22 February 2015

DVD Review - Not as a Stranger (1955)


Genre:
Film Noir
Distributor:
Simply Entertainment
Rating: PG
Director:
Stanley Kramer
Cast:
Robert Mitchum, Frank Sinatra, Lee Marvin, Olivia de Havilland
Release: 23rd February 2015

Stanley Kramer made his directorial debut with Not as a Stranger. Kramer made his name producing some classics like Champion, High Noon, The Wild One, and the Dr. Seuss penned, cult masterpiece, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. He would later go on to direct On The Beach, Judgement at Nuremberg, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

In the film, Robert Mitchum plays the overly ambitious medical student, Lucas Marsh. Frank Sinatra plays his friend Alfred, and Lee Marvin plays his other friend Brundage, which already makes it possibly the coolest group of friends in film history. Marsh needs money to pay his tuition and meets a nurse, Kristina Ludvigson (Olivia de Havilland). They end up getting married, but it’s a passionless one. Events comes to a head with a friend of Marsh needs emergency surgery.

One of the film’s biggest problem is it’s length; at 2 hours and 11 minutes, it’s way too long for it’s own good. It could have lost at least 20 minutes and would probably be considered a total classic. Despite the length issues it’s a very solid medical drama with an exceptional performance by Mitchum, and great supporting turns from everyone involved, including an appearance by Lon Chaney, Jr. as Marsh’s alcoholic father.

The film’s other biggest problem is that all the actors appear way too old for their respective roles. For example Sinatra was already 40 and Mitchum was not far behind. Despite the obvious suspension of disbelief you have to have, it’s a really rock solid medical melodrama with a phenomenal cast that seems to be have been completely forgotten in the history of cinema.

★★★★

Ian Schultz

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