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Rooney Shows His Talent
ccthemovieman-123 December 2005
Here's an unusual film noir because it stars an actor that you wouldn't think would be in a crime film: Mickey Rooney.

But, like a lot of comedians, singers and other non-dramatic actors, Rooney could surprise you with his dramatic talents. He wasn't all Andy Hardy fluff.

Rooney was a fine, fine actor and he does a good job here in this role as a man who makes one mistake after another. Those mistakes compound into a major crime and Rooney winds up in major trouble. In fact, it's pretty amazing to watch this unfold as one small crime leads to one thing after another making things worse and worse as it goes along.

Jeanne Cagney is good as the typically-floozy blonde who is prevalent in so many of these film noirs. Barbara Bates is the wholesome good girl, but she really makes some stupid decisions late in the film, too. In other words, the three main characters are not evil people but they have major flaws.

Overall, it's an odd film of sorts and one that starts slowly but gets better and better as the story progresses. Definitely worth a look to see Rooney play this kind of role.
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See it - more than once
jaykay-1027 May 2002
One of the best "B" pictures ever. The milieu - garage, bar, shoddy amusement park - is appropriate and effectively conveyed. Small people, big dreams, temptation, one seemingly insignificant event leading to another: believable and compelling drama, played out in glaring light and sinister shadows. Peter Lorre's quiet menace and Jeanne Cagney's worldly sleaze are particularly outstanding. Mickey Rooney may be somewhat miscast, but his performance adds notably to the rising tension - as does everything else in this fine picture.

All-time memorable moment: Bumping the gypsy fortune teller's booth in the dark arcade, setting off flashing light and jangling music.
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Wow, was I surprised
jshaffer-129 October 2004
This is a movie you can't leave alone. At no point did I lose interest in it, and I have never been a Mickey Rooney fan, so I wasn't expecting that much, but wow, was I surprised. This is a great story, very logical in the way it develops, and I cannot fault Mickey at all. He was great, very believable and gripping. I guess that's the word, this movie grips you. For once I really cared what was going to happen to someone in a movie. About half way through the meaning of the title flashed in my mind. Quicksand, that's what he was in, all right. And the more he struggled, the more he sank. It took an abrupt plot twist to get out of all this, but I can't complain, it held my interest to the last.
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Andy Hardy goes rotten
Anne_Sharp15 September 2000
One of the lesser-known treasures of classic film noir, this tough little chronicle of a hapless boy taken on a criminal joy ride by his own uncontrollable lusts succeeds partly because of the brick-house design of Cornell Woolrich's original story, partly because of its ingeniously chosen cast. Pairing the still fresh-faced Mickey Rooney with the creepily worn-looking Jeanne Cagney instantly suggests corruption; the subtext that the boy is just a pawn in a weird game being played between this nasty dame and her lover (Peter Lorre, looking one drink over the line) makes the spine crawl.
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Always liked narrated films best
bobbobwhite22 September 2005
Good crime noir story with a highly energetic(what's new?) Mickey Rooney in the lead role. He also narrated the film and tied together well all loose ends. Great Santa Monica Pier chase scene at the end with a well conditioned Rooney doing all his own stunts. Top camera-work in B&W, with all the light and shadows of great noir. Peter Lorre was his terrific evil, slimy self in a small role, and Jimmy Cagney's sister Jeanne was stiffly effective as Rooney's self-centered girlfriend.

Not a wasted second in the action, and it moves along at breakneck speed as Rooney plays this 40s-50's typical noir morality tale of how criminals typically go from the first petty crime all the way to the worst crimes and finally end up in prison, but always have nice girls waiting for them when they get out.

