Quicksand ~ I bet you never knew Mickey Rooney made a film noir, did you? This lost flick from 1950 stars Rooney as a good old American kid, almost a grown up Andy Hardy without the smarts who wants to take a flashy girl, played by Jeanne Cagney (Jimmy’s sister), out and impress her. He sneaks twenty bucks from the register at work, fully intending to return it the next day, and chaos ensues. She’s not the innocent girl she seems, and is involved in shady dealings, including the creepy and fearsome Peter Lorre who runs the local arcade.
Though for the most part forgotten, this is a pure example of film noir, as our mostly innocent protagonist falls deeper and deeper into a criminal whirlpool of quicksand, thus the title. Taken from Cornell Woolrich story and deftly played by the cast, this film was also one of the first to feature product placement – keep an eye out for Pepsi and Bit-O-Honey.
Quicksand does have two failings, and they’re not all that bad, and of course I’m excluding the, er, intriguing fashion of the time. It suffers from the Woody Woodpecker syndrome of “None of this would have happened if only he’d gone to the police in the first place.” Also, it’s hard to ever forget that Mickey Rooney is anybody other than Mickey Rooney. Still, it’s an intriguing time capsule, and a great lost film noir.