Rio Bravado #3: The Man I Love

walsh
The Man I Love | Warner Brothers | Raoul Walsh | 1947

The rottenest people are the best people! Ida Lupino gets a lot of that “cheap hussy” flack, but it doesn’t stick (why would it when Wily Walsh is behind the camera?? No way he’s gonna endorse pejoratives lobbed at his lithe, loose-lipped ladies!). I mean yeah, she wallows in a mucky milieu of mobsters and flounderin’ floozies, but when the going gets tough, her brassy slick talk saves the day in a way that her chaste, snoozeball of a sister (Andrea King) never could! But hey, speaking of sisters, this movie has enough plot for three movies to munch on! Complementing Ida Lupino’s blowouts with Bruce Bennet and Bob Alda is this weird PTSD subplot involving King’s husband that’s so scarcely a story thread it can whip up an ice-cream sundae of a third-act twist without feeling cheap. Yeah, not cheap like that other sister, that Dolores Moran character! Walsh shovels her marital problems into the furnace so yet another, more noir-y subplot can take shape. But Walsh shovels with flair, and the little glimpses of this fucked marriage have some real-world oomph -- I mean, not to get all auteurist on you fellas, but Walsh at Warners is all about filling in the cracks in his tough-guy foundation with some really lovely, sensitive stuff. And ya know, that’s why this movie can mélange a lot of prior Warners flicks and one-up every one of ‘em. There’s inklings of Mildred Pierce and Humoresque and even fuckin’ Casablanca, but the verve with which Walsh stirs it all up is what old Hollywood’s all about! Capiche?