Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1951
Directed by
Robert Stevenson
81 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

My Forbidden Past

Although director Robert Stevenson tries to give style to this incongruously cast and overwritten project from Howard Hughes RKO studios it is really late film noir forced into the clothes of a Southern melodrama and never manages to look or sound right.

A gorgeous but too-old-for-the-part Ava Gardner is a Scarlett O'Hara-style belle (but a wealthy one) called Barbara Beaurevel who is living in New Orleans in the 1890s out for revenge on Robert Mitchum's research scientist after her plans to marry him are thwarted. She is aided and abetted by Melvyn Douglas as her parasitically-suave cousin.  No one would take Mitchum for a scientist of any stripe and his characterisation is risible as he plays the part more like a riverboat gambler than a university academic. And as for Douglas as a Lothario, he'd have been better off sticking to his usual pipe-and-carpet-slippers avuncularism. The high-falutin' dialogue only adds to the wooden, additive nature of the film which nevertheless manages to induce a kind of fatal attractiveness in its misguidedness.

Unsurprisingly, the film flopped at the box office




Want something different?

random vintage best worst