Interesting to note that almost all his crimes were witnessed, and had the cops on him almost before he finished committing them. Not quite the case in the real world as "nobody sees anything" today and most crimes go unsolved. Don't you wish all crimes were so easily solved as in this film? It would be a very different world than the one we have.
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A crunchy little B movie with a candied film noir coating but a melodrama center.
Ham_and_Egger4 July 2005
Quicksand is immediately at pains to establish that auto-mechanic Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney) is a *very* average guy, there's no monotone narrator to say, "Be careful or this may happen to you" but there might as well be. The first fifteen minutes or so drag along interminably through a lunch-counter and a mechanic shot before Dan "borrows" a twenty from the register to take a blonde out dancing, thus beginning a brief but intense criminal career.

Rooney is surprisingly convincing as the dissatisfied, and really quite dishonest, mechanic. He doesn't try anything cute, playing this role as straight as any I've ever seen out of him (admittedly not much), though his "inner monologue" narration rapidly wears out its welcome. Despite his being set up as an everyman character, I found him pleasingly sneaky, cowardly, and unlikeable.

The afore-mentioned blonde is Vera Novak (Jeanne Cagney). Brady has already been provided with a self-sacrificing brunette good girl that he's trying to get rid of, so right away you know that the only question you've got to answer about the blonde Vera is whether she's a broad, a dame, a floozie, or a hussy (turns out she's two of the four, but I'll let you find out which). Cagney is really only passable as the manipulative, materialistic, femme fatale.

Peter Lorre shows up, barely, as Nick, the crooked owner of a penny arcade where Vera once worked. Lorre and Rooney engage in some minor fisticuffs over Cagney (who must have been thinking that her brother could take them both with one hand tied behind his back).

After the tepid opening Quicksand actually does build up a decent head of steam as Dan Brady sinks deeper and deeper into the eponymous morass. It's clearly a written-to-order morality play but it moves quickly, punches hard enough to get the job done, and isn't entirely unbelievable. In the end melodrama beats film noir by a nose, or is it a couple furlongs? I couldn't help thinking Quicksand zigged when it should have zagged.
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An auto mechanic slips deeper and deeper into the 'quicksand' of crime.
bux20 October 1998
A great little hunk of film noir. Rooney is sympathetic, albeit immoral as the mechanic that steals $20 and slips deeper into despair as the tale moves on. Peter Lorre is despicable as the man you love to hate, the one who drives Rooney deeper into crime. This one was made after the war, as Rooney attempted to regain his box offce appeal in adult roles. A nifty flick,
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Never trust a blond dame or a guy named Buzz
yonhope11 August 2005
Hi, Everyone, Drama hogs... that's an anagram for Peter Lorre's character name in this excellent old movie. Peter plays the part of Nick Dramoshag.

Lots of drama from all the cast. Best bad guys here are the car dealer, Oren Mackey, played by Art Smith, and the landlady, played by Minerva Urecal. They are so rotten, but they are not in any trouble with the law.

If you are a fan of the classic cars of the 40s and 50s, there are some delightful motor carriages awaiting you in this movie. Mickey works at a garage which apparently is a dealership also. There is a line of Studebaker pickup trucks parked just behind Mickey's old jalopy when we first see his car. I believe his car is a '31 Chevy. In front of his car is a Studebaker Starlight Coupe' from about 1949.

Mickey makes one mistake in this movie. He loans $20 to a guy named Buzz who is a future Mousketeer (Jimmie Dodd). Dodd is in no rush to pay it back. Naturally Mickey has to steal some money to take the new dish out on a date. $20 for a date seems a little high when the lunch costs 40 cents. A brand new car is $3000 list price. It looks like a 1949 Mercury. I think they actually were only about $1800. Why does the Studebaker dealer sell Mercurys? It could happen.

The lunch is only 40 cents because you have to look at Jack Elam with his hair slicked down while you are eating. Jack has only one line here, but you can tell he will someday make it big when he is allowed to be less beautiful.

Mickey is very agile in this. He was about 30 when he made this film, but his character is only 26. Mickey does his own slide down a fire escape and he runs around with great speed and agility under the Santa Monica Pier. I remember him dancing in many movies and he was obviously in great physical condition.

