Saturday, August 10, 2019

QUICKSAND - "The Eyes Have It" (1950)

I believe it was Sir Walter Scott who said it best, when he wrote "O, what a tangled web we weave; When we first practice to deceive!"

 This Saturday Night Special is called
The more you thrash around, the deeper you sink!

 Mickey Rooney is a naive and horny little shit named Dan. Dan is an auto mechanic, and this exotic chick named Vera agrees to go out with him, so he has to scramble to come up with 20 bucks to take her out! Just look at Vera's eyes, as played by Jeanne Cagney, and then try and tell me that she doesn't look exactly like her brother, James Cagney!

 "Quicksand" was shot almost entirely at a place in Santa Monica, Calif. called "Ocean Park Pier," which wasn't quite an amusement park, but it was a place where people went to have fun from 1926 to 1956. In 1958, it morphed into a full blown amusement park called "Pacific Ocean Park." P.O.P. was a neat place, and was originally intended to compete with Disneyland, but almost ten years after it opened, it closed for repairs, and never opened again!

 I was talking to my Mother the other night about whether two actors known for their eyes, Peter Lorre and Jack Elam were ever in a movie together, and that's how I tripped onto this movie called "Quicksand." Bigger than anything, both stars are in this film, unfortunately, they don't actually have a scene together, but good enough for me! Peter has the role of sleazy arcade owner Nick, and former boss and lover of Vera!

Dan is a cocky little jerk, but he didn't really mean to set off a whole string of bad incidents, one after another. He lifted twenty bucks from the cash drawer where he worked, planning on paying it back in a couple of days when his pal pays him back some money he owes him, but instead his life turns into a quagmire of despair that just gets deeper and deeper and he gets pulled further down.
First he goes to this loan shark, but doesn't have time for them to conduct a credit check so that doesn't work.

It gets worse when he finds a place that will sell him a $100.00 watch on a payment plan that he takes to a pawn shop and hocks for $30.00 to put the original twenty back, but they sic a private detective on him immediately after doing that, who demands that he now pays one hundred dollars for the watch in 24 hours. He thinks about trading in his car, but for what they would give him, he'd just be deeper in the hole, and without transportation, so he ditches that idea.

He goes into a bar to have a couple of drinks and that's when Jack Elam walks in for a small role as one of the patrons of the bar. On the other side of Dan is a drunk old dude with two fifty dollar bills in his wallet!
Super cool and weird at the same time, Jack Elam was in one of my favorite movies, "Kiss Me Deadly," and he was in the "Twilight Zone" episode "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?" and then in every western ever made in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, or at least it seems like it!

So when the drunk leaves the bar, Dan decides to roll him, and follows him to his car!
It gets deeper when it turns out there was a witness.

Luckily Dan runs into the beautiful Barbara Bates as Helen and her friend, which allows him to blend in with the rest of the crowd. Helen is very pretty, but a bit dim witted. She has a thing for Dan, even though he's busy chasing other skirts like Vera. In fact he ditches her on the spot when he remembers he was supposed to have a date with Vera!
Barbara Bates had all it takes to become a star, but her personal life was like living in quicksand too. Her last appearance was in 1962 in an episode of the TV series "The Saint," titled "The Loaded Tourist." Plagued with personal problems, her career fell apart, and she sadly took her own life in 1969 at the age of 43.

When People Were Shorter And Lived Near The Water - Mickey Rooney was a mere 5' 2" and Peter Lorre was only 5' 3½" tall.

It looks like everything just might turn out all right. 

It seems fifty dollar bills were not that common back in the fifties!

Dan is just about at the end of his rope!

Dan's bullshitting boss pushes him just a little too far, and once he falls off the edge, he strangles the old bastard to pay off his debt to him!

Dan is now on the lam for murder, kidnapping and grand larceny, and it was all over twenty bucks and a woman! I hope you kids get the message, and don't end up like this!
That quicksand will draw you in, and wrap you up like a fly in a black widow's web if you're not paying attention!


Grant said...

I just saw Jack Elam in his KUNG FU episode "The Squaw Man." He and David Carradine are pretty entertaining together.

One other thing with him that you MIGHT like is a weird low budget comedy-drama called THE AURORA ENCOUNTER. A description of it would probably make it sound like an E.T. rip-off, but it's very unusual in its own way.

EEGAH!! said...

Thanx Grant! I'll have to check it out one of these days. I found a couple of copies streaming on YouTube, and one of them looked like it was watchable!

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