Clash By Night, 1952. 9/10

A love triangle energizes the plot in this drama. Barbara Stanwyck is Mae Doyle D’Amato, back in her hometown after a long fling with a married man back East. She gets acquainted with both Earl Pfieffer (Robert Ryan), a local bad-boy, and nice guy Jerry D’Amato (Paul Douglas).

Meanwhile, Mae’s brother Joe Doyle (Keith Andes) makes time with Peggy (Marilyn Monroe). Jerry’s dad is Papa D’Amato (Silvio Miniciotti), and there’s his Uncle Vince (J. Carrol Naish).

We start with a picturesque Monterey Bay panorama; seals, gulls, a fishing fleet. And, Peggy waking up. Geez, she works in a cannery. Meanwhile, Mae gets off the train by the pier. Sauntering into a bar, she perches on a stool.

Jerry comes in to sort of rescue his dad, who’s miserable. “Hey, ain’t you Mae Doyle?” Asks Jerry, as Pops bumps into Mae. She’s sort of ‘yeah, whatever’ when Jerry tries to reacquaint himself with her, even though he mentions that her brother works for him. Anyway, Peggy gets off work, meeting up with Joe.

“When I want you to kiss me, I’ll let you know!” Peg tells the aggressive Joe. Oh, well. Mae greets them at the old homestead. It’s been ten years. What, no entourage for Mae? “There isn’t any car, there isn’t any husband.” In other words, her game folded up. Joe grudgingly welcomes sis home.

Peggy tells Mae that Joe wants to marry her, but she’s not so sure she wants to. Segue back to the docks. Joe and Jerry talk about Mae; Joe encourages him to ask her out. Next thing we know, Jerry is all dressed up for a date with her. He, Vince, and Pops verbally joust.

So, Jerry comes calling on her. He talks about how “everything was easier in the old days.” He mentions Earl, the movie projectionist. After the movie, they visit with Earl. He’s got an odd comment on the movie, that it would be better if the actress were “cut-up a little bit, [because] she’d look more interesting.”

Earl tells Mae that his wife is in burlesque, in St. Louis. Hmm. Then he muses “a man without a woman has nothing.” About his wife, he says “some day I’m going to stick her full of pins!” A voodoo doll? Mae doesn’t like him. Back home, Peg and Mae are hanging a clothesline. They talk about guys, Mae says “I’m tired of looking after men. I want to be looked after!”

I’d say that she and Earl are equally bitter, but in different ways. Jerry wants to go to the Pavilion at Earl’s invitation. She tells Jerry, a bit disdainfully, “you don’t know a thing about me.” She figures that he’s in love with her; but she’d be “bad” for him. But he says that he’d do “anything” for her. Hmm.

Joe and Peg are clowning at the beach; they cruise into a nice place. Earl, who seems to know everyone, starts complaining about the service. Peg tells Joe that Earl looks “kind of exciting, and attractive.” Joe doesn’t like that, and, not so playfully chokes her with a towel. Earl’s not the only jerk, then.

When Joe goes on an errand, Earl comes on to Peg; then Mae and Jerry slip in. Joe and Peg go out for a walk, so Earl shifts his attention to Mae. When they dance, Earl basically tells her that Jerry’s a great guy, but, y’know, he’s Jerry. “You’re like me,” he tells Mae. Jerry’s gone missing.

Now Earl’s wife is in Pittsburgh. Time for a song, and a smoke. Jerry reappears (another Pops crisis). She more or less tells Jerry to buzz off for being overly solicitous. More bitter talk with Earl. She: “Last time I looked you had a wife.” He: “Next time you look, maybe I won’t.” He moves in to kiss her, but she demures. He retorts “I know a bottle by the label.” Slap.

Back inside, Joe whisks Peg away from Earl. Then Earl gets stiffed by Mae all over again. She unexpectedly says that she will marry boring old Jerry. So, there’s an Italian-style wedding (Jerry being about the least Italian-looking guy possible). Naturally, Peg makes a spectacle of herself, and Pops gives a genuinely salutary speech.

Of course, Earl insists on kissing the bride. Anyway, things start off swimmingly for the newlyweds; Mae’s had a baby already, Gloria. Strangely, Vince needles Jerry about Mae; the jist is that she’s too controlling. Anyway, some more domestic bliss for the little family. Meanwhile, it seems that Earl has finally got his divorce.

