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Monday, February 4, 2013

POISON IVY (1953) -- movie review by Squashpants


This is the first ever Lemmy Caution thriller, starring trademark tough guy actor Eddie Constantine (he of the craggy face). FBI agent Lemmy is tasked with foiling a plot to steal $2 million (gasp) of Uncle Sam's gold and revolving around goings-on in the exotic port of Casablanca. He goes up against Howard Vernon (THE AWFUL DOCTOR ORLOF) playing the evil and resourceful Rudy Saltierra, and plays lusty cat-and-mouse with Dominique Wilms channeling Veronica Lake as the lovely Carlotta de la Rue ("of the streets"?) whose nickname provides the movie's title.

Constantine's performance establishes Lemmy's character for the run of its career, all the way to the New Wavish ALPHAVILLE and beyond). He is tough, knows how to use his fists, drinks hard, flirts egregiously, and never loses his sense of humor. He gives the distinct impression of a fellow who gave fear of death the air years ago, and he enjoys a good fight as much as the next thug. He is impossible not to like. Even his enemies express a grudging fondness for him.

Constantine settles into the character like he just got home and he makes the story worth seeing. Otherwise, it would be a bit boring, tell the truth.

I think it is worth 80-something minutes of your time, especially if you are acquainted with Eddie's other films already. Apparently POISON IVY was a big hit in France, and it led to other offerings featuring Mr. Constantine.

Lucky for us tough guy story fans.

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