances-- where they are just too young, too immature for some of the roles, and do not exactly have full mastery of acting to hit the right notes. (This includes a notable like Bette Davis who is still finding her footing in her first movies.)

 

But then there is Claire Trevor. Even in her very early stuff, Claire Trevor was pitch perfect. And amazingly (how is it even possible) she just got better as she aged. I think what we have with her is a shrewd actress who only took parts in scripts where she understood the woman she was playing inside and out. So despite genre and storytelling variations, different costars and different directors (who sometimes did not do their best jobs) we can always count on a picture to be elevated simply because Claire Trevor is in it. She's one of the unsung greats of the classic studio era.

 

I agree with you about Claire Trevor's talent and ability as an actress but can one really say she 'only took parts in scripts,,,'?

 

That implies she wasn't under contract which would be unique for her era.   But maybe that is the case since a quick review of her films shows that she was in films from many different studios (i.e. I couldn't find a pattern like one finds with contract players where the vast majority of their films, say over a 7 year period are with one studio).   Being independent would allow her more freedom to be a shrewd actress.

 

Either way her talent was really utilized in very productive ways over the span of her career.    She continued to do films year after year when many others had a high point that only lasted a few years and than their offers dried up.     What a women!

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I agree with you about Claire Trevor's talent and ability as an actress but can one really say she 'only took parts in scripts,,,'?

 

That implies she wasn't under contract which would be unique for her era.   But maybe that is the case since a quick review of her films shows that she was in films from many different studios (i.e. I couldn't find a pattern like one finds with contract players where the vast majority of their films, say over a 7 year period are with one studio).   Being independent would allow her more freedom to be a shrewd actress.

 

Either way her talent was really utilized in very production ways over the span of her career.    She continued to do films year after year when many others had a high point that only lasted a few years and than their offers dried up.     What a women!

Yes, I revised that phrase which you didn't see when you were composing your reply. She was under a contract at Fox in the 30s then she became a very successful freelancer for the rest of her career. She had multi-picture deals, first at Warners in the late 30s, then Columbia in the early 40s, and in the mid to late 40s at RKO, followed by Paramount in the 50s, then back to Fox in the 60s. But I do think she had more freedom to choose her parts, even at Fox. She seemed to know what worked best for her. She doesn't strike me as a pushover who let people like Zanuck or Cohn throw her into just any role.

 

Incidentally, she was Crawford's first choice to play opposite her in JOHNNY GUITAR (it went to Mercedes McCambridge instead). I think she would have been fabulous going toe to toe with Crawford, and it's too bad it never happened. She was a strong actress who could be counted on to play a lead role and carry a picture, but also pitch in with a supporting role opposite an equally well known star (like Rosalind Russell in THE VELVET TOUCH or Crawford). The other top-name actresses were not threatened by her, and they knew she was going to elevate the material and help them look better. She was a team player (and simply a darn good actress)-- that's why she lasted so long.

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