Monday, September 27, 2010

Danke Schön Dolores, Danke Schön

Across the Bridge (1957) - Annakin
When a German born industrialist Carl Schaffner(Rod Steiger) hears the news of investigation by the Scotland Yard on his company while on a business trip to New York, he plans his escape to Mexico by train. But on the way there, he finds out that there is an arrest warrant out for him and that the border is notified of his disappearance. He manages to swap his identity with a fellow traveler by drugging him, taking his passport and throwing him overboard. Then he discovers the guy he took the identity of is a wanted man in Mexico for assassinating a Governor there.

So starts this unusual noir that is in part Trading Places, part Strangers on a Train and part Touch of Evil that develops in to the best love story btwn man and his dog ever put on film. Elaborate and not too convincing plot settles down when Schaffner gets stranded in the small Mexican town with no chance of escaping. His luck turns sour when his ignorant gringo millionaire shtick no longer buys him any help, thanks to a Mexican police chief who seems to be bent on teaching the man a lesson.

Adapted from a short story by Graham Greene, with all the financial scandals and the US-Mexico border issues, Across the Bridge really needs to be revived for today's audience. Steiger is of course, at his sweaty best, going from a bespectacled, hands rubbing industrialist to a calculating thief and a murderer to a "habla Inglés?" bum in the dusty streets of Mexico with a dog named Dolores as his only friend. Danke schön, Dolores, danke schön.

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