Written by / 12/08/2021 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

EDMOND O'BRIEN HEATS ROBERT OSTERLOH FOR '711 OCEAN DRIVE'

White Heat alumni Robert Osterloh and Edmond O'Brien in 711 OCEAN DRIVE Year: 1950 Rating: ****

In one of the most all-out entertaining and fast-moving crime flick/film noirs from the B&W-shot 1950's, the only outright/upfront flaw about 711 OCEAN DRIVE is the title... 

An address where phone company employee turned bookie's tech turned powerful bookie supposedly lives, yet it's not only never stated but there's only one or two scenes at his beachfront property, having little to do with the ever-progressing plot-line...

Edmond O'Brien and Sammy White as Chippie in  711 OCEAN DRIVE

Here involving Edmond O'Brien's resilient electronics whiz staying one step ahead of what's ultimately — during the crime-doesn't-pay classic movie era — a losing game punctuated by an otherwise unimportant yet narrating G-MAN, wondering what makes a guy like O'Brien's Mal Granger tick...

Well the answer is easy, at first, and that's money, which he obviously wasn't getting paid enough of at Ma Bell so, with the help of small-time horse-betting sidekick Chippie (Sammy White), he takes his skills to stressed-out bookie Brian Kelley (the crooked cop from the same year's ASPHALT JUNGLE)...

Dorothy Patrick as Trudy in  711 OCEAN DRIVE

Where the best sequences occur, bridging the first and second acts when... while passively romancing perky-cute boss's assistant Dorothy Patrick as Trudy... O'Brien's Mal takes the most suspenseful, involving risks...

And with Trudy's help, thinking up easier ways to get inside-information using makeshift gadgets, he eventually lets his boss know who's really boss... in a strategic sense... and is soon enough (through a rather contrived circumstance) running things on his own: But there's always a snag, and she's always a dame...

Edmond O'Brien and Joanne Dru in 711 OCEAN DRIVE

Not long after O'Brien's Mal tells old Chippie how he doesn't take women too seriously (bored by uncomplicated blonde Cleo Moore), he discovers his Achilles Heel in sophisticated, highly flirtatious Joanne Dru, who just happens to be the wife of a smug and wealthy, fancily-dressed Don Porter...

A middleman sent by hypochondriac crime-boss Otto Kruger to Mal's small yet lucrative west coast operation from the mammoth headquarters back east, and, mirroring the American Dream's always inevitable dilemma, you either join the titan conglomerate or go broke: So when 711 hits a wall it doesn't matter since Mal hasn't run out of ideas...

Edmond O'Brien and Robert Osterloh as Gizzi in 711 OCEAN DRIVE

But his standard/mainstream-movie romance with Dru is of the "tough guy turned sap" cliche — and she's not even half as pretty as original scene-stealing Dorothy Patrick, who had the makings of a quirky-lightweight femme fatalle, which Jeanne Dru is the opposite of... more a trophy girl for a guy who doesn't need one... 

But things pick up when O'Brien hires an unsavory hit-man/tailor... played by O'Brien's WHITE HEAT cellmate Robert Osterloh (both competing as James Cagney's favorite sidekick)... to make Dru a conveniently available widow before becoming a blackmailing albatross...

Third Man style Hoover Dam finale in 711 OCEAN DRIVE

At which point, as parenthetically peripheral Gangster Squad chief Howard St. John moves in, the clever rags-to-riches thriller relies on a desperate run-like-hell THIRD MAN chase, also through dark damp tunnels — only here at the Boulder Dam filmed at the Hoover Dam, and with the usual results...

Remember what most classic-movie cops (who practically look straight into the camera to educated an audience having too much fun rooting for the bad guy) say about crime not paying? Well here it's a shame O'Brien couldn't keep up his creatively-crooked momentum before the table-turning/dead-end female distraction.

Edmond O'Brien makes like a Harry Lime in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien and  Cleo Moore in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien and Dorothy Patrick in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Dorothy Patrick in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien and Robert Osterloh in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien and Brian Kelley (first boss) in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien (first job) in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien and Dorothy Patrick in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Edmond O'Brien and sophisticated villain Otto Kruger in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Gangster Squad's Howard St. John and Jay Barney in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Joanne Dru phones it in in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Don Porter as Dru's doomed husband in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Robert Osterloh in 711 OCEAN DRIVE
Robert Osterloh in 711 OCEAN DRIVE with Edmond O'Brien
Robert Osterloh in WHITE HEAT with Edmond O'Brien
Robert Osterloh in 711 OCEAN DRIVE with Edmond O'Brien
Robert Osterloh in 711 OCEAN DRIVE with Edmond O'Brien

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