Funny thing is, Jerry feels sorry for Earl. Well, look who’s calling, drunk as a skunk? Earl. He’s only had “two tiny quarts.” As drunks will do, he gets philosophical “Divorce is like the other person dying.” Ok, but what’s this? Mae looking out the window at the sea.

Next day, Jerry sets off to the boat; that leaves sleep-it-off Earl in the house with Mae. “How did I get here?” She tells him. Pop pops in; he gives Earl a quick dirty look and says “you don’t like work, heh?” Of course, Earl gets down to brass tacks with Mae immediately, asking her if she’s happy. He’s certain that she isn’t.

He doesn’t respect the fact that she’s married. “Don’t you know I love you?!” For all his machismo, Earl is weak and needy. Peg comes by–she’s showing off her ring–she and Joe are engaged. Earl rolls out some demeaning quips. When Peg leaves, Mae tries to get rid of him; but he grabs her, after some struggling, they embrace and kiss.

On the boat, the crew gets the news that there’s another Pops crisis, and that Mae’s gone to the fair with Earl. Vince claims he didn’t know anything about Pops going bezerk in the bar. But Vince mentions Earl…is word seeping out about Mae carrying on with the lout? Yep, that’s it.

Jerry quizzes his dad about the fight; the fact that Pops just cries confirms the cuckolding situation. Not only that, but Jerry finds some stuff that only Earl could’ve given her. At that point, Earl returns with Mae. Well, Earl’s busted; he tries to pass the gifts off as little doodads, but Jerry is livid.

He tells Earl off. Basically, Mae feels bad about it; but she’s defensive, giving Jerry the line that married life is boring. This is a long, powerful scene. Turning on his wife and Earl, Jerry lambastes them with “what are you, animals?!”

A segue with clouds and landscape. Here’s Earl and Mae on the beach; “this is my last shot at happiness” he says. Ditto for her. Earl is so delusional, saying that Jerry “can’t take care of himself.” Earl has no idea who he is, or what he wants to do; and Mae’s not much different. They talk about the baby like it’s a bargaining chip, if not just a nuisance.

Working up to a wild denouement, I think. Anyway, when she gets home, Jerry says he’s willing to forget the past, if they can have a future. She just says that she’s going to leave the next day with Earl. What a dummy. He offers to sell the boat so that they can “go away.” When he tries to force his affections on her, she threatens him.

He’s so pissed when she says that she’ll take Gloria, that he pushes her out. Vince tells him that he should take her back, whether she likes it or not. “Blow his brains out!” urges Vince, Earl’s brains that is, if he has any. Joe walks in on Peggy and Mae–his turn to tell Mae off. And then, to the impressionable Peg, he talks about what marriage means to him “you’re just as much responsible as I am!” Sounds reasonable.

Earl is back in the projection room; doesn’t that make him an easy target? It’s not Mae that comes up, it’s Jerry. Uh-oh. He’s definitely out for blood; they struggle, Jerry nearly strangles Earl, but Mae intervenes just in time. No harm done, legally. That night, Mae swings by to pick up the baby and say goodbye to Jerry.

But Pops says that Jerry has split with the baby; and tells off both Earl and Mae. Earl calls Gloria “that kid.” She wonders if she should follow through and leave with Earl. He calls responsibility a “trap.” It’s obvious that he could care less about the baby. “Somebody’s throat has to be cut.” For once, she realizes that Earl’s attitude is selfish. Now she doubts that she loves Earl.

He’s possibly right that her new personality makeover is a phase of some sort “you played me for a chump!” Another apt comment: “you may lose both of us.” She goes to the boat; Jerry’s not exactly calmed down. “I wasn’t your husband, I was nothing!” She admits that she’s not a safe bet. Finally, Jerry says “I have to trust you…you got to trust someone, there ain’t no other way.” So, they each give in, to make another go of it. The end.

I was very surprised that no one was killed. That’s definitely a hint that character, and not action, is our focus here. We’ve stepped up from melodrama to the more sophisticated, nuanced level of drama. Both Jerry and Mae change significantly; Jerry’s heightened awareness shows up much sooner than Mae’s, who realizes, only at the very last minute, that Earl is an immature schemer and dreamer.