Peter Lorre is so good just looking at someone. He had the voice of a guy who enjoyed raising bats.

Peter was very good in Casablanca.

Mickey Rooney was excellent in Bridges at Toko Ri. I bet you've never seen that. He of course was superb in Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

The car that drives off with Mick at the end of the movie is a Packard. It is probably also a 1949 model. Packard was an expensive automobile. It was a competitor with Cadillac.

It is also fun to watch this now, especially with a teen ager, so you can see what life was like before credit cards.

Tom Willett
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A Cross Between "Detour" and "The Myth of Sysiphus"
Handlinghandel22 September 2005
We feel as if we are sinking into the quicksand as one thing after another goes wrong. This is similar to the bleak and (today) more famous "Detour." But it's almost as good.

Mickey Rooney has always been an appealing performer. He's good here but not totally plausible. If Tom Neal had been the star, It'd be a real jewel.

Jeanne Cagney is surprisingly tough as the girl Rooney falls for. It's very easy to hate her character, which is the intent of the plot. Barbara Bates is not interesting as the girl who's loved him all along. When I was a small child I saw her giggling and doing what I remember as an early version of "breaking up" as she announced prizes for contestants on "Queen for a Day." Quite some range, just like her brother! Without giving away any of the plot, just know that no matter where the protagonist turns, he gets a (usually figurative) slap in the face. He sinks deeper and deeper and nothing he does seems to lift him out of the mire.

(It also has great location shots and is a superb look at honky-tonk in the middle of the last century.)
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Quicksand as a movie doesn't get stuck in a quagmire.
Spikeopath9 January 2011
Quicksand is directed by Irving Pichel (The Most Dangerous Game/ Destination Moon) and written by Robert Smith. It stars Mickey Rooney, Jeanne Cagney, Barbara Bates & Peter Lorre. Lionel Lindon photographs it around Santa Monica, California, and Louis Gruenberg scores the music.

Auto mechanic Dan Brady (Rooney) fancies himself as a ladies man, so when he sets eyes on sultry looking blonde Vera Novak (Cagney), he just has to date her. Intending to put it back tomorrow, Dan borrows $20 from the till of the garage where he works, the money to be used for the date with Vera. However, with Vera comes baggage, not only in what she wants out of Dan, but in the form of her ex-boss Nick Dramoshag (Lorre), who has designs on Vera too. Pretty soon Dan finds that his life is getting out of control as he gets in deep with robbery and maybe even murder?.

Quicksand was received coldly back on its release, a generation of film goers had grown accustomed to Rooney lighting up the screen as Andy Hardy and turning in frothy performances in musicals. Here he goes against type, and the public wasn't ready for it, even tho he arguably gives one of his best career performances. As a film it's a very tight piece. The plot is in the classic noir tradition of having a male protagonist trapped in a downward spiral, no matter what he does, each decision he makes is a wrong one and only worsens his situation. That there's a blonde femme fatale (Cagney is sexy in a powerful way, with shifty glances telling so much) sat at his side as his life goes belly up; still further fuels the darker edges of the film noir feel. There's a devilishly bitter irony hanging over proceedings, too, that Dan could have escaped all this if he had not spurned the attentions of the more homely, but loyal, Helen (an adorable Bates). The film, and tone, is also boosted by Lorre turning in one of his sleazy sloth like performances, while a mention is warranted for Art Smith as Dan's boss, Oren Mackay, the kind of boss you could easily punch for fun.

