johnlink ranks CONFLICT (1945)

I love stumbling upon Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet movies. This one is a bit of a role reversal, though. Bogart is, of course, the lead. But he plays a man who has killed his wife and is trying to get away with it. Greenstreet plays the ‘good guy’, so to speak, as a Psychologist and a friend of Bogie’s. Of course, they find themselves in conflict.

I watched CONFLICT (1945) on 2.2.11. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

First of all… terrible title. I hate the title. It may as well be called GENERIC FILM. I mean, by the end you realize the levels of ‘conflict’ within the piece, but as a title which is supposed to grab you and make you want to watch it, this fails.

But my complaints about the film pretty much end there. There were many moments where I thought the resolution would not possibly be sufficient to explain what was happening to Bogart. I thought the climax would leave me with a lot of ‘But what about…’ questions. But instead, it ties up nicely.

This is a noir which plays with the roles of noir characters. Usually the lead male is a generally moral person who has questionable means of finding worthwhile answers. Instead, we have Bogart as a murderer. Usually the femme fatale is not the wife, but a seductress. Here she is an unhappy wife trying to figure out her husband’s confusing feelings about her sister. In an unusual switch, Greenstreet gets to be our moral compass, along with Alexis Smith who performs wonderfully as Bogie’s sister-in-law/love interest.

This isn’t the level of THE BIG SLEEP or MALTESE FALCON or any of those other recognizable titles, and history remembers those first for a reason. But CONFLICT is an interesting addition to the genre, and Bogart gets to play outside of his comfort zone a little (especially with the limp, which he USUALLY gets right).

This film doesn’t suffer from high expectations, but it certainly didn’t blow me away in the manner that BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK did last week. I’d like to pick this up as a Blu Ray, and not watch it on standard def some time!





~ by johnlink00 on February 2, 2011.

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