Film for a Friday: The Brasher Doubloon (1947)

Vintage poster advertising The Brasher Doubloon


There’s a reason this film is not remembered as fondly as other Chandler adaptations: it’s not as good. With lacklustre leads and very little style or ambience, there’s really only the plot to keep you engaged and who goes to Chandler for plot? In smaller roles there’s the always wonderful Florence Bates (‘Most girls would give their eyes for the chance to see Monte!’) and a very young Conrad Janis playing smarmy well. Nancy Guild, in her favour, has very little to do but alternately look nervous and look scared. George Montgomery is completely miscast; I’m glad he found a career doing westerns and other action roles as he looks so out of place he might fit playing a sort of gigolo grifter. On the other hand from a certain angle he looks strikingly like Freddy Mercury (okay, maybe it was just me) so during the rest of the film I had an alternative film playing in my head where Mercury had taken over the role and it went a bit differently.

I have some quality links to share soon but on a rainy Sunday this is not a bad film. If you look at the production history it’s no surprise that things did not come together: 20C Fox trying to cash in on Chandler’s popularity, a string of cast members cycling in and out (at one point even Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, at another Ida Lupino), and Brahm seems off his game from noir films like Hangover Square (1945) and The Locket (1946) [which I thought I’d written up but I guess I haven’t: another looking at the transformation of adapting the novel].

Two Montys for the price of one: George Montgomery, his reflection and Nancy Guild