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Alias Nick Beal (1949)

 
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:08 pm    Post subject: Alias Nick Beal (1949) Reply with quote

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Ray Milland has always seemed just a bit overrated to me, but occasionally he's just right for the role. This one is a good example.

Milland's performances tend to lean towards the laid-back side, and sometimes they lean so far they look more like the first rehearsal than the final take. But in this movie his character manages to say it all with quiet malignancy and shifty glances — which is just what you'd expect from a man who really isn't a man, because he's Satan in disguise.

The good guy in this story — accent on "good" for very good reasons — is the likable Thomas Mitchell, who plays an attorney who wants to rid his fair city of the gangsters who infest it. Other than this minor difference, this is basically The Devil and Daniel Webster, except that instead of being about a frustrated New England farmer, it's about an ambitious big city lawyer.

I haven't seen this one in years, but I remember liking the juxtaposition between Mitchell's passionate legal eagle and Milland's soul-sucking vulture. It makes for damn good drama in a hell of a fine movie.

Pardon my language . . .
Twisted Evil
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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Fri Dec 30, 2022 2:07 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I've searched in vain for several years, hoping to find a download of this movie, or to see it on the TCM schedule.

Today I discovered the follow info as part of the Wikipedia article about the movie.

A 35mm print recently struck from a studio vault print was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art on November 2, 2013. As of that date, the film could not be shown on television or released as a DVD due to legal complications and could only be seen during individual theatrical exhibitions of that print.

Well, looking on the bright side, the film isn't "lost" and it hasn't been allowed to rot away in a film can somewhere. I found it listed on Amazon for $17.95, but it's described as a DVD-R, and one customer review stated that it was "unwatchable". Several others said that it tended to skip.

All that said, I guess the movie is "lost" after all, at least in the sense that it remains unavailable.



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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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The Spike
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:18 pm    Post subject: Old Nick - Crafty Devil. Reply with quote

Alias Nick Beal (AKA: A few other titles...) is directed by John Farrow and adapted to screenplay by Jonathan Latimer from the Mindret Lord story. It stars Ray Milland, Audrey Totter, Thomas Mitchell and George Macready. Music is by Franz Waxman and cinematography by Lionel Lindon.

It's the Faustian legend filmed through film noir filters as Thomas Mitchell's politician unwittingly makes a deal with Ray Milland's suspicious Nick Beal.

Nicholas Beal - Agent.

It's all fogs, smogs and smoky pubs here, it's 1949 and John Farrow and his team are having a great time of things blending Faust with politico machinations. Narrative thrust comes by way of corruption and character disintegration, sprinkled naturally with your good old cinematic staple of good versus evil in bold type.

Don't touch him! He doesn't like it!

Milland is superb here, his Nick Beal is the ultimate Machiavellian Mannipulator, and the chief film makers really bring these traits to the fore. Beal is a bundle of smug grins and glinting eyes, he just appears in scenes, Farrow cunningly using various props and persons to suddenly unleash his little old devil when he is least expected. Around Nicky there are subtle changes of clothes and snatches of dialogue that hit the requisite devilish notes, Totter is our darling who is caught in Old Nick's trap, Mitchell (great) even more so.

The last time I was here was quite exciting. City was on fire. Picked up quite a lot of recruits that night. Made quite a transportation problem.

Lionel Lindon and Franz Waxman are also key components to what makes the pic work. Waxman (Sunset Blvd.) deftly shifts between big bass drums for thunder clap effects, to delicate swirls that give off other worldly - eerie - effects. Lindon (I Want to Live!) does great work isolating the eyes in light, while his fog and shadows work wouldn't be amiss in a Val Lewton picture.

This is a criminally under seen movie, it's far from perfect because the collage of genre influences give it a very unbalanced feel, but there's so much fun, spookiness and technical craft on show to make it a must see movie for fans of the stars, noir and supernatural tinged pictures. 8/10

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great review, Spike!!
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2024 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Well, I did find a copy of this rare movie on Archive.org, but it has Hispanic opening credits and subtitles. The dialogue however, is in English. :"D

It's better than nothing, I guess.

Alias Nick Beal on Archive.org

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