Monday, March 7, 2011

Just Watched: Nobody Lives Forever

This 1946 noir gem has remained largely in the shadows but is a great showcase for John Garfield, cast as Nick Blake, a career confidence man returning from service in World War II and lured into a scheme by a number of former associates.  He unintentionally falls for his mark, a wealthy widow played by Geraldine Fitzgerald.  An excellent supporting cast includes George Tobias, Walter Brennen and Faye Emerson.  Los Angeles is the backdrop by way of some nice stock shots and atmospheric set pieces, especially the low-end Hotel Eldorado and the run-down, fog enshrouded pier where the story reaches it climax.  Rumor was that Bogart turned down the Blake part and that Garfield wasn't overly enthusiastic about taking on the role.  Any such indifference was certainly not reflected in his performance.

Nobody Lives Forever was produced in 1944 but Warner Bros. kept in on the shelf for two years, possibly as a means of extending their association with Garfield whose departure from the studio was at that time perceived to be fairly imminent.