EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DEATH OF A SCOUNDREL (director/writer: Charles Martin; cinematographer: James Wong Howe; editor: Conrad A. Nervig; music: Max Steiner; cast: George Sanders (Clementi Sabourin), Yvonne De Carlo (Bridget Kelly), Zsa Zsa Gabor (Mrs. Ryan), Victor Jory (Leonard Wilson), John Hoyt (O'Hara, Stockbroker), Bob Morgan (Bridget's husband), Tom Conway (Gerry, brother of Clementi), Celia Lovsky (Clementi's Mother), Nancy Gates (Stephanie North), Lisa Ferraday (Zina, wife of Clementi's brother ), Gabriel Curtiz (Max), Werner Klemperer (Herbert, Clementi's Lawyer), Justice Watson (Clementi's Butler); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles Martin; RKO; 1956)|
|"It's unconvincing, moralizing and
over melodramatic, but has some entertainment value."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
adaptation of the life and mysterious death in 1955 of the ruthless
scoundrel Russian refugee Serge Rubenstein.
Charles Martin ("The One Man Jury"/"My Dear Secretary"/"How To Seduce A
Womam") directs and writes this average B-film, a poor man's
Citizen Kane. It's unconvincing, moralizing and over melodramatic, but
has some entertainment value.
The film is told in flashback. It opens with wealthy refugee businessman Clementi Sabourin (George
Sanders) found shot to death
in his luxury Park Avenue townhouse by his
secretary Bridget Kelly (Yvonne
De Carlo). Bridget says
she loves the evil genius and recounts to the
police the story of the fast rise to the top of the recent Czech
refugee who became one of the wealthiest and most hated New
from a Nazi prison camp in Czechoslovakia, Clementi visits his antique
store owner brother, Gerry Monte, in Italy. Gerry
has opened the shop with Clementi's money and married his girl
friend Zina, after telling her his brother died in the camp. A vengeful
Clementi turns Gerry in as an illegal immigrant
in exchange for a U.S. visa, and during the arrest his brother is
boat to America, Clementi meets
oilman Wilson (Victor Jory) and
tells him to become rich one must be dishonest. Clementi says his
business motto is: "Business
is the art of
getting something for nothing." Later
when ashore, Wilson drops his wallet while
exchanging money. Clementi follows the petty thief Bridget Kelly to a
bar after she
picks it up and after wooing her and returning to her apartment, he
steals the wallet but is shot by her ex-husband as he flees. At the doctor's office where he's treated
for his shoulder wound, Clementi overhears the doctor on the phone buying a
drug stock with a new miracle drug it just developed. Clementi uses Wilson's $20,000 check to
buy the stock and instantly becomes rich.
Bridget chronicles how she met Clementi again and went to work for him, and how the scam artist conned wealthy women out of their money, was an embezzler, was charged with manslaughter, and issued phony stocks. She also described him asking for forgiveness for his sins before he was killed by a business partner who didn't want the repentant Clementi to return the money he swindled.
REVIEWED ON 4/28/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