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Kansas City Confidential (1952)

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moira finnie
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Kansas City Confidential (1952)

Postby moira finnie » October 10th, 2008, 12:05 pm

I recently got my mitts on a recording of Phil Karlson's Kansas City Confidential (1952).
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I thoroughly enjoyed this film up to the point where John Payne starts to hunt down the real criminals, (after recovering from the drubbing he received by those efficient, pre-Miranda coppers back in KC). Despite the very effective work by the badly underrated Payne, Preston Foster, Neville Brand, Jack Elam and Lee Van Cleef, up to the portion of the movie at the Mexican resort, I was disappointed by the way that the welcome presence of Colleen Gray was pretty much wasted. The last scene with Foster and Payne is excellent, but did anyone else think that this potentially nifty movie petered out?
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Postby raftfan » October 10th, 2008, 12:55 pm

Moira, when I first saw this picture, anticipating much given that cast, I, too, felt somewhat disappointed - particularly when the story shifted to the Mexican resort. For some reason, though, maybe given my mood at the time, I found myself really enjoying the movie on my second viewing. Likewise when it recently aired on TCM. Perhaps give it another shot . . .

If I can offer an aside: When I spoke to Coleen Gray about working with all the tough guys on this film, she recalled that each was interesting and intelligent and not at all in sync with the hardboiled movie image. She noted that Neville Brand in particular was a soft-spoken and gentle man.

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Postby MikeBSG » January 20th, 2009, 12:28 pm

I just watched "Kansas City Confidential" this past weekend.

When the movie shifted to the Mexican resort, I think it did lose a little energy. It struck me like a copy of "Key Largo," and I realized that "Key Largo" has some great women's roles, while "Kansas City Confidential" really doesn't. There should have been a stronger woman's part here, to further flame the tension between the stickup men. Having the heroine be under cop dad's watchful eye seemed to close down some potential for suspense and grit. (I wish more had been done with the female Mexican clerk who flirted with Van Cleef.)

klondike

Postby klondike » January 20th, 2009, 1:40 pm

This is my idea of lunch box noir.
Two-fisted & gritty, with a few unforeseen juts & jogs; gets it done without wasting a lot of time, nor falling into a lot of stereotype.
Sweet little piece of work!

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Re: Kansas City Confidential (1952)

Postby movieman1957 » March 14th, 2011, 10:32 am

We talked about this over at TCM. I thought it to be a quite interesting. The one thing that really stood out to me was Payne's performance. I had seen some of his films but this was a different John Payne than I knew. He had attitude and was not afraid to show people how tough he was. I quite enjoyed.

A few days later I saw "99 River Street" and found Payne was no fluke from the prior film. Both were good. It was nice to see this side of Payne.
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