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Ride the Pink Horse

Posted by martinteller on May 10, 2011

After Lady in the Lake — one of the worst noirs I’ve ever seen, with a lame gimmick and lame everything else — I had little faith in Robert Montgomery, either as an actor or a director.  Color me shocked when this film, from the same year even, turned out to be so great.  Originality was the one thing Lady had going for it, but it blew the execution.  Ride the Pink Horse has originality in spades, and pulls it off beautifully.  This film takes film noir characters and plops them into another world, with strange and haunting results.  Oh, there have been other noirs set in Mexico, but none have such an off-kilter vibe to them (to a certain degree, One Way Street does, but in a different sort of way).  Montgomery takes things casually, starting the story with a number of mysteries and supplying answers in due time.  The Ben Hecht script is loaded with hard-boiled dialogue, but there are also these leisurely diversions as the protagonist develops friendships with Pancho and Pilar (two memorable performances by Thomas Gomez and Wanda Hendrix, amidst an already strong cast).   There is an air of mysticism and fate hanging over the picture, and it goes to a lot of places that are very unusual.  The climax is unlike any I’ve seen before, and even more unusual is the lengthy, but fully earned, epilogue.  The film also addresses postwar disillusionment very directly, and there are layered themes of innocence lost.  Startlingly original and captivating work.  Rating: 9

IMDb
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