Earl, Mae, and Jerry are presented as very different, and very distinct people. Jerry’s uncomplicated and easily satisfied (as exemplified by his dad, who thinks things should be set in stone). Earl is the exact opposite: rootless, restless, and unappreciative. Mae is pretty much a female version of Earl, and attracts men as easily as Earl attracts women.

Its good that Jerry seems like such a ‘big lug’ compared to kool-kat Earl; otherwise his nebulous, almost beatnik-like non-conformism would seem useless next to the practical, down-to-earth (down to the sea?) Jerry.

Peggy and Joe make an interesting reflection of the married couple. Joe is somewhat like Jerry, but he has his Earl-like bossy, even abusive moments with Peggy. In their case, Peggy is actually more like Jerry, just wanting someone who will love her without telling her what to do. In fact, it would make a sort of poetic justice if Joe winds up with May, and Peggy with Jerry.

What connects the two couples is the predatory Earl. He certainly lives up to the cliche which posits that the ‘bad boys’ get the ladies. The script kicks him to the curb, ultimately; he ‘gets’ nothing, in fact, the town probably gets rid of him.

Joe’s bit about the responsibility in marriage being mutual really gets at the heart of the theme. This is fairly progressive stuff for the era, and belies a lot of the misogynist posturing and actions by both Joe and Earl.

The performances of the main characters are outstanding. And well cast: Stanwyck does her alluring, world-weary indifference so well; Ryan pretty much is one of his film noir anti-heros–minus the crime; Monroe is vulnerable, but resilient and deeply sensuous; Douglas’s role is enigmatic, the guy who gets wise to himself.

The beautiful locale helps to sort of set off, even amplify the characters’ issues. It doesn’t need to be stated that this is a natural paradise, with a village-like charm. So why are all these folks in turmoil? In a way, the setting mocks the drama, as though it’s a veneer of a civilization–which Pops seems to think–is already lost.

Actually, there’s some truth to looking at both facets of Monterey. Or anywhere, really. Some folks can blend in, as Jerry does; or, like Earl, and for the most part, Mae, they can be outliers. There’s another possibility too, as Peggy seems to show; one can be restless, but accept the situation that they’re in at the moment.

Clash By Night makes us think, an indication of an interesting, well-made movie. 9/10.

The Angry Red Planet, 1959. 6.5/10

From the Golden age of sci-fi, Angry Red Planet hits all the targets for this genre. A returning spaceship from a Mars mission, a skeleton crew (an amnesiac woman, and a dying man), a flashback narration of the mission to–a literal red planet. Oh, yes, and some cool monsters. Featuring the only giant amoeba in outer space, as far as I know.

The full crew consists of Dr. Iris Ryan (Nora Hayden), Colonel Tom O’Bannion (Gerald Mohr);, Professor Theodore Gettel (Les Tremayne), and Warrant Officer Sam Jacobs (Jack Kruschen). There’s a bunch of medical staff on hand, as well as base officers, and operatives, but no one stands out amongst them. Don Osmond provides the voices for the the narrator, the newscaster, and an alien.

We start with the array of wooden actors meeting to discuss the probable loss of the Mars spacecraft. But, with tons of some guys (some in uniform, some in sports or plaid shirts) manning controls, they successfully reignite its engines. The following night, it lands in one piece. The top guys wait anxiously, “The hell with radiation! Let’s go!” After all, they’ve got to save “the girl” (Iris).

And the Colonel, with a green slimy growth on one arm. Iris seems to have forgotten what happened on the mission. “Why don’t you start at the beginning…” So, she does–begin a flashback, that is. We see the rocket launch and the crew settle in.

Approaching Mars, they dodge a cherry-red meteor. The colors are super-sharp. Staring out a viewport, Tom tells Iris “I’d like to explore your dark alley” huh? Well, she’d opened the door by quiping that space made Broadway look like a dark alley. His flirty talk already needs a tune-up.

On the other hand, Iris has occasion to splash on some fragrance, in between serving rations and dusting. At last they’re about to land. By some wizardry (actually stock footage) the rocket has changed its look. Sam wants to be the first to greet the Martians.

Oddly, the sky has changed from bright red to pale blue. Iris is all set; she’s got her purse! (equipment, hopefully). Gettel thinks the absence of movement on the surface might be intentional. They suit-up. At this point Iris sees an alien face in a porthole (looks a little like the Creature From The Black Lagoon).