We possibly could have done with some more noirish artistry from Lindon for his photography, but he does OK, with a parking lot/back alley pursuit well shot. While Gruenberg's score is right in tone, especially the theme tune piece, which has a distinctly Cape Fear edge to it. It would come as no surprise to me to find that Bernard Herrmann had watched and listened to Quicksand prior to scoring the Mitchum & Peck classic. Look out too for Red Nichols and His Five Pennies band during a club scene, it's a nice touch that adds a bit of period detail. Clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, Quicksand doesn't hang around, it's briskly paced and suspenseful into the bargain. Certainly it's minor film noir, but all things considered, it's one of the better B's from this most wonderful of genres. 7.5/10
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Solid Film-Noir With A Good Cast, Especially Lorre
Snow Leopard6 October 2005
The good cast is the main strength of this solid, rather unassuming film-noir. In particular, Peter Lorre is excellent in a supporting role, and Mickey Rooney strikes a good balance with the main character, who is sympathetic without being particularly likable. The story is interesting, and it holds your attention pretty well despite an occasional hole and some predictable developments.

Rooney's character narrates a cautionary tale of how a questionable decision or two, combined with some bad breaks, caused his life to spiral downhill (in keeping with the "Quicksand" image of the title). For it to work, the audience has to sympathize with the character even while cringing at some of his choices, and Rooney is successful in making this happen. Jeanne Cagney gets one of her larger roles as a disreputable woman who helps lead Rooney's character astray, while Barbara Bates is well-cast as his loyal girlfriend. Art Smith is good in a minor role.

Lorre is the one who stands out in the cast, though, playing the kind of crafty lowlife that he portrayed as well as or better than anyone else has before or since. He makes Nick, the arcade owner, shabby but menacing, clever but brutal, and it adds considerably both to the atmosphere and to the impact of the story.

The story works all right as long as you go along with it, and overlook an implausibility or two here and there. The cast does most of the work, but some of the settings also help out in establishing the atmosphere. The mechanic's shop and the dingy arcade, as well as the pier in the climactic scene, all form an appropriate background to the events of the story.
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Rooney does melodrama
djensen128 May 2005
Wow. Mickey Rooney and Peter Lorre. Together. And with Jimmie from the Mickey Mouse Club *and* Jack Elam! I didn't know what to expect. In case you were wondering, Rooney proves he can act in the opening scenes. He's a car mechanic looking to get in good with the new waitress at the diner, but he's flat broke until tomorrow. "Danny" starts down a slippery slope by copping a few bucks from the till at work, then lets Vera (Jeanne Cagney) steer him wrong by way of a game arcade owned by her former employer, Nick (Lorre). Nick makes the creepiest possible arcade owner, and Vera pines darkly for a mink coat in a store window. These are not good people to fall in with.

While the film starts out pretty cleverly, the coincidences start to pile up fast and furious. Danny's little white theft festers into a mugging, grand theft auto, a burglary, and worse. The wrong people keep finding out too much about Danny's activities, and soon the cops are crawling all over him.

The acting is quite good, and the direction and pacing are clean. But the wild improbabilities that have piled up threaten to topple the whole house of cards, from the convenient witnesses to the convenient cops to the convenient car trouble. Remember: Danny is an auto mechanic. He can't keep his own car in running condition? Still, it's a treat to see Rooney in such desperate straits. For those looking for Raymond Chandler, tho, this isn't noir; it's still just melodrama.
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Surprisingly good
mrreindeer25 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I never would have thought that young Mickey Rooney could be a convincing noir character, but he was pretty believable. I wish they'd given Peter Lorre more time. He was exquisitely sleazy in his role as a decadent arcade owner. I would say this is an excellent noir film until the very end, which is a vile Hollywood cop-out, a totally implausible ending where Mickey gets the "nice" girl he's been snubbing, who promises to wait for him after he gets out of the slammer, supposedly after only a year or so, according to a lawyer who is incredibly forgiving of the stupid punk who just carjacked and kidnapped him. But the scenes of nightlife around the Santa Monica pier at the start of the '50s ought to be watched for historic interest if nothing else.
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Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
mbuchwal30 March 2005
"Quicksand" is a masterly and entirely believable exploration of a young workingman's descent into crime and desperation. After he falls for a beautiful vamp, Dan Brady takes a seemingly harmless liberty with his boss which backfires dangerously. Frightened at first, he makes his problem much worse when he gets back his courage by piling wrong on top of wrong until his bad luck won't break. Not too many people would take the kind of dangerous risks that nearly get Dan Brady killed, but who hasn't been tempted to lie his way out of serious trouble or get rough if he thought he could get away with it? This movie is perfect in both style and substance, and a fine example of acting from the mature but still youthful looking Mickey Rooney at the height of his ability, seasoned by a long and successful career as a child actor.
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Thriller of errors
wsureck12 July 2000
Above average, often underrated low budget film noir of a somewhat pleasantly restrained Rooney who finds himself in escalating hot water stemming from his "borrowing" $20 from his employers cash register. (He's a mechanic at a car dealership)

