Jean Negulesco

Jean Negulesco – Nobody Lives Forever (1946)

G.I. Nick Blake, a never charged con man in his pre-military life, has just received an honorable discharge from the army on medical reasons. Rather than return to his old life, he plans to settle down in New York, his hometown, with his girlfriend Toni Blackburn and the small cache of money he amassed prior to the war: $50,000. When that plan does not pan out, he decides to head to Los Angeles with his con man friend Al Doyle and live it up until he decides on a more permanent course for his life. He is informed by Pop Gruber, an aging mentor doing solely penny-ante street cons now in L.A., of a potential big mark. Doc Ganson, a former con associate, found the mark, lonely widow Gladys Halvorsen worth $2 million, but does not have either the bankroll or the charms to carry out the con on Gladys himself. Read More »

Jean Negulesco – The Mudlark (1950)

Synopsis:
In 1875 London, young Wheeler (who lives by scavenging) finds a cameo of Queen Victoria, which he thinks so beautiful, he risks his life to save it. Possessed of a desire to see the Queen, he slips past the Beefeaters and wanders about Windsor Castle, just when a state dinner is in preparation. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is struggling hard to persuade the Queen to end her long seclusion. Read More »

Jean Negulesco – Titanic (1953)

Synopsis:
Unhappily married and uncomfortable with life among the British upper crust, Julia Sturges takes her two children and boards the Titanic for America. Her husband Richard also arranges passage on the doomed luxury liner in order to let him have custody of their two children. Their problems soon seem minor when the ship hits an iceberg. Read More »

Jean Negulesco – How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Synopsis:
Three New York models, Shatze, Pola and Loco set up in an exclusive apartment with a plan….tired of cheap men and a lack of money, they intend to use all their talents to trap and marry three millionaires. The trouble is that it’s not so easy to tell the rich men from the hucksters – and even when they can, is the money really worth it? Read More »

Otto Preminger & Jean Negulesco – River of No Return (1954)

Synopsis:
Matt Calder, who lives on a remote farm with his young son Mark, helps two unexpected visitors who lose control of their raft on the nearby river. Harry Weston is a gambler by profession and he is racing to the nearest town to register a mining claim he has won in a poker game. His attractive wife Kay, a former saloon hall girl, is with him. When Calder refuses to let Weston have his only rifle and horse, he simply takes them leaving his wife behind. Unable to defend themselves against a likely Indian attack, Calder, his son and Kay Weston begin the treacherous journey down the river on the raft Weston left behind. Read More »

Jean Negulesco – Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)

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On a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles via Iowa, lawyer David Trask gets to know three of his fellow passengers as one technical issue after another leads to delays and unscheduled stops along the way. Those three are physician Dr. Robert Fortness, struggling actress with the stage name Binky Gay, and loud salesman Eddie Hoke, who is both quick with a joke and quick to show off a photograph of his beautiful wife, Marie Hoke. Below the surface, the three have deeper stories, which are bringing them back to Los Angeles and which Dr. Fortness and Binky divulge to David. Dr. Fortness, an alcoholic, is returning to own up to his drunken part in the death of a friend, and his wife Claire’s complicity in the matter. Binky, after being away in New York for a year, is returning to her husband, Mike Carr, hoping to take him away from his overbearing mother, former vaudeville star Sally Carr, who still basks in her former but no longer shining glory, and who is the cause of any marital problem she and Mike have had as she sees Binky as competition in every sense of the word. Because of an incident en route and his burgeoning friendship with them, David feels compelled to help them resolve their issues. Specifically in dealing with Eddie’s life, David is forced to reflect on his own and the reason he left his home in Midland City, Iowa. Read More »

Jean Negulesco – Humoresque (1946)

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Plot Synopsis [AMG]
Fannie Hurst’s novel Humoresque is the lachrymose tale of a famed Jewish-American violinist who forgets all about his friends and family in his rise to fame. Screenwriters Clifford Odets and Zachary Gold refashioned this timeworn material into a first-class, big-budget soap opera, completely dominated by the high-octane talents of Joan Crawford and John Garfield. A gifted musician, Garfield rises from the slums to the upper echelons of society, thanks to the patronage of wealthy, alcoholic Crawford. Virtually ignored by her husband Paul Cavanaugh, Crawford adopts Garfield as her lover as well as her protégé. He is only mildly offended by the setup; she, on the other hand, becomes jealous and possessive. It is not a woman who comes between Crawford and Garfield: it the intensity of his talent, not to mention the spectre of the great composers whose works he interprets so brilliantly. Garfield’s virago of a mother (Ruth Nelson) feeds upon Crawford’s jealousy, planting the seeds of guilt for (allegedly) holding her son back. Finally, Crawford is driven to suicide; in a brilliantly directed and photographed sequence, she walks into the ocean, as Garfield is heard over the radio, playing “Liebstod” from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with full orchestral accompaniment. The ultrastylish suffering of Joan Crawford and the street-punk insouciance of John Garfield (who looks like a “Dead End Kid” even while wearing a tux) is counterpointed by the phlegmatic comedy relief of Oscar Levant. Together with Mildred Pierce, Humoresque is the best of the Warner Bros. Joan Crawford vehicles. Read More »