Dead Reckoning

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3 thoughts on “Dead Reckoning

  1. 49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A Sultry Femme Fatale, Entertaining Plot, but No Depth., June 29, 2005
    mirasreviews (McLean, VA USA) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: Dead Reckoning (DVD)

    “Dead Reckoning” is a story told half in flashback by Captain Rip Murdock (Humphrey Bogart), a paratrooper just returned from combat in World War II. In the Southern town of Gulf City, Murdock is beaten up and on the run. Eluding his pursuers, he enters a church and tells his story to a priest so that, whatever may come, someone will know: A few days before, Murdock and a paratrooper under his command, Sergeant Johnny Drake (William Prince), were whisked home from Paris and put on a train to Washington, D.C., where Sgt. Drake was to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. But Drake took off while the train was stopped, and Murdock set out to find him. He followed Drake to Gulf City, where he discovered that Drake was a fugitive before he enlisted, having confessed to the murder of his girlfriend’s husband. Murdock finds the girlfriend, Coral Chandler (Lizabeth Scott), in a nightclub owned by a man named Martinelli (Morris Carnovsky), who has a mysterious hold over Coral.

    “Dead Reckoning” is entertaining but not thematically sophisticated. The dialogue is fine, but not clever or sharp. The character writing is superficial. This isn’t top-tier film noir, but it does have Humphrey Bogart’s charisma and Lizabeth Scott’s sultry voice and great looks. Coral Chandler is one of the most manipulative femme fatales in film noir. In fact, she is the center of the film’s only discernible theme: You can’t trust women. I’ve rarely seen a film with such an overt anti-female premise. Normally I find femme fatales to be a refreshingly unsentimental image of women. But Murdock is relentless in proclaiming women to be deceitful and castigating Coral. -And he falls under her spell anyway. So it’s all very amusing. “Dead Reckoning” isn’t a great film, but it’s solid entertainment with high-power stars.

    The DVD (Columbia/Tristar 2002): The print of the film is good, but not restored. There are some small white specks, but not enough to be distracting. Bonus features include “The Bogart Collection” (4 minutes), which is scrolling text about Bogart’s career followed by some posters of his films. “Vintage Advertising” is 3 posters for the film. Subtitles for the film are available in English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean.

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  2. 51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Why can’t I trust Columbia DVD:s?, January 15, 2003
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Dead Reckoning (DVD)

    Having just finished watching two new Columbia releases on DVD, I feel both pleased and angry! First out was “The Devil at 4 O’Clock. Super transfer – fine contrast, properly letterboxed, correct color and mostly very sharp! Then I watch “Dead Reckoning”! Were the people at Columbia asleep when they made this transfer to DVD? Speckles galore all the way! Grainy as all get out! Lousy greyscale! No really black and white areas to be found anywhere! And a strange pulsating image in the darker scenes! “Remastered in High Definition” it says on the box! Bull!
    I do not expect a bells-and-whistles restoration for a title like this. But I do expect that someone cares to remove dirt and scratches, and improve other defects within a reasonable budget.
    Surely, this noir classic must be able to look better than what we have here! Was the best print really located in the Columbia vaults? You wonder! This is a boring question I often ask myself after having watched a Columbia DVD. Mind you, many are splendid indeed. But for every goodie comes a “Dead Reckoning”, or a “Eddy Duchin Story”, or a “Big Heat”, etc. The labels shift in care from one title to another is puzzling! And there is so much up for release soon! Hopefully someone will blow the whistle before more classics get the substandard treatment! We fans want the Columbia gal to sparkle like her torch!

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  3. 21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    A “B” Rated Maltese Falcon, June 3, 2000
    Vincent Tesi “Vinny” (Brick, New Jersey) –

    This review is from: Dead Reckoning [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    By 1946 Humphrey Bogart had become one of the most commanding screen stars in Hollywood. Having been featured in a string of critically acclaimed films such as: Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, and The Big Sleep, Bogart often breezed through some forgettable pictures as Conflict, The Two Mrs. Carrolls, and Tokyo Joe. John Cromwell’s Dead Reckoning is one such film in which Bogart gives a mediocre performance as WWII paratrooper Rip Murdock who investigates the death of his buddy John Drake ( William Prince)who was about to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Even the casting of luscious Lizabeth Scott who had become a sexy noir staple did nothing to elevate the film to a notable hierarchy. Rip Murdock ( Bogart) deadpans through most of the script by Oliver Garrett without the appeal and freshness exhibited by former personas such as: Sam Spade, Harry Morgan or the indelible cafe owner Rick. The chemistry betwee Carol Chandler ( Lizabeth Scott) and Rip is tepid. Maybe Bogart’s recent marriage to beautiful actress and three time co-star Lauren Bacall dimmed the sexual innuendo that Bogart usually shared with his leading ladies. Although Bogart’s narrative voice-over, borrowed shamelessly from Double Indemnity describes Coral Chandler as “Cinderella with a husky voice” , the two characters never break through the pretense of refinement. The film does contain essential themes of noir- murder, deceit, and betrayal. These ingredients are played against a backdrop of glistening city streets, casino-nightclubs, and shadowy hotel rooms, but even the cast of nefarious figures fails to free the film from its own trappings. Probably one of the most inexcusable scenes ever shot for a noir film occurs during Scott’s hospital bed plea for redemption. After being involved in an eighty mile an hour, window shattering, car accident, Scott’s beautiful face does not contain a single cut, scrape, or bruise. Scott is bandaged in a white head wrap and highlighted by a halo of light which only enhances the unbelievable state of her physical condition. What was director Cromwell thinking about? At least when Bogie enters the hospital room Cromwell had the sense to fit him with an arm cast. Dead Reckoning is worth owning, but only to complete a Bogart or Scott video collection.

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