Ride the Pink Horse

Watch Ride the Pink Horse

  • Passed
  • 1947
  • 1 hr 41 min
  • 7.2  (3,395)

Ride the Pink Horse is a gripping film noir from 1947 that follows the story of Gagin, a former soldier turned petty criminal, played by Robert Montgomery. The movie is based on a novel by Dorothy B. Hughes and is set in the small town of San Bonifacio, New Mexico during the annual Fiesta. Gagin arrives in San Bonifacio with a vengeance in mind, as he is seeking revenge against a crime boss named Frank Hugo, whom he believes is responsible for the death of his best friend.

The film starts with Gagin disembarking from a bus, looking like the bad guy from the start. He initially encounters a man named Pila, portrayed by Thomas Gomez, who becomes his guide around the town. Pila is a wise and opportunistic hotel owner who is always looking for a way to make a quick buck. Gomez is ideal for the role of Pila, and his performance is exceptional. He is smooth, believable, and his character is an essential element of the film.

Gagin's plan to exact revenge involves blackmailing Hugo, which Pila tries to help him with, and blackmail becomes very common in the movie, a symbol of evil that even the good guys use to defeat the villains. Gagin tries to get closer to Hugo by pretending that he is selling secrets to the local police, and from there, things take several unexpected and twisted turns.

The director Robert Montgomery, who also stars as Gagin, delivers an exceptional and well-executed neo-noir movie of corruption and morality. The story develops slowly, but the film's pace never lags, and the tension builds slowly but surely. The use of lighting, with long shadows and impressive playing of light and darkness, enhances the atmosphere of the movie while creating an ominous sense of danger.

Another prominent cast member in the film is Wanda Hendrix, who plays the mysterious Pila's niece, Pancho. Hendrix is breathtaking, and her powerful performance matches the intensity of Montgomery and Gomez. Pancho is a young woman with a dark past, and her character's presence in the film is an integral part of the narrative. Her character is assertive and ambitious, and her mannerisms echo those of Gloria Grahame and Lauren Bacall.

Ride the Pink Horse doesn't rely on the same-old tropes of the noir genre, and it stands out because of this. It is bold, moody, and emotionally-demanding. The movie is full of memorable scenes, including a bizarre and wonderfully staged carnival procession, in which an enormous wooden statue, representing the Judas, is set ablaze. This procession accentuates the eerie and fiery atmosphere of the movie, and adds up to the audience's sense of unease.

In the final act, there are some thrilling sequences, and the tension builds to a satisfying and intelligent conclusion. There are no happy endings in the film, and the characters all finish in varied states of sheer desperation, uncertainty, or death.

In summary, Ride the Pink Horse is a terrific film noir with much more depth and nuances than you usually find. The story is captivating, the performances are brilliant, and the atmosphere and tone of the movie are genuinely exceptional. The film is a true classic, and it still holds up as a fantastic piece of cinema almost seventy-five years after its release. It is an excellent example of how a movie can often be more powerful when it shows rather than tells, leaving the viewer to experience the story without the need for extra explanations.

Ride the Pink Horse
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 41 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (3,395)