His Kind of Woman (1951) starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Vincent Price, Tim Holt, Charles McGraw, Marjorie Reynolds, Raymond Burr directed by John Farrow Movie Review

His Kind of Woman (1951)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell in His Kind of Woman

Not my Kind of Movie

"His Kind of Woman" starts as one thing, a mysterious thriller, a piece of film-noir but then by the end and with Vincent Price intentionally hamming it up as an actor it borders on being a comedy. For me it doesn't work and whilst there are elements such as the sizzling chemistry between Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell as well as the comedy of Vincent Price which are brilliant put together with the storyline end up being less than engaging and a little messy. And that is the trouble, "His Kind of Woman" feels like a messy movie, made on the fly with characters almost having a bi-polar element to them as their attitudes change and it just makes it difficult to get into. None of which is helped by the fact whilst John Farrow directed the movie, some of it was re-shot by Richard Fleischer and the script was often improvised which explains why it feels messy.

Honest gambler Dan Milner (Robert Mitchum - Scrooged) is down on his luck when he is offered $50,000 to go to Mexico as long as he doesn't ask any questions why. What Milner doesn't know is that 4 years earlier gangster Nick Ferraro (Raymond Burr - Rear Window) was deported and is desperate to get back to America and so has come up with a plan which includes Milner that will achieve this. Along the way to Mexico Milner meets sexy singer Lenore Brent (Jane Russell - The Tall Men) who he hits it off with immediately and having reached their joint destination find themselves in the company of hammy actor Mark Cardigan (Vincent Price - Edward Scissorhands). But when Milner discovers the plans which are in store for him he must call on Lenore and Cardigan to help.

Vincent Price as Mark Cardigan in His Kind of Woman

The storyline itself is a thriller as we follow Dan Milner agreeing to travel to a small town in Mexico in return for $50,000. Why he is going there he doesn't know, although we do as we have already met deported gangster Nick Ferraro who has a nefarious plan to be allowed back into America. At the same time Milner meets sexy singer Lenore and whilst their is chemistry between them we question exactly who Lenore is and whether she is there just to keep Milner playing along till Ferraro arrives. It works and quite thrilling especially as Milner whilst suspicious is unaware as to what is in store for him. It even remains thrilling when Milner does discover that he is basically being set up as a patsy who is going to be disappeared and his identity taken by Ferraro who plans to have plastic surgery.

But the thing is that at the same time we get introduced to actor Mark Cardigan who has been having an affair with Lenore and has a love of hunting. The good is that because we question whether Lenore is in on the set up we automatically question Cardigan as well. The trouble is that the character of Cardigan, this hammy actor, a real luvie who quotes Shakespeare seems to be there as a comedy device and whilst Vincent Price steals the show with his mugging to the camera it feels out of place. It is this influx of comedy which turns "His Kind of Woman" from a thriller into a rather strange and quirky comedy/thriller. And for me that doesn't work, it dilutes the power of the storyline and whilst the separate elements are entertaining they don't work together.

Aside from Vincent Price who really does steal the movie from everyone else the chemistry between Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell is marvellous. You end up not caring that there characters seem to suffer from bi-polar disorder being one thing one moment something else then next as the scenes they shares just sizzle especially when it comes to the passionate kisses. Aside from Mitchum, Russell and Price who together are the best thing about "His Kind of Woman" Raymond Burr does a good turn in nasty as deported gangster Ferraro and Tim Holt is solid as Bill Lusk.

What this all boils down to is that "His Kind of Woman" ends up a rather messy movie which for me failed to either fully engage nor entertain. Split into elements the comedy of Vincent Price and the chemistry of Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell is very good but then placed into this movie which goes from thriller to comedy ends up feeling wrong and ultimately forgettable.