A supreme oddity from Howard Hughes' RKO, which starts off with a relatively straightforward noir thriller plot - gambler Mitchum is pressurised under threat of violence to help exiled hoodlum Burr return to the States - and about halfway through turns into surreal parody. Mitchum has said that much of it was made up as the production went along, and certainly scenes such as his ironing of dollar bills, and the frequent innuendo-laden backchat with Russell, have an air of spontaneity. Funniest, however, is Price as a mad and conceited actor, given to spouting cod Shakespeare even at the most dangerous of moments. The thing, not unlike a taut, sadistic thriller peppered with incursions from the Monty Python crew, hardly hangs together; but it is excellently performed and directed, and remains an unforgettable delight.
Cast and crew
Frank Fenton, Jack Leonard