Second Chance (1953) Robert Mitchum, Linda Darnell, Jack Palance, Sandro Giglio Movie Review

Second Chance (1953)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Linda Darnell and Robert Mitchum in Second Chance (1953)

Mitchum and Palance on Cable

After a man died due to his right fist during a boxing match, Russ Lambert (Robert Mitchum) and his manager have headed to South America where Russ, blaming himself for the death, continues to fight but is known for refusing to throw a right hook in fear disaster will strike twice. Russ is not the only American trying to get away from things in South America as Clare Shepperd (Linda Darnell) has gone down there to hide from her gangster ex who fears she will testify against him if she heads back across the border. But Cappy Gordon (Jack Palance), the heavy working for Clare's gangster ex, is besotted with her and is ready to kill anyone who is close to her which means when Russ and Clare take a cable car ride there is danger in store for them all.

"Second Chance" is a three for the price of one movie thanks to it starting off one thing, becoming something else before then evolving again. But whilst "Second Chance" is known amongst other things for the one movie where Robert Mitchum starred as a boxer the one thing this movie isn't is a boxing movie. Nope instead it starts of as a bit of a gangster thriller as we observe Clare furtively trying to keep away from the menacing and cold blooded Cappy who we see kill a man once he tells him what he wants to know. And it does a nice enough job of creating some atmosphere.

Jack Palance in Second Chance (1953)

But as I said "Second Chance" is a movie which evolves and we see Russ take Clare up on top of a mountain where a small community are holding some sort of fiesta type thing. It is all very touristy and romantic as Russ turns on the charm to win over the slightly cagey Clare, unaware of not only her background but her current problems. And then it changes again as Cappy catches up to them and we get danger and excitement on a cable car. The thing is that trying to deliver these three separate themes it ends up entertaining but suffering from a split personality.

On top of this "Second Chance" was RKO's first 3-D movie and as such there are various scenes which are there purely to show off the then expensive technology. In fairness there are not a huge amount of these fake 3-D scenes which stick out when watched in 2-D but when they do they really do.

What this all boils down to is that whilst "Second Chance" is entertaining, much of that is down to the likeability of its stars, it is a flawed movie especially with a split personality which sees the story going from being one thing and then becoming something else along the way.