For many, actor Robert Montgomery’s astounding second film as a director has been an elusive mystery unto itself. Inexplicably unavailable for decades, it is only now being discovered by noir fans (as well as lovers of great esoteric cinema.
Based on the novel by acclaimed mystery writer Dorothy B. Hughes, RIDE THE PINK HORSE tells the story of Lucky Gagin, a disillusioned WWII veteran who arrives in the dusty border town of San Pablo.
Gagin is on a mission but his motives are unclear. Is he there to exact revenge against oily gangster Frank Hugo (Fred Clark) who killed his best pal or simply to squeeze some blackmail money out of him. His path is complicated by two angels of mercy, one in the form of a sweet young Mexican girl (Wanda Hendrix), the other a rambling and garrulous carnival operator (Thomas Gomez). Further complicating his mission is the arrival of Bill Letz (Art Smith), a most unusual FBI agent.
RIDE THE PINK HORSE is a spiritual adventure that is also a hard-boiled noir drama. Its rewards are many: the razor-sharp screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer, the thrilling cinematography of Russell Metty, and the sterling performances of the stellar cast provide ample proof of this film’s rightful place as one of film noir’s most phenomenal recent re-discoveries.
101 incredible minutes and in a beautiful 35mm studio print!
The film plays on Thursday, August 6 on a great double bill with Joseph H. Lewis’ SO DARK THE NIGHT.