Year: 1947

Director: Robert Wise

Cast: Lawrence Tierney, Claire Trevor, Walter Slezak, Phillip Terry, Audrey Long

Sam Wild is a man who is inexplicably confident and is willing to trample over anyone in his way to get where he is going. His confidence ends up taking him places, despite being a nobody. He is impulsive and dangerous. Women want him and wise men stay out of his way. When he encounters Helen Trent, played by Claire Trevor, she begins to fall for him, despite her engagement to a successful man who means stability and comfort for her, which she claims to desperately desire.

There is a difference between characters making poor choices and characters making choices that are contrived to further the story.

At times this film teeters on the line between the two. There are too many moments that seem contrived and hard to swallow, including some of the actions of Sam Wild. His character comes across as sensational at times. This is Hollywood trying to be shocking, and not being as convincing as I would like.

Had they ironed out the script a little I think this film could have been so much more.

There are some memorable performances by some great actors in it however.

Elisha Cook Jr. plays Sam’s best friend and the relationship between the two is interesting to watch and analyze. His devotion becomes more and more interesting. It seems Sam’s confidence is attractive to everyone, and even breeds devotion from those like his friend who would be better off not associating with such an impulsive man. Keep your eyes peeled for the interaction between these two.

Esther Howard is also fun to watch as an old woman who amuses herself vicariously through the escapades of young women she befriends, especially one Laury Palmer who ends up dead after she is spotted by her boyfriend with another man.

This movie is worth seeing but mostly forgettable. Despite my relative indifference towards the film I can understand those who really enjoy it and unlike some films that don’t overly impress me I wouldn’t want to discourage people from seeing it. I think some of the ideas behind the film are quite intriguing in fact, I just didn’t feel they were executed as well as I would have liked.

Seinfeld fans will remember Lawrence Tierney, who plays Sam Wild, as Elaine’s intimidating father. It seems Lawrence Tierney had a face for intimidation. He is intimidating in this film as well, and is just wild enough (his last name can’t be a coincidence) that he should be feared and avoided.

By Greg Dickson

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