Plot: What’s it about?
Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney) is an auto mechanic who lives a simple life, but he soon has a date with a waitress, Vera (Jeanne Cagney) who he really likes. But this date will require some cash and since Dan has none, this poses a problem of serious magnitude. If he can’t come up with the cash somehow, he will miss his chance with this dame and he can’t let that happen. So, he devises a plan to get some quick cash, but it isn’t a very honest one. Dan has decided to “borrow” twenty bucks from his boss’ till and figures he can make it up at a later date. As if that little task wasn’t enough, he is also going out with someone at the time and thus, is double dealing and stealing to take Vera out. Dan soon finds his life spinning out of control, as he competes with another man (Peter Lorre) for Vera’s affections. Can Dan ever piece back together his life, or will he keep sinking deeper & deeper, until he finally disappears?
I’d never seen Quicksand before I prepared for this review, but I had heard some things about it and it seemed worth a look. I like many older film noirs, so I figured if nothing else, it was worth looking into just to see another noir picture. I didn’t expect much from this movie to be honest, but I was surprised at how good it turned out to be in the end. The needed noir elements are all present, but this one seems darker than usual even, which is a good thing in this genre. A small moral mistake triggers a chain reaction of massive proportions, which is a terrific premise for a film in this genre. As the film rolls along of course, the characters become more easy to hate and the morals become less & less evident as well. This is dark to be sure, but that is what we want from this genre, right? I wish this disc had more in terms of supplements, but the film is good enough to justify the asking price, very recommended.
This isn’t the type of role Mickey Rooney is best known for, but he handles himself very well and seems natural within the part. At one time, Rooney was the main draw in the movie business and this film is testament to his skills, as it is easy to see how he could achieve such status. His boyish looks work well in this film, as we can relate more to his character, even if we don’t like him all of the time. It is also just sort of fresh to find him cast against type here, which I feel adds a lot to the film. This isn’t Rooney’s finest work by any means, but he fares very well within this darker scope of cinema. You can also see Rooney in such films as Breakfast At Tiffany’s, The Atomic Kid, The Big Wheel, How To Stuff A Wild Bikini, National Velvet, The Black Stallion, Baby Face Nelson, and Stablemates. The rest of the cast includes Taylor Holmes (The Crimson Runner, Uneasy Money), Barbara Bates (All About Eve, Lady on a Train), Jeanne Cagney (Queen of the Mob, Golden Gloves), and Peter Lorre (Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon).
Video: How does it look?
Quicksand is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s intended aspect ratio. This is an above average presentation, but a lot of debris and flecks are still evident on the print at times. You have to expect that to some degree on a film this old, but I did expect some kind of restoration work to be done. Still, this is a pretty clean image and minimal compression problems surface. The black & white image is solid also, no contrast troubles and detail level seems more adequate. I am pleased the film looks this good, but some minor restoration work would be most welcome.
Audio: How does it sound?
The original mono track is used and it sounds good enough, even if limited in range. The music sounds good in this mix, as distortion and harshness are minimal and the usual mono hiss is absent also. Not much to discuss in terms of sound effects, but the elements come through in distinct form and sound as good as mono allows. I also heard no flaws with the dialogue, which sounds crisp and clean at all times. This is a very nice mix, especially for a film that was made in 1950.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.