Instead of a comedy of errors, the film is rather a thriller of errors with Rooney making honest and dishonest mistakes/decisions that build on each other from scene to scene to a point that Rooney is desperate to get out of the hot water he finds himself in at every turn. He's in trouble with his nasty boss, his money hungry girlfriend (Jeanne Cagney), the police, a sleazy (Peter Lorre)amusement park gameroom owner, etc...

He's caught in a whirlpool of lies, deceit, and lust (for a snobish/vampish girlfriend who is never satisfied) and a hunger for the money that he feels will get him out of all his trouble. He doesn't appreciate and is callous toward the wholesome girl (ex-girlfriend ??) who seems to want him despite his faults. He's a lot more interested in the allure of the bombshell Jeanne Cagney instead and is bored by Ms. Wholesome.

Rooney biographies claim that Mickey didn't think much of this film since it didn't do much to revive his sagging career in the early 1950's. Still, there's a lot to recommend it...with solid acting, atmospheric black and white photography and staging, especially of the amusement park and oceanside locale.
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That Sinking Feeling
sol121829 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** After a phenomenal career as a child and teenage star in a number of top grossing films that made him one of the biggest draws in Hollywood by the end of WWII Mickey Rooney was too old to play teenagers and had to make it as a grown up in the movies. In the movie "Quicksand" Mickey Rooney not only plays a grown up but a bad guy as well.Only in that he was only guilty by reasons of circumstances.

Picking up blond bombshell Vera, Jeanne Cagney, who was a cashier at the diner that Dan Brady, Mickey Rooney, was with his co-workers having a snack Dan gets into a load of trouble that started with him stealing $20.00 from the till at his job as a car mechanic to take Vera out on a date. That later leads to him mugging bingo game owner Shorty, Sidney Marion, of his profits then getting blackmailed by Vera's former boss arcade owner Nick, Peter Lorre. Who had evidence that Dan mugged Shorty which leads Dan to steal a new car from his job and give it to have Nickh keep his mouth shut.

Dan later is caught by his boss Mr. Mackey, Art Smith, when he suckered him into admitting that he stole the new car by telling him that he knew that he did it, which he didn't. Which Mackey told everyone else at the job and only guilt-ridden Dan was dumb and guilty enough to fall for Mackey's trick and say that he in fact did. With Vera's help Dan breaks into Nick's office and steals $3,600.00 from his weekly take only to have Vera spend half of it on a mink coat. This when he needed $3,000.00 to pay Mackey off to have him not report him to the police. Coming up with the remaining $1,800.00 wasn't enough for Mackey and as he was about to call the police on Dan he attacked him and knocked him out but thought that he murdered him. Going back to Vera's place Dan sees the cops there and hides on the fire escape only to hear that Vera is about to sell him out to save her neck.

Running into his true blue girlfriend Helen, Barbara Bates, Dan then gets her into a heap of trouble by having Helen help him carjack a motorist so that they can both drive across the border into Mexico. It's then that Dan & Helen find out that their kidnap victim is a lawyer who tells Dan that he can be charged with a capital crime for what he just did by kidnapping him. Even though Dan at the time thought that he'll hang for killing Mr. Mackey who unknowing to him survived. It' then that Dan's kidnap victim offers to help both him and Helen if he lets him go free which Dan does at the end of the movie. It's just then that Dan gets into a shootout with the police at the shipyard as he tries to escape by sea and is shot and captured. Helen ends up getting off the hook and Dan is told by his new found friend, the former kidnapped lawyer, that he can get no more then one year behind bars tops in the can since he's a first-time offender. Being the lovable Mickey Rooney in real life didn't hurt Dan's chances either. Now thats really being an adult in the movies.

"Quicksand" is one of Mickey Rooney's best adult movies and it would have been much better if only the ending wasn't so contrived and unbelievable by having Dan get off practically scott free. After committing a string of crimes that would have put anyone else, if they weren't adorable Mickey Rooney, away for life if not on death row. I almost expected at the end of the film for Mickey and his girlfriend as well as his lawyer friend to break out in some song and dance act with the entire cast in the movie, including a number of chorus girls, joining in.
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Almost a Masterpiece
claudio_carvalho26 August 2006
The auto mechanic Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney) "borrows" twenty dollars from the cash register of the garage where he works to date the blonde waitress Vera Novak (Jeanne Cagney) in the weekend. His intention is return the money Monday night, when a friend that owes him the same amount will pay him. However, on Monday morning the accountant finds the negative balance, and Dan tries to cover the embezzlement, falling deeper and deeper in a criminal life.

"Quicksand" could be a masterpiece of film-noir, but unfortunately the conclusion is very corny, silly and commercial. The story of an honest worker that embezzles the money of his work with the intention of dating a "fatal woman" is original and unique, but unfortunately Robert Smith's screenplay is too much moralist for my taste and gives a second chance to Dan, spoiling the story. The pronunciation of Mickey Rooney is very difficult to be understood, but he has a great performance. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Areia Movediça" ("Quicksand")
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Quicksand (1950)
MartinTeller3 January 2012
A young mechanic borrows $20 from the till to take a dame out on the town, setting in motion an escalating series of crimes. This is a really enjoyable "out of the frying pan, into the fire" situation as Mickey Rooney digs himself in deeper and deeper. Maybe not as hard-edged as I usually prefer my noir, but the story moves at a rapid clip and never slows down. And I don't mean to imply it's light-hearted, although there is some amusement in how incompetent the protagonist is at committing crimes. It's also kinda funny to see the diminutive Rooney square off against the equally diminutive Peter Lorre (sadly, not a large role, but his presence is welcome). I'm only familiar with the "Andy Hardy" Rooney by reputation, but as a noir actor he's growing on me more and more. There's a simplistic but entertaining good girl/bad girl dichotomy with Barbara Bates (a little too earnest, but cute) and Jeanne Cagney (Jimmy's sister, and a delightful performance). Some beautiful lighting and shot composition as well. Exciting, fun, and memorable... I'm buying a copy of this one for my collection.
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A Cautionary Tale
seymourblack-11 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This low budget thriller is a cautionary tale and a marvellous example of pure film noir. The predicament of an ordinary guy who makes a bad decision which propels him into a nightmare sequence of events, provides the basis for numerous noir stories and in typical fashion, "Quicksand" delivers a fast moving drama which is consistently compelling to watch and full of twists. Other familiar noir components include a gullible protagonist, a femme fatale, a good natured woman who's taken for granted, expressionistic lighting and an ambiance which becomes progressively darker as each new development produces dangers which are regularly more serious than he ones which preceded them.

Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney) is a garage mechanic who having made a date with a waitress at the local diner desperately needs $20 to take her out. As he has no cash and no-one who can give him a loan until payday, he takes the money he needs from the garage till, fully confident that he'll be able to replace it before the bookkeeper carries out his regular check of the business' funds in a few days time.

