The Crooked Road (1965)
Focusing in on Stewart Granger has allowed me to catch a Robert Ryan film for the first time as well during my run of Granger titles.
It’s a black and white film made in Jugoslavia as the final screen credit points out at the film’s conclusion.
Ryan stars here as a tough newspaper man out to bring down a Duke with a shady background and corruption in both his past and foreseeable future.Granger is of course the Duke who is a man of means in his home country and appears to be ready to run for office.
When Ryan arrives in Granger’s homeland the stakes are going up. Not only is Ryan out to bring down our silver haired leading man but he was once passionately involved with Granger’s wife played by Nadia Gray. Granger would like nothing better than to have Ryan bought off and bury the evidence that Ryan is about to unleash through the media of Granger’s shady dealings.
To ensure Ryan’s cooperation Granger arranges a murder where the implication is that the “American” is guilty. Perhaps if Mr. Ryan would surrender the documents the local police might be persuaded by Granger’s Duke to look for a suspect elsewhere.
Ryan isn’t one to back down and this will lead to the inevitable clash of wills between our two fading leading men whose prime years were the previous decade although Ryan had a couple of triumphs still to come like his role as Deke Thornton in The WIld Bunch.
Stewart Granger was equally adept at playing both hero and pompous villain and dabbled in both. During his younger years he played the dashing hero more often then not in a variety of genres. As age caught up to him he seemed to take on a meanness in his features that lent themselves to playing roles with a tinge of arrogance about them. His later film appearance in The Wild Geese is a perfect example of this.
For this role he’s slippery with money and a noble position to lend itself to his desire for power and being a law unto himself which comes forward in his discussion with Ryan over ethics and responsibilities of those in a position to better the world for others or selfishly use them for one’s own gain.
There’s nothing overly wrong with this feature from director Don Chaffey but it’s strictly a B film. On the flip side Ryan and Granger make for an interesting combination on film. Going in I assumed that if there was to be a good guy vs. bad guy scenario I would have expected that Ryan was going to be our go to villain of the piece. So the fact that it turned out to be Granger gives it a bit of a twist.
No classic but definitely something a little different from our two leading men of whom I consider myself a fan.