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His Kind of Woman

1 rating: 1.0
A movie directed by John Farrow

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Tags: Movies
Director: John Farrow
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Release Date: 29 August 1951 (USA)
1 review about His Kind of Woman

Robert Mitchum and Vincent Price on the corn-ball noir express, with Jane Russell and a Nazi serum

  • Mar 1, 2011
  • by
Robert Mitchum's loner cool, Jane Russell's breasts and Howard Hughes' obsessiveness might be all there are to this odd, dull noir, but then there's Vincent Price. He plays, as if born to the part, a ham of an actor who befriends Mitchum when Mitchum could really use some help. With Vincent Price deliberately overacting, Hughes and His Kind of Woman got lucky, turning a disaster into simply an oddity.
But that's not saying much. What Hughes came up with after taking the movie away from director John Farrow is a mishmash of poor craftsmanship and the forced joining of some decent noir scenes with low quality comedy. Hughes winds up with Mitchum and Russell in a Mexican resort, not a bad thing at all, but also with Raymond's Burr's bulging eyeballs and psycho brutality, a hypodermic filled with nasty Nazi fluid, a sinking rowboat filled with "comically" inept Mexican police officers, a facial transplant in the works, Tim Holt as a Fed agent, gravel-voiced Charles McGraw as a gunzel, Price hamming it up and Russell singing something titled "Five Little Miles from San Berdoo." The movie starts promisingly, loses its way for well over an hour and then ends with viciousness and belly laughs. His Kind of Woman is a movie almost as odd as Howard Hughes was.
What's the story? Dan Milner (Robert Mitchum), a loner down on his luck, stops at a diner late one night for a glass of milk he can't pay for, then meanders down the street to his rented room. He's met by three thugs who beat him up. Then he gets offered money if he flies down to a small resort on the Mexican coast to await further orders. He'll be part of a scheme involving a deported top gangster, Nick Farraro (Raymond Burr), who needs a new identity to return to the States. Dan shrugs and goes. On the way he meets Lenore Brent (Jane Russell), a singer who is determined to marry rich. She's headed to the same resort to hook up with Mark Cardigan (Vincent Price), famous Hollywood adventure star, who is down there for a spot of shooting and relaxation while his wife gets a divorce.
The ennui sets in when Dan and Lenore get settled at the resort. The movie lasts for two long hours, and a good deal of that time is spent getting to know a number of the guests, a good many of whom have nothing much to do with the story line. There's even a young hubby with a gambling problem being taken to the cleaners. Dan steps in and cleverly turns the tables. He gets a chaste kiss by the young wife as thanks as the couple happily leave the resort.
Then the movie starts getting serious again with Nick arriving in a yacht. Dan changes his mind and fights back, Lenore gets worried and Mark with his rifles sets out to rescue Dan from the yacht. Price uses all his hammy skills to play the hammy Mark, and he gives Mitchum a run for his money. Unfortunately, we keep cutting back to Mitchum creeping around the yacht, Mitchum being pounded in the stomach, Mitchum being whipped with a belt and Mitchum almost...almost...but not quite...being injected by a white-haired medical war criminal with a serum which will erase Dan's memory, destroy his brain within a year, and keep his face intact until it can be used by Nick the psycho gangster. The movie takes this seriously. Then add Mark playing slapstick hero. What on earth was Howard Hughes thinking about?
Well, we know he was thinking about Jane Russell and her 38D bust. He makes sure this actress, who he was determined would be a big star, is photographed with loving skill. As for Russell, the movie is so schizoid she's hardly given a chance to show what she can do. She has two songs, neither of them very good. What she does well is to project her natural good humor. She's sexy in the standard Hollywood style, but she never seems to really take herself too seriously. She works well with Mitchum, who manages to hold his own simply because his laid-back, tough style never really depended on the movies he was cast in.
His Kind of Woman isn't much of a noir, although it starts promisingly. It's not much of a movie, either, because it mixes so oddly and unconvincingly violence and low comedy. However, Mitchum is always Mitchum, Russell has a fine, honest personality despite the cantilevered bras Hughes designed for her, and Price is a good sport.
Robert Mitchum and Vincent Price on the corn-ball noir express, with Jane Russell and a Nazi serum Robert Mitchum and Vincent Price on the corn-ball noir express, with Jane Russell and a Nazi serum Robert Mitchum and Vincent Price on the corn-ball noir express, with Jane Russell and a Nazi serum

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