HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
Knockabout
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
Cellar, The
Sacred Spirit, The
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Lisbon Lisboa antiga
Year: 1956
Director: Ray Milland
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Hara, Claude Rains, Yvonne Furneaux, Francis Lederer, Edward Chapman, Jay Novello
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  0 Votes
Review: After working as a light leading man in the 1930's and first part of the 1940's Ray Milland became accepted as a serious dramatic actor following his Oscar-winning role as Don Birnam in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend. Not a man to rest on his laurels, Milland turned to directing in the early 1950's, starting with the Western A Man Alone in 1955. Although it was cheaply made for a minor studio (Republic) the film had some interesting features, and Milland got a second chance to direct (again for Republic) with this 1956 drama of international crime and intrigue. In a charming touch of - possibly - modesty, the film stars 'Ray Milland', it is produced by 'R. A. Milland', and is directed by 'R. Milland'.

The plot revolves around Captain Robert John Evans (Milland - his three names are always emphasised, for some reason) an American who has settled in post-war Lisbon and lives a comfortable life smuggling unavailable luxuries (perfume, watches, and the like) into Portugal. However, he never deals in narcotics and doesn't kill people, so we can accept him as a lovable rogue. The Portuguese police know he's up to something but he has the fastest boat on the coast, and they never arrive in time to catch him with the goods.

Evans is approached by Greek criminal 'Mr Big' Aristides Mavros (Claude Rains), with a proposition worth $10,000. (Mavros' male secretary is played by Norman Wisdom's future Mr Grimsdale, Edward Chapman.) He is to smuggle Lloyd Merrill, the oil-industrialist husband of Maureen O'Hara, into Lisbon from a ship which has brought him from behind the Iron Curtain.

While this is being arranged Mrs Merrill takes a distinct fancy to Captain Milland and decides that a future with an older husband is not quite so attractive, but the $25m she would be left with certainly is. She arranges with Mavros that her husband will meet with an unfortunate accident at the hands of Seraphim (Francis Lederer), Mavros's heavy, when the exchange takes place. Unknown to her, Mavros adds Evans himself to the casualty list (women with $25m do not grow on trees).

Meanwhile Evans is falling for one of Mavros's female 'companions', Maria Maddalena Masanet, (Yvonne Furneaux), who returns the compliment and warns Evans of Mavros's double cross. The final scene reunites Mrs Merrill with her unwanted but still unsuspecting husband, Mavros fingered by an informant for Evans's smuggling, and Evans swearing to go straight with Maria Maddalena.

As a film, this is definitely a second feature. The story is rather predictable, and after an interesting set-up it all becomes slow, talky and a bit tedious. The 86 minute running time feels at least 10 minutes longer. The details of Merrill's imprisonment, and the pressure brought by the State Department on Mrs. Merrill to leave things to the professionals is never explained – presumably Republic didn't want to risk upsetting anyone by getting too political.

Milland makes a good charming hero. He seems to attract more than his fair share of lovely ladies, but when you are star, producer and director, why not turn things in your favour? Claude Rains plays his smooth, silky villainous character for all it is worth (he feeds his cat by leaving a trail of breadcrumbs on his window-sill and whacking a hapless sparrow with a tennis racquet as the cat licks its lips – the most interesting moment in the film, unfortunately just two minutes in). Maureen O'Hara apparently relished the chance to be a Bette Davis-type bitch but isn't really venomous enough to be a convincing ice maiden. Francis Lederer is rather too granite-faced as the 'sinister' Seraphim.

The film's biggest point of interest today is seeing the locations around Lisbon as they were sixty years ago. So much green space which is now crowded with offices and apartment blocks (at one point Evans is driven from Belém to Lisbon via Cascais, a 40-mile detour, but it adds local colour). In fact, despite a special title which announces the film was made in Portugal by the Republic Corporation, most of the film is disappointingly set-bound. There are a couple of nice shots of the Palácio da Pena in Sintra, an effective sequence in the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, but otherwise the film is firmly inside the studio – even Mrs Merrill's hotel, the Palácio in Estoril (where James Bond checks in at the start of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'), while mentioned by name, is never actually shown. A limited budget is also in evidence as Evans's boat always seems to be sailing along the same stretch of coastline. (The film is well-shot in the Republic colour process, Trucolour, and its answer to CinemaScope, Naturama.)

Never even mentioned, of course, is that when the film was made Portugal was living under a right-wing dictatorship complete with secret police (the PIDE) and prison colonies in West Africa.

This film is a decent, second-rate potboiler with some historic interest, but rather flat dramatically. The theme tune, by Sinatra musical director Nelson Riddle, proved popular in instrumental versions, and as a vocal recording by famed Portuguese fadista Amália Rodrigues.
Reviewer: Enoch Sneed

 

This review has been viewed 3749 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: