“Didn’t I tell you all females are the same with their faces washed?”
A war hero (Humphrey Bogart) investigates the mysterious death of his buddy (William Prince), who was accused of murdering the husband of his lover (Lizabeth Scott).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Amateur Sleuths
- Femmes Fatales
- Flashback Films
- Humphrey Bogart Films
- John Cromwell Films
- Lizabeth Scott Films
Dead Reckoning is often dismissed as merely one of Humphrey Bogart’s “lesser” noirs — perhaps due to the presence of Lizabeth Scott (in lieu of Lauren Bacall) as Bogie’s femme fatale love interest, or perhaps due to its meandering storyline (scripted by no less than five authors), which occasionally lacks focus. Yet director John Cromwell and cinematographer Leo Tover do a fine job establishing an atmosphere of tension and intrigue throughout, and there’s enough deliciously hardboiled dialogue (“Stalled again — like a jeep on synthetic gas.”) to keep fans of the genre happy. Meanwhile, Bogart is as dependable as ever, and husky-voiced Scott isn’t nearly as bad as some reviews would lead you believe. While it’s not must-see viewing, Dead Reckoning is certainly recommended for one-time viewing.
Note: Be sure to check out David Sterritt’s insightful analysis of the film for TCM.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
No, but it’s recommended.