Flamingo Road

A wrong girl for the right side of the tracks.

Drama Romance
94 min     7.4     1949     USA


A stranded carnival dancer takes on a corrupt political boss when she marries into small-town society.


John Chard wrote:
Ya can't go wrong in this town if you say Yep to the right people and Nope to the rest. Flamingo Road is directed by Michael Curtiz and adapted to screenplay by Robert Wilder from his own play of the same name (with Sally Wilder). It stars Joan Crawford, Sydney Greenstreet, Zachary Scott, David Bryan and Gladys George. Music is by Max Steiner and cinematography by Ted D. McCord. When circumstance sees Lane Bellamy (Crawford) stuck in Bolden City, she quickly finds herself embroiled in a love affair and involved in a war with political tyrant Sheriff Titus Semple (Greenstreet). The Moody kind always cause trouble. Southern Gothic - cum - politico melodrama with noirish tints, Flamingo Road gets above average due to high tech credits and a superbly nasty turn from Greenstreet. Essentially the pic is about a girl from the other side of the tracks making her way up the social ladder, but she has to lock horns with a nasty piece of work and battle with affairs of the heart. Flamingo - Affluent - Road! It's strong on narrative terms, the screenplay neatly blending the greed of political posers with almost perverse social wiles. Curtiz (Mildred Pierce/The Unsuspected) and McCord (Johnny Belinda/The Breaking Point) keep it brisk and atmospherically moody, while the impressive Greenstreet - all sweaty, ambiguous and devilish, is surrounded by a more than competent cast of supporting players. What of Crawford? Wisely "requesting" that Curtiz be given the director's job, she's compelling and classically committed to the role. It's true to say she is too old for the character, something which her fans are known to hate reading, while both the actors playing her love interests are almost 10 years her junior - which is a bit of a reality stretch for the era. However, such is her acting ability, she gets you on side quickly, with the makers shooting her in soft focus and the writer giving her good work to use off of the page. A strange movie in some ways, but intriguing and sharp and it's never dull. While the quality on show from both sides of the camera is most pleasing. 7/10