Back to the present, Iris wakes up screamingr, and then recalls the incident that frightened her. Onward to the flashback. Of course, the guys don’t see the alien; and the atmosphere is bright red again. The Martian landscape is a sort of cartoonish Kool-Aid red. It’s almost three dimensional. Anyway, they have a sort of raygun for heavy weapons.

They mess with the abundant flora. Iris sees what looks like an enormous Venus Fly Trap. Of course it is…a Martian Fly Trap? The raygun dispatches it. Thankfully, they make for the ship. Gettel has the only intelligent comments–he thinks they’re being watched. They’ve only seen plants, where are the critters?

As is usual in this sort of movie, they’ve lost contact with Earth. Tom has this constant leering grin; what an annoying hep-cat. Next day they roll out again and explore. First problem is a gigantic insect-like rat. Gettel is trapped by it; just as it looks like he’s only going to answer roll-call from a Ouija board, the others drive it off using all their weapons.

As a three-eyed creature watches, they slink back to the ship. Gettel convinces Tom to cut the mission short; they attempt to take off, but no go. They figure a “force field” holds them down. With an expectation of finding the Emerald City, they decide to traverse the lake they’d seen the day before. Indeed a magnificent (though cartoonish) cityscape is what they see looming on the horizon.

Interrupting this utopian sight is a giant amoeba surfacing in front of them. They get back to shore in time, but it’s in hot, gooey pursuit. Sam is slurped up before he gets back inside the ship. Tom was slimed by the amoeba, which surrounds the ship. The other creature (it’s the three-eyed guy that appeared in the window earlier) is chilling nearby.

Iris has the idea of electrocuting the thing through the outer hull; assuming the inner hull is insulated, this makes logical sense. So, the necessarily adjustments are made; Gettel gives it the juice. It works, as it melts like hot jello.

Its at this point that the Martian voice warns them to mind their own business. Gettel is dying from a stroke, brought on by exertion and stress. Well, we’re down to Iris, and the slimed-up Tom. Maybe that’s his comeuppance for being such a jerk.

Anyway, having split the crazy Martian scene, Iris feels sad. What a survivor! Ok, we’re back from her flashback. She wants to remember everything the alien said. The docs have gleaned enough from her info on the amoeba to figure that Tom’s ‘infection’ is progressive. Hey, they could electrocute him, that’d kill it…

Iris, now fit as a fiddle, is in her lab gear, working to save Tom. I’m not so off-base, as they do to plan to apply select amounts of electrical shock to the afflicted area. Now, we even get the tape of the alien “Do as you will with your own…but do not return…unbidden.” Ok, bro, just chill. A last look at the red planet from space. The end.

I remember this being much better when I saw it as a kid; I know, I was a kid. But my enjoyment with most movies, especially from the classic sci-fi era, are remarkably unaffected by time. I figured out why. We didn’t have a color TV in the mid-’60s. Seeing the lurid effects of that wretched red-tinted Martian landscape really brings it down.

The color and the fact that much of it is simplistic props or drawnings makes it look doubly unreal. Not so different from an hallucinogenic effect (more 1969 than 1959). The otherworldly sense is the pay-off in this sort of movie–weird is good, but we shouldn’t have to squint to get a look.

What does peep out of this tangy Martian landscape are the monsters. And they’re all pretty good; presumably the three-eyed guy is the intelligent alien (the one sending the message). It would’ve been more interesting if he’d really been a character, instead of just appearing at a distance. Direct interaction with aliens usually adds something to the plot. Otherwise, we’ve just got a bunch of people wandering about waiting to get attacked.

The rat/crab thing is pretty nasty, and the amoeba gives the word ‘monster’ a new image and interpretation. So much for the organic special effects; the technological stuff works fine too. The control panels and screens, both on the ship and on the ground, are suitibly complex and sophisticated-looking. Even the raygun looks formidable.

So, we’ve got an interesting premise, pretty good pacing, and (red tint excepted, even though it can’t be ignored) some cool special effects. That leaves…acting to consider. Or, it would, had there been more than broad attempts at stereotypes in these performances. I could excuse the input of the on-the- ground personnel, as those folks are peripheral anyway.

It’s the main characters that disappoint. Mohr is set-up with about the most disgusting misogynist role possible; in short, he’s a creep. Hayden is pressed right into her nurturing/housekeeper role; I guess it’s a big deal that they let “the girl” come along anyway. Yes, it’s 1959, but rarely does such stuff get so blatant; some of Mohr’s lines would be groaners even in a bar scene.

