“Whiplash” (1948) starring Dane Clark, Alexis Smith and Zachary Scott / Z-View

Whiplash (1948)

Director: Lewis Seiler

Screenwriter: Harriet Frank Jr., Maurice Geraghty, adaptation by Gordon Kahn from a story by Kenneth Earl

Cast: Dane Clark, Alexis Smith, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, S.Z. Sakall, John Daheim  and Alan Hale.

Tagline: “Sure I know you’re a two-timer!…but I’m going to kiss the two-timing out of you!”

The Plot…

When Michael Gordon (Clark) learns that he’s sold his first painting, he wants to meet the person who bought it.  So he tracks down Laurie Durant (Smith) and invites her to dinner.  There’s an instant attraction between the two.  Dinner leads to an evening swim. Then breakfast the following morning.  When Laurie spots a thugish looking man entering the cafe, she quickly leaves.

Michael learns that she has returned to New York City. He follows.  Mike finds Laurie singing in a nightclub. When she finishes, he goes to her dressing room.  There Mike gets into a fight and knocks out a hood.  Turns out the hood was a middleweight contender who works for Rex Durant (Scott), the owner of the nightclub.  Rex is also Laurie’s husband.  Rex tells Michael he’s got the makings of a champion prize fighter.  Soon Michael is climbing up the ranks and trying to put Laurie out of this mind.

But we all know that’s not going to happen.  Let the love triangle roll…

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Whiplash works better than it should.  It’s got the sensitive artist who’s also a championship caliber fighter.  Two lovers who cannot be together because of a sadistic man.  A mob boss surrounded by thugs to protect him.  Some of the most unrealistic boxing scenes outside of The Three Stooges.  A fighter who refuses to “stay down”.  A secret revealed.  And a mob boss who gets his in the end.  (“Did someone call a taxi?”)

Dane Clark projects just the right amount of cockiness.  While I find him more believable as a sensitive artist, than a tough guy, for some reason he does a fine job playing both here.  The camera likes Alexis Smith and so do I. Zachary Scott is a villain audiences love to hate.  Kudos also to S.Z. Sakall.  His scenes are a joy.

Whiplash (1948) rates 3 of 5 stars.