For Reel

Hollow Triumph (1948)
September 3, 2016, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Steve Sekely
3.5 Stars
Hollow TriumphWorking to expand on his image from Victor Laszlo and the roles from the pictures he did with Bette Davis, Paul Henreid turned to production with this 1948 noir from Eagle Lion Films. In the film he plays not one, but two fairly unsympathetic characters—most importantly John Muller, a recently released prisoner who finds himself on the run from mobsters. As in Dark Passage, the film uses the face as a means of investigating the theme of identity. Muller is noted as having been smart and respectable in his early life, even having some success as a psychologist… albeit without a license. In adapting the identity of Dr. Bartok, he has the potential to roleplay a life that could have been, including a romantic affair with a secretary (Joan Bennett) who worships him. But as with the most fatalistic of noirs, the picture’s finale involves a few ironic twists of fate that seem to argue that Muller was destined for his particular tragedy all along. Henreid is compelling in the dual role, but the film’s real pleasures come in the cinematography by John Alton, which provides a tour of many Los Angeles locations (including an exciting showdown at Angels Flight).

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