Turner Classic Movies’ Paul Henreid film series continues this Tuesday evening, July 16, 2013. Of tonight’s movies, the most interesting offering is Hollow Triumph / The Scar, a 1948 B thriller adapted by Daniel Fuchs (Panic in the Streets, Love Me or Leave Me) from Murray Forbes’ novel, and in which the gentlemanly Henreid was cast against type: a crook who, in an attempt to escape from other (and more dangerous) crooks, impersonates a psychiatrist with a scar on his chin. Joan Bennett, mostly wasted in a non-role, is Henreid’s leading lady. (See also: “One Paul Henreid, Two Cigarettes, Four Bette Davis-es.”)
The thriller’s director is Hungarian import Steve Sekely, whose Hollywood career consisted chiefly of minor B fare. In fact, though hardly a great effort, Hollow Triumph was probably the apex of Sekely’s cinematic output in terms of prestige — though the 1943 World War II melodrama Women in Bondage, with Nancy Kelly and Gail Patrick suffering under the Nazis, is much more fun.
Paul Henreid movies: From Paris to Bagdad
Never So Few (1959), which is on right now, is quite likely one of director John Sturges’ very worst movies. It’s surprising that this dreadful World War II melodrama was written by the same person — Millard Kaufman — with whom Sturges had collaborated on the much superior Bad Day at Black Rock. Paul Henreid has a supporting role in Never So Few, as the "human element" (that’s got to be between quotes) in the movie revolves around the relationship between Frank Sinatra (at his most actorish) and Gina Lollobrigida (at her most stilted). Of note: according to the IMDb, Never So Few features future Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominee Mako (The Sand Pebbles) and future Star Trek and Facebookstar George Takei in bit roles.
Siren of Bagdad (1953) is a forgettable B "Eastern" despite the direction of Richard Quine (The Solid Gold Cadillac, Bell Book and Candle). Henreid’s leading lady is Anglo-Spanish beauty Patricia Medina, at the time in-between husbands (Richard Greene, Joseph Cotten). Now, if Siren of Bagdad is a B Eastern, then Thief of Damascus (1952) is a grade D effort in that genre. The director is Will Jason, perhaps best remembered for the (largely forgotten) It Happened One Night remake Eve Knew Her Apples, with Ann Miller in the old Claudette Colbert role.
I’ve never watched either Robert Stevenson’s Joan of Paris (1942), Paul Henreid’s first U.S.-made Hollywood movie (Goodbye, Mr. Chips was made in the UK), or Bernard Vorhaus’ So Young So Bad (1950). Both have promising elements: the former stars Michèle Morgan, one of the most incredibly beautiful actresses in film history, and boasts a cool supporting cast (May Robson, Laird Cregar, and Alan Ladd in a minor role); the latter tackles the issue of female juvenile delinquency — always a hilarious topic, especially if the film is a Serious Drama with a Message. The supporting cast includes Anne Francis, Anne Jackson, and future Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner Rita Moreno (West Side Story).
Paul Henreid movie schedule
5:00 PM NEVER SO FEW (1959). A U.S. military troop takes command of a band of Burmese guerillas during World War II. Director: John Sturges. Cast: Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Steve McQueen, Paul Henreid, Richard Johnson, Brian Donlevy, Dean Jones, Charles Bronson, Philip Ahn, Robert Bray, John Hoyt, Whit Bissell, Mako, George Takei. C-125 mins. Letterbox Format.
7:15 PM SIREN OF BAGDAD (1953). An Arabian magician takes on a corrupt sultan to help a beautiful princess. Director: Richard Quine. Cast: Paul Henreid, Patricia Medina, Hans Conried, Charles Lung, Anne Dore, Laurette Luez, Frankie Darro. C-72 mins.
8:30 PM HOLLOW TRIUMPH (1948). A crook on the lam poses as a psychiatrist. Director: Steve Sekely. Cast: Paul Henreid, Joan Bennett, Eduard Franz, Leslie Brooks, John Qualen, Mabel Paige, George Chandler, Catherine Doucet, Franklyn Farnum, Lucien Littlefield, Norma Varden, Jack Webb. BW-83 mins.
10:00 PM JOAN OF PARIS (1942). A waitress risks her life to help downed pilots escape occupied France. Director: Robert Stevenson. Cast: Michèle Morgan, Paul Henreid, Thomas Mitchell, Laird Cregar, May Robson, Alexander Granach, Alan Ladd, Jack Briggs, Robert Fraser, Hans Conried, John Abbott, Adrienne D’Ambricourt, Marie Windsor. BW-92 mins.
11:45 PM THIEF OF DAMASCUS (1952). A young man assembles a band of adventurers to take on an evil sultan. Director: Will Jason. Cast: Paul Henreid, John Sutton, Jeff Donnell, Elena Verdugo, Lon Chaney Jr., Helen Gilbert, Robert Clary, Philip Van Zandt. C-78 mins.
1:15 AM SO YOUNG SO BAD (1950). A crusading psychiatrist tries to help troubled reform school girls. Director: Bernard Vorhaus. Cast: Paul Henreid, Catherine McLeod, Cecil Clovelly, Grace Coppin, Anne Francis, Rita Moreno, Anne Jackson, Enid Pulver. BW-91 mins.