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Whistle Stop
Whistle Stop
Genres: Indie & Art House
It was still a few years before Ava Gardner would perfect her irresistible insolent sexuality, but Whistle Stop has her perfectly cast as a big-city-lovin small-town girl paired with real-life tough guy George Raft, who pl...  more »


Movie Details

Genres: Indie & Art House
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House
Studio: Critics Choice Classic Television Collection
Format: DVD
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0

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Movie Reviews

Good Cast- Poor Movie
Vincent Tesi | Brick, New Jersey | 07/04/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Despite the cast of Ava Gardner and Victor McLaglen this film is poorly scripted, highly fictionalized and filled with sub B movie histrionics. George Raft's name is featured above the movie's title in the opening credits and undeservedly so. Raft who is probably best known as the Hollywood actor who turned down roles that Humphrey Bogart parlayed into stardom, gives a cliched, wooden, flat performance as Kenny the town tough guy. Kenny is unemployed and spends most of his time shooting pool, playing cards, and drinking at the town's only nightclub. His girl (Ava Gardner) returns to town after a 2 year hiatus and again becomes the object of desire for Kenny and the nightclub owner. This uneven triangular relationship is never fully explored and the characters remain uninteresting objects for a director that seems misguided. The one informative scene for me was a shot of Raft which clearly shows his shoes with lift heels. Like Bogart, Raft was insecure about his short stature. When three excellent books about film noir; "The Dark Side of the Screen" by Foster Hirsch, "Somewhere in the Night" by Nicholas Christopher, and "Dark City" by Eddie Muller fail to even mention one line about Whistle Stop you know that this is a dismal film."
Watch this one for Victor McLaglen's monologue on how to ste
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 01/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It takes twenty minutes to reach the reason to watch Whistle Stop, a semi-noir, semi-melodrama starring George Raft as a small-town loser and Ava Gardner as a small town...loser. That's when Victor McLaglen as Gitlo, a big, aging bartender and friend of Kenny Veech (Raft), visits him in the lonely train station at Ashbury, pulls out a deck of cards for two or three hands of Casino, and starts to talk to Kenny. McLaglen's three-minute monologue is a masterful combination of friendliness, wooing and manipulation. Up to then we've seen Gitlo only as Kenny's buddy. Gitlo works as a bartender in the up-scale (for Ashbury) Flamingo Club, owned by the suave and condescending Lew Lentz (Tom Conway). Both Kenny and Lew want Mary (Ava Gardner), Kenny's old girlfriend who has just returned from two years working in Chicago. She left Kenny once because he was a loser, always gambling but with no money, a tough guy still living at home. "You know Kenny," his adoring Ma says, "he's always on the go. Why, I bet right now he's working on a big deal." The "big deal" is a crummy poker game in a closed bar. Mary, however, kinda loves the lug; Kenny certainly loves her in a boss-around, alpha dog kind of way. But Lew Lentz, with his hairline moustache and white tux, detests Kenny (the feeling is mutual), and Lew has the class and money that Mary wouldn't mind having.

In those three minutes, talking to Kenny while they play Casino with Kenny distracted because Mary has just gone off with Lew, Gitlo tells what it's like being under Lew's thumb...about a "mistake" he made that the police don't know about but that Lew does...what it would be like having the money Lew it would be possible to take a lot of Lew's money from him...and how to murder Lew and get away with it. McLaglen plays these three minutes almost softly, with a gentle smile. He's showing Kenny how things could be, sharing Kenny's resentment over Lew. He's sly but sincere. The camera seldom leaves McLaglen's face and the director lets McLaglen take his time. McLaglen delivers a marvelous moment. It's unsettling to think that very soon, under John Ford's tutelage, McLaglen will turn himself into an over-acting Irish buffoon in a series of Ford films.

George Raft at 51 is as wooden as ever. Still, he has a serious screen persona that's interesting to observe. When he looks like he wants to beat up someone, he's believable. Ava Gardner at 24, after lots of unbilled bits, is now getting the studio treatment to become one of the last of the studio-built glamour screen queens. She can barely act better than Raft, and their scenes together are something to see. "I never promised you anything before," Raft as Kenny says, "but I'm making a promise now. Wait. We'll go together." "Go where?" Gardner as Mary asks. "Anywhere," Raft says. "It's a long walk to anywhere," Gardner says. "This time," Raft says, "we'll ride." Still, Gardner is gorgeous and she learned.

With movies this clunky in acting, writing and directing it's all to easy to give in to sarcasm or two-bit wit when writing about them. Victor McLaglen, however, reminds us that surprises happen and that it doesn't hurt to keep an open mind. The movie is in the public domain. The DVD transfer is borderline awful, but bearable. If the price is low enough, it might be worth having to enjoy how good McLaglen is."