Kruschen is the handy, but obnoxious guy from Brooklyn. Nothing wrong with types, but these two guys show no nuance, and don’t get an inch outside their characters’ boxes. Actually, Iris does do more than make coffee and get attacked; the amoeba destruction concept was her idea. No one questions her judgement about that or anything else. Plus, she’s the only one to return in one (human) piece.

Tremayne actually isn’t bad; the best of a bad lot. His input almost adds a psychological dimension to the Martians; the concept of the planet’s stillness being intentional is interesting. Clearly there’s more going on than the monster attacks; the force field and the alien’s warning, for example, are on a different plane than the Martian fly-trap.

The instinctive and the intelligent life forms are seemingly disconnected; is the three-eyed Martian also endangered by the ‘wildlife’? We never get to find out. Also, if the alien intelligence is so hostile, why wait until the crew lands to send the warning?

There’s good stuff here; the pacing keeps us wondering what’s next, the flashback is handled well, and there’s enough inner logic for the plot to maintain suspension of disbelief. Angry Red Planet had the potential to follow the truly beguiling Forbidden Planet (1956), but had little of the earlier film’s sophistication. 6.5/10.

Racket Busters, 1938. 6/10

In one of his early roles, Humphrey Bogart is John ‘Czar’ Martin, trucking racketeer. Fighting gangsters both inside and outside the unions are buddies Denny and ‘Skeets’ (George Brent and Allen Jenkins). Trucker movies are great because the guys are tough wise-crackers, and there’s usually plenty of highway mayhem.

The supporting cast includes Gloria Dickson as Nora, Denny’s wife; Penny Singleton as Gladys, Skeets’s girlfriend; Walter Abel as special prosecutor Hugh Allison; Henry O’Neill as the Governor; Oscar O’Shea as Skeets’ dad, Pop Wilson, and Joe Downing, as, believe it or not, Joe.

We first see headlines that proclaim “Racket Rule To Continue;” that’s thanks to favorable election results for Martin. While the hoods celebrate, there’s a different tone across town with special prosecutor Allison and the Governor. Hugh doesn’t want to jump into the ring with the gangsters just yet, but his wife pressures him.

He agrees. Martin and his cronies read the headlines stating that news, but Martin doesn’t much care; business as usual. They go to the producer market; “seven million people [New York City’s population] depending on us.” He figures the way in to this gold mine is to “organize” the truck drivers.

Hugh addresses a group of agents in his office: subpoenas fly out to various businesses preyed on by protection rackets–particularly unions. A know-nothing union man–who has shunned the rackets–nonetheless is unwilling to testify. The next guy was shown to have bought off Martin, but he won’t go on record either.

A poster in the market announces a union meeting; goons filter around wherever truckers gather to push them into attending the meeting. Denny and Skeets figure they can do what they want anyway. Gladys chews out Skeets in front of the guys; it’s sort of played as just nagging, but with a ring of truth when she says “instead of hearts you got motors!”

At Joe’s Garage, Nora pops in to say hi to Denny (he’s especially concerned because she’s pregnant). The goons show up with their union meeting posters. Pop tells them off, he’s slugged, which sets off a general brawl. Out on the road, Denny and Skeets talk about the future. At a diner, he sees Charlie.

The radio mentions a truck wreck. A jerk goon slides in to indirectly scare Denny by asking about his wife’s health. I suspect the guy outside was tampering with his truck. Yep, it’s now got no brakes. Skeets does a good job of avoiding a major wreck, but the truck’s disabled. More victim interviews at the prosecutor’s; that’s is, Denny and Skeets. Denny is sticking to the know-nothing line.

Hugh knows all about the fight at Joe’s, as well as the vandalization of their truck. Denny doesn’t want to be a “stool pigeon.” Still, seeing how Charlie was messed with, Denny says ok, we’ll play along. Some goons are fingered and picked up; that doesn’t prevent another attack on Charlie.

Then Denny’s truck is blown up. The union meeting is boisterous–the so-called is in effect set up as a protection racket (the dues are astronomical). Denny, Pops, and others basically shout down the mugs, and the meeting breaks up. More goon action: they come to threaten Nora. Meanwhile, Skeets, who has gone off on his own by wholesaling tomatoes, is down in the dumps.

