Sunday 27 August 2023

Movie Review: Never So Few (1959)

Genre: World War Two Adventure Romance
Director: John Sturges
Running Time: 124 minutes

Synopsis: The setting is 1943, and in Burma's jungles, cocky American Captain Tom Reynolds (Frank Sinatra) and British Captain Danny De Mortimer (Richard Johnson) help a small group of native Kachin fighters engage Japanese forces. While in Calcutta to secure medical supplies, Tom sets eyes on the beautiful Carla (Gina Lollobrigida), the companion of wealthy businessman Nikko Regas (Paul Henreid). Tom nevertheless romantically pursues Carla between stints of warfare.

What Works Well: The adaptation of Tom T. Chamales' novel combines military skirmishes with lavish far-from-the-front-lines British Empire locales, and occasionally threatens to become interesting. In early roles, Charles Bronson as a Navajo soldier and Steve McQueen as an enterprising corporal trained on New York's streets are robust and charismatic respectively. Gina Lollobrigida adds sultry allure in a succession of stunning outfits (when she's not seductively naked in the bathtub).

What Does Not Work As Well: The narrative lacks focus, the tone is uneven, and Sturges never finds the right balance between the stiff combat scenes and a deeply unconvincing romance. Tom bluntly tells the sophisticated and worldly Carla he wants her perpetually pregnant and in the kitchen, and she melts into his arms. One seemingly relevant character just conveniently disappears, while the third act introduces a complex geopolitical conspiracy out of nowhere. A disengaged Frank Sinatra goes through the motions, but at least he loses his hideously conceived facial hair early.

Conclusion: The promise of sizzling action and torrid love is lost in the jungle.

All Ace Black Movie Blog Reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.