Dan finds himself in a tight spot when the bookkeeper arrives a couple of days early but neatly manages to cope with the situation by purchasing an expensive watch on credit and then pawning it straight away to get the cash he needs. His scheme is successful but a little while later, a detective visits him and explains that he's breached the terms of the credit agreement and that unless he can produce the full value of the watch within 24 hours he'll be arrested and charged with grand larceny. In order to deal with this problem and the complications that follow, Dan soon finds himself locked into a position where he continually has to commit crimes of ever increasing seriousness just to avoid having to pay the penalties for what he's previously done. Dan's crimes then escalate from mugging to robbery and strangling his boss before he finally goes on the run to Mexico.

One of the most ironic aspects of the story is that Dan gets into more serious trouble than some of the other characters who are infinitely more evil and immoral than him. The girl from the diner is Vera Novak (Jeanne Cagney). She proves to be manipulative, acquisitive and completely untrustworthy. Dan is so naive that when she takes him to see an expensive fur coat and her ex-lover on their first date, no alarm bells seem to ring in his head. Later, she encourages him to carry out a robbery and then, without his agreement, spends half of the proceeds to buy the fur coat.

Vera's ex-lover is arcade owner Nick Dramoshag (Peter Lorre) who is totally unscrupulous and blackmails Dan because he has evidence which could be used to convict him for one of his crimes. Dan's boss Oren Mackey (Art Smith) is a amoral miser who's also duplicitous and at one stage even pulls a gun on Dan and threatens to report him to the police. The only person who's consistently decent and loyal to him is his original girlfriend Helen (Barbara Bates) who he rewards, most of the time, by treating her with a complete lack of affection or respect!

Mickey Rooney shows convincingly that he's just as comfortable and effective in this kind of role as he is with his more familiar parts in comedies and musicals and the supporting cast, especially the wonderfully sleazy Peter Lorre are also excellent.
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Mickey Rooney- Actor
rvbunting-113 August 2008
It is entirely true that Mickey Rooney was cast in many poor, meaningless films, and I include the entire Andy Hardy series in that category. However, he was cast with many good actors, and he learned his craft well. It's when you separate Mickey Rooney from Andy Hardy that you realize that he was a very good actor, despite the diminutive stature and the complete counterpoint to "good looks".

In "Quicksand", Rooney gives a solid, professional performance, aided by good writing and a fine supporting cast. Watching scenes with Rooney and Peter Lorre is a lesson in acting, for they both hold their ground and don't give an inch. Jean Cagney shows much of her big brother's creepy instigative powers as she puts Rooney through deeper and deeper trouble.

It's a good film, a "sleeper" and one to be seen and enjoyed.
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Ever told a lie and needed to cover it up with more lies?
Girl Friday29 May 2003
If you have then this film is for you. Mickey Rooney plays a mechanic who wants to take a waitress out on a date but doesn't have enough cash to impress her with. He steals and then needs to commit more crimes and bigger crimes to cover his tracks. Finally his walk on the wildside ends in murder. But is the guy dead or just knocked out?

Without giving away the ending a similar film is Detour which had a lot of trouble with the censors for its own ending. In my opinion braving the censors gives Detour more punch. But Quicksand is still an enjoyable Film Noir and one of my favourite Mickey Rooney films. We see Rooney in too many musicals and family films. Quicksand gives him a dark side.
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Boy Wants Girl, and One Thing Leads to Another
secondtake19 July 2009
Quicksand (1950)

First off--watch this one. It's not great by any means, but it's different and weirdly fresh even now. Maybe it's Mickey Rooney who most of all gives it its fast clip and keeps it alive. And it's a film noir for young people, and so it never gets truly disturbing or hard. You forget how "mature" a normal film noir is. The regular folks who make up the supporting cast, even the so-called femme-fatale played by Jeanne Cagney (sister of pre-noir gangster actor, James), keep a lightweight charm in even the harshest of events.

The plot, suggested by the title, unfolds from that most basic of problems--boy wants girl. And twenty bucks. It descends with such calculated steps in an almost comi-tragic spiral it becomes a moral lesson. And with Rooney as the most unlikely noirish lead man, in a cheerful California seaside town, shot mostly in bright daylight, you have something that is tragic and chipper at the same time. It feels like a B movie, and unfolds like one, and resonates very little. In overall tone, it reminds me of early television, which somehow, often, seems glib or superficial or intent on entertaining regardless of the themes.

