Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Vince Edwards, Carol Ohmart, Richard Loo, Tamar Benamy, John Wallace
Director: John Cromwell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
An American smuggler looking to turn legit spots his missing wife on a boat leaving Hong Kong. After tracking her to Macao, he discovers that she is entangled in criminal activities involving narcotics and stolen governmen... more »
Don't turn on the lights, Stu
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/15/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Stuart Allison is a two-bit smuggler based in Hong Kong who's ready to get out. One day while settling accounts with his partner he sees a beautiful blond woman board a ship and bolts out of the café. The ship sets sail while Allison is still duking it out with the boarding guards. Moments after it leaves huge cans of garbage are dumped overboard and a waiting group of peasant boats follow in the wake and commence scavenging the trash. Roll opening credits....
THE SCAVENGERS stars Vince Edwards as the disillusioned Stuart Allison and Carol Ohmart as Marion Allison, the wife who'd abandoned him six years earlier. Allison is sure it was Marion who boarded the ship. Gradually we in the audience learn that Allison has been searching for Marion for six year. A short while later Allison runs into a mysterious, white-suited Chinese gentleman who tells him that the woman is indeed his wife and, for a consideration, he will let him know where she can be found.
Incongruously enough the man's name is O'Hara, and as played my Philippine actor Vic Diaz he is a delightful cross between Peter Lorre and Odd Job. O'Hara too is chasing Mrs. Allison, who was a `very special friend' of a General Wu. A few years back General Wu stole thousands of dollars worth of war bonds, and O'Hara represents a party that wants to get their hands on them. Not the only party in this chase, either.
O'Hara wants the bonds and Allison wants his wife back. A one point O'Hara offers Allison the eminently good advice to forget his wife and leave while he still can. "You are an idealist," O'Hara tells him, "and I am a scavenger. My country had survived four thousand years until it was strangled by idealists."
The discovery in THE SCAVENGERS is Carol Ohmart, who plays the difficult role of a woman who swings from dependency to despondency to defiance with consummate skill. One source says that Ohmart was signed by Paramount in 1955 as the next Marilyn Monroe, appeared in a couple of bombs and her career slowly slid into oblivion. Ohmart had sharper edges than Monroe, and I guess soft and vulnerable was in that decade. There's no other explanation. The brooding Vince Edwards is another story altogether. His career took off a few years later when he landed the television role of Ben Casey, M.D. In THE SCAVENGERS he is simply awful, an empty core in a role that would have been perfectly suited to a young John Garfield. Edwards could brood with the best of them, but he seems totally lost here. His face seems set in a grim, immobile mask. He might have been able to act, but he proves here totally incapable of re-acting, and isn't that 50% of an actors job?
The characters in THE SCAVENGERS are well conceived and the plot motors events forward briskly enough without too many dead stretches. Stuart and Allison have satisfactorily screwed up personal lives and the high contrast photography casts shadows deep enough to satisfy most film noir fans. The dialogue in THE SCAVENGERS is, for the most part, flat, uninspired and uninspiring. It lacks that testy edginess that distinguishes the great noir movies.
The three-star rating is for noir and thriller fans, or I suppose for those drawn to `50's era exotic location movies. THE SCAVENGERS is a pretty mixed bag even for the enthusiast. The movie also appears to have been copied from a number of prints. Most of the time the movie looks great, but there is a handful of times when the glittering, high contrast print is replaced by a bleached and washed out insertion."