EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|SIROCCO (director: Curtis Bernhardt; screenwriters: A. I. Bezzerides/Hans Jacoby/based on the novel Coup of Grace by Joseph Kessel; cinematographer: Burnett Guffey; editor: Viola Lawrence; music: George Antheil; cast: Humphrey Bogart (Harry Smith), Marta Toren (Violette), Lee J. Cobb (Col. Feroud), Everett Sloane (Gen. LaSalle), Zero Mostel (Balukjian), Nick Dennis (Nasir), Martin Wilkins (Omar), Vincent Renno (Arthur), David Bond (Achmet), Gerald Mohr (Major Jean Leon), Onslow Stevens (Emir Hassan); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robetrt Lord; Columbia TriStar; 1951)|
|"A well-acted but
predictable spy thriller set in Damascus, in 1925,
when the Syrian insurgents conduct guerrilla warfare
against their French occupiers."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
well-acted but predictable spy thriller set in
Damascus, in 1925, when the Syrian insurgents conduct
guerrilla warfare against their French occupiers. Humphrey Bogart plays the
cynical ex-reporter and American ex-soldier Harry
Smith, who went AWOL to operate a gambling house and now runs a
highly profitable black market operation. Harry is
truculent, chain-smoking, bow-tie and
trench-coat wearing amoral
gunrunner, who has contact with the rebel leader Emir
Stevens) and displays no emotions when
French soldiers are killed with the guns he supplies.
Colonel Louis Feroud (Lee J. Cobb) is the idealistic head of French
Intelligence who cunningly tracks down Harry as the
rebels main gunrunner, a man he despises for his
callous actions and that he stole the bored kept woman
he loves, Violette (Marta Toren), and is secretly fleeing war-torn Damascus for the
more serene Cairo with her. General LaSalle (Everett
Sloane) is head of the French occupying army, and aims
to put down the insurrection even if he has to become
a butcher to do so and believes his competent
intelligence officer is a dreamer if he thinks he can
negotiate a truce with the ruthless Emir.
Curtis Bernhardt ("Conflict"/"A Stolen life"/"Miss
Sadie Thompson") gives
the pic a Casablanca look and pours on it all the
negative cliches Hollywood usually uses in its
portrayal of Arabs. It's based on the novel
Coup of Grace by Joseph Kessel and is written by A. I.
Bezzerides and Hans Jacoby.
The film's best line goes to the Swedish actress Toren, who tells Bogart: "You're so ugly. How can a man so ugly be so handsome?"
REVIEWED ON 7/29/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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