×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Macao
     

Macao

Director: Josef von Sternberg, Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, William Bendix

Cast: Josef von Sternberg, Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, William Bendix

 

See All Formats & Editions

The tendency is to scoff at Macao as just another example of Josef von Sternberg's late-career exercises in exoticism; true, it has its problems, including a weak plot and a slightly hasty pace, but it is still an extraordinary film for its time and its personnel. The real sparkplug for the movie is Jane Russell as out-of-work singer Julie Benson, who

Overview

The tendency is to scoff at Macao as just another example of Josef von Sternberg's late-career exercises in exoticism; true, it has its problems, including a weak plot and a slightly hasty pace, but it is still an extraordinary film for its time and its personnel. The real sparkplug for the movie is Jane Russell as out-of-work singer Julie Benson, who inadvertently gets the plot rolling when she ends up in a cabin with a lout who won't take no for an answer. Her plight, and a flying shoe, brings in laconic, slightly mysterious traveler Nick Cochran (Robert Mitchum), who seems to have something to hide and manages to get his wallet (including passport) lifted by the opportunistic Julie. Crossing paths with them is Lawrence Trumble (William Bendix), a good-natured lunkhead salesman coming to Macao for the gambling. And gambling, among other less legal activities, is what local hood Halloran (Brad Dexter) is all about. He's just hot enough in international crime circles to attract the authorities, who can't touch him in Macao; he's already had one New York detective killed and expects another to arrive, and he's keeping an eye on any suspicious, unfamiliar Westerners arriving, which leads him to Julie, Cochran, and Trumble. Halloran has other, obvious plans for Julie, especially when obliging corrupt police chief Thomas Gomez points her to a singing job at his club, much to the distress of his one-time girlfriend (Gloria Grahame); he dismisses Trumble as a lovable clown. But Nick has cop written all over him and is hiding something. All of the pieces fit together neatly in the end, and everyone is keeping at least one secret that will surprise viewers. What makes Macao truly special are the performances, beginning with Jane Russell, who, with the possible exception of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, was never better. Her ample physical assets are on display as usual, but she also never gave a sharper, more naturalistic or purely sensual acting performance. Russell had clearly found her talent and her center with this film. Whether she's shooting a suspicious glance at larcenous police chief Thomas Gomez, singing a sultry torch song in a seductive white strapless outfit, or striding forward in an exquisite dolly-out shot, she commands every scene in which she appears. And it's not just her imposing physique that does it, but a boldness of nuance; Russell had learned a lot since The Outlaw. Brad Dexter, the odd man out in The Magnificent Seven, makes an excellent villain, like a more pathological version of Steve Cochran. Meanwhile, Robert Mitchum, in his portrayal of a neurotic, perhaps shell-shocked veteran, shows a vulnerable side that seldom came out so convincingly or touchingly in his RKO movies; and even William Bendix found a new wrinkle to his screen persona as the seemingly larcenous commercial traveler. The audience will be beguiled and surprised throughout this movie -- an underrated noir classic -- and not just by the stories that unravel. The last line and wrap shot create an amazingly lusty, censor-challenging denouement for an early '50s film.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Adam Bregman
Not so different than director Josef von Sternberg's earlier exotic noir The Shanghai Gesture, Macao is actually the more entertaining film, even if the plot is flimsy and lacks much inspiration. Robert Mitchum does his usual Robert Mitchum routine here, while Jane Russell is most definitely Jane Russell. As a singer, she's got a couple of great songs in Macao, which are among the best scenes in the film. Sternberg and later Nicholas Ray, who completed the film, include some excellent shots of the island, making it seem thrilling and otherworldly. There's also a great chase scene through a harbor, where Mitchum and his pursuers jump from boat to boat. Gloria Grahame is good as always, but her part is way too small. The dialogue is pretty snappy, but the story seems like it was written in a week. Clocking in at one hour and 21 minutes, Macao seems not quite finished.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/06/2016
UPC:
0888574453985
Original Release:
1952
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:21:00
Sales rank:
13,484

Special Features

Commentary by Jane Russell, screenwriter Stanley Rubin and film noir historian Eddie Muller TCM Private Screenings with Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell, hosted by Robert Osborne

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Mitchum Nick Cochran
Jane Russell Julie Benson
William Bendix Lawrence Trumble
Thomas Gomez Lt. Sebastian
Gloria Grahame Margie
Brad Dexter Halloran
Edward Ashley Martin Stewart
Philip Ahn Itzumi
Vladimir Sokoloff Kwan Sum Tang
Don Zelaya Gimpy
Tommy Lee Coolie Knifed in Water
Weaver Levy Chang
Genevieve Bell Woman Passenger
Alfredo Santos Hoodlum
Walter Ng Fisherman
Abdullah Abbas Arabian
Emory Parnell Ship Captain
Nacho Galindo Bus Driver
Philip Van Zandt Customs Official
George Chan Chinese Photographer
Sheldon Jett Dutch Tourist
Alex Montoya Coolie Bartender
Manuel Paris Bartender
Spencer Chan Hood
Marc Krah Desk Clerk
Lee Tung Foo Chinese Merchant
Iris Wong Croupiers
Everett Glass Garcia
Rico Alaniz Bus Driver
Trevor Bardette Alvaris
W.T. Chang Old Fisherman
Michael Visaroff Russian Doorman
William Yip Rickshaw Driver
Art Dupuis Portuguese Pilot
James B. Leong Hood
Harold J. Kennedy Actor

Technical Credits
Josef von Sternberg Director
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Samuel E. Beetley Editor
Ralph Berger Art Director
Mel Berns Makeup
Sam Bischoff Executive Producer
Mel Burns Makeup
Anthony Collins Score Composer
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
Robert Golden Editor
Alex Gottlieb Producer
Harley Miller Set Decoration/Design
Clem Portman Sound/Sound Designer
Stanley Crea Rubin Screenwriter
Bernard Schoenfeld Screenwriter
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Harry J. Wild Cinematographer
Bob Williams Original Story
A. Earl Wolcott Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Woulfe Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Macao
1. Credits. [1:21]
2. Knife In The Back. [2:51]
3. Getting Physical. [3:01]
4. Enjoy The View? [3:37]
5. Depending On Lady Luck. [5:10]
6. Halloran Gets The Picture. [3:04]
7. Telltale Bill. [4:29]
8. Working Girl. [3:42]
9. No Room For Nick. [2:45]
10. You Kill Me. [3:07]
11. Pressing His Luck. [2:47]
12. Sampan Interlude. [5:53]
13. Illegitimate Business. [2:35]
14. Key To The Jewels. [3:57]
15. Never Touch The Stuff. [1:59]
16. Cheap Police Trick. [3:25]
17. Something Went Wrong. [2:44]
18. Warden In A Negligee. [5:27]
19. One For My Baby. [3:52]
20. Out For An Airing. [4:05]
21. Trumble's Dying Words. [2:47]
22. Helpful Girl Companions. [4:23]
23. Three-Mile Limit. [3:32]

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews