The Wagons Roll at Night

Coster’s Original Coney Island Carnival, on the road, “mugs and grifters and riffraff.” The show business at its lowest ebb.

Enright is decades ahead and a million miles from everything else (cf. Ozu’s Floating Weeds).

From grocery clerk to lion tamer, during the war a common observation.

The Scarface motif, “roadshow vermin”.

Coster’s Combined Circus and Carnival, “circus people are decent.” A lion named Caesar, “that cat’s a celebrity now, he killed a guy, it’s in all the papers.”

The shortest distance is a beeline, a close, compact masterpiece.

“Armed only with a whip and an injunction.”

Bosley Crowther of the New York Times had seen it all before, “like an old-fashioned circus parade... honky-tonk.”

Variety, “Ray Enright’s direction keeps things moving at a consistently fast pace.”

Leonard Maltin, “OK, thanks to cast.”

Halliwell’s Film Guide, “dull”.


The Spoilers

A four-flushing legal system comes to Nome during the Gold Rush.

The film mounts the filthy apparatus with the same care that dismantles it, and the same delectation.

Enright, who is one of the great directors, has a script per his dimensions and a cast he has use for (Dietrich, Wayne, Scott, et al.), so the whole thing comes out as a quantifiable masterpiece.


Gung Ho!
The Story of Carlson’s Makin Island Raiders

A heavily guarded Japanese island station, the minute preparations for taking it, the arduous day-long battle (after a submarine run), the snipers, strategy, meaning of the operation and of the title, from Chinese guerillas.






South of St. Louis

Victor Jory transcending himself in The Light of Western Stars as a Quantrill raider, and the rest of the cast (Joel McCrea, Zachary Scott, Douglas Kennedy, Dorothy Malone, Alexis Smith) a constellation of sorts around his sorry and savage aspect.

Some notable abstractions of buildings in backgrounds isolate events in themselves.



The Man from Cairo

A tough film noir with an evocative visual sense (it places Algiers, for instance, with a complex of imbricated shadows and some ornamented wallpaper), an intriguing approach to Casablanca from another angle, George Raft in an excellent part, and Irene Papas in a tub.