Sunday, June 13, 2021


Unfortunately, quite a few of the B movies that I have on my DVR aren't available on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is why I haven't blogged about so many of them recently. I notice, however, that the last time I checked, Quicksand does in fact seem to be on DVD, so I watched that in order to do a blog post on here.

Mickey Rooney plays Dan Brady, who works as a mechanic for garage/used car dealer Mackey (Art Smith). It's not enough of a living, especially after having given the best years of his life serving in World War II. He doesn't have enough to support his old girlfriend Helen (Barbara Bates), but to make things worse, at a diner he meets vamp Vera Novak (Jeanne Cagney) behind the counter and Dan immediately falls for her, asking her out on a date.

For the date, he needs $20 that he doesn't have, being less than intelligent with his earnings. After trying to get the money legitimately from somebody who owes him $20 but can't pay it back until payday, Dan decides he's going to embezzle the $20 from the cash register he runs. Amazingly, Mackey doesn't check the register every day or at end of shift like happened to me when I was a cashier in one of my summer jobs, but only once a week when the bookkeeper comes in -- and that's after Dan's friend would pay him back.

Anyhow Vera talks to Dan on their date about a mink coat she dreams of getting, before introducing Dan to her former boss, penny arcade owner Nick Dramoshag (Peter Lorre). It's just the first sign that Vera is grasping and greedy, and somebody Dan should stay the hell away from. Worse for Dan, however, is that the bookkeper shows up to Mackey Motor Co. early in order to do some tax work for Mackey, and figures that since he's there, he might as well check the register.

This really sends Mackey into a downward spiral. First he comes up with the idea of buying something on the installment plan, and then pawning it so that he'll have the $20 to refill the register. But of course since there's a lien on the item he purchased, the lienholder is going to find out and come after Dan for the price of the object. So to get that, he's going to have to resort to one crime after another, until finally getting into an argument with Mackey over a car he stole and strangling Mackey in the process.

At this point things get really idiotic. Dan has to get away, hoping to get to Mexico, a place which isn't going to extradite him back to the US to face his crimes. But as he's about to drive away, who's in his car but Helen, still in love with him as ever. And when he tells her all the bad things he's done, she seems to accept it, since she's just so darn in love with him. Worse, when the car breaks down, Dan carjacks a man, and gets insanely lucky when it turns out the driver is a lawyer who would be willing to defend Dan at trial and get him the lowest possible sentence.

Quicksand isn't a bad movie, although it requires a pretty big suspension of disbelief. Thankfully, however, it's not too difficult to do that since the story is entertaining enough, and Rooney shows that he really was a capable actor when given deeper material and not just the lighter stuff MGM normally gave him. (Quicksand was a United Artists release, which might help explain why the movie has atypical material for Rooney.)

If you want something different, at least for Mickey Rooney, then Quicksand is certainly worth a watch.

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