Format: TCM on DVR
Director: John Farrow
I had seen this before, about eight years ago, but only remembered bits and pieces of it.
Mitchum plays an over worked San Francisco-based doctor who plans to leave the hospital to start his own practice (and not put in 24 hour days). He's got a swell gal in the person a Maureen O'Sullivan, a very understanding nurse, and all is looking good. UNTIL. He takes on a suicide attempt in the person of Faith Domergue - pitched here as the sexy, wealthy, society gal who throws herself at Mitchum. That is until he figures out that Claude Raines (in high Raines style here) is not her father, but her husband. A scuffle ensues, and Raines ends up dead. Plus, Mitchum ends up concussed when he was already drunk.
Domergue leads Mitchum on, and they make a pretty classic noir-era cross-country escape to get across the border and escape murder charges. Meanwhile, Domergue might be a lunatic and Mitchum has a serious concussion that needs attention.
It has a bit of a fugitive The Live By Night, on the lam quality, a noir staple (I'm immediately thinking of a few others, including High Sierra). And comparisons to Detour are inevitable and unfortunate as that shines a light on the fact that Domergue just isn't Ann Savage. It's a bit unclear what the appeal is beyond "pretty". As nutsy as Ann Savage was, she at least had personality to spare.
Still, it's a good watch for a second viewing in 10 years. Mitchum is surprisingly dialed in, playing the increasing medical trauma in a buyable, understated way that stretches him beyond "awesome dude with troubles". Raines was probably on set for 3 days to get his part in, but he's terrific.
There are a number of setbacks for our leads en route to Mexico, and, frankly, they feel both concocted to the point of stretching credulity and absolutely like the dumb things that can keep you from achieving what seems like very reasonable goals. Especially while traveling.
Anyway - I don't dislike it, but there's a reason I only sort-of remembered it before turning it on. But from now on it'll be "the one where Mitchum gets way-layed by small-town folk and their insistence on beards".