JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947)

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Dewey1960
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JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947)

Post by Dewey1960 »

Here's a heads-up for all of you Noir fans: JOHNNY O'CLOCK, a superb Columbia noir thriller from 1947 airs this Friday night (4/27) at 9:30 pm (PST) / Saturday morning (4/28) at 12:30 am (EST). This film was Robert Rossen's directorial debut. Rossen directed relatively few films during the course of his career, his high-point, arguably being THE HUSTLER (1961). JOHNNY O'CLOCK is usually treated dismissively by most reviewers, but don't be misled by those meaningless two-star reviews. This is one fine film, gorgeously photographed by Burnett Guffey. Dick Powell stars as the title character, a somewhat amoral gambler tied in with some very shady people, most notably Thomas Gomez as the smarmy owner of the gambling club Johnny runs. The very wonderful Evelyn Keyes is the good girl trying to figure out what actually happened to her murdered sister and Ellen Drew is the bad girl mistress of Gomez'. Lee J. Cobb is on hand as a cop obsessed with pinning something on Johnny. It's all very hard-boiled and steamy (with some incredibly erotic imagery lurking throughout) and not to be missed. Not on DVD or VHS.
Last edited by Dewey1960 on April 21st, 2007, 5:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
JulieMarch4th
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Post by JulieMarch4th »

Oh, Dewey, Thanks for the heads up on this film. Dick Powell is one of the actors that I am trying to see everything possible. (still no luck on Mrs. Mike, though).

I will be away that night, but will somehow try to remember to record it.

Julie
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Will be recording as well. Thanks. 8)
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Dewey1960
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JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947)

Post by Dewey1960 »

Julie: If you're a die-hard Dick Powell fan (especially of his post-crooner tough guy roles) then you are most likely going to love JOHNNY O'CLOCK. Cut somewhat in the MURDER MY SWEET mold, it's a much more complex character and he really nails it. Four Stars on the Dewey-Meter.
And Mr. Ark - I just KNOW you're going to dig this film!!
-Dewey
JulieMarch4th
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Post by JulieMarch4th »

Dewey- I am a die-hard Dick Powell fan -- as a crooner and past. (except Susan Slept Here. I am still scratching my head on that one.)

I was enthralled the first time I saw MURDER MY SWEET -- I also enjoy Anne Shirley in 'most everything.

Dewey-meter, huh?

Julie
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Re: Johnny O'Clock


By the way, if you look real quick at shots of the "Boss's" henchmen, you'll see an uncredited Jeff Chandler.
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Dewey1960
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Jeff O'Clock

Post by Dewey1960 »

I've never noticed Chandler in that! Another excuse to cop a viewing of JOHNNY O'CLOCK. Nice combo platter with Rossen's other gambling motif'd classic THE HUSTLER coming on right before it. A great night to stay home! (With a Russ Meyer nite cap!)
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Dewey1960
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JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947)

Post by Dewey1960 »

So...did anyone out there watch Dick Powell in JOHNNY O'CLOCK last night? And if so, how'dja like it?
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ken123
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Re: JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947)

Post by ken123 »

Dewey1960 wrote:So...did anyone out there watch Dick Powell in JOHNNY O'CLOCK last night? And if so, how'dja like it?

I was OK.I hadn't seen it in about twenty years. Not in the front rank of noirs, and a little too long.Nice cast, with Cobb and Gomez leading the way,but overall just so - so. :wink:
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Dewey1960
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Johnny O

Post by Dewey1960 »

Yes, I would agree that it is not in the upper echelons (definitely superior to Murder My Sweet), but it most certainly had its share of intriguing moments. Great camera work and a nice twist involving Johnny's buddy Charlie. And the women were great! Always nice to catch a classy noir film on TCM that hasn't made its way onto DVD yet.
Last edited by Dewey1960 on May 1st, 2007, 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

I hit the Record button and dropped off. Had to get to work early in the morning.
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

I'm so thrilled I caught this movie, and got it recorded, too!!! Thrilled because it's already one of my favorite noirs now. I like it a lot better than The Big Combo or several others that are always raved about. I think I even like it better than Murder My Sweet. I know MMS has the incomparable Raymond Chandler patter but I find Johnny O'Clock much more engrossing. I think the characters seem more real for some reason. Maybe because of the absence of brilliantly clever dialogue! :P

Anyway, I hope lots of people saw it and enjoyed it. It's my favorite Dick Powell movie ever now.
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Dewey1960
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JOHNNY O'CLOCK (1947)

Post by Dewey1960 »

Hi MissG -- I'm so glad you feel that way about JOHNNY O'CLOCK!! It's a real favorite of mine as well. A far more rewarding film than MURDER MY SWEET (although you'll be hardpressed to find many who will agree!) I've seen it a number of times and my enjoyment of it increases with each viewing. Another great DICK POWELL tough guy noir is CRY DANGER! from 1951. It's an RKO film and it turns up on TCM every now and then. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend it as well.
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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

Hi Dewey---I don't think I've seen Cry Danger! so that's another to look forward to. I was also impressed by Powell in Cornered and in the boxing movie I saw recently, co-starring Ricardo Montalban, Right Cross.

I just know I'm going to watch JOHNNY O'CLOCK over and over with pleasure. The mystery I am still trying to figure is how his character got that name!!

P.S. Fans of the noir-Powell might enjoy this article (which actually has two parts:

http://www.thecolumnists.com/stanley/stanley48.html
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Finally saw the film. As others said it's not a top line noir, but I thought Cobb was wonderful. He's always very natural on film and rarely goes over the top. Powell does a decent job here and Thomas Gomez was great as always. Keys and Foch both look great and add spice to a simple thriller.

All in all the story wasn't that great, but the great performances brought the film up quite a few notches higher than similar fare.
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