Motor mechanic Dan Brady lacks funds for a heavy date with new waitress Vera, the type whose life's ambition is a fur coat;so he embezzles twenty dollars from his employer. To make up the shortage, he goes in debt for a hundred. Thereafter, every means he tries to get out of trouble only gets him deeper into crime, while everyone he meets is out for what they can get.
Running Time: 79 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: PG
Quicksand benefits from a good story; a morality tale showing how one crime leads to another; but even more so from the performances of the actors. Besides Rooney, who carries the load quite handily, we have a superlative cast of characters, all of whom appear upright, but each has a mercenary side once the opportunity arises.
The great Peter Lorre (The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca) plays a sleazy arcade operator who is the sometime(s) lover of Vera (Jeanne Cagney). Lorre, a veteran scene stealer, gives a strong performance and has quite a convincing fistfight with Rooney. Art Smith plays the car dealer who decides to profit from Rooney’s larceny and does a marvelous take on a sharp businessman that will have the leftists in the audience convinced that he is the prototype of George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Ken Lay all rolled into one. Minerva Urecal plays a shrill landlady that makes life interesting for Rooney, and Vera (Jeanne Cagney) - she’s just mean as heck and looking out for number 1, with no regard for anybody else. Watch for familiar face Jack Elam in a bit part.
The Irving Pichel direction is good, with nice expressionistic cinematography shot in and around Santa Monica c. 1949. Plenty of historical interest for natives of the area, I’m sure.
A great Peter Lorre film! One of my personal favorites.
Tom Smith Las Vegas, NV
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