Macao

Josef von Sternerg attempted to re-create the ambience of his 1930s Paramount period for this 1952 RKO production; there's no way of knowing whether he succeeded or not, because the film was recut by producer Howard Hughes, with additional scenes directed by Nicholas Ray. Sternberg's personality survives; what's missing is the soul that might have turned the artifice and self-parody into poetry. Jane Russell is the ostensible star, though it's Robert Mitchum's facial planes that get the Sternberg treatment. With William Bendix, Gloria Grahame, and Thomas Gomez. 80 min.

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