For Reel

Bullets for O’Hara (1941)
April 20, 2015, 11:07 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William K. Howard
2.5 Stars
Bullets for O'HaraA G-man wed the ex-wife of a mobster in order to bring him out of hiding in 1936’s Public Enemy’s Wife. Warner Brothers remade the same material just half a decade later with Bullets for O’Hara, casting Roger Pryor as the detective with Joan Perry and Anthony Quinn as his wife and the criminal, respectively. The resulting programmer moves briskly and shows the competency of a talented crew (including respected cinematographer Ted D. McCord), but it’s largely a disposable entertainment. Pryor is woefully miscast as the lead–he lacks the necessary charisma and is wrought as utterly incompetent at his job. In fact, only Quinn manages to leave the picture with any dignity, even if his gifts as an actor would have benefited a more nuanced role. The early moments in which he tries to convince his new wife that his thievery is morally justified promises a throwback gangster with Depression-era cynicism, but Raymond L. Schlock’s screenplay doesn’t follow through. There are a few tense moments, such as a climactic scene in which a captive Perry cuts through a telephone line with a pair of scissors, but with a fifty minute running time and an unimpressive cast, Bullets for O’Hara is forgotten as soon as the credits roll.

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