Denny looks in; he’s broke, they both are. Later Denny finds out that Nora has gone to the hospital; he plans to send her to the country. Where’s the dough coming from? The goons, of course. Kind of Robin Hood justice. Strangely, the hospital administrator doesn’t want to move her. Well, looks like he’ll come around.

When he comes home, Martin and assorted goons are waiting–actually Martin’s impressed with tough guy Denny. Just like that, they have a deal. He keeps the money, gets a new truck–and joins the goon union. Not only does this tick off the other truckers, but Hugh is more than a bit miffed at Denny’s going turncoat.

Denny figures…what’s the use playing ball when the good guys aren’t around at the right time (the violence hadn’t abated, Charlie may as well be dead). He goes back to the “everyman for himself” mantra; basically meaning not that he’s neutral, but that anything goes. Seems like the honest truckers need a new spokesperson.

In court, the prosecutor tells the judge that it’s impossible to convict the racketeers; they need to cite the witnesses/victims for contempt if they don’t talk. That just means that the goons go about the busting up the guys who won’t play ball with them. A no-win situation, the victims talk and get nailed, or get nailed anyway (by having their produce destroyed).

“Poison Food Perils City!” Run the headlines now. Meanwhile, since a blizzard has ruined the rest of the crop, Skeets’s about the only one with good stuff. But then the goons show up–he’s ruined too. In a police line-up, Pop is willing to point out some hoods.

Somewhere upstate, Denny looks in on Nora. Hey, there’s a baby! Ok, back to goon city–that is, Pops is pushed in front of a speeding subway train. Back at police HQ, Gladys talks to Allison, despite Skeets’s protests. Nora talks to Denny–he wants to turn over a new leaf–but Nora tells him off. She’s right. He just goes any way the wind blows.

Well, he’s arrested as a sort of accessory to Pop’s death (he’s refused to incriminate Martin’s boys, of course). Even Martin can’t spring any of the guys. But he’s got a cunning hand to play–since he controls the truckers, he calls a strike. Instant food shortage. Skeets accurately tells the wholesalers that the truckers hold the key to the problem.

He takes to the stump to try and convince the drivers to get the trucks moving. “You can bust those guerillas wide open with their own hands.” The cops let Denny go, presumably so he can help Skeets. Martin, looking on, gives orders to stop the trucks. In the ensuing melee, Skeets is shot dead.

Just then Denny arrives: the trucks start rolling. One plows into Martin’s office building. The denouement is a Martin v. Denny fistfight; Denny wins, the cops take Martin away. There’s an anti-climactic court scene, with the requisite speech from the judge. Last thing is a cutesy Nora and Denny kiss. All’s well, the end.

Well, I was disappointed. It is based on true events, which explains the rather heavy-handed sermonizing. That’s not such a big deal. The main problems were that the pacing let the air out of the plot early on. A very talky movie, when I was expecting just the opposite. The best couple of scenes involve Denny looting the crooked union, and Martin looking the other way in return for Denny’s ‘loyalty.’ That’s tough-guy respect.

Admittedly, trucking per se isn’t the topic as much as racketeering in general. Nonetheless, there really wasn’t much interaction between the truckers and the wholesalers, even though one couldn’t profitably exist without the other, except locally. The effect was to take the focus away from the hands-on action.

I’m reminded of a similar movie from the same era (also staring Bogart) that was set in California. It was much more effective, as it showed the wholesalers and truckers battle with the mobsters and their goons. No preaching or politics, just decent guys intimidated until they square accounts with the mob.

Bogart gave the best performance here by far, followed by Dickson and O’Shea’s. Neither Brent nor Jenkins really showed much personality; in particular, Brent is rather wooden. It’s not his fault that the script crosses him up him what we might call an aggressively passive role, but he just comes off as angry.

Singleton is even worse in that she overacts her role. As mentioned, she’s cast as a sort of stereotypical ditzy woman; making her eventual tell-all to the cops seem less than believable. Dickson does a much better job–to the extent that we wonder what such a decent person is doing with the likes of the weak guy Brent portrays. Her pregnancy is strictly a device to elicit sympathy for her, and exert a sort of guilty tug on Denny. Had she been more than a decorative asset of Denny’s , this aspect of the plot would’ve fit in better.

This is certainly watchable, but seems overly long for its 71 minutes. 6/10.