The River's Edge Allan Dwan

This has nothing to do with that 1987 "youth in trouble” picture of the similar name; too bad, because it would be seriously enlivened by the presence of Crispin Glover. Otherwise, we’re left with an unusually subdued Anthony Quinn and a whole lot of cheesy intrigue. Quinn plays Ben Cameron, a struggling rancher whose fancy wife Margaret (Deborah Paget) wants no more of the rugged life. Enter Nardo Denning (Ray Milland), a rather dodgy type who returns to a) hike a wad of ill-gotten money across the Mexican border and b) sweep old flame Margaret off her feet once again. Thus the trio make a long, arduous trek, with the woman of the bunch unsure of which man to back. All of this could have added up to an exciting sort of noir western but it’s mostly pretty clunky, with Quinn suppressing all of his livewire instincts and Paget proving totally unsympathetic in her vacillation between the two men. Under the circumstances, it’s hard not to gravitate towards Milland, who gives the only authoritative performance in the whole thing, though even he’s sabotaged by the cheap studio backgrounds that destroy the notion of realism. There’s the glimmer of a real movie here and parts of it are nominally exciting (usually when Milland’s up to no good) but it fails to add up to much of a good time; it’s all too obvious who’s going to win out in the end, making the trudge across the border hardly worth the effort. A stronger director than Allen Dwan might have helped; another pass through the typewriter might have helped more. Extras include an outstanding commentary with scholars James Ursini and Alain Silver, who discuss the production history and its personnel in vivid detail, as well as a photo gallery. (Fox)