But this is 1950, and the style and mood come from some other combination of factors-- direction, light, and Rooney, in that order. The best part of the film, in a way, is the most authentic and dark, and seems slightly out of place--Peter Lorre as a loser shyster running an arcade. It feels like his last film, but he has another twenty after this, many with marginal roles for a marginalized man.

Quicksand? A very nice surprise.
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Great fun and better made than I thought it would be...
lemon_magic21 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Pop culture treats some of its icons better than others, and "Quicksand" demonstrates convincingly that Mickey Rooney is unjustly underrated as a "real" actor (and not just "Andy Hardy" or a guest cameo appearance in a movie or TV show where he plays himself.) Rooney is absolutely believable here going somewhat against type as a likable, but not-especially-bright (or honest) working stiff whose life completely unravels after he gives into temptation to swipe/borrow $20 from the office cash register until he can tap his friends for the money they owe him.($20 was a good chunk of change back in a day when lunch at a diner cost 40 cents, though).

In fact, the performances here range from pretty good to very good indeed, especially Peter Lorre, who manages to be disreputable and pathetic at the same time and whose every line oozes weariness and bleak humor. Also of special interest was Jeanne Cagney's role as "the Blonde" (who of course leads our protagonist down the road to ruin)- for the first minute she was on camera, I just couldn't see how she was going to fill that role, and then her hard features lit up and transformed into something altogether more interesting and appealing.And that transformation happened often and reliably enough that I began looking forward to seeing it.

The plot is tightly constructed, although it relies too much on coincidence at a couple points, as Rooney's character keeps making more bad decisions and his crimes escalate from petty theft to robbery to burglary and Grand Theft Auto, to assault and murder and kidnapping...but in every case, it's not something the character wants to do, and so somehow he manages to remain a sympathetic figure. (He even feels bad about the way he treats the good woman who is in love with him).

The subtext for the screen-play is even more interesting than the actual events of the film; early on it becomes obvious that everything in modern day society is stacked against "the little guy", and straying from the approved path brings punishment swift and sure...even if the little guy didn't mean any harm.

It ends the way it must (since this is Rooney's film, it couldn't possibly end in any other way), which makes me wonder why they wanted to do a noir film in the first place rather than a straight melodrama...but there's plenty of solid, enjoyable film-making here, enough that anyone with a taste for this genre would find it worth their time.
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Nice Film Noir
artpf12 January 2014
Motor mechanic Dan Brady lacks funds for a heavy date with new waitress Vera. The type whose life's ambition is a fur coat. So he embezzles twenty dollars from his employer. To make up the shortage, he goes in debt for a hundred.

Thereafter, every means he tries to get out of trouble only gets him deeper into crime, while everyone he meets is out for what they can get.

Mickey Rooney not as Andy Hardy and a very understated Peter Lorre.

Very good film noir. You'll enjoy it. Odd that movies like this aren't made any more.
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dangerous blonde
RanchoTuVu19 August 2013
Mickey Rooney plays an auto mechanic who meets a new cashier at the diner he eats his lunch at. She's a blond, while the girl who's in love with him is a brunette, so, given the state of aesthetics back then, there is no question but to go for the blond, which sets off a fairly overly concocted, but interestingly done, chain of events. Jeanne Cagney, as the blonde, comes with a dark background that's hinted at in the film, and a part of it we see with her connection to Peter Lorre who runs a shady looking arcade. As a later Lorre entry, his part is not at all bad, especially when he rather expertly wields a switchblade in one scene. Cagney has the right look for her part as the woman who first reels Rooney in and then encourages his criminal behavior. The title of this movie is apt though kind of melodramatic, as Rooney sinks deeper into crime in order to try to